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Women's Leadership & Mentoring Program
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Registration for the 2016-2017 Women’s Leadership Mentoring Program (WLMP) is closed.  Thank you to all our mentor and mentee applicants!

WLMP is still going strong, check out our 2016-2017 cohorts at this year's CWIP Annual Luncheon! 

CWIP’s Women’s Leadership Mentoring Program (WLMP) is a one-year program that pairs emerging, mid-career and established women leaders in the nonprofit sector. WLMP has two mentor-mentee cohorts, one for Emerging Leaders and the other for Mid-Career Leaders.  WLMP strives to engage a diverse group of participants including race/ethnicity, field of work, and types of job responsibilities.

WLMP: Emerging Leaders

WLMP will support ten mentorship pairs in the Emerging Leaders cohort during 2016-2017. The program targets women at the early stage of their careers and aims to foster individual professional development, build peer networks, and encourage the ongoing leadership development of women in the nonprofit sector. 

Each mentor-mentee pair is required to attend a joint orientation and goal-setting session, two educational programs, opening and closing events, and informal networking activities throughout the full program year (October 2016 to August 2017).  Participants must also commit to meeting or otherwise communicating with their mentor or mentee on a monthly basis.  


WLMP: Mid-Career Leaders

A new component of WLMP is being piloted in 2016 to meet the needs of women at the mid-career stage of professional development.  In the pilot year (2016-2017), five mentorship pairs of mid-career and established  women leaders will be supported.
This new component of WLMP targets women who have reached a mid-career point in their professional development and seek guidance on issues related to continued growth in job skills; negotiating the management hierarchy; and gaining greater influence both on the job and in the community.

Each mentor-mentee pair is required to attend an opening and closing dinner; two professional development sessions; two peer-to-peer sessions and informal networking activities during the program year (October 2016-August 2017).  Participants must also commit to either meeting or communicating with their mentor or mentee on a monthly basis.

WLMP Mid-Career Leaders is made possible by: the Reva & David Logan Foundation, VNA Foundation, and Leo S. Guthman Fund.


Debra Walker Johnson
WLMP Co-Chair

Sheila Murphy
WLMP Co-Chair


WLMP Benefits

Mentees have a chance to: get career guidance from experienced nonprofit leaders; build the skills necessary to take the next step in their careers; expand their professional networks by interfacing with women who are guiding and transforming Chicago's nonprofit and philanthropy sectors; and gain access to exclusive workshops and networking events.

Mentors have a chance to: "pay it forward" by sharing their expertise with emerging and mid-career leaders; enrich their own perspectives on the nonprofit sector and learn new skills and approaches by exchanging ideas with their mentees; and, develop new contacts and friendships by getting to know the diverse group of WLMP mentors and mentees. 



WLMP strives to attract a highly diverse group of participants, including race/ethnicity, field of work, and types of employment responsibilities.

WLMP: Emerging Leaders
Mentees: Young women in the early stages of their nonprofit careers (five years or less of work experience) who have specific needs in areas such as goal-setting and career planning, skill-building, networking, or navigating an employment or educational transition. Both CWIP members and non-members who meet these criteria are welcome to apply.

CWIP members who have at least 8-10 years of experience and/or senior management experience in the nonprofit sector. 

WLMP: Mid-Career Leaders

Mentees:  Broadly, mentees are women who are at or reaching the mid-career stage of their professional development with 7-10+ years of experience.  Issues that could be addressed with a mentor include developing high-level communications skills; finance for the non-finance executive; board development and management; managing “up, down and sideways”; and maintaining work/life balance.  Mentees must be CWIP members.

CWIP members with senior management experience and a desire to nurture the next generation of executive-level women in the nonprofit sector.



Both mentees and mentors are expected to commit to 2-4 hours per month to WLMP for one program year (October-August). This commitment includes:

  • Setting jointly agreed-upon mentorship goals with your partner
  • Participation in key evening events including an Opening dinner; an Orientation and Goal-Setting session (for the emerging leaders cohort), and Closing session/dinner;
  • Monthly meetings with your mentoring partner
  • Participation in two professional development sessions
  • Participation in at least one social/networking activity
  • Participation in the evaluation process

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