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A group photo of the Women in Leadership 2022-2023 Cohort.

Establishing Syracuse University as a pacesetter in cultivating women leaders. Women in Leadership (WiL) supports professional development for women on campus through education, awareness and mentorship.

Women in Leadership: Our Mission

The Women in Leadership Initiative at Syracuse University seeks to catalyze the personal and collective advancement of women on campus. We host a robust professional development program, with opportunities customized to the needs of faculty and staff. Participants benefit from the real experiences and candid advice offered by panels and solo guest speakers.

The Women in Leadership Initiative follows three core strategies:

  1. increase awareness of personalized professional development opportunities;
  2. inspire and better prepare women for their “next”; and
  3. amplify the voices of women on campus.

The Benefits of Women in Leadership

Research consistently demonstrates the positive impact of women in leadership positions.

  • Organizations that embrace gender diversity tend to be more profitable. Those ranking in the top quartile for gender diversity within their executive teams have a 25% higher likelihood of achieving above-average profitability, according to McKinsey.
  • Gender-inclusive organizations report a 54% increase in creativity, innovation, and openness, according to a study from the International Labour Organization.
  • Research from the Harvard Business Review suggests that companies with a higher proportion of women in top leadership positions are more socially responsible and provide better customer experiences.

These statistics underscore the vital role that women in leadership play in fostering organizational success and driving positive business outcomes. As we increasingly recognize and embrace the value of diversity, the case for promoting women to leadership roles becomes not only a matter of equity but also a strategic imperative for sustainable growth and innovation.

Our Pacesetting Professional Development Program 

The Women in Leadership Initiative launched in 2018 when Syracuse University Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Candace Campbell Jackson set out to create unique experiences that encourage, promote, and support the advancement of women faculty and staff at Syracuse University.

Since that time, more than a thousand people have participated in our Women in Leadership programs. Participants have learned professional development lessons from panelists, individual experts, and coaches on a diverse range of topics including managing conflict, leading interdisciplinary teams, polishing an individual brand, and strengthening communication and negotiation skills. See our Women in Leadership Resources, Insights and Events page to explore the types of professional development programming that WiL regularly brings to campus.

Women in Leadership Steering Committee

WiL is currently led by founder Candace Campbell Jackson, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff to Chancellor Kent Syverud; Marcelle Haddix, Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives; and Dara Royer, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer—along with a Steering Committee. This group collaborates on strategic planning that refines the vision and mission of WiL to align with the hopes and expectations of women on campus and to remain highly relevant in a post-pandemic campus environment.