This article was republished with permission from Bentley University’s Center for Executive Education, a premier sponsor of The CFO and Controllers RoundTable Boston. To view the original article, please go here. For more information about Bentley’s Executive Education program, please go here

There remains quite a bit of thought and discussion with regard to the progress of women in corporate organizations.  A few weeks ago, the New York Times  published an article that has created a lot of ‘buzz’ around gender and the business environment, in this case as a result of a study at the Harvard Business School. Many were surprised at the findings of the research which traced gender relationships among peers as they completed their MBA. Despite the best efforts of all involved, there still seemed to be barriers to full inclusion in this selective business setting.  While corporations have put forth best efforts for many years and there have been great changes, it seems there is still work to be done.   

At Bentley University, we offer an executive women’s leadership program that has drawn mid-to-senior level directors, vice presidents and above. The leadership content is not gender specific – it is simply great leadership development material that would apply to all within the management structure.   The difference is the discussion that takes place and the candor with which the participants share their challenges and shape their future growth objectives.  

Here are what some of the women have said about the program:

This experience allowed me to take a step back to get perspective about myself as an employee, a leader and as a woman in each of these roles.”

“Great and insightful, very active and loved the group interactions.”

“Absolutely incredible experience!”

“Very well executed. As I said, good mix of principles and discussion/drills.

“This program was stimulating, enlightening, fun, sometimes challenging and rewarding. I learned much more than I thought I would about what it means and what it takes to succeed in an organization.”

Perhaps they would have had a similar response in a mixed gender program. Our feedback indicates that the peer network that the women develop and maintain provide a lasting value well beyond the completion of their time with us. The difference is connection.  The connections formed and the professional relationships forged have been transformative in providing the supportive network outside of one’s company for help and advice with the challenges of a current or future role.   

At some point, perhaps a leadership program designed specifically for women will be a relic of business past.  For now, it seems that there is still a need and that the results can be exceptional.  

To learn more about Bentley University’s Center for Executive Education’s 7-Day Executive Development Experience for Women, please go here