Stanford GSB Launches a New Immersive Online Executive Education Certificate on Personal Leadership

Stanford LEAD: Personal Leadership Certificate joins the existing LEAD certificate on corporate innovation, now in its third year.

February 28, 2018



The year-long certificate program blends a full suite of leading technologies with active synchronous and asynchronous learning, small team projects, and a cloud-based community space for interactive group experiences. |

Stanford Graduate School of Business today unveiled a new immersive online executive education offering, Stanford LEAD: Personal Leadership Certificate.

“This program will develop leaders who are compassionate, courageous, and curious, and who exhibit the humility necessary for continued growth,” said Sarah Soule, faculty director of the new Stanford LEAD: Personal Leadership Certificate.

Leveraging the Stanford LEAD learning model, the program creates a unique, rigorous, and connection-driven educational journey that gives participants the freedom to focus on their personal outcomes and goals. Applications are now open for the first, year-long session, which begins Sept. 12, 2018.

“Personal leadership is best learned through dynamic interactions with others,” said Soule. “What’s exciting about this new program is that we’ve developed a curriculum that is hands-on, spans multiple time zones, and bridges physical distance to fully engage participants in an experiential learning environment.”

The new specialization joins the highly successful Stanford LEAD: Corporate Innovation Certificate, now in its third year and sixth cohort. Both year-long certificate programs blend a full suite of learning technologies with active synchronous and asynchronous learning including live virtual course sessions, collaborative team-based projects, and interactive experiences. Courses are taught by the same senior faculty who teach in the world-renowned MBA and executive programs, and are designed to incorporate research-backed frameworks with real-world application. Diverse cohorts of driven individuals are able to apply course concepts immediately, collect feedback, and share learnings with peers around the world.

“The learning model we’ve developed has succeeded far beyond our expectations,” said Peter DeMarzo, faculty director of Stanford LEAD. “Since inception in 2015, Stanford LEAD has averaged a completion rate of over 95% for each enrolled class, with 67 countries represented across all cohorts.”

“The LEAD certificate has expanded my mind and made me more intentional in the way I make decisions on a day-to-day basis,” said Ashita Saluja, who was promoted to Global Go-to-Market manager, Salesforce Immersion, after completing the corporate innovation certificate in 2016. “Most importantly, it made me realize business is really about people. All the graphs, all the spreadsheets – that’s all really important, but when you put the people at the center of the business, that’s when you have a chance to do something different.”

Program Highlights and Design

Building on the success of the Stanford LEAD: Corporate Innovation Certificate, the new personal leadership curriculum allows participants to focus on two courses per quarter throughout a one-year period. At the start of the program, participants undergo an in-depth evaluation of their leadership proficiency. Coaches will then help them identify areas for development using Stanford’s proprietary 360-degree feedback tool, a leadership evaluation through which participants gather constructive feedback and outline a meaningful action plan to create customized learning journeys.


This program will develop leaders who are compassionate, courageous, and curious, and who exhibit the humility necessary for continued growth.
Sarah Soule

Participants begin with the program’s two foundational courses: Foundations of Leadership focuses on principles of effective leadership, and Values-Based Leadership teaches ways to lead with values while respecting those of the team and organization. Using proven frameworks, innovative tools, and expert insights, the courses enhance participants’ self-awareness as they embark on their leadership development.

Over the next three quarters, participants enroll in six elective courses to master a range of leadership competencies such as communicating for impact, managing difficult conversations, leading effective teams, making sound decisions, handling crises, building and using power, using story for impact, and understanding organizational culture. Through social and experiential learning, team-based projects, and high-touch support, participants learn and practice leadership concepts while developing a strong global network of peers.

“Effective leadership begins with self-awareness and taking the perspective of others. These are essential components of leading with purpose and impact,” said Soule. “The LEAD model is well suited for developing these leadership competencies because it brings together participants from around the globe to share an immersive learning experience that mirrors the rigor and richness of our on-campus programs.”

Upon completion of the program, participants receive a certificate from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and 24 continuing education units (CEUs) issued by Stanford’s registrar, which can be used to meet professional recertification requirements or to qualify for professional development or tuition reimbursement from their employer.

The fall session of the Stanford LEAD: Personal Leadership Certificate will run for one year, starting Sept. 12, 2018. The application period is now open until Aug. 8, 2018.

About Stanford LEAD

Stanford LEAD offers a deeply collaborative, academically rigorous learning environment that gives highly motivated professionals a flexible way to experience Stanford GSB – intimate online learning fully integrated into the students’ environment. The year-long program blends a full suite of leading technologies with active synchronous and asynchronous learning, small team projects, and a cloud-based community space for interactive group experiences.

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