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Continuing education at Emory offers women the opportunity to strengthen leadership skills
Portraits of Chloe Ciliege, Nancy Green and Carlie Bennink

One of the many professional and personal enrichment programs offered through Emory Continuing Education is the Women in Leadership Certificate. Nancy Green (center) is a course instructor, and Chloe Ciliege (left) and Carlie Bennick (right) recently completed the program.

Emory is known as a world-class leader in both undergraduate and graduate education. But the university also has a vast breadth of continuing education programs for professional and personal enrichment.

One such program is the Women in Leadership Certificate, a five-week course led by women with a variety of subject matter expertise in innovation, cultural awareness, engagement, resilience and self-advocacy.

Nancy Green, performance strategist and owner of consulting firm iinteg inc., leads one of the course modules and helped develop the curriculum from its inception. She says the certificate’s content focuses on the unique experiences of women in leadership positions and their experiences in the workplace.

“There are unique approaches to being seen and heard and having a seat at the table. That’s where this program comes in,” Green says. “Everything we cover is through that lens. It’s the same leadership skills, but through that understanding.”

Green, who earned her MBA from Emory’s Goizueta Business School in 2001, says the certificate helps women succeed in areas where stereotypes often persist.

“I think it’s really important that we help women ensure that they are seen and heard,” Green says. “These skills are skills that women in every leadership position in every industry can benefit from.”

Green says the module she instructs is focused on driving engagement. It’s based on the idea that employees who are engaged contribute more to the team than employees who are not engaged.

“This module focuses on, as a leader, how to build stronger relationships and create a foundation that drives engagement,” Green says. “Also, employees’ understanding of their role and the expectations for that role have to be clear.”

Because of the great importance of clearly defining expectations, Green says one of the module exercises requires certificate participants to write goal statements for one of their employees; Green then shares her feedback. This exercise allows participants to leave the program with the skills to effectively define and implement goals and expectations for all their employees.

“They leave with actual frameworks for having good conversations. They leave with a well-written performance expectation that they can use as a model as they go forward,” Green says. “This is not a theoretical certificate; it involves practical application.”

In addition to goal setting, certificate participants bring other important skills and perspectives back to their teams.

“Participants get a better understanding of themselves, and that is so valuable. Managers spend a lot of time focused on everybody else, and this course is also focused on understanding, ‘Where am I in my skills? Where do I want to improve?’ Participants leave with a full toolbox,” says Green.

Carlie Bennink, Northeast regional underwriting manager associate vice president for PURE Programs, recently completed the certificate alongside her colleague Chloe Ciliege, Florida regional underwriting manager associate vice president. Bennink says the goal-setting activity was incredibly helpful for her as a manager.

“I brought the goal-setting exercise back to my team immediately,” says Bennink. “It was perfect timing because we were setting goals for the year. That content was especially relevant.”

The self-advocacy module especially resonated with Ciliege, serving as both an important reminder for herself and was something she wanted to integrate into the fabric of her team. 

“I try to tell my team, ‘You do a lot of things that I might not know about, or my boss might not know about.’ But those activities are important, and you have to be an advocate for yourself and let people know about the things you’re doing,” Ciliege says.

Bennink felt the same. “I think women in the workplace inadvertently put ourselves down and don’t advocate for ourselves, because so many of us have been told to just be quiet and not come across as boastful or bragging,” she says. “The self-advocacy module was centered around communicating your skills and knowing what you’re really good at and being able to articulate that to others.”

A welcoming community is a crucial component of the certificate — both Ciliege and Bennink agree that it created an environment for success and openness in the group.

“To hear situations that people actually went through and things they’ve learned and how they advocated for themselves was fantastic,” Ciliege says. “It’s amazing to hear what people do because sometimes you’re stuck in your own little bubble. It’s reassuring to know that there’s a community of women supporting each other.”

For Green, the five program modules, participants and instructors come together to create a course that allows women in leadership to reach their goals.

“It’s about building the career that you want and building the life that you envision for yourself, and so you’re bringing your best self to work every day,” says Green. “And I think that’s what this is all about.”  

Upcoming classes with Emory Continuing Education

The next course offering for the Women in Leadership certificate begins Wednesday, May 1. Emory Continuing Education (ECE) classes address a variety of other topics and business sectors, ranging from cybersecurity to photography. ECE also offers courses for organizations and companies.

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