Women in Leadership: Influence and Impact

Confidently Lead with Purpose and Impact

Develop a holistic view of your skills, strengths and personality traits and establish yourself as an effective and influential member of your organization.

Take the next step in your professional development by completing the SMU Women in Leadership Certificate program designed by five industry leaders who understand what it takes to boldly lead with influence and impact.

What You'll Learn

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Participants will be taught how to grow their influence and impact in the following ways:
  • Confidently showing up, sharing your point of view and recognizing triggers that steer you off course
  • Decoding your organization’s strategic goals and aligning your actions and those you manage to support these objectives
  • Preparing the right message for the right person at the right time to inspire action
  • Building a healthy and happy team that delivers results
  • Cultivating relationships that help you and your team feel connected, empowered and encouraged to develop professionally

Program Expectations 

Through this six-week program, you’ll learn essential leadership practices to help you influence, inspire and lead your team to achieve a common goal, and create a vision for how to develop yourself and others in service of career objectives.

At the beginning of class, you’ll also be paired with another student (an Impact Partner) and meet with them once a week to discuss the curriculum, and what each of you are learning and applying from each week’s module.

Upon your successful completion of the program, you should expect to be able to:

  • Understand and maximize your leadership style
  • Reframe unhelpful thoughts through emotional agility and growth-mindset strategies to enhance leadership performance
  • Improve your communication through action-inspiring messages for just-in-time delivery
  • Identify the level of psychological safety and trust within your organization
  • Use mentoring meeting tools to plan and engage in impactful mentor relationships

Let's Get Started

Complete the form below to get started.

Questions? Call 469-619-9940

Program Details

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Program Duration

6 weeks

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Start Date

May 8

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Program Format

Live online classes


7 - 8 p.m. CST

+10 hours/week self-paced study

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Continuing Education Units (CEUs)


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Professional Development Units (PDUs)


Who should enroll?

The Women in Leadership program offers a unique learning experience for both aspiring and established leaders seeking to advance their leadership skills.

The program is ideal for new leaders, emerging leaders, and individual contributors who desire to apply proven communication, mentorship, and growth-mindset strategies, as well as tenured leaders who currently manage teams or coach those seeking leadership opportunities.

SMU alumni are eligible for a 10% tuition reduction.

Paula Rusk

"What a dynamic group of women, it was a wonderful class, I enjoyed every step of the way. If you are looking to be inspired or grow in your leadership role, I recommend this program."

– Paula Rusk, Women in Leadership: Influence and Impact graduate 2023


Why SMU?

  • SMU Continuing and Professional Education has offered noncredit learning programs since 1953.
  • SMU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
  • The collaborative learning environment of the Women in Leadership program allows participants to grow their professional network, share ideas and build a sense of community with other participants.
  • Gain new perspectives from a live panel discussion with senior women leaders in a variety of roles and industries who understand how to become successful leaders of influence and impact.
  • Students who successfully complete the Women in Leadership program will be issued a digital Women in Leadership credential issued through Credly.

Instructor Expertise

Through SMU CAPE, you can feel assured you will receive high quality education, with a curriculum that’s delivered by industry practitioners who have leadership experience in fields such as global learning design; human capital strategies; human resource management; strategic planning; consulting, marketing and coaching; and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Meet Your Instructors

Instructor Mignon Early

Mignon Early

Module 5: Influence Through Coaching, Mentorship and Sponsorship

Mignon Early is the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Fresenius Medical Care. She has more than 25 years of experience in the nephrology industry and has held numerous leadership roles, including regional vice president, group vice president, general manager, and vice president of clinical quality. She has served as a mentor and leader to others, providing coaching and guidance to help each become the best they can be while pursuing their goals. Mignon holds a master's degree in nursing from Drexel University and has been a registered nurse for more than 30 years.

In her spare time, Mignon has spent countless hours serving others, volunteering for organizations that serve at-risk and minority communities. Outside of work and volunteering, Mignon enjoys cooking, experiencing new foods and wine, and spending time with her family. She is a proud new grandmother.

Instructor Wendy Hultmark

Wendy Hultmark

Module 4: Cultivating Psychological Safety, Trust, and Team Engagement

Wendy Hultmark, CPC, ACC, is a certified executive coach who is passionate about helping women succeed and find fulfillment in leadership and in life.

Wendy’s career spans over two decades, as an HR leader and then as a coach, guiding and supporting all levels of leaders-from first-time managers to executives running $500 million dollar businesses, and everything in between.

She attained her CPC (certified professional coach) certificate from the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC), an ICF-accredited program. Additionally, she holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Development and Communication from Suffolk University.

Wendy lives north of Boston with her husband Eric and Jack Russell Terrier, Posy. She is an avid reader and enjoys hiking the beautiful North Shore area of Massachusetts.

Instructor Kara Schillaci

Kara Schillaci

Module 1: Leadership Starts From Within

Kara Schillaci is a global talent development and transformation executive who is passionate about creating future-ready leaders and organizations.

She is currently the Vice Preside of Talent Development and Transformation at Rexel, USA. Kara has had many roles inside large organizations leading learning, talent management, leadership development, and functional capability building.
She has also supported large and small organizations as a consultant.

She regularly coaches and mentors, facilitates workshops, speaks at conferences, and is a resource for teams. Her special talents are in employee engagement, culture change and community building.

Kara is a proud SMU alumna who resides in Dallas and volunteers in her local community for Jubilee Park and Community Center and The Melville Family Foundation.

Instructor Mina Shams

Mina Shams

Module 2: Developing Strategic Insights—From Staff to C-Suite

Mina Shams is an HR leader with over 30 years of diverse experience in the healthcare, biotechnology, and defense industries, which included over 20 years of progressively greater management responsibilities. Those included developing and leading initiatives that align leadership, culture, talent, and total rewards.

In 2018 Mina set out on her own to start OH Consulting with the aim of providing comprehensive expert advice in the areas of human capital strategies and functional operations in support of business strategies for VP and C-Level clients.

Mina earned her bachelor’s in business management and a master’s certificate in HR management from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She lives in Poway, California, with her partner Keith. Mina and Keith have three daughters together: Laela, Sarah, and Arianna (two of whom also work in the HR field).
Instructor Laura Wooten

Laura Wooten

Module 3: Communicating for Influence

Laura Wooten has spent her career working to empower women both professionally and personally as a strategic problem solver, consultant, marketer, and coach. Over 15 years, Laura built her own consultancy helping small and mid-sized businesses, nonprofits, and corporate clients turn their expertise into revenue streams. Laura is a skilled facilitator, guiding organizations, teams, and individuals through strategic planning, process improvement, and effective communication. Laura has taught professional education at Southern Methodist University, facilitated team building sessions, and presented online webinars on writing and marketing for a variety of organizations. Laura is an active community member, serving on the Allen Library Board, the local PTA, and other nonprofit organizations. She has a Master’s Degree from Northwestern State University of Louisiana.


Program Content Summary

Module 1: Leadership Starts from Within

  • Maximizing your personality style
  • Developing emotional agility
  • Leveraging growth mindset strategies

Module 2: Developing Strategic Insights – From Staff to the C-Suite

  • Understanding the big picture
  • Developing solution-driven strategies
  • Effectively using key performance indicators (KPIs)

Module 3: Communicating for Influence

  • Strategic thinking: know what you are communicating
  • Know your audience: communicating with leaders and peers
  • Know your audience: communicating with your team

Module 4: Cultivating Psychological Safety, Trust, and Team Engagement

  • The business case for psychological safety and trust
  • Making the connection between psychological safety, trust, and engagement
  • Strategies to practice psychological safety and trust

Module 5: Influence through Coaching, Mentorship and Sponsorship

  • Trust is where it all begins
  • Coaching, mentoring and sponsorship: relationships for career advancement
  • It’s time to activate: creating a mentoring plan

Module 6: Industry Expert Panel

Senior leaders from some of the country’s top Fortune 500 companies will share leadership tips and strategies in a live panel discussion with participants during the final week of the program.

Ready to Get Started?

Get in touch with a student success representative for more information!

Women in Leadership Advisory Committee Members

Members of the SMU Women in Leadership Advisory Committee share their voices, experience and expertise for the Women in Leadership: Influence and Impact Certificate program. You'll have the opportunity to interact with selected members of the advisory committee during the Industry Expert Panel at the end of the certificate program.
Women in Leadership Advisory Member Julia Anas

Julia Anas

Chief People Officer


Jennifer Bartkowski

Jennifer K. Bartkowski

Chief Executive Officer

Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas

Women in Leadership Advisory Committee Member Nancy Bernardino

Nancy Bernardino

Executive Director, Single Gender and Transformation Schools

Dallas Independent School District

Advisory Member Colleen Bloch

Colleen Bloch

Vice President, North America Finance

Toyota Motor North America

Women in Leadership Advisory Committee Member Radhi Chagarlamudi

Radhi Chagarlamudi

Senior Vice President of Engineering


Advisory Member Claudia Coleman

Claudia Coleman

Vice President of Design Operations

Thomson Reuters’ Design

Instructor Carla Davis-Madgett

Carla Davis-Madgett

Vice President of Environment, Health & Safety

The Boeing Company

Julia Landrum

Julia Landrum

VP Financial Planning & Analysis

Southwest Airlines

Lisette Mendez

Lisette Méndez

Vice President, Latin America Controller


Elizabeth Myers

Elizabeth F. Myers, MSW

Chief Executive Officer

Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas

Linda O'Brien

Linda O'Brien

Vice President and Chief Engineer for LM Aeronautics

Lockheed Martin 

Instructor Krunali Patel

Krunali Patel

Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Information Technology (IT) Solutions

Texas Instruments

Erin Pryor, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, First Horizon Bank

Erin Pryor

Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer

First Horizon Bank

Adrienne C. Trimble

Adrienne C. Trimble

Vice President & Chief Diversity and Culture Officer

Sysco Corporation

Rebecca Visconti

Rebecca Visconti

Vice President, Marketing Intelligence 


Stacy Winsett

Stacy Winsett

Chief People Officer

RATP Group