Women for the Board

LocationMarylebone, Central London
FacultyWestminster Business School

For women preparing to join or who have recently joined a board.

Our highly successful Women for the Board programme provides the confidence, skills and knowledge participants need to fulfil executive or non-executive board roles.

"Since starting on Women for the Board I have been appointed to a new senior interim role and as an independent member of the Metropolitan Housing Trust's Safeguarding Committee."
Peggy West, Director, P & J West Consultancy Services Ltd

Led by consultant and academic Dr Ruth Sacks, with contributions from a formidable range of CEOs, facilitators and academics with international board-level experience across all sectors, the programme offers:

  • six days of intensive on-site learning and development over six months
  • one-to-one coaching and mentoring by our facilitators, all of whom have extensive board experience
  • optional workshops in media training and Strengths for the Board as well as a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Profiling Package

"I was really impressed by the quality of the programme overall, the presenters and the other participants. Ruth Sacks is brilliant, and I made several very useful contacts."
Maya Maros, Finance Director and Company Secretary, SAUL Trustee Company


Almost 40% of Women for the Board alumni have secured a board role or a significant promotion, or have taken their career to the next level within six months of completing the programme.

By the end of the Women for the Board programme you will be able to:

  • project a strong, confident and resilient self-image
  • communicate with assurance and emotional intelligence to command attention at board level
  • chair and manage senior meetings with confidence and flair
  • interpret, discuss and assess financial information accurately and speedily
  • use networking skills to advance and add value to your career
  • develop your CV and self-presentation techniques to support your ambitions

During the six-month programme you will also benefit from on-going support from Westminster Business School's network of prominent business leaders and academics as well as many opportunities to grow your network of high-level business contacts.

Course outline

The core, six-day programme covers:

  • board presence – roles, governance and trust
  • personal presence, attitudes, and language and resilience
  • understanding finances at board level
  • integrity, ethics and legal responsibilities
  • board meetings – risk, power, politics and clarity of message
  • getting the role – negotiating the recruitment process

Who is this programme for?

The Women for the Board programme has been designed for women who are two steps (or less) away from a board-level role.

Courses open for booking
Start date Duration Day and time Price Apply
18 January 2017 6 days over 6 months 9.30am–5pm £4,500 Apply

Discounts and staged payment are available to women who are self-funding, working for the NHS, or working for a not-for-profit. Please contact Ruth Sacks at r.sacks@westminster.ac.uk to discuss.

Course dates

  • 18 January 2017 
  • 23 February 2017
  • 23 March 2017 
  • 27 April 2017
  • 25 May 2017
  • 22 June 2017

Course content

The order of topics may vary depending on facilitator availability.

Board presence – roles, governance and trust

  • The roles and responsibilities of boards and board members
  • Board governance: issues and practice
  • The foundations of trust at board level

Personal presence, attitudes and resilience

  • Successful networking at board level
  • Authenticity and maintaining resilience
  • Self-presentation at board level – creating presence: dress and language
  • Public profile and social media – includes professional photo shoot

Understanding finances at board level, individual effectiveness

  • Understanding financial statements, financial terms and their meanings
  • Working with financial information for board-level decisions
  • Being confident in challenging or supporting pronouncements on organisational performance, share price and shareholder value
  • Fundraising at board level

Integrity, ethics and legal responsibilities

  • The legal responsibilities and liabilities of boards and board members
  • Managing legal and operational responsibilities and perspectives
  • Corporate social responsibility and boardroom ethics: adding value

Board meetings – working with risk and power, and ensuring message clarity

  • Balancing and challenging creativity and the commercial imperative
  • Developing an entrepreneurial ethos at board level
  • Understanding and managing risk in decision-making
  • Working with the transformative power of everyday language
  • Managing relationships, politics and conflict at board level
  • Negotiating effectively and managing meetings

Getting the role

  • Using head hunters: a perspective on board-level recruitment
  • Preparing for interview: tips and techniques
  • Q&A with board members: their careers, experiences and advice
  • Participants' future board careers

Optional workshops and profiling

These supplementary workshops are available specifically to Women for the Board participants. However, we also run these as open courses.

Media Training

  • Radio and television interview techniques
  • Getting key ideas across
  • Dealing with challenging journalists
  • Managing media in a crisis

Media Training will be delivered by Jane Wilton and will take place at our Harrow site, accessible via the Metropolitan Line.

Strengths for the Board

  • Identify how you have used your strengths to step up in the past
  • Align your strengths with your goal for board appointment
  • Understand the importance of working with your strengths to accelerate professional and business growth
  • Communicate the essence of what you bring to a board with integrity
  • Recognise how to strengthen the fabric of your board

Attending this workshop will help you integrate the input from other elements of the programme in ways that will work uniquely for you. Even if you have already completed a strengths assessment, our experience shows that there is great value in revisiting your strengths and designing afresh how you use them to make the most of the opportunities you now have.

An optional follow-up strengths workshop is also available.

Strengths for the Board will be delivered by Moira Siddons and Gill Avery.

Understanding and Developing Yourself Through MBTI

This Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) questionnaire and coaching package is designed to help you raise self-awareness and make better choices about how you work and influence others.

Find out more and book

Course leader

Women for the Board is led by Dr Ruth Sacks, who devised and initiated the programme.

Ruth is Business Development Director and Principal Lecturer at Westminster Business School, and an experienced facilitator of management and leadership development programmes whose academic career has run in parallel with high-level consultancy.

"Engaging, inspiring with an exceptional coaching style."
Sue Green Evergreen, HR

"Delivers with an infectious energy that motivates people."
John Pointon, Turner & Townsend

"Expert at assessing key issues and getting to the heart of a development area, challenge or concern, offering insights with wisdom and clarity."
Claire Hyde, Head of Marketing, Kew Gardens

Connect with Ruth on LinkedIn or on Twitter


Contributors to the programme are drawn from Westminster Business School’s network of leaders with board-level experience working across all organisational sectors and our roster of academics.

The Women for the Board faculty varies from programme to programme and always includes:

  • chief executives, chairs and board members from the public, private and voluntary sectors
  • company directors
  • executive development coaches and mentors
  • experts in law, board finance and social media
  • executive search specialists
  • change makers
  • entrepreneurs

Interviews with contributors

Read an interview with Lani Bannach on our blog

Watch a video interview with Lani Bannach

Read an interview with Sue Charteris on our blog

Alumni and media

Read what our alumni and the media say about our Women for the Board programme.

Contact us

For administrative queries

Reem Barreto
Short Course Administrator
T: +44 (0)20 3506 6490
E: shortcourses@westminster.ac.uk

For course content

Ruth Sacks

University of Westminster

35 Marylebone Road

London NW1 5LS

E: r.sacks@westminster.ac.uk

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