Women Support Groups:
Yes, the Center for WomenÂ’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 womenÂ’s leadership at a premier school of business.
From its inception and throughout its 13-year history, the Center has remained committed to providing opportunities for its graduate women that fall into the following key categories:
Â• Access to Near-Peer Role Models
Â• Skill Building
Â• Expanding Professional Networks
Â• Providing a Gender Lens to Organization Culture and Individual Career Management
Â• Building a Gender Balanced campus
Â• Research and Thought Leadership
Â• Collaborations with WomenÂ’s Organizations
CWEL accomplishes these goals through innovative campus programming and initiatives, including:
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, 21 MBA students have been paired with mentors. Additionally, 58 undergraduate and graduate students were paired for peer mentoring.
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, CWELÂ’s conference fund has provided tuition for 82 Babson students to attend business and leadership events.
Entrepreneurs-in-Residence: Gail Simmons and Sara Gragnolati
CWEL names leading entrepreneurs in their fields as Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) to coach and guide MBA students. This yearÂ’s EIRs are Gail Simmons: Food & Wine Special Projects Director and judge on the hit TV show Â“Top ChefÂ”; and Sara Gragnolati, a 12-year veteran in the natural products industry and founder of Cocomama, gluten-free food products. As powerful role models, these women help BabsonÂ’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.
Â“Women In Â…Â” Networking Events
CWEL sponsors Â“Women in Finance,Â” Â“Women in Marketing,Â” and Â“Women in EntrepreneurshipÂ” 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-efficacyÂ—the belief that a studentÂ’s ability to be successful is enhanced by watching and learning from role modelsÂ—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 20 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: Â“Onboarding AlliesÂ” 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 Â“stay in touchÂ” for ongoing support and feedback.
CWEL is a learning laboratory that offers a rich roster of events that build knowledge, develop leadership skills, and inspire entrepreneurial thought and action.
Making Life Work
An expert panel sharing their work/life profiles and perspectives on how to integrate life's various commitments
Women Redefining Fashion
Women Redefining Fashion is an exploration of how women entrepreneurs are innovating within the fashion industry, featuring up-and-coming designers challenging fashion's status quo, as well as runway models of all ages, sizes, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The event is hosted by fashion industry insider Sophia Chang, producer for the global hit TV show "Project Runway All Stars."
Whitney Johnson: Disrupt Yourself
A talk given by Whitney Johnson, a co-founder of Rose Park Advisors, Clayton Christensen's investment firm, and the author of Dare-Dream-Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream.
An Evening with Alison Bechdel
A discussion with the American cartoonist and critically acclaimed author of the graphic memoir Fun Home
Gender Enlightened Film and Speakers Series
Brings together students faculty and staff to screen gender-focused documentaries such as Miss Representation and The Bro Code and listen to nationally known gender experts.
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 womenÂ’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, womenÂ’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 WomenÂ’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).
For additional information about BabsonÂ’s Center for WomenÂ’s Entrepreneurial Leadership: