Women’s Corporate Leadership Academy proposed by Governor Cuomo now accepting applications


NEW YORK (WWTI) – The Women’s Corporate Leadership Academy is now accepting applications for its first inaugural class this fall. The Academy will be a part of SUNY Empire State College, where its programs were developed by faculty and staff.

The mission of the Women’s Corporate Leadership Academy is to prepare women for executive and board positions, and to work with organizations across New York State to improve their gender representation. Governor Cuomo first proposed the creation of the Academy in his 2020 State of the State agenda.

“Women in the corporate world are too often confronted with undue barriers when pursuing executive positions, and find themselves boxed out of networking opportunities as part of the culture of gender bias that permeates companies across our nation,” Governor Cuomo said.  

“New York is leading the way in supporting and creating opportunity for working women. The Women’s Corporate Leadership Academy will be a powerful resource for the women of today – and those of tomorrow – who are breaking the glass ceiling.”

The Academy at SUNY Empire will focus on the development of women leaders and explore issues such as communication, provide networking opportunities, and explore professional self-promotion strategies. The training is designed to address the challenges women and underrepresented individuals face in advancing to executive and board positions.

The Academy will launch in the fall of 2020 with a 15-week online micro-credential course, additional non-credit courses, virtual lecture series, and weekend residencies.

“The SUNY Empire Women’s Corporate Leadership Academy will be a key resource for aspiring women leaders, while also exploring solutions to target gender inequality, discrimination, and bias in the workplace,” said SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras. “Governor Cuomo continues to make historic advancements through initiatives like the Academy, which further strengthen and empower our female leaders. SUNY Empire is proud to contribute to the state’s increasing equity efforts.”

“Women make up a meager 20 percent of board seats in the United States, and as the economic engine of the country, we have a responsibility to ensure the businesses that choose to call New York home reflect our diversity,” Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls, said. “New York has led the way for gender equity, and this program will give more women more tools and support networks to become leaders within their organizations and confront sexism where it exists, leaving the door open for more women to follow their lead.”

The Academy’s programming will include:

  • A weekend residency that brings together SUNY Empire State College’s faculty experts in leadership and successful women corporate leaders with the women leaders of tomorrow for roundtable discussions, workshops, networking and lectures;
  • A virtual women leader’s lecture series to connect aspiring woman leaders from across New York and the country to leading female corporate executives and board members;
  • Online credit and non-credit bearing trainings on topics such as leadership, communication, networking and self-promotion skills that award micro-credentials and are stackable into an SUNY Empire MBA degree;
  • Online credit and non-credit bearing trainings on how to identify existing institutional and individual sexism within organizations and strategies for creating more gender equity: and
  • A focused residency for corporate leaders interested in creating gender equity across their organizations that includes roundtable discussions, workshops and lectures on real-world solutions organizations are implementing to reduce and eliminate sex/gender inequities.

SUNY Empire Dean of the School for Graduate Studies and Program Developer Nathan Gonyea said, “The School for Graduate Studies is pleased to help create a pathway for more women into senior corporate leadership and board positions. The Academy is a natural extension of our mission to provide all New Yorkers access to the high-quality graduate education that helps prepare them for future success. We are fortunate to have a highly talented group of faculty and alumni, including successful female leaders, who have served in the most senior positions in corporate America, collaborating to fulfill the vision of the Academy.”

Associate Professor with SUNY Empire School for Graduate Studies and Program Developer, Rosalyn Rufer said, “As an academic institution, with expertise in adult education, we recognize the need to build on competencies gained in the workplace with enhanced educational underpinnings. Leaders as they fast-track their way up the corporate ladder may be ill prepared to assume a role on the corporate board. This is especially true for women and minorities, who may not have the same support mechanisms as others.”

The Women’s Corporate Leadership Academy will be a pathway for aspiring women leaders in private, public, and non-profit organizations to augment their leadership competencies to not only be successful board members, but also be recognized for their merit.

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