What’s Hot in Latin America? Women’s Leadership.


Campus Aloysio FariaThe 2016 FDC-Smith Women’s Global Leadership Program takes place from September 11 – 16, 2016 at the Aloysio Faria, Nova Lima campus of Fundação Dom Cabral. This year’s program offering promises to be yet another great experience for women in Brazil and Latin America. Registration for this program is now open, and as our research shows, there is no time like the present to invest in women’s leadership in LATAM.

Four years ago Smith College Executive Education and Fundação Dom Cabral (FDC), the #1 business school in Latin America for the 11th year in a row, partnered to host the first all-women leadership development program in Latin America. At the time, the women’s leadership initiative in the Latin American region was stagnant, with less than 4 percent of board chairs in Brazil belonging to women. We realized there was a real opportunity to not only address this issue, but to work together towards a solution – FDC-Smith Global Women’s Leadership Program.

In 2013, we set out to learn more about the state of women’s leadership development in Latin America from the source, actual women executives from across LATAM and their employers. What did we learn? We found that it was important to the women executives who participated in our focus groups to have access to leadership development and advancement opportunities. However, their employers were not convinced of the need.

Woman flags

2014 FDC – Smith Women’s Global Leaders Program

We forged on with the program, anyway. Our ground-breaking collaboration launched the first all-women executive education program in Brazil and Latin America in 2014, with stunning results. Five days of transformational leadership development with a uniquely LATAM fingerprint boosted confidence, developed skills, and connected women across industries. It turns out that women executives in Brazil and Latin America are just as eager to build their leadership acumen as women in the U.S., Europe, India, and China – and are just as hungry to connect with other high-performing female peers for networking, mentoring, and career-sustaining support.

Since the launch of the FDC-Smith Women’s Global Leaders Program in 2014, we have watched the importance of women’s leadership development grow. This year, our colleagues at FDC report that women’s leadership advancement is the hot topic in their conversations with corporate partners.

Independent research backs up this trend with hard numbers. In 2010, McKinsey & Company reported that 21 percent of respondents in Latin America said gender diversity was a top priority; in 2013, 37 percent said the same, and of those executives, 80 percent said their CEOs and top-management teams are either fully or very committed to taking action on this issue.

So at last – we are happy to report that gender diversity is seen as a business imperative across Latin America. You can register yourself a woman on your team for the 2016 FDC-Smith Women’s Leadership Program via FDC’s website.

About Smith College Executive Education

Smith's signature all-female learning environment ignites the power of women and provides an exceptional networking forum where participants share insights and perspectives with a cohort of talented and high-powered peers.
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