Examples of Inclusiveness in Business School – Special series on (Dis)ability

CSR and Intellectual Disability event at MDI, India

Over the past week we have focused in on the topic of Disability. Very few schools report in the Sharing Information on Progress about their programmes and opportunities relating to persons with disabilities. This isn’t to say that Signatories are not actively engaged in this topic. Below are some examples of from schools around the world.

Collaboration with Business

The University of St. Gallen’s Centre for Disability and Integration (Swizerland) is an interdisciplinary research centre that contributes to the inclusion of people with disabilities through innovative research, teaching and practice projects. One project included working on a 3 year cooperation with a Swiss social insurance company looking at factors that influence the job retention of employees with psychological disorders, a strongly growing group in Switzerland including a range of recommendations for employers and managers.

Specialised programmes

Starting from January 2018, students at KEDGE Business School (France) have the opportunity to take the Kapable Management Certificate, a course dedicated to disability management. Despite being a high-stake topic for businesses, disability management is currently not widely taught. This certificate combines theoretical and practical knowledge with a 30h remote training course (in English), the development of a benchmarking study on disability in business, and the production of a report to present facts and findings. The certificate is recognised by various institutions and partner corporations (Volkswagen Group France, BPI France, Cdiscount, Société Générale).

Cornell University’s Institute on Employment and Disability (USA) advance knowledge, policies and practices to enhance equal opportunities for all people with disabilities. In 2017, 320 students were enrolled in the Disability Studies programme that looks to raise awareness and interest about disability issues among Cornell students. There is also a new curriculum on Disability and Intersectionality launched in 2017 that focuses on understanding of how identities such as disability, race, ethnicity, gender among others multiply, overlap and connect. Cornell has also been working on a Global Comparative Disability Legislative Database in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation as well as launching disabilitystatistics.org, an interactive webpage tool where users can access a wide rage of disability statistics.

Engaging with Stakeholders

Auckland University of Technology Business School (New Zealand) as been working in partnership with Global Women, a not for profit champion for diversity in business and leadership that includes 50 New Zealand CEOs and Board Chairs from across the public and private sector. Their work on the Case for Change is based on research conducted by faculty at the university and sets out the social and economic benefits to be gained from ensuring a diverse and inclusive workshop including disability policies.

Awareness Raising

The Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut (Lebanon) has established its first Accessible Education Officer for disability services and learning supports, OSB faculty and staff proposed guidelines for accessibility and accommodation at the School needed due to disability, mental health conditions, or other health impairments. In order to ensure the success of this initiative, faculty, staff and graduate assistants will undergo a specific training on accessibility and accommodation.

Last year the Management Development Institute (India) organized a Sign Language Workshop for students in order to sensitize the budding managers to the ways in which they can communicate with differently able people when they start working in their respective organisations. The school has also worked with the Resource Center for the Visually Challenged event where students were involved in a number of experiential learning tasts in which participants were asked to work blind folded. This helped them understand the challenges faced in day to day life by the visually challenged person.

At Bentley University (USA), the University’s policy that no qualified student be excluded from participating in any university program or activity, be denied the benefits of any university program or activity, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination with regard to any university program or activity. The school organises a range of awareness raising activities including an annual Disability Awarness Day and a (dis)Ability Awareness Workshops, which are offered jointly with the Office for Disability Services. This workshop stimulates discussion of issues relating to both “visible” and “invisible” disabilities facing members of the Bentley community.

Providing support

The University of Technology Sydney (Australia) conducted a workshop and walking tour challenging participants to look for features within the local area that contribute to inclusive access while also searching for areas of improvements. This was in part undertaken because although inclusions for people with mobility, vision and hearing disabilities are well understood by the general public, others like those with, for example, autistic spectrum disorders are less so. Tactility and shaded quieter spaces are considerations that plan an important role.

The school also conducted research looking at promoting entrepreneurship opportunities and resources for people with a disability. Researchers there found that people with a disability have a rate of entrepreneurship 50 per cent higher than the Australian average yet we know so little about their story including the barriers they face, how to overcome these barriers as well as the social and economic contributions they make. The project partners with a range of organizations focused on disability including the National Disability Services.

Grenoble Ecole de Management (France) offers French Sign Language since 2009 and supports Sensihandicap, a group of student ambassadors who organize events related to issues faced by those with disabilities. They also provide a programme for employees who incurr disabilities during their working lives with professional reoriginetation and guidance to help them adjust as well as a Management & Disabilities Certificate to train managers to integrate employees with disabilities into the workplace.

IESE offers a scholarship in collaboration with Foundation ONCE Scholarship, a foundation that focuses on providing employment opportunities for professionals with disabilities. The scholarship aims to promote the integration and ongoing development of the disabled within the business community.

Resources on Inclusiveness and the SDGs – Special series on (Dis)ability

To raise awareness about the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd, this week PRiMEtime is focused on the topic of inclusiveness. This post series of resources available on disability and sustainable development that explore the issues more broadly as well as specifically for the business sector. Note that all of these reports are available in multiple languages.

State of Affairs

At a Global level, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted in 2006, is the international human rights treaty of the United Nations (UN) intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. The UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development, launched this week for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, looks at the impact of the SDGs on disability. The World Report on Disability produced jointly by the World Health Organization and the World Bank provides global guidance on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities and gives and extensive picture of the situation of people with disabilities, their needs and unmet needs, and the barriers they face to participating fully in their societies. This includes information on data, health, rehabilitation, assistance and supporting, creating enabling environments, education and employment. The UN has a range of programmes focused on disability generally as well as specific disabilities including mainstreaming disability in development and monitoring and evaluating in particular in relation to the SDGs. There are many other global initiatives working with disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights including Handicap International and Disabled Peoples International and the International Disability and Development Consortium.

The Business Case

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Global Business and Disability Network is a unique employer-led initiative that works to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in workplaces around the world. They promote 10 principles including respect and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, developing policies and practices that promote people with disabilities against discrimination, promoting equal treatment and equal opportunity, increasing accessibility, job retention, confidentiality of personal information and consideration the needs of all types of disabilities. The Network has a range of resources for companies and students including webinars and work they have done in collaboration with other partners, for example with Accenture on The Disability Inclusion Advantage that shows that companies that embrace best practices for employing and supporting more persons with disabilities in their workforce have outperformed their peers. They also have a resource exploring the business case of inclusion of youth with disabilities.

Reporting

In 2015, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) which many companies, including Universities, use as a framework for sustainability reporting developed guidance in association with the European Network for CSR and Disability on how to include persons with disabilities into the GRI framework (available in English and Spanish) Its aim is to enhance organizational understanding of the value of transparency on disability, in terms of creating inclusive workplaces, as well as taking advantage of the business case of disability for the development of new products, services and physical environments. The ILO has also published a guidance on “The Disability and Corporate Social Responsibilities that compares reporting practices of 40 multinational enterprises.

Guidance

The United Nations Global Compact developed a Guide for Business on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities to help improve business’ understanding of the rights of people with disabilities, including how to respect, support and give them an opportunity to improve their competitiveness and sustainability in alignment with relevant UN conventions and frameworks. They have also produced a document which highlights company practices and operations in the areas of hiring, retention, products, services and corporate social responsibility in terms of persons with disabilities as well as a webinar discussing the inclusion of workers with disabilities.

The ILO offers a practical guide on promoting diversity and inclusion through workplace adjustments including step-by-step guidance and how and when these should be provided. The Ethical Trading Initiative has developed guidance in line with the work being done by the Global Compact and the ILO on disability in the global supply chain. There are many NGOs providing guidance as well. For example, Handicap International developed a white paper focused on promoting partnerships to employ people with disabilities with a six step guide for companies to ensure they’re ready to welcome more colleagues with disability.

The Benefits, and Challenges, of Teaching Mentorship – Cass Business School

Cass Business School in London has made a major investment in mentoring projects for staff and students. Mentoring and coaching is a key part of the school’s flagship programme as a UN PRME Champion institution sitting alongside their research work on responsible business (led by ETHOS), their ongoing commitment to teaching business in an ethical context and other projects including dissertation placements and work with Social Enterprise. The programme also links to their Widening Participation activity that sees students volunteering in the community as well as the award winning staff and student mentoring scheme. I spoke with Rob Compton and Paul Palmer about the importance of teaching mentorship as well as the challenges.

Why do you feel that mentorship is important for students?

People skills are essential for any manager and prospective leader in business, yet they can present a challenge for Business Schools and left for employers to develop in the workplace on a largely ad hoc basis.

We believe that Business Schools should develop knowledge and skills in this area to complement more technical or operational aspects of business studies and economics. Mentoring and coaching brings together many of these skills and can be presented in a format that undergraduate students can digest and relate to in a business context.

Also, these “life skills” can be presented in the context of other aspects of students’ lives and open up the opportunity to be practiced outside of their peer group and the University setting.

What is the mentoring project and how it came about?

The mentoring project started in 2015 and aims to develop our curriculum, enhance our teaching methodology and demonstrate a firm commitment to responsible management education.

The idea of using community engagement to develop skills and enhance the way undergraduate students learn as an accredited element in their study programme was a logical extension to Cass’s work over many years within its Centre for Charity Effectiveness and our placement projects with charities and social enterprise. The idea is to deliver social purpose through our core activity of introducing students to the very best critical insight from the world of business and civil society.

How do you teach coaching and mentoring in the classroom? 

Teaching mentoring and coaching is a challenge as it involves development of practical skills and is more naturally suited to an interactive workshop approach with relatively small groups of students. We do primarily use this approach with a high number of practice exercises and role-playing alongside a critical examination of the theoretical frameworks.

This innovative pedagogical approach is a new challenge for many second year undergraduates who have not previously experienced workshop learning. The module also requires a new (for Business Schools) assessment method that combines literature review, reflective essay and observation.

The main distinct feature is how the practical element operates with students either developing mentoring and coaching skills by working with pupils from London schools in deprived communities or supporting first year university students.

We currently work with four schools and have two options for supporting first year students. School activities vary, but focus mainly on helping 16/17 year old students plan for the next phase of their academic, vocational studies or work options. First year mentees from the Business School are either coached through a specific study module or more widely supported as they settle into the study programme and integrate into university life.

How do you measure the impact of your work?

We are committed to demonstrating the impact of the programme over time on our beneficiaries (in schools and university), our student mentor/ coaches and on the institution as a whole. This involves presenting evidence of the benefits over time (impact) rather than immediate outcomes through a longitudinal study over a minimum of 5 years following the Theory of Change model. A research-led evaluation function is integral to the design of the project.

The project is co-funded by the Sir John Cass Foundation, a three hundred year old Education Charity who require an evaluation report at the end of their initial funding commitment. To ensure longer term funding sustainability both from Foundations and the University there needs to solid academic evidence of the financial and social impact of the programme following Social Return on Investment (SROI) principles.

The range of stakeholders and timescales involved presents a challenge for empirical based metrics and we have had to utilise a number of impact evaluation methodologies to enable us to provide a practical evidence base to demonstrate the true value of the programme and its replicability.

What have been some of the challenges?

There have been many challenges in getting the project up and running including the time constraints of both the university and school timetables.

Specific points include:-

  • School partners are very busy and time poor with limited (and decreasing) resources for new projects.
  • Identifying the right key contacts within schools to influence and communicate the benefits to colleagues and pupils.
  • Developing the right assessment process to test the development of skills and meet rigorous academic standards including assessment by observation rather than examination.
  • Delivering a project outside of the core processes for the university that often doesn’t fit with established systems (e.g. may need to rely more on visiting lecturers with experience as mentors and coaches). We are not part of the Widening Participation programme and are different from other core teaching activity.
  • Additional cost involved in small group teaching and the development and delivery of sustainable external partnerships.
  • Time delay in seeing the true benefits of the programme. From project development to the first mentors in the workplace is c.4-5 years. For the first mentees in the workplace, this may be 6-7 years.
  • Developing appropriate impact evaluation methodologies

Successes? Have students reported benefits from this training in the post graduation careers?

We are starting to see evidence of the benefits to students, initially through feedback from their work placements and internships. The first cohort of students are now entering full time work although it may be some time before they are fully able to report the impact of their mentoring and coaching learning. We are committed to tracking this and will be reporting on examples of how students take this learning forward in the workplace.

More immediately, benefits to mentees in schools can be tracked in their academic progress as well as other actions they take to support their longer-term career development. For example, more informed decision-making as they progress into higher education and secure work experience.

What advice would you have for other schools thinking of putting something similar into place?

It is best to order this under the three headings of internal and external stakeholder as well as curriculum or teaching:-

Internally, it was important to engage the leadership of the Business School by presenting the ethical (responsible management education) as well as the pedagogical case for the project. This appears a very “nice” win-win situation, but it is important to remember that this is new and requires additional investment.

This kind of project has to involve external partners. Charities and schools in particular will be understandably reticent about working with a Business School or indeed a private sector partner offering “in kind” rather than financial support. They need to understand how they will benefit and have a say in how the mentoring will work to benefit their school or charity.

In terms of teaching, the learning needs to clearly link into the curriculum at the right stage in the undergraduate pathway. We have found that this requires teaching as an elective module spread across the Autumn and Spring Term in the second year of the Management and Business Studies BSc study programme.

What’s next for the initiative?

Our focus now is on scaling up the programme to increase the numbers of students and beneficiaries of the programme by making it an option for all Cass undergraduates. This will mean setting up many more mentoring partnerships across more schools.

At the same time, we will start to report the impact of the project to demonstrate the long-term benefits and provide toolkit guidance and support for other universities looking to replicate the programme.

 

An Overview of MOOCs offered by United Nations Agencies (Part 3 of 3)

Every year there is an increase in the number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available on sustainability topics. These courses are available for free online and open to anyone with an interest in the topic, lasting between three and fourteen weeks and taking three to eight hours per week to complete. But Universities are not the only organisations offering these MOOCs. A growing number of UN agencies are developing MOOCs as a way of not only raising awareness about the issues that they focus on, but also training individuals around the world who are working on these sustainability issues and the SDG on the ground. Most of the courses are self-paced and available in multiple language. (Click here to read Part 1 which focused on UNWomen, World Bank and IMF or  Part 2 which focused on UNITAR, FAO, UNFMEA and UN.)

 

Most of the UN initiatives do not have their own online learning platforms and instead offer courses on various platforms and often in partnership with different organisations. This makes them a bit trickier to find so it is worth signing up for the newsletters of the initiatives you are most interested to get more up to date information.

For example, current courses offered by UNESCO include:

  • Inequalities in Latin America and the Caribbean: This course, which is also available in Spanish, addresses the current regional landscape of inequalities, warns of its dramatic consequences, and offers transformative strategies that can be designed to improve social policies and public management.
  • Climate Justice Lessons from the Global South: This course will deal with some of the key issues related to the ethical dimensions implied by climate change – learning especially from the problems faced as well as the resilience models formulated by the marginalized sectors of society or the so-called “Global South”.

 

United Nations University currently has a course in partnership with The Nature Conservancy that aims to build awareness of the importance of Mangroves to healthy ecosystems and human communities. This multi part course is designed to build expertise in mangrove biology, ecology, assessment, management, and restoration and is predominantly aimed at young academics, professionals, managers, and any other interested individuals, especially from developing countries

 

Specific UN initiatives also offer a range of e courses to help partners in the implementation of their frameworks. For example the UN-REDD Programme (UN Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) provides a range of 12 courses in English, French and Spanish that cover the topic of forests, carbon sequestration and climate change.

 

The UN Environment Programme’s Environment Academy usually offers online courses. At the moment they are offering:

  • From Source to Sea to Sustainability:This course will offer a holistic conceptual and practical approach to the issue of land based sources of pollution and their impacts, covering the scientific basics of nutrient cycling and pollution impacts, methodologies and assessment tools, financial mechanisms to protect our waters, policy and governance issues, as well as technologies for turning waste into resources.

 

Last but not least, the UN Global Compact offers some courses in collaboration with other partners including:

  • Ethical Cities: A course developed in collaboration with RMIT University and Future Learn, it introduces the notion of the ethical city and examines it from the perspective of ethical leadership, urban development and planning, ethical local business and engaged, ethical citizenry.
  • Human Rights and Business: This learning tool provides an introduction and overview to human rights for a business audience, developed in collaboration with UN Human Rights.

An Overview of MOOCs offered by United Nations Agencies (Part 2 of 3)

Every year there is an increase in the number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available on sustainability topics. These courses are available for free online and open to anyone with an interest in the topic, lasting between three and fourteen weeks and taking three to eight hours per week to complete. But Universities are not the only organisations offering these MOOCs. A growing number of UN agencies are developing MOOCs as a way of not only raising awareness about the issues that they focus on, but also training individuals around the world who are working on these sustainability issues and the SDG on the ground. Most of the courses are self-paced and available in multiple language. (Click here for Part 1 on UNWomen, World Bank and IMF – Part 3 will be posted next week).

UN CC: e-Learn offers free online climate change courses. Each course is developed in collaboration with different UN agencies depending on the specific topic. Courses are available in eight languages and are all self-paced and take approximately an hour to complete. Courses include:

  • Human Health and Climate Change: This course, in partnership with the World Health Organisation, provides an introduction to the health challenges, as well as the opportunities, that can by associated to climate change.
  • Cities and Climate Change: This course, developed in collaboration with UN-Habitat, focuses on climate change in urban areas, covering how cities are affected by climate change, how they contribute to it, as well as how they plan for it.It contains one module which takes around 2 hours to complete.
  • Introductory e-Course on Climate Change: This course, developed in collaboration with UNITAR, provides “everything you need to know” about the basics of climate change, from climate change science to governance.
  • Children and Climate Change: This course, developed in collaboration with UNICEF, presents how children and youth can be impacted by climate change, how their resilience to climate change can be strengthened, and how they can act on climate change.

 

AGORA is UNICEF’s global hub for learning and development. Courses are available in six language including Chinese, French, Arabic and Portuguese. You need to sign up in order to view the courses but there are dozens covering the whole range of focus areas that UNICEF covers including

  • Child Rights and Why They Matter: This short course will transform and/or refresh your understanding of child rights and a child rights approach, introduce you to UNICEF’s mandate as it relates to child rights, and inspire you to apply a child rights lens to your everyday work and life.
  • Performance Assessment at UNICEF: How should we assess individual performance? And when should we assess individual performance? In order to increase our impact as a results-based organization, we need to apply a consistent approach to individual performance assessment. This course aims to help you understand how and when to effectively assess individual performance at UNICEF.
  • Introduction to Ethics in Evidence Generation: In this course, you will explore the importance of Ethical Evidence Generation at UNICEF, the principles and requirements of the UNICEF Procedure for Ethical Standards in Research, Evaluations and Data Collection and Analysis and how this applies to the work that is undertaken across the organization.

UNICEF also provides MOOCs in collaboration with Universities and available on commonly used MOOC platforms. For example Social Norms, Social Change is a 2 part courses developed in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania that looks at social norms, the rules that glue societies together. It teaches how to diagnose social norms, and how to distinguish them from other social constructs, like customs or conventions. These distinctions are crucial for effective policy interventions aimed to create new, beneficial norms or eliminate harmful ones. The course teaches how to measure social norms and the expectations that support them, and how to decide whether they cause specific behaviours.

 

InforMEA.leaning is part of the United Nations information portal on multilateral environmental agreements. It has a range of courses on agreements relating to biological diversity, chemicals and waste, climate, international law, and oceans and freshwater. Courses include:

 

UNITAR offers a range of free courses including

  • Conflict Analysis: This one-day course looks at conflict including what it is, sources of conflict, complexities of conflict, evolution and the different actors involved.
  • Human Rights and the Environment: This 3 hour self-paced course provides a general introduction to the relationship between human rights and the environment including procedural and substantive obligations relating to the environment.
  • Mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: This course provides an in-depth and wide ranging guidance on how to mainstream the 2030 Agenda into national strategies and policies with case studies.

 

The FAO E-learning Centre has a range of courses including a demo class if you want to test out their format. The catalogue is extensive and includes courses on the SDGs that the FAO is focused on (in particular SDG 2 Zero Hunger) including:

An Overview of MOOCs offered by United Nations Agencies (part 1 of 3)

Every year there is an increase in the number of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) available on sustainability topics. These courses are available for free online and open to anyone with an interest in the topic, lasting between three and fourteen weeks and taking three to eight hours per week to complete. But Universities are not the only organisations offering these MOOCs. A growing number of UN agencies are developing MOOCs as a way of not only raising awareness about the issues that they focus on, but also training individuals around the world who are working on these sustainability issues and the SDG on the ground. Most of the courses are self-paced and available in multiple languages. (Part 2 will be posted next week)

 

The UN Women Training Centre offers a range of courses in English, Spanish, French and Arabic, all free of charge. Courses are either self-paced, have fixed set dates and many of them can be customized for specific audiences. Many of the courses focus in on Sustainable Development Goal
5 on Gender Equality as well as Gender issues which are an important part across all of the SDGs. The self-paced courses take approximately 50 minutes to complete and current courses include:

  • Women’s Leadership and Decision Making: This course provides an introduction to the concepts, international framework, and methods for working toward gender equality and women’s empowerment. It also offers users the opportunity to make links between gender and specific thematic areas such as work; education; political participation; emergencies; peace and security; sexual and reproductive health; sexual and gender diversity and human rights; and violence against women.
  • Gender Equality in the World of Work: This course provides an introduction to the concepts, international framework, and methods for working toward gender equality and women’s empowerment. It also offers users the opportunity to make links between gender and specific thematic areas such as work; education; political participation; emergencies; peace and security; sexual and reproductive health; sexual and gender diversity and human rights; and violence against women.

 

The World Bank Open Learning Campus aims to provide learning that will build the leadership and technical capabilities of all development stakeholders-partners, practioners, policy makers, staff and the public. It offers a range of courses, also in several languages. You can choose from courses that are facilitated online or self paced. Courses include:

  • Introduction to the Global Environment Facility: This e-course provides an overview of the GEF, a unique international organization that is dedicated to safeguarding the global environment.
  • Introduction to the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework for External Audiences: This self paced courses provides an overview of the Bank’s Environmental and Social Framework which sets out the mandatory requirements for the World Bank and for Borrowers to address environmental and social risks and impacts in investment projects.
  • Fundamentals of Disaster Risk Finance: This course looks at how governments have to make difficult trade-offs in the aftermath of a disaster. Gain key insights into a range of innovative Disaster Risk Finance (DRF) projects across the globe.
  • Basics of Health Economics: Health economics play an important role in making health systems more effective, efficient, and equitable. This e-Learning course provides the foundations for participants to better understand health economics and its potential contribution to decision making in the health sector.
  • Greenhouse Gas Accounting 101: Accounting for GHG emissions allows the World Bank and its clients to estimate the impact of projects on GHG emissions early in the project cycle. This knowledge can help task teams and client countries mainstream climate change mitigation action in the project design, and thus is a key step in managing and reducing GHG emissions in a cost-effective manner.

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) provides its courses on IMFx again free of charge and available in several languages. Its courses focus on financial stability, international trade and sustainable economic growth. Current offerings include:

  • Debt Sustainability Analysis: This course explores what tools can be used to assess debt sustainability and how countries can effectively manage their sovereign debt with a range of hands on exercises and theories.
  • Financial Programming and Policies: Available in English, French, Spanish and Russian, this course looks at the macroeconomic accounts, their interrelationship, and the analysis of economic development.

Empowering Female Entrepreneurs in Ukraine – Lviv Business School


Lviv Business School
of Ukrainian Catholic University, Ukraine, launched a programme aimed at providing skills to female entrepreneurs. Their aim is to  develop new, or further develop existing female-led businesses across the country. I spoke with Svitlana Kyrylchuk who works at the Business School about this programme and the impact it has already had in the country. 

 

Why did you decide to start a Women’s Leadership Programme?

Ukrainian women own 22-23% of small and medium-sized enterprises and only 2% of big ones. As involving of women is fundamental for democratic government, it is important that these numbers increase. This means empowering more women to be able to start and grow their businesses. We believe that we can have a significant impact in increasing these numbers through educational programmes and public discussions on the topic of women’s leadership here in the Ukraine.

What is the Women’s Leadership Programme?

Lviv Business School of UCU (LvBS) and the Center for Leadership of UCU have developed an educational programme called «Women’s Leadership and Change Management». The programme is aimed at women-leaders from business, public and non-profitable sectors. This variety of students creates a special dynamics and synergy within one group and also establishes partnerships between different sectors.

The programme is based on the concept «Leadership based on character» that was developed by several researchers in Canada from Ivey Business School. According to this concept, leadership involves a character that is made up of 11 virtues and competencies. This can be divided into four categories: organizational, human, strategic, and business competencies, as well as commitment. The participants use this model to analyze their actions and behavior in order to develop their values and virtues.

The programme is practice-oriented and we focus on using case studies to teach the students. We believe that only through studying real examples can participations start to understand the role of a leader’s values to the utmost. The programme also includes several case studies from Ukrainian leadership research that has been undertaken by the Center for Leadership here which help students to understand the peculiarities of Ukrainian leadership and compare it to the leadership in other countries. For instance, according to this research, Ukrainian leaders mostly underestimate virtues such as accountability and humility, so in this programme much attention is focused on their study and analysis.

What do you hope to achieve through the programme? What have you achieved so far?

Throughout the programme we cover a range of topics including but not limited to character development, personal branding, networking and negotiating. The focus is on building the different competencies that are essential for a true leader. Since 2016 we have held 6 Women Leadership programmes that have involved 200 participants from across the country. In November last year the programme won the award of top 3 new management programmes at a Management executive and Professional Development conference in the US which we are very proud of.

What have been some of the challenges?

We didn’t have any difficulties with the program. The challenges are more focused on the difficulties for business women in Ukraine in general and what impact we can have on changing that. For example, recent research from the Center for Leadership of UCU looked at the differences of emotional intellect between men and women entrepreneurs. Preliminary results show that the differences in emotional intellect between men and women are minor. In particular, this is true when it comes to traits such as vocation, self-effectiveness and persistency. Despite this, Ukrainian women are seen as being less able to start and succeed in business than men. This is something we are hoping to change.

What have been some of the successes?

Among the program’s graduates there are successful women-entrepreneurs, administrators and leaders of social projects and non-governmental organizations. Some of our alumni include the founder of a social enterprise that recycles flowers from ceremonial events and uses the proceeds to finance charity projects called «Flowery Happiness». Another is the Chief Operating Officer of «Teple Misto», an innovative platform for creating opportunities and social transformations in Ivano-Frankivsk city. Other alumni have prominent roles at Transparency International, in national government and at the National Bank of Ukraine. One of the brightest, most active and determined participants of the program is Maryana Petrash, who is one of the co-founders of the initiative «Woman for Woman». This is a social project founded in 2017 to support and revive «The Walnut House» (Center of Integral Care for Women in Crisis). The project aims to raise money to restore the building in Lviv where the center for women has to be located and drawing more attention to its activities.

What’s next for the initiative?

As the program is in big demand, especially in Ukrainian context, we continue holding it twice a year.

What about female leadership in Lviv? What kinds of initiatives does your business school have and what is the state of women leadership within the School?

Sophia Opatska, the Founding Dean of Lviv Business School of Ukrainian Catholic University, is now UCU’s Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs. In the ten years since its founding, Lviv Business School, under the leadership of Sophia, has developed from a small start-up company to a truly successful institution with European values which is educating a responsible business community within Ukraine. Starting with only one program, the Key Executive MBA, in 2008, we have now developed to 4 master programs (Key Executive MBA, MSc in Technology Management, MA in Human Resources and Organization Development and MSc in Innovations) and up to 20 open-enrollment programs of Executive Innovation run every year in different cities of Ukraine. Much has been achieved so far and even more is to be done, but this time led by a new CEO, who is also a woman.

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