International Women’s Forum 2021-2022 fellowship programme for women leaders worldwide

About the Fellows Program

Each year, IWF invests in making women stronger, smarter and more influential through its Fellows Program, a year-long, intensive leadership development experience. Since the program was established in 1994, IWF has elevated more than 550 international Fellows. In 2020, we saw our Fellows reach new heights, including being appointed U.S. Ambassador to Uganda and Chief People Officer of Air New Zealand.

Launched with seed-funding from the U.S. Labor Department as a direct result of the Glass Ceiling Commission, the Fellows Program annually convenes approximately 35 Fellows from around the world for a total of 20 days. Executed in partnership with Harvard Business School and INSEAD, the Fellows Program offers customized leadership training for women executives on their path to the C-suite that is academic, behavioral, and technical.

What Makes the Fellows Program Special


The program convenes approximately 35 Fellows from around the world for a total of 20 days, comprised of three separate sessions. It is executed in partnership with INSEAD and Harvard Business School. The Fellows Program offers creative, multidisciplinary training aimed at developing leadership and strategic management capabilities.


In addition to leadership training, Fellows are matched with an IWF member who serves as a mentor during the program year. Through the mentoring experience, participants gather personal insights and advice from women at the top of their field. Fellows also take part inIWF’s annual World Leadership Conference, which brings together 850+ women executivesfrom more than 40 nations.

Legacy Projects

To amplify the impact of the program, Fellows are responsible for implementing a Legacy Project that applies the skills learned in a relevant way. Previous Legacy Projects include: a career conference series aimed at female university students in Mexico, a breakfast roundtable for women in the U.S. military in Washington, D.C., and mentoring circles to foster a pipeline of women leaders in the aviation industry.


Each year, IWF selects a geographically, culturally, ethnically and professionally diverse group of women. IWF seeks candidates that demonstrate the following:

  • Considered change agents within their organization and community
  • Possess the ambition to push to the highest levels of their career and the desire to lift as

    they rise with regard to legacy and mentoring

  • Substantive professional/work experience and significant direct accomplishments
  • Strength of character, motivation and commitment to goals
  • Superior intellectual ability, as evidenced by academic history and distinctions, and recommendations
  • Have the capacity to both contribute to and gain from the Fellows Program
  • Intention to participate fully in all activities and training components associated with the Fellows Program, as well as a commitment to the Legacy Project

Program Outcomes

As Fellows progress through the program, they become more certain in their leadership abilities, more confident in their networks, more inspired about their career trajectories, and clearer about their career aspirations. Data collected from baseline and post- program surveys of the 2018-2019 Fellows Class show:

  • 100% of the Fellows agreed or strongly agreed they have the leadership ability needed to achieve the career trajectory they envision.
  • Fellows’ perception of their networks and opportunities improved by 15% from the baseline.
  • 100% of the Fellows felt inspired to achieve the career they envision as a result of the program.
  • 96% of the Fellows agreed or strongly agreed they have more clarity about how they can achieve the career they envision, an improvement of 21% from the baseline.

Visit fellowship website for details