Our Commitment to Women’s Leadership

Smith College Executive Education for Women has advanced the careers of women leaders since 1977, long before other leadership programs were available to women.

The Smith Women’s Leadership Ecosystem℠ model of leadership development fosters sustainable, systematic change at all levels of the organization that supports the development, advancement, and retention of high-potential women.

About Smith

Building gender parity at the top of companies around the world is not just the right thing to do; it’s essential to solving the social, business, and economic issues of our times. Forty years of experience in the women’s leadership development space has taught us that, although important, providing women with the skills to advance in their careers alone is not enough.

Smith’s ecosystem approach to program design addresses the empowerment of women, the engagement of corporate leaders, and the obstacles to advancement found within workplace cultures or policies. Together with our partner organizations, Smith creates more inclusive workplaces, one company at a time.

The Pioneer In Women’s Leadership Development

In 1975, Jill Ker Conway became the first official woman president of Smith College. Drawing from both her personal experience and Smith’s long history in educating women for leadership, Conway assembled an advisory group of elite corporate leaders and founded what is known today as Smith College Executive Education. Her vision? To extend Smith’s unparalleled all-women leadership education to women in business from around the world.

Today, corporate learning officers from around the world partner with Smith to retain and advance their female talent.


  • Smith College’s 140 year history of excellence in developing women leaders
  • Smith College Executive Education’s 40-year reputation as the leader in women-only executive education
  • Collaborative curriculum design processes
  • Worldwide team of faculty thought leaders
  • Nimble and responsive curricula driven by business imperatives
  • International program delivery – North America, South America, Asia, and beyond
  • Strategic partnerships to expand and enhance programming
  • Forward-thinking programs designed to engage men as champions for women’s leadership

With a 40-year history as a women’s leadership center, Smith College Executive Education continues to grow our portfolio of international open-enrollment and custom programs for women at all levels of the organization. Our ever-growing list of Fortune 500 companies look to us for our expertise and track record in designing and delivering programs that align with their talent development and diversity and inclusion goals.

Educating Women in the Way they Learn

Often, women are the minority in the executive education classroom. When this happens, women are limited from the full benefit of the learning experience.

Studies from global research organizations, like Catalyst and other experts on women’s leadership, show three critical factors in maximizing leadership learning for women:

  • Women learn better and have more confidence when they are not the minority in the classroom
  • Women’s natural conversational style is optimized in an all-women setting, where they are less likely to be interrupted and conversation is equally accessible to them
  • Women who learn alongside other women are more comfortable discussing critical issues including work-life integration, subtle bias, and the unique challenges to career advancement that women experience in the workplace

Smith College Executive Education has more than 40 years of success in developing exceptional women leaders. Through development of skills, confidence, and professional networks we empower women executives to expand their leadership capacity throughout their lives.

Our intensive executive learning experience takes place in an all-female setting. The program curriculum is based on research, knowledge, and an understanding of today’s global business needs and priorities and led by thought leaders from around the globe. Our signature women-only classroom evolves organically as a safe space that is 100% focused on women and the unique challenges they face as leaders.

After attending a Smith program, women take back to work a stronger sense of self, as a woman and as a leader, and the value they bring to the table.

A Portfolio of Programs Built Exclusively for Women

Where other executive education institutions offer a single program dedicated to women’s leadership, Smith College Executive Education for Women offers a comprehensive portfolio of international non-degree leadership development programs for high-impact women business leaders.

Each executive education program is designed for a cohort of true peers – women at the same career-level, and sometimes from within the same industry – to create an environment where women feel safe to discuss real world business issues, as well as the unique challenges they face as women business leaders.

360-Degree Leadership

Through powerful lectures, interactive discussions, and small group exercises, our hand-selected faculty engage participants in real-world business scenarios that build their self-confidence and decision-making skills. Our curriculum integrates research and a thorough understanding of today’s global business needs and priorities, with the issues facing women business leaders. Sessions on self-reflection, wellness, and the pursuit of an integrated and balanced life enhance leadership capacity.

Stronger Together

We are proud to partner with some of the world’s finest organizations in our pursuit of excellence in women’s leadership development.







Academic Institutions

Fundação Dom Cabral (FDC) – Ranked Latin America’s best business school 12 years in a row, Fundação Dom Cabral is a Brazilian business school with a world-class reputation for excellence. FDC builds the analytical decision-making and leadership skills of executives, entrepreneurs, and public managers.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) – A dynamic international research university in relentless pursuit of excellence, HKUST is leading the advance of science, technology, business, and humanities, and educating the new generation of front-runners for the world. Since its official opening in October 1991, HKUST has established itself as an intellectual powerhouse, energizing the community’s transformation into a knowledge-based society, and securing a place on the academic world map in record-breaking time.

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) – SWE is a not-for-profit educational and service organization that empowers women to succeed and advance in the field of engineering, and to be recognized for their life-changing contributions as engineers and leaders.

Research Organizations

Catalyst – Founded in 1962, Catalyst is the leading research organization expanding opportunities for women and business. Their global lens and regional reach allows them to provide members, the media, and the public with information and counsel on creating workplaces that enable women and their employers to succeed.

Industry Associations

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) – The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR professional society, representing 285,000 members in more than 165 countries. For nearly seven decades, the Society has been the leading provider of resources serving the needs of HR professionals and advancing the practice of human resource management.

UNICON – The International Consortium for Executive Education – Founded in 1972 as an association of executive education program directors, UNICON has evolved into a global organization committed to advance the field of university-sponsored executive education.

To attend a Smith College Executive Education program, participants must be sponsored by their organization.

Our application process is highly personalized. To request participation in a program, please complete and submit a Program Interest Form and a member of our team will contact you directly for registration.

Not sure which program is right for you or the women at your organization? Contact us to set up a Discovery Call. During this 30-minute call we will learn more about your organization and its women’s leadership goals, ultimately helping you to select the program that best meets your needs.

Please Note: Smith College Executive Education offers non-degree programs only. Participants receive Certificates of Attendance upon completion of the program.

Program Requirements

Each Smith College Executive Education program has its own participant requirements to ensure the finest cohort of women learners possible.

The participant mix of each program is critical to the success of the program. For each program we strive to create a cohort that includes:

  • True-peers, women at similar career levels
  • Experienced women executives who reflect a broad range of industries, functions, countries, and experiences

Although there are no formal educational prerequisites, fluency in written and spoken English is required for each program.


How are Smith College Executive Education programs different?

Smith has a strong history and record of developing women leaders. Our executive leadership programs are carefully crafted to respond to the needs of today’s global organizations. The curriculum is based on groundbreaking research, the latest case studies, and the most current information. Each program curriculum is designed to meet specific learning and development goals for women at various career stages and in varied fields. Our program for emerging managers in technology and engineering differs dramatically from our program for women running global companies. Similarly, our program for senior women in engineering differs from our program for women on career paths in biopharma.

Are there distance-learning opportunities available for executives?

You can learn online through Smith ExecEd Online, our suite of online leadership development courses. Each interactive course is hosted entirely online, available on your schedule, and open to participants regardless of age, gender, and level of career or education.

We host interactive events for our Smith College Executive Education community, including: teleforums, webinars, and alumnae reunions. Additionally, we offer coaching services and the opportunity to network with other women like yourself via our social media sites, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and our Blog.

Do I earn college credit for attending a Smith College Executive Education program?

Smith College Executive Education offers only non-degree programs. Certificates of Attendance are awarded to participants upon completion of the program.

Does Smith Executive Education offer custom programs?

Yes. Smith develops customized learning experiences that create competitive advantage for leading global corporations. Learn more about Smith Custom Programs.

What is the frequency of executive education programs?

Each program in our portfolio of programs is usually offered once a year.

Will there be pre-coursework or preparation for me to complete?

Yes. Advance work is an essential part of the learning experience. Faculty members assign advance readings and assessments prior to the program.

Admissions Procedure

How do I apply to a program?

To attend a Smith College Executive Education program, participants must be sponsored by their organization. Participants are usually selected through an internal process within their organizations. If you are an individual working in an organization and want to attend a Smith program, we recommend that you talk to your manager and HR representatives for sponsorship. Or contact us and we’ll be happy to guide you through the process.

What are Smith’s admissions requirements?

Admission is based on your knowledge, skills, and experience level. We work closely with corporations and their corporate learning and development officers, talent management teams, and women’s leadership initiatives to identify which program is right for you. Participants are usually selected through an internal process within their organizations.

What is company sponsorship?

Many companies send teams of women to programs in order to build their leadership pipeline and take advantage of significant cost savings. Once a company submits the names and contact information of the women selected to attend a Smith program, we’re in touch with them directly with detailed information about the program and on how to access our convenient online registration procedure.

How do I obtain sponsorship from my company?

If you’re an individual woman interested in attending a Smith College Executive Education program but don’t have corporate sponsorship, please contact us. We often work with women on a one-on-one basis to help them gain sponsorship to a program; we may even know the right people to talk to at your company. And if we don’t, we’re happy to speak to whomever you identify as the appropriate people to explore and develop support for your leadership journey.

Program Details Learning Model

How are the courses taught?

Classes are taught by esteemed faculty members from top business schools and consultancies. Instructors use case studies, simulations, and their own research to guide learning and discovery.

What is the usual class size?

Most classes have between 30 and 60 participants. Seating is assigned in small groups; participants are mixed around daily to encourage networking.

How much time can I expect to spend on coursework each day?

On average, you will spend about six hours each day in the classroom – attending one to two different faculty sessions – although schedules may vary. The rule of thumb is that each class or case study requires two hours of advance preparation time.

Where do the programs take place?

Unless noted, programs are held on the Smith College campus in Northampton, Massachusetts.


What is included in the program fee?

Unless noted, the program fee includes tuition, single-occupancy hotel accommodations, most meals, and all program materials. Incidentals, such as dry cleaning, entertainment, phone bills and the like, are not included in the program fee. Travel is not included.

When is payment due?

Payment is due within 30 days of the invoice date and before the start date of the program.

What types of payment are accepted?

Payment can be made by company check, electronic bank wire transfer, or credit card (we accept American Express, MasterCard, or Visa). Participants who attend will be asked to provide detailed billing contact and payment information at the time of registration.

What is your cancellation policy?

Cancellations must be submitted in writing at least 30 days before the start date of the program to receive a full refund. Cancellations received 14 to 29 days before the program are subject to a cancellation fee of one-half of the program fee. Requests received less than 14 days of the program start date are subject to full payment of the program fee. Companies are encouraged to find substitute participants within their organizations.

Is financial assistance available?

Financial assistance is not available for our executive education programs. Sponsorship for program attendance comes primarily from corporations; therefore, tuition is generally covered by a participant’s company. However, some participants have received grants or other sources of funding.



If you need local lodging please see the list below. All the hotels listed are near the Smith College campus.

Hotel Northampton, Northampton, 413-584-3100
Autumn Inn, Northampton, 413-584-7660
Quality Inn and Suites, Northampton, 413-586-1500
Fairfield Inn and Suites, Northampton, 413-587-9800

For more lodging options please visit the Smith College travel page.

How are living accommodations set up?

When programs are held at Smith, executive education participants stay in rooms on-campus or at a local hotel surrounded by numerous restaurants, galleries, boutiques, and specialty shops. Individual bedrooms include a private bath and standard amenities as well as high-speed Internet access. Wireless Internet is also available at Smith College Executive Education facilities.

Should I bring my laptop?

Individual laptop use is discouraged in the classroom due to the highly interactive nature of the class. Computers and related technology will be provided for specific classroom assignments. Hotel rooms and executive education facilities have both wired and wireless Internet access if you choose to bring your own laptop. Please remember to bring a voltage adapter if you are from outside the U.S.

Can I connect to the Internet?

Hotel rooms have high-speed Internet access. In addition, wireless Internet access is available throughout Smith College Executive Education facilities. Desktop computers are also available at specific locations.

What can I expect on the first day?

On the opening day of your program, registration takes place at the hotel or another facility on campus. Most programs will have an opening session and dinner function that same evening. If your travel plans necessitate a late arrival, please be sure to notify us so that alternative registration arrangements can be made for you.

What can I expect on the last day?

Most programs adjourn early in the afternoon of the final day to allow participants sufficient time for travel. Transportation to Bradley International Airport is available by reservation from a number of local car services, however Smith does not make these accommodations.

Are meals provided?

During your time on campus, most meals are provided in Smith’s dining facilities; we try our best to accommodate special dietary needs so please notify us of any allergies or other needs.

Are accommodations available for extended visits or for family members?

Accommodations for early arrivals, late departures, or family members are at your own expense.

Travel Information

Traveling to Northampton, Massachusetts

By Air

The closest airport is Bradley International (BDL). It is served by most major airlines and is located about 35 miles south of Northampton, near Hartford, Connecticut. Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) is a two-hour drive to campus. We recommend flying into Bradley if you can, to save yourself time driving to Northampton and the inconvenience of city traffic congestion.

Limousines, buses, and rental cars are available at the airport. Transportation to Smith from the Boston or Hartford airports is available from a number of services.

  • Affordable Airport Car Service: +1-413-739-7293 or +1-413-537-9506
  • Exclusive Car Service: +1-413-534-3505 or +1-877-695-4665
  • Michael’s Limousine Services: +1-413-583-6392 or +1-800-533-8470
  • Reliable Limo Service: +1-413-315-9919
  • Valley Transporter: +1-413-253-1350 or +1-800-872-8752

This listing of area taxi and transportation services does not imply an endorsement of any of these businesses by Smith College.

By Car

  • From the South: Northampton is off Route I-91 in Massachusetts. Take Exit 18 and follow Route 5 North into the center of town. The Hotel Northampton is on the left just past the first traffic light (approximately 1 mile).
  • From the North: From I-91 South, take Exit 20, and merge onto Route 5 (King Street) South. The Hotel Northampton is on the right (approximately 1.5 miles).
  • From the East or West via the Massachusetts Turnpike: Northampton is on Route I-91 North (Mass Pike exit 4). Once on I-91, follow the directions above for visitors from the south.
  • Car Rental – If you are interested in renting a car locally:
    • Enterprise Rent-A-Car, +1-413-586-5177 or +1-800-831-2847

By Bus

Peter Pan, Greyhound, and Vermont Transit serve the area. Most routes go to the main bus terminal in Springfield where you can catch another bus to Northampton. Buses run almost hourly between Springfield and Northampton. The Hotel Northampton and Smith College are a 10-minute walk or a short taxi ride from the bus station. Call +1-413-586-1030 for bus schedules.

By Train

Amtrak – +1-800-872-7245 – runs trains to Northampton (NHT) and Springfield (SPG). The Hotel Northampton and Smith College are an 8-10-minute walk from the train station in Northampton. From Springfield you can take a bus or get van service to Northampton from Valley Transporter. Valley Transporter requires advance reservations; call +1-413-253-1350 or, from the airports or outside the 413 area code, +1-800- 872-8752.


What is the typical attire for a program?

Business casual attire is requested for classes and meals in our dining facilities during your program. Because dress codes and terminology vary widely among companies and countries, the rule of thumb is to let comfort and professionalism guide you when you’re dressing business casual. Keep in mind, classroom temperatures may vary so we recommend dressing in layers.


What services are available for participants with disabilities?

Assistance is available for executive education participants with disabilities. If you have any special needs, please let us know in advance.



In accordance with Smith College’s policy, we are committed to maintaining a diverse community in an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation of differences.

Smith College does not discriminate in its educational and employment policies on the bases of race, color, creed, religion, national/ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or with regard to the bases outlined in the Veterans Readjustment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Drugs and Alcohol

Smith College is committed to an environment free of drug and alcohol abuse. The college prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, and use of controlled substances. Controlled substances include, but are not limited to, narcotics, barbiturates, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, anabolic steroids, and misused prescription or legal drugs or alcohol.

Health Insurance

We recommend that you bring your health insurance card in case you need medical attention during your stay. If you are traveling from abroad, please check with your organization’s health insurance carrier prior to your arrival to ensure that you have adequate coverage in the United States. Smith College is not responsible for medical fees incurred during a participant’s stay in Northampton.


While the Smith College campus and the city of Northampton are generally considered safe, individuals are urged to take all possible steps to safeguard themselves and their property.


Smoking is not permitted anywhere inside any Smith College building at any time. Also, smoking is not permitted within a 20-foot radius of any building on campus.

Still have questions?

Contact us for more information:
Email: leadership@smith.edu
Telephone: +1-413-585-2642
Fax: +1-413-585-4395

Women’s Leadership Development Tailored to Your Needs

Each Smith College Executive Education program is designed to address the leadership development needs of women at specific career levels, and sometimes from within specific industries. For that reason, it is important for each participant to attend the program that most closely aligns with her level of experience and industry.

Our Programs

Open Enrollment:

Design a Custom Program

Still not sure which program is right for you or the women at your organization? Contact us to set up a Discovery Call. During this 30-minute call we will learn more about your organization and its women’s leadership goals, and help you select the program that best meets your needs.