The Women’s Leadership Initiative offers women who are senior managers working in the civil and wider public service a unique opportunity to develop their leadership potential and improve crucial networking skills.

Now in its 15th year, this highly regarded programme is designed to help you enhance your personal visibility and the impact you can make on organisational life. It is a uniquely challenging and very different learning opportunity which builds on a range of contacts and personal insights that are developed systematically throughout the programme.

PROGRAMME 2017/18.

Learning Format Dates
Module 1:
Learning Set
26,27,28 April 2017 (3 days)
Agreed with participants.
Module 2:
Learning Set
Personal Development
21, 22 June 2017 (2 days)
Agreed with participants.
Agreed with participants.
Module 3:
Learning Set
Personal Development
21, 22 September 2017 (2 days)
Agreed with participants.
Agreed with participants.
Theme Day: 17 November 2017 (1 day)
Module 4: 24, 25, 26 January 2018 (3 days)

“I would strongly recommend this programme to anyone who wants an opportunity to take time out to reflect on their career and direction. Particularly the programme challenged me to think about my personal effectiveness and to take responsibility for developing my own leadership style and behaviours. The format is very much about learning from and supporting each other through exploring common problems and issues faced on a day to day basis – it offers a flexible, non-theory and refreshingly different approach to personal development than I had experienced before. It was not always a comfortable ride though I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would!”


The 2017-18 programme fee is £3,300 plus VAT. The fee covers the costs of
residential accommodation and includes meals.
Sponsoring organisations are expected to meet travel expenses incurred
within Northern Ireland.


Women who are already senior managers working in the civil or wider public service
in Northern Ireland; those who want to develop further their careers and feel they
need to develop their leadership skills.

Typically applicants should hold a second or third level post reporting directly, that is, to the chief executive or to a director. They should:

  • Welcome the challenge of change and leading within a complex organisation.
  • Be prepared to take responsibility and ownership for their own development.
  • Be inclined to ‘think outside the box’ and be prepared to participate actively in and contribute to the programme.
  • Want to make a difference within their organisations and be keen to network and influence people.

The programme is for women who have:

  • been regularly involved in developing the strategic direction of their organization.
  • led or are about to lead significant organisation change in the context of ambiguity and uncertainty.
  • contributed to new ways of working.
  • a proven track record of taking responsibility for their own development.

This is a women-only programme. It aims to address the under representation of women in top-level posts. Around 20 participants will take part. Most of the women involved will be drawn from the wide range of public authorities represented in the Chief Executives’ Forum.


We ask you to complete a form that is designed to encourage you to think about your career, your development needs and the benefits you expect from the programme. With only an application form and, possibly, a short telephone interview to go on, a great deal will depend on what you say on the form: about the responsibilities you have; what you have achieved to date; and what you aspire to.

Participants selected will be those deemed to be in positions where they are most likely to benefit from participation in a leadership programme of this type. A mix of candidates will be chosen so that a wide range of organisations and experiences is reflected on the programme. Application should be made through your chief executive using the form available by request from mail@ceforum.org.

The closing date for applications is Friday 17 February 2017.
Application forms may be downloaded at this link
Or download the brochure at this link

Appropriately endorsed application forms may be returned via email to mail@ceforum.org marked for the attention of Roisín McDonough, Chair Women, Chief Executives’ Group or, alternatively, sent to the following address:

Chief Executives’ Forum,
Clare House,
303 Airport Road West,
Belfast BT3 9ED
Northern Ireland
T. +44(0) 28 9081 6440