Programs and Workshops

Jen’s programs are underpinned by the ‘bifocal approach’ – linking individual development to organizational change.


Women’s Leadership Development

Dr Jennifer de Vries and Maggie Leavitt (of Maggie Cox and Associates) have worked together for more than a decade designing and delivering leadership programs for women.  Maggie and Jen have now delivered 40 programs (ranging from 3 to 10 days in length), for universities, the public and private sector, and have more recently engaged Tim Muirhead (CSD Network) as a partner in this work.

Women-only programs using a bifocal approach design can deliver on two fronts - the short-term goal of assisting women to thrive in the current workplace, and the long-term goal of building an organisation where all can thrive. In addition to a focus on the women, the program design ensures that men can support and engage with the women and the program, an essential aspect of building a more gender equitable workplace.

This program builds on the substantial experience of both consultants in developing and facilitating the Leadership Development for Women (LDW) program at the University of Western Australia for more than a decade. During this period, the LDW program was acknowledged as the best in-house women’s program in Australian Higher Education and achieved national and international recognition as a leader in the field. LDW won the inaugural national Diversity@Work award for best 'Women in Leadership' program (large organisation), and in Western Australia, the List Inspire award. 

This is a leadership program tailored to women’s experience in the workplace and draws on the latest leadership and gender scholarship.  Heavily influenced by the work of Professor Amanda Sinclair, of the Melbourne Business School (author of Leadership for the Disillusioned and Mindful Leadership) they  encourage participants to look beyond traditional notions of leadership and embark on a collegially supported leadership journey. Central to this journey are questions such as 'Who am I as a leader?' and 'What is the purpose of leadership?'

Participants explore issues of identity, power and context/culture as Jen and Maggie lead them through an intensive and rewarding process of self discovery. The critical exploration of their culture and context ensures that participants' leadership is organisationally grounded and allows for the development of their advocacy and change agency skills. The experiential and interactive nature of the program allows the women to redefine themselves as leaders and the women report  an increased capacity to make their contribution.

Each program is tailored to the organisation’s needs, however important components of the program include a 3 day core program, follow-up workshops, peer learning groups and often one-on-one mentoring with senior men and women. Mentors can be key contributors to both the individual development and organisational learning of the bifocal approach.

Clients have included: UWA, WA Police, the University of Tasmania, University of Newcastle, the CSIRO Land and Water Division, WA Department of Education and Training, Charles Sturt University, the WA Department of Environment and Conservation, the WA Department of Housing, and the University of Melbourne.

Workshops for Women

Workshops for women only groups can be an important strand in an organisation's gender strategy. Many organisations contribute substantial funds to sending their (mostly senior) women to various forums, breakfasts and one day events. Often large scale, and never tailored to your organisation's women, a better solution may be in-house workshops where women can build relationships with each other, learn together and support each other's development. 

Examples of workshops include:

  • Sponsorship in women's careers: Top tips
  • Sponsorship in higher education
  • Lean In? You must be joking!
  • Mentoring: What's in it for me?
  • What's the story about gender equality? A strategic conversation for senior women
  • The role of sponsorship in women's leadership development
  • Lean In circles - building your own peer mentoring groups



“Dr de Vries led a very successful program Leadership Development for Women (LDW) ...I observed the transformative effects of the program on the participants and subsequently the institution.  The success of the program was largely due to the intellect, enthusiasm and insight of Dr de Vries”

Alan Robson, 
 former Vice-Chancellor, UWA

Contact Jen
+61 (0) 412 806 377

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