Columbia Women's Leadership Network in Brazil

The Columbia Women’s Leadership Network in Brazil program selects annual groups of up to 20 mid-senior level professionals with the goal of creating a growing network of women who will contribute to the transformation of public service in Brazil. Taking advantage of the talents and academic excellence of Columbia University, each cohort will consist of women working in different areas of public management from different parts of Brazil. 

These professionals will participate in workshops in Brazil and at the Columbia University campus in New York City. The program consists of 10 modules that include strategic training and networking activities, roundtables, a seminar and mentorship sessions. All the activities will be closely supervised/facilitated/supported by Columbia Global Centers | Rio de Janeiro, including academic coordination and local management, in close collaboration with faculty from Columbia University.

Click here to download the brochure

Click here to download the syllabus

Click here to see the call for applications

Click here to see the selected participants


The program, with its aim to promote women empowerment and leadership, carves out an important niche in the landscape of executive programs. Although the strengthening of new female leadership roles is not the focus of most executive programs in Brazil, the theme is internationally recognized and has gained special attention today as companies and organizations that aim to promote gender equity tackle persistent gender inequality and gender bias in the workplace.

We understand the challenges to professional growth in women's careers and the role that networks play as a decisive factor in replicating good practices and encouraging behaviors focused on changing the institutional culture of agencies and public agencies. Executive education programs for women with a leadership profile are often designed with the sole purpose of bringing together leading women to share experiences, design new professional strategies and deepen reflection on innovation and positive disruptions in the institutions where they operate.

The program is designed for public managers from different areas of government and private sector professionals.



  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • At least 5 years in public service;
  • Currently occupying managerial position;
  • Language proficiency (English).


The shifts taking place in our communities, industries, governments, and within the entire human social structure require finding your communication style, which should represent your authentic voice, but the secret great leaders know about effective communication is that marrying your authentic self with the needs of your audience is what truly motivates and inspire others. Strong communication—the ability to listen actively, speak persuasively, and establish authority—is an integral skill for successful leaders. Throughout history, women’s words have moved audiences to action.

By the same token, public institutions must be willing and able to push back against excessive pressure from wealthy private actors and to reflect on corruption as a harmful practice that merits opposition. Participants will learn to treat corruption, mainly, as an institutional problem with no single, easy solution. Solutions, however, do exist.

Women bring a new and vital range of skills to the task of leading in an increasingly diverse, global society, from active listening to consensus building to self-reflection to reasoned risk taking. The evidence is strong and growing: when the leadership table includes people with these traits, the world does better.

Leadership can make the difference between success or failure of organization, whether it is in the public, private or social sector. Leadership is also comprised of skills that can be learned and perfected. In the activities that tackle innovation and leadership, participants will discuss effective leadership techniques, how women can become leaders who improve organizational performance, and cutting-edge techniques for leaders in an era of global competition.

Persistence, the determination to achieve one’s ultimate goal despite difficulties, is considered one of the most vital traits of entrepreneurs. Staying focused in the face of adversity is what separates those who succeed from those who fail. At the Athena Center, we believe that this trait is so imperative for leadership that we dedicate the entire next section to “Resilience,” of which persistence is a necessary component. Successful leaders report that taking small, incremental steps and persisting in pursuing one’s larger goal is particularly effective and rewarding, and generates momentum for the entire team.

The most important impact of women’s entrepreneurial spirit may be the example it provides to a world that continues to diversify with exponential speed. When leaders adopt these time-tested strategies of entrepreneurs—being imaginative, flexible, and persistent in pursuing opportunity—they are best able to manage change and succeed.

The solution to advancing women’s leadership lies not only in encouraging and developing women as leaders but also in being able to reshape institutions and society so that they encourage women’s success and include women at the decision-making Table. In the roundtables and mentorship sessions organized during the program, we will gather women leaders from Brazil and other parts of the world to discuss how double binds and other challenges particular to women when facing leadership positions and how they can unleash and strengthen their potential.


Program schedule

*please click on the image to see the program


Building Capacity, setting the stage, harnessing power

March 22 (Thursday), 2018 - 10:00 AM - 03:00 PM | Rio de Janeiro

  • Welcome Session and lecture
  • Introduction of the Program, Syllabus
  • Group Dynamic
  • Networking lunch with participants, sponsors and members of the board of advisors



Identifying and optimizing the use of key resources: Strengths Assessment and workshop

April 12 (Thursday), 2018 - 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM | Rio de Janeiro

The participants will take an online survey that uncovers their strengths. It enables the participants to discover their top five Strengths Insights and build their daily activities and long-term strategies around them. During the workshop, the instructor will convene the group by administering the different instruments, analyzing the resultant reports, tracking the organization’s progress, building an improvement plan customizable to the organization’s needs and aspirations, and transforming the plan into actions and strategies.



Sharing diverse strengths and perspectives: Workshop “Negotiation and Conflict Resolution” and Roundtable with Brazilian Women Leaders

May 24 (Thursday), 2018 - 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM | Rio de Janeiro

Theme: Developing Women Leaders in the Public Sector

In the first part of this module, we will discuss we will discuss how the ability to negotiate and resolve conflict skillfully is fundamental to success in the public service. This session will take the format of a workshop, followed by a roundtable with Brazilian Women Leaders which will bring closer the group of professionals that will be part of the program and introduce the theme of mentorship and advocacy for women leadership in the public and private sector. 



Exploring your potential, understanding your goals: online session

Workshop “Public Ethics” and Project Orientation

June 14 (Thursday), 2018 – 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM

In the first half of this module, we will discuss strategies available for promoting integrity in public administration.

In the second half of this module, participants will identify a problem related to one of the four core themes that will be developed during the year and submit a one-page project outline to be discussed online or in person with academic coordinators. This is the project proposal to be developed in NY, during the lectures and visits. It will lead to a final project that will be presented in November, during the Seminar on Innovation in the Public Sector.



Striving for success, owning expertise, and projecting power: International Module

July 16-20 (Monday-Friday), 2018 - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM | New York City (Columbia Campus)

Classroom sessions, group visits and activities, along the lines of traditional executive education programs. The themes selected for the international module are in synergy with the training that will be offered in Brazil. The module will consist of academic sessions in the morning, with afternoon visits, with a total of 6-8 hours daily for 4 days.

Time table for the international module in NYC


Exploring your communication style – The DISC Assessment

August 30 (Thursday), 2018 - 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM | Rio de Janeiro

The DISC Assessment gives valuable information on how we prefer to communicate with others. In this final workshop, the instructor will convene the group by administering the different instruments, analyzing the resultant reports, tracking the organization’s progress, building an improvement plan customizable to the organization’s needs and aspirations, and transforming the plan into actions and strategies.



Finding your Voice: Communication in Public Affairs (leveraging technology and social media)

November 8 (Thursday), 2018 - 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM | São Paulo

This day-long workshop will be a hands-on experience in which we explore communication best practices in government agencies for routine and crisis communications, as well as ways to handle intra-governmental communication with difficult or oppositional leadership. The workshop will consist of brief lectures, group exercises, public speaking practice, seminar-style discussions, and by the end of the day, the production of a communications campaign that stretches participants to apply their skills as creative and ethical professionals in innovative new ways.



3rd Annual Seminar on Innovation in Public Management: Best practices in Public Administration

November 9 (Friday), 2018 - 10:00 AM - 05:00 PM | São Paulo

The Seminar aims to bring examples of innovative practices, generate a debate about the perspectives and challenges of public management, and to bring together professionals and leaders from different sectors who want to revitalize the current scenario of public administration. During the Seminar, the participants of the Women Leadership Network will present their projects and findings from the experience in NY.



Mentoring and Advocating for the Women in Power: A Global Forum

December 7 (Friday), 2018 - 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM | Brasília

In this roundtable, we will invite the women directors of the Columbia Global Centers in different parts of the world to share their experiences as women leaders and their global perspective on the theme of women transforming public management across the world.

Participants are expected to help organize the Forum, and will be actively engaged in the preparation and during the event.



Beginning a new cycle: Commencement Ceremony (2018 cohort), welcome to the new cohort

March 19 (Tuesday), 2019 | Rio de Janeiro

Workshop with Kathryn Kolbert

Participants are expected to conceive and develop a group project throughout the year. The project is developed in phases:

1. Participant identifies a problem they face in their workplace connected with one of the four core topics of the program;

2. Before the international module, participants will divide in groups and organize ideas for a project. Groups submit a 1-page outline with the basic ideas of the project, and present it on an online discussion session with academic coordinator (June).

3. On the last day of the NY module, the groups will share the findings of the visits and lectures in an internal seminar. 

4. In September, each group will submit the first draft of the final project for feedback.

5. Each group will present their final project to a committee of faculty and academic peers in the Third Annual Seminar on Innovation in the Public Sector in São Paulo in November.


The academic committee includes the Director of the Columbia Global Centers | Rio de Janeiro, Thomas Trebat, the Academic Coordinator of the program, Daniella Diniz and selected members of the Columbia faculty teaching the workshops in Brazil.

Course evaluation will be based on the following formula:

1. Class Participation – 50%

Attendance and individual participation, as well as engagement in the group project will be evaluated.

2. Final Group Project – 50%


The evaluation of the project will be based on:

a. Merit and relevance of the project;

b. Innovative approach to the subject;

c. How the ideas are presented; the structure of the text and the consistency of the proposed solution.


Grading system

Grading system of the program

Attendance is not an option--it is a requirement.

Punctuality, alertness, and participation in class discussions and exercises will be taken into consideration.

Absences will need to be communicated with at least 1 week in advance. For each absence after 2, the final grade may be lowered by one letter. Any student who misses 3 or more modules is subject to failure, unless justified as excused absences.

Following the approval of the academic committee, participants who successfully complete the requirements will receive a formal certificate of completion issued by the Columbia Global Centers | Rio de Janeiro. The minimum requirement to receive the certificate of completion of the course is an average of B, or 80%.


  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • At least 5 years in public service;
  • Currently occupying managerial position;
  • Language proficiency (English).

To apply for the program you must follow the steps below:

1. Complete the online application form (in English):

2. Pay the application fee of R$ 150,00

3. Send the documents below in a single email to until February 16, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. (BRT):

All selected participants will receive a fellowship that covers 100% of tuition (10,000 USD) on all instructional costs (workshops, lectures, seminars, site visits). Each participant is financially responsible for all costs of traveling, accommodations and meals involved in the local and international modules.

Participants who fail to obtain the certificate of completion, according to the policies described above, will reimburse the full tuition costs covered in the program.


ALEXIS WICHOWSKI is an adjunct associate professor in Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, teaching in the Technology, Media, and Communications (TMaC) specialization. She is also Press Secretary and Senior Advisor at New York City’s newly created Department of Veterans’ Services, providing support to the City’s half million veterans and their families. She has previously served New York City as a Disaster Relief Field Responder, before and during 9/11. Previous government work includes Program Officer for the US Department of State’s Office of eDiplomacy, Diplomatic Innovation Division under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and, most recently, Director of Media Analysis & Strategy at the Permanent Mission of the United States to the United Nations.

DR. BRIAN K. PERKINS is the Director of the Urban Education Leaders Program at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Department of Organization and Leadership. He is the former Chair and Professor of Education Law and Policy at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut. As Chair, Dr. Perkins successfully led his department through the licensure of the University’s first doctoral program and full NCATE accreditation.

DANIELLA DINIZ oversees all aspects of programming and communication for Columbia Global Centers | Rio de Janeiro, acting as campus liaison and responsible for the evaluation and strategic planning of current and future programs at the Center. She has been at the Center since its launch in 2013 and helped develop the framework for collaborative projects between Brazilian institutions and Columbia University counterparts. Her background includes over ten years of experience in academic institutions across a wide range of disciplines in the humanities, including sociology, history and political theory. Daniella has taught courses on Brazilian culture, literature and contemporary Brazilian cinema at Columbia.

DÉBORA THOMÉ is a visting Scholar at Institute of Latin American Studies (Columbia University). PhD Candidate at the Universidade Federal Fluminense (Rio de Janeiro - Brazil) she studies how institutions shape women’s representation in politics. Beyond her research, she has fought for women’s rights in Brazil, speaking in various conferences about feminism and organizing cultural activities and pro-abortion advocacy groups. Debora also trained more than 300 women from all over Brazil planning to run for office in a program of the Brazilian Government Agency for Women’s Policy. In her master, she studied Conditional Cash Transfers and policies to reduce inequality. Author of a children's book about Brazilian women leaders called "50 brasileiras incríveis para conhecer antes de crescer". She has just finished a book about women and power in Brazil (coming on April).

ESTER R. FUCHS is Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science and is the Director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She served as Special Advisor to the Mayor for Governance and Strategic Planning under New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from 2001 to 2005. Previously, Professor Fuchs served as chair of the Urban Studies Program at Barnard College and Columbia College and founding director of the Columbia University Center for Urban Research and Policy.

JOVIAN ZAYNE is a certified leadership and professional development coach with nearly a decade of experience in change management, global diversity leadership development, and organizational transition planning and design. She leads the OnPurpose Movement®, a firm committed to helping organizations and individuals to "live and work on purpose”, through targeted coaching, public speaking and facilitation experiences. Jovian is a recognized Thought Leader in the professional development and diversity-training field, and has a client list across sectors that includes: Google, Columbia University, Harvard University, The Clinton Foundation, The Aspen Institute, Janelle Monáe's Wondaland Records, and Teach For America. She has digital publication features including The Huffington Post, Levo League, Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise, and The Root.

KATHRYN KOLBERT is the Constance Hess Williams '66 Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies, Professor of Leadership Studies, and Professor of Professional Practice, Department of Political Science at Barnard College. As the founder director of the Athena Center, a premiere, interdisciplinary center dedicated to the advancement of women’s leadership, Kolbert provides Barnard students and adult women, a wide range of education, research, professional development, and public education programs both in New York and across the globe. A public-interest attorney, journalist, and visionary in the not-for-profit world, Kathryn Kolbert brings to Barnard an extraordinary depth of experience in collaborative leadership, educational programming, and civil-rights advocacy. She has been recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” and by The American Lawyer as one of 45 public- interest lawyers “whose vision and commitment are changing lives." In 1992, Kolbert argued the landmark case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey before the U.S. Supreme Court and has been credited with saving Roe v. Wade with what Jeffrey Toobin has called "one of the most audacious litigation strategies in Supreme Court history.”

LOREE SUTTON is Brigadier General (Ret.), MD is the founding Commissioner for New York City’s Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS).  Established in 2016, DVS is the nation’s first municipal-level agency devoted solely to veterans and their families. A career Army psychiatrist, Sutton seeks to demonstrate the essential role of community as the front line of hope and healing, guiding veterans and their families in their journey from ‘doing better’ to actually ‘getting better’ – at home, work, school and life.  Resilient communities build safety nets for catching falls and springboards for launching goals. This ‘whole health’ approach, incorporating peer support, arts/culture, holistic services and clinical treatment, lays the foundation for success by restoring trust and overcoming stigma.

PAUL LAGUNES is an Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. His research focuses on corruption, especially as it affects subnational governments in the Americas. Two basic questions motivate Lagunes’s research: First, how does corruption actually work in practice? Second, what tools are available for limiting corruption’s harmful effects? By relying on randomized control trials, Lagunes offers insights on corruption’s regressive impact on society, the factors maintaining a corrupt status quo, and the conditions under which anti-corruption monitoring is most effective. Focus areas: Corruption, urban governance, Latin American politics and policy.

THOMAS TREBAT is the Director of the Columbia Global Centers | Rio de Janeiro. He joined Columbia after a lengthy career on Wall Street dedicated to economic research on Latin America. He formerly served as Executive Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University and of the Institute’s Center for Brazilian Studies.  Prior to joining ILAS in February 2005, Tom was Managing Director and Head of the Latin America team in the Economic and Market Analysis department of Citigroup. He joined Citicorp Securities in 1996 as the head of Emerging Market Research.

WILLIAM B. EIMICKE is the founding director of the Picker Center for Executive Education of Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. The Picker Center runs the School's Executive MPA program, university partnerships, and non degree professional training programs. Eimicke teaches courses in public management, applied policy analysis, and management innovation. He also teaches at Peking University, the National University of Singapore and the Universidad Externado de Colombia.

ZACHARY METZ is a partner and the Director of Peace Building practice at Consensus, a consulting firm specializing in negotiation, conflict resolution and peacebuilding. The firm works with private and public sector clients, NGOs, international organizations and governments. He has worked in the field of conflict resolution and peacebuilding for fifteen years.  His areas of expertise include training and large-group facilitation, conflict assessment, conflict-sensitive development, restorative justice and program design and evaluation.
Metz has provided expertise to the United Nations Development Programme, UN Department of Economic & Social Affairs, International Organization for Migration, Search for Common Ground, and a wide range of international political and civil society organizations. He teaches the graduate course Applied International Peace Building at SIPA. He has also taught at Universidad Externado De Colombia, Sabanci University, the United States Military Academy at West Point and Lebanese American University.


January 31, 2018: Applications open

February 16, 2018: Application deadline
Application fee: R$150,00 (non-refundable)

March 01, 2018: Admission Decision Released (admitted applicants)

March 05, 2018: Deadline to confirm participation / withdraw

March 22, 2018: Module #1 - Building Capacity, setting the stage, harnessing power

April 12, 2018: Module #2 - Identifying and optimizing the use of key resources

May 24, 2018: Module #3 - Sharing diverse strengths and perspectives

June 14, 2018: Module #4 - Exploring your potential, understanding your goals: online session

July 16 – July 20, 2018: Module #5 - International Module (Columbia Campus): Striving for success, owning expertise, and projecting power

August 30, 2018: Module #6 - Exploring your communication style

November 08, 2018: Module #7 - Finding Your Voice
November 09, 2018: Module #8 - 3rd Annual Seminar on Innovation in Public Management

December 07, 2018: Module #9 - Mentoring and Advocating for the Women in Power

March 19, 2019: Module #10 - Beginning a new cycle: Commencement Ceremony

For questions and more information:

Laura Nóra | Program Assistant (