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It is times like these that I am proud to be actively involved with the Women's Leadership Institute, working to advance equity, reduce disparities, and support communities. Over the years WLI has collectively addressed issues impacting women and girls by offering innovative solutions to drive transformational change.


This year the devastating impact of COVID-19 has shown us the resilience of the human spirit and revealed how much we are capable of enduring and overcoming. The road ahead will not be easy, but we want to close out 2020 reflecting on what we accomplished together with our dedicated members and stakeholders.


As the Corona virus continues to rage, we face a grave threat to sustaining hard fought milestones bringing us closer to gender equality. We brace ourselves against this setback to avoid eroding progress effecting vulnerable women and girls who have historically been impacted disproportionately by systematic exclusion. The COVID-19 has prompted WLI’s network of women to be vocal leaders, dispelling racist misconceptions and advocating strongly for the needs of women, girls and communities at large.


We know that each day brings significant challenges and pressures on the operations of WLI. We also know that WLI will rise to these challenges with ingenuity, compassion, resilience, fortitude, and integrity. In times like these, WLI and stakeholders stand shoulder to shoulder. We encourage you to stand with us as we pivot to a virtual format in effort to reach programming goals.


What is WLI doing?


We are continuing to develop programming and re-organizing to minimize disruption of our mission. Our committees are steadfast in planning and projecting a sequence of actions designed to foster forward movement toward our strategic goals. We have been particularly sensitive to how we will move our strategic priorities forward while being responsive to ever changing community needs. Our goals and objectives remain consistently focus on:

  • Promoting the advancement of women, through their careers, organizations and personal lives as leaders.

  • Increasing the number of women who serve in leadership positions in all industries with a focus on industries where women are not represented. •    Increasing the visibility and inclusion of women on Boards of Directors.

  • Developing a membership component in effort to develop an available, competent and robust pipeline of women leaders.

  • Publishing relevant research and information about trends and resources impacting women's leadership development and economic advantage.

Our committees are diligently formulating plans to advance new initiatives in a program entitled “Pipeline to Progress” targeting candidates interested in pursuing education or careers in professional fields and industries not readily available to them. We have launched a career and life coaching system to undergird those aiming to assure upward mobility and economic stability.


We have bold visions for 2021 to fuel a thriving process to advance gender equity based on our recognition that extraordinary times call for unprecedented solutions. More details about plans for 2021 will be shared very soon.


Thanks to all of you who have supported the Women’s Leadership Institute.  We hope that we can rely on you to help us continue our quest to transform lives together, as we effect measurable outcomes in diversity, inclusion and leadership gains.

Barbara L. Edwards

Women’s Leadership Institute



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