Insight on Women’s Executive Leadership Program at UC Berkeley

It was an honor to attend the Women Executive Leadership Program at UC Berkeley. Here is a full breakdown of the experience and how it helped me to grow as a leader and woman in tech.

Those who know me well, know that professional development is a HUGE part of my value system. Learning and growth are so important, especially as a woman in the tech industry. Things can change quickly and leadership development is key to managing teams and staying current.

In 2022, I was looking for an executive training program to enhance my leadership skills. The UC Berkeley Executive Education program caught my eye because it was tailored specifically for women and the unique circumstances and challenges we face in the workplace.

Looking at their website, I was excited to discover that the next program would be in person rather than online, and relatively easy for me to get to from Portland. Just what I was looking for.

This felt like an incredible opportunity for me to connect and network with other women in other industries and roles. It’s also very helpful to get some fresh leadership perspectives outside of your own company, which was another goal of mine in attending this executive training.

After registering, Berkeley sent some pre-work in the form of required reading and a 360 feedback survey to get perspective from people you work with as well as yourself. They were very organized and proactive about the whole process – a good sign!

The Leadership Program

Headed into this 4-day training, here is a snapshot of the expected learning outcomes that I was provided with.

Strengthen Your Leadership Skills
Leverage power, diagnose situations, and master successful negotiation tactics that prioritize your professional growth goals.

Understand The Women’s Perspective in Business
Grapple with the impacts of gender on authority, business relationships, and effective leadership. Grasp and adopt the exceptional female perspective to overcome obstacles in your personal life, company and beyond.

Acquire New Business Acumen Tools to Cultivate Personal Fulfillment from Work
Discover tools to achieve work balance and reap greater rewards and personal satisfaction from your work.

Establish a Strong Professional Network
Learn tactics for building productive, supportive professional relationships and business networks.

Develop Problem-Solving Skills
Act with power to address business challenges by developing problem-solving strategies for immediate application

California Bound

In October, I hopped on a plane to California. There were about 25 women in total in the program – mostly from California but several of us flew in from Oregon and Washington. I stayed at the Clairmont Hotel in Berkeley, but there were several other great options that the university suggested within walking distance from the campus.

This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise, but all the professors and women who attended were so welcoming, supportive and easy to talk to.

I didn’t rent a car and on the first day; one of the students offered me a ride back to my hotel. Another attendee loaned me a sweater because it was unusually cold the week I was there. This is the kind of connection-building I just love. People coming closer and supporting one another in business and in life!

The professors used the survey input we had pre-submitted during the training sessions to understand our leadership style, how we manage conflict, how well our network was established etc. This was helpful for creating a meaningful conversation that was tailored to our specific group.

I walked away from almost every single session with pages of notes and so much relevant and meaningful information to digest and apply.

There were SO MANY topics that resonated, but among my favorites were:

Persuasion & Influence: Professor Juliana Schroeder
Leadership Simulation: Carolyn Buck Luce
Understanding and Improving Your Leadership Styles: Professor Jenny Chatman
Power & Leadership in the 21st Century: Dacher Keltner
Art and Science of Negotiation: Laura Kray

Each of the sessions gave really clear takeaways, and I have been leveraging the learnings in my work. In particular, the sessions on social networks and persuasion really resonated with me.

Stepping away from my daily job and being in such a welcoming and insightful learning environment gave me a renewed sense of enthusiasm and confidence. I highly recommend this program to anyone looking to expand your leadership skills and community.

I would love to attend another executive session at Berkeley at some point. It is an investment in both time and money but it is worth it! Many of the attendees were able to leverage training budgets and have their company pay for the professional development experience.

Stay tuned for a breakdown of some of these talks with key takeaways. To learn more about this training, visit Women’s Executive Leadership Program | UC Berkeley ExecEd.

Happy learning!

Danielle Cullivan Signature


Danielle Cullivan

Career Insight Studio

Danielle Cullivan is a seasoned leader in tech with over 20 years of experience in Fortune 500 companies. She is also the creator of Career Insight Studio, a career and lifestyle blog dedicated to providing insights and new perspectives for working women. Danielle lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and high-school-aged son, and visits her college-age daughter as often as possible! 

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