Women bring critical perspectives to hospital leadership roles, yet they are significantly underrepresented, especially in CEO positions.

America’s Essential Hospitals and its members are committed to reducing this gender gap in hospital leadership. For one, essential hospitals have long worked to promote equity — both in delivery of care and in cultivating leaders who are representative of the populations and workforce they serve. Moreover, essential hospitals value leaders with the diverse backgrounds and experiences needed to tackle the complex challenges they face — they operate on lower margins than the rest of the hospital industry, despite the critical role they play in providing comprehensive care to our nation’s most vulnerable patients.

EWLA - Session

Participants practice courageous conversations during skills training.

In light of this, the association worked with expert leadership coaches to develop the Essential Women’s Leadership Academy. The goal of the 12-month program is to strengthen the elements found to be critical for successful female leaders:

  • Mentorship: Program participants (mentees) and their mentors (other essential hospital leaders) work collaboratively and via coaching to develop the participants’ career path.
  • Assessment and coaching: The Academy assesses participants’ leadership strengths and weaknesses and provides career path consultations with a professional coach.
  • Leadership training and fellowship: Each participant undergoes 20 hours of leadership training and skill-building designed to accelerate performance.
  • Women’s support groups and networking: The program seeks to build a nationwide network of women essential hospital leaders who share the same mission and challenges.

The Essential Women’s Leadership Academy hosted its first in-person meeting July 27-29 at the America’s Essential Hospitals headquarters in Washington, DC. Twelve participants from essential hospitals across the country participated in a day of intensive leadership skills training, and then were joined by their respective mentors to undergo mentorship training and develop mentorship action plans.

Mentors and participants share key takeaways from the session.

Mentors and participants share key takeaways from the session.

The leadership skills training, conducted by Fahy Consulting, is grounded in recognizing common — and often unconscious — attitudes and practices that do not align with promoting women leaders. The training develops concrete skills that enhance confidence and leadership competencies, and develop a leadership identity.

The mentor skills training, conducted by Perrone-Ambrose Associates, provides mentors and participants with the foundation and roadmap needed to establish an effective and valuable mentoring relationship.

Following the in-person session, mentors and participants will implement their mentorship action plan over the course of five months. Academy members will also have the opportunity to deepen their relationships at upcoming association events.

The Essential Women’s Leadership Academy will open applications for the class of 2018 next year. More information is available online.

The inaugural class of Essential Women's Leadership Academy participants.

The inaugural class of Essential Women’s Leadership Academy participants.