Wednesday, May 19, 2021
11:30am – 3:05pm
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Accelerate the Next Stage of Your Success

An interactive professional development program supporting women’s leadership. The theme for the day is: “Building Connections as a Leader: Anchored on Purpose, Fueled by Humor.”
Open to
female leaders in an executive education course



Want to understand the science of humor and laughter in order to be a more effective leader? Here is your chance to learn from the research and expertise of Stanford Graduate School of Business accomplished faculty member, Professor Jennifer Aaker. Gain new insights and learn to harness humor to be more authentic and influential, cultivate more meaningful and productive relationships, produce more innovative ideas, and build more nimble and resilient teams and organizations.

The Stanford MSx Program, Stanford Executive Program, and Stanford LEAD are pleased to host Accelerate. This interactive professional development program supporting women’s leadership will introduce you to learning opportunities at Stanford GSB through engagements with faculty, alumni, and past program participants.


Live Online

Who Should Attend

  • Mid- and senior-level managers who lead teams or oversee key functions
  • Women seeking to return to work after having made significant contributions to companies or organizations before taking time off
  • Executives and entrepreneurs who aspire to positions of greater influence and authority in their organizations
  • Participants of all genders who are interested in advancing executive women’s leadership in business


  • $75
  • Login information will be provided upon confirmation of your registration.


Time Session
11:30pm – 11:40am Welcome
11:40am – 12:40pm Building Exceptional Relationships

David L. Bradford is the Eugene O’Kelly II Senior Lecturer Emeritus in Leadership at Stanford Graduate School of Business where he taught for over 50 years. He was the primary architect for the legendary course Interpersonal Dynamics, which is one of the school’s flagship offerings.

Developing strong open relationships is crucial for organizational success. However, this can be a challenge for women and people of color because others may not be as honest and direct as needed. In this session, David Bradford will discuss what it takes to build powerful relationships. This is from the new book that he and Carole Robin just published, CONNECT: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and Colleagues, which is based on the landmark GSB course Interpersonal Dynamics that students refer to as “Touchy-Feely.” This is the most popular elective in the MBA program with over 85% of the students enrolled and which they frequently refer to as “transformational” and “life-changing” and alumni say they regularly use decades after graduation.
12:40pm – 12:50pm Break
12:50pm – 1:50pm

Panel: Connection and Humor in Times of Transition

Where do you go from here and how do you show up as a leader? Amidst the backdrop of a pandemic, systemic racism and growing distrust of our institutions — businesses are moving at a new speed and have new challenges and opportunities to compete and grow. A panel of Stanford GSB alumni and past program participants moderated by Julie Appiah Finn, MBA ’00, an executive coach and women’s leadership expert. Panelists will share how they have harnessed connection and humor as leaders to disarm, encourage bold actions, and give other people the courage to do the same.


1:50pm – 2:00pm Break
2:00pm – 3:00pm Harnessing Humor in Challenging Times

Jennifer Aaker is the General Atlantic Professor and the Coulter Family Faculty Fellow at Stanford Graduate School of Business.

To become this new type of leader, you must be anchored on purpose and fueled by humor. Your sense of purpose will create clarity, fuel engagement, and cultivate trust. Your sense of levity and humor will enhance creativity, foster more meaningful relationships, and bolster resilience when the stakes are highest. This balance of purpose and levity will equip you with the humility and emotional intelligence to connect deeply with your teams, partners, and customers, the vision to build loyalty and drive toward lofty goals, and the mental agility to tackle the complex problems in our changing world.
3:00 – 3:05pm Closing