|Description:||The Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) at Babson College provides educational programs for undergraduate, graduate, and Babson Executive Education students to help develop leadership skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. CWEL also supports and widely disseminates research into the unique skills and experiences of women entrepreneurial leaders, and advances gender equality as a growth strategy for individuals and for organizations of all sizes, everywhere in the world. The Center, founded in 1999, was the first major comprehensive academic center focused on women’s leadership at a premier school of business.
From its inception and throughout its 14-year history, the Center has remained committed to providing opportunities for its graduate women that fall into the following key categories:
• Access to Near-Peer Role Models
• Skill Building
• Expanding Professional Networks
• Providing a Gender Lens to Organization Culture and Individual Career Management
• Building a Gender Balanced campus
• Research and Thought Leadership
• Collaborations with Women’s Organizations
CWEL accomplishes these goals through innovative campus programming and initiatives, including:
The Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab
The WIN Lab is a year-long residency program for women students at Babson College that accelerates the entrepreneurial path from ideation to launch. It provides women entrepreneurs with the road map, expertise, inspiration, and community needed to successfully launch ventures. Currently, there are 18 women participating in the 2013-2014 WIN Lab.
The CWEL MBA Mentor Program connects women graduate students to senior-level women leaders to build strategic relationships that support leadership development and career advancement. The program is built on three essential pillars: Expertise - designed and led by a faculty mentoring expert; Theory and Practice - offers the latest research on mentoring and entrepreneurial leadership development; Custom Matching - Students and mentors are strategically matched to provide a successful foundation for the mentoring experience of both parties. Additionally, CWEL provides a blended mentoring format combining virtual and on-campus programming to better meet the needs of non-residential students and geographically dispersed mentors.
>>> In the current academic year, 20 MBA students have been paired with mentors. Additionally, 48 undergraduate and graduate students were paired for peer mentoring. http://www.babson.edu/Academics/centers/cwel/educational-programs/Pages/graduate-programs.aspx
CWEL offers financial support for graduate students to attend business conferences in order to build networks and access role models in the greater Boston business ecosystem.
>>> In the current academic year, CWEL’s conference fund has provided tuition for 55 Babson students to attend business and leadership events.
Entrepreneurs-in-Residence: Gail Simmons and Sophia Chang
CWEL names leading entrepreneurs in their fields as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) to coach and guide MBA students. This year’s EIRs are Gail Simmons: Food & Wine Special Projects Director and judge on the hit TV show “Top Chef”; and Sophia Chang: fashion show producer for Bravo’s “Project Runway All Stars” and co-founder of Science Genius, a program that uses rap as a tool to get New York City high school students excited about science. As powerful role models, these women help Babson’s MBA women build self-efficacy as they demonstrate the thinking and action of entrepreneurial leadership. In-Residence collaborations have two parts: a standard set of CWEL-related activities and a customized set of activities based on the interests of the participant.
“Women In …” Networking Events
CWEL sponsors “Women in Finance,” “Women in Marketing,” and “Women in Entrepreneurship” dinners, organized and hosted by the Babson Association of Women MBAs. These events engage successful women leaders from each discipline in an evening of networking and career insight exchange with Babson women graduate students.
Gender Balanced Entrepreneurship Forum
In order to build entrepreneurial self-efficacy—the belief that a student’s ability to be successful is enhanced by watching and learning from role models—in the current 2012-2013 academic year, CWEL co-sponsored the first-ever, gender-balanced Babson Entrepreneurship Forum, featuring 18 women entrepreneur presenters.
Executive-in-Residence Coaching Hours with Roslyn G. Daum
Roslyn G. Daum, a former Partner of Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP specializing in providing counsel to venture capital firms regarding investments and buy-out transactions, regularly meets with MBA students to share her expertise and experience.
>>> In the current academic year, Daum has conducted personal coaching sessions with 10 students.
Fast Track MBA Program Learning Community
The Fast Track Learning Community convenes women students with faculty senior staff and business experts for women-focused receptions, panels, other programs. The program also provides coaching for its Fast Track MBA students.
Alumni Connections: “Onboarding Allies” program
CWEL sponsors a program that connects incoming women students with a recent program alumna who can share insights about her own experiences. The program consists of three email connections over 90 days. Beyond the 90-day formal program participants are encouraged to “stay in touch” for ongoing support and feedback.
Research / Thought Leadership
We are proud to report that over 22 faculty members are involved with gender-related research at Babson College, and have inspired a Gender Resource Task Force convening faculty, staff and students to discuss gender issues on campus and develop recommendations for action. Additionally, Babson initiated the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Women research Reports, as well as the DIANA Project: research reports on women’s approaches to acquiring financial and other resources as well as an information source for resource providers and policy-makers about the importance and advantages of support and investment in women-owned businesses. The Center has also completed projects regarding women in family business, women’s business centers, and women of color entrepreneurs; projects supported by the Babson Faculty Research Fund; and many more.
The list of Center collaborations and partnerships extends far beyond the following: AAUW (formerly the American Association of University Women), Catalyst, Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE), Center for Women’s Business Research (CWBR), Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program, Forte Foundation, Global Banking Alliance for Women, National Council for Research on Women (NCRW), WAGE, Wellesley Centers for Women, and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). http://www.babson.edu/Academics/centers/cwel/about/Pages/collaborations.aspx
For additional information about Babson’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership: