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Women Who Lead

Women Who Lead, a Minority-Focused Professional Development Accelerator

Women who lead

A Minority Focused Professional Development Accelerator

Women Who Lead is a 12-week professional development accelerator that helps minority women improve their leadership skills, access traditionally male-dominated industries, and gain certifications to obtain higher paying wages or access to contract opportunities.

Bringing Opportunity to a Wider Audience!

According to a recent report by Harvard Business School graduate Sam Pressler, if there were no racial gaps in income or employment in Hampton Roads in 2019, the regions GDP would have been $17 billion higher in 2019. His work cites references to the fact that a core driver in advancing equitable growth is eliminating regional gaps in access to capital and skills that directly hinder such growth. As such, Norfolk State University has partnered with Black BRAND in an effort to reduce brain drain in Hampton Roads by supporting the career and business development needs of those most impacted by discrimination and institutional bias- primarily low and moderate-income minority women.

Inspiring Upward Mobility for Working Minority Women

Women Who Lead was specifically designed to support women seeking career advancement including those considered asset-limited, and income-constrained, while gainfully employed.

Low to Moderate Income: While we encourage women of all socioeconomic statuses to apply, Women Who Lead prioritizes women with a household income (HHI) of less than $60,000.

We're Seeking: 

  • Retail and customer service workers
  • Middle managers seeking upward mobility
  • Solopreneurs or other entrepreneurs seeking business growth
  • Women interested in male dominated industries

Minority Women: This program is for any racial/ethnic minority who identifies as a woman.

12-Week Model

  • Opening and Closing Retreats
  • 10 Workshops/Experiential Training
  • Professional Mentorship
  • Program Days
  • Networking Opportunities
  • WWL Community

How to Apply

Register Here!

If you’re interested in becoming a Women Who Lead participant, we ask that you attend a 90-minute info session.  There you will be able to learn more about the program and gain access to the application.  Please find an info session date that works best for you!

Info Session Dates

Sessions: All sessions are on Thursdays, 6:00p-7:30p
Location: Brown Memorial Hall room 105. 

  • June 6
  • June 13
  • June 20
  • June 27
  • July 11


  • January 2024 – Application Period
  • February 2024 – Participant + Mentor Selection
  • March 2024 – First Cohort Begins (March 2-3, 2024)
  • May 2024 – First Cohort Ends (May 10-11, 2024)


Interested in Becoming a Mentor?

Does the idea of helping another woman advance her career goals excite you? Get paid to help our program participants develop their career assets, facilitate professional introductions, and help upskill soft and technical skills for professional advancement.

Mentor Orientation
February 15, 2024 | 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

In consideration of your application, please plan to attend a three hour orientation to include a trauma-informed training.

Mentor Orientation

February 15, 2024 | 2:00-5:00 PM

  • Opening + Closing Retreats
    Immerse yourself in a safe space to gain actionable career guidance and strategy while learning the ins and outs of the program.
  • 10 Workshops
    Experiential Training
    Engage in panel discussions, fireside chats and workshops designed to upskill your talent and develop your career assets.
  • Professional Mentorship
    Meet with a vetted mentor ready to support and guide you through developing the necessary access, skills and tools to take strategic risks, pursue opportunities and advance professionally.
  • Program Days
    Take advantage of "in-office" days scheduled to provide technical assistance with developing your career assets.
  • Networking Opportunities
    Develop critical and long-lasting relationships by getting into the right room with the Who's Who of Hampton Roads.
  • WWL Community
    Get connected to certifications, other development programs, and a network of esteemed Hampton Roads women lending time, resources and insight.

Participants FAQ's | Mentor FAQ's

  • What is considered Low-Moderate Income?
    Working minority women are eligible to apply. We define women as anyone who identifies as a woman.
  • What is the time commitment for being a program participant?
    As a program participant, you can expect to dedicate an estimated 3-5 hours per week to various activities, including leadership development, communication workshops, networking sessions, negotiation skill-building, and exploring topics such as financial wellness. This commitment will span the entire 12-week duration of the program.
  • How often are you able to meet with a mentor?
    The frequency of mentorship meetings can varies depending upon individual arrangements. Typically, mentorship meetings occur on a regular basis to provide consistent guidance and support throughout the program duration. However, the specific meeting schedule will be determined by the program’s guidelines and the availability of both the mentee and mentor.
  • How many participants are accepted into the program?
    The program accepts up to 30 participants, offering a limited number of spots for individuals to join.
  • Are there any associated costs as a participant?
    The costs associated with this program are being subsidized by generous corporate grants. Participants are required to pay a $100 materials fee due upon acceptance and prior to the first program retreat. This $100 will be refunded upon successful completion of the program.

Partners and Sponsors

Women Who Lead. Logos for Norfolk State University, Black Brand, Truist