Where does power come from? What role does humor play in leadership? Is it better to be adversarial or collaborative at the negotiating table?

High-Potential Women Leaders Program has developed a highly-specialized curriculum to help you explore how to use your power, strengthen your influence, and transform your leadership skills and career trajectory. All optimized for a virtual environment. Sessions focus on the issues of power and relationships, negotiation, team effectiveness, social networks, and influence. Because these are the most critical and complicated issues facing women in the workplace.

In our live online classroom you will:

  • Engage directly with world-renowned faculty through real-time lectures, Q&A, and office hours
  • Participate in hands-on negotiation simulations
  • Collaborate and connect with other women leaders through discussions and group-based exercises

Program Highlights

Below are just a few of the sessions you’ll attend as part of the program.

Acting with Power

In this session, Professor Deborah Gruenfeld and author of the new book Acting with Power: Why We Are More Powerful Than We Believe, addresses how what we need from our leaders is changing, and how women leaders, in particular, can rise to the occasion, by learning to wield power without fear.

A New Type of Leader — Anchored on Purpose, Fueled by Humor

You, oh fearless leader of the future (and maybe present), are very important. You will make critical and far-reaching economic, political, and social decisions in your quest beyond Stanford to change lives, change organizations, and change the world. That’s serious stuff. So why humor? The late journalist Eric Sevareid said, “Next to power without honor, the most dangerous thing in the world is power without humor.” Our goal is to pin you down and not let you walk away from this session without a healthy dose of humanity, humility, and intellectual perspective that only humor can bring. Drawing upon the behavioral science of humor and laughter, this class is about the power (and importance) of humor to help leaders be more authentic and influential, cultivate more meaningful and productive relationships, produce more innovative ideas, and build more nimble and resilient teams and organizations.

Neuroscience and the Connection to Exemplary Leadership

We have chosen topics and designed sessions to improve the skills and tools of women and address the challenges that they uniquely face.
Margaret A. Neale, Faculty Co-Director

The exponential growth in our understanding of the workings of the human brain has led to a rather startling and maybe embarrassing (even depressing) conclusion.

While the human brain is unique among species in its ability to strategize, conceptualize, hypothesize, memorize, etc., it is now undeniable that most human decisions are shaped by nonconscious instinctual neural systems and processes.

In these two sessions, you will first gain an understanding of the workings of the instinctual brain and then leverage that understanding to be exemplary leaders — to be more effective at making decisions and influencing others’ (e.g., key stakeholders’) decisions.


Jana Dubovska | Executive Education, Stanford GSB
Associate Director, Programs Executive Education