Center for Women's Leadership

Increasing women's leadership capacity by offering training and development programs uniquely designed to address issues that women face in leading organizations.

The Center for Women's Leadership (CWL) helps people and organizations understand the issue of gender dynamics. By examining the complex social forces most relevant to women and leadership, and through scholarship and applied research, we promote understanding and capacity to overcome the barriers women often face when exercising leadership.

Women's Leadership Academy

The Women's Leadership Academy (WLA) was founded to increase women's leadership capacity by offering training and development programs and examining the complex social forces most relevant to women and leadership. Through academic research and applied practice, we work to understand and overcome the barriers that women face when exercising leadership.

The study of women and leadership is at a tipping point. We are in need of new conversations around gender and leadership, and we need to explore the 21st Century challenges that women are facing in their roles as leaders. The future is changing and our approach to preparing men and women for leadership roles must change as well. The WLA aims to to reexamine existing perspectives on gender dynamics and leadership and create new ways of understanding, knowing and practicing leadership.

The WLA has a foundation in past and present theories of women and leadership, while challenging norms and attempting to focus forward, in an effort to consider and create some much needed break through paradigms.

How does the Women's Leadership Academy prepare women for leadership?

By helping women:

  • Establish a strong sense of self
  • Develop their voice
  • Own and acknowledge their power
  • Cultivate strong relationships
  • Practice courage and learn to take risks
  • Question and challenge social gender norms and standards
  • Learn about the complexities and challenges of leadership

WLA Coordinators

Lorri Sulpizio, PhD

Lorri Sulpizio has dedicated her career to advancing the science and art of leadership development through research, education, training and consulting. Lorri is a founder and the principle consultant for Lotus Leadership Institute- a leadership development company that helps both individuals and organizations to increase their leadership effectiveness and become more productive. She is a published author having written several articles and book chapters, and is an international presenter on leadership. Lorri's expertise includes girls' and women's leadership, as well as group and team dynamics. Her research focus is on women's leadership, specifically on voice, power and authority. Her current research projects are on the topics of the lived experience of motherhood, as well as women, voice and leadership.

Lorri was an executive board member for New Children’s Museum of San Diego, the California Community College Women’s Basketball Association and the Fitness Advisory Council for San Diego Mesa College. She served as head women’s basketball coach at San Diego Mesa College from 2001-2007 and coached at Cuyamaca College from 2008-2010. She is an adjunct professor, teaching business and leadership courses at several institutions of higher learning, including the University of San Diego and Cal State San Marcos.

Lorri's accomplishments include designing and implementing an empowerment program for female addicts and victims of domestic violence and she is the co-founder for WeLead, a program dedicated to girls and young women's leadership. Lorri has her PhD in leadership from the University of San Diego, her MA in Sports Psychology from SDSU, and her BA in English from Cal Poly SLO.

Robin McCoy, PhD

Robin McCoy has spent more than 20 years using her leadership skills to advance organizations through periods of anticipating organizational growth and expansion while in transition. McCoy's expertise includes women's leadership development, strategic planning for organizations and marketing.

McCoy’s current research involves leadership development and assessment of leadership programs. She understands that the pace of change facing organizations requires multiple approaches to leadership development and requires more adaptive, flexible leadership. These approaches include the traditional components of leadership development: formal education, mentoring, on the job experience, and executive seminar training programs. Some non-traditional approaches that McCoy is researching include behavioral simulations and the art of influencing others through role-playing exercises.

McCoy is committed to her on-going development and believes that leadership requires continual progress toward growth and self-awareness. She understands the pressures of balancing home life with a career and has successfully mentored and taught thousands of students over her life as a professor teaching business strategy and marketing.

News & Events