Leadership is forward planning.

Leadership is to use your skill to its full capacity.
Leadership is a holistic approach.

BPW works to expand the leadership capacity of our members to enable them to make influential contributions to their community locally, nationally and internationally.  We believe that increasing the number and quality of women leaders, improves our ability to make life better for all women.

New Dimensions of Leadership

There are many definitions of leadership; most of them will include: setting things in motion, initiating actions, leading people by empowerment, and showing them the way to uncharted territory. It also means, of course: making decisions and accepting responsibility. In short, it is a key feature in shaping our society, and when it comes to developing the professional potential of women at all levels, BPW makes a significant contribution to women aspiring to a leadership roles.

The 25th International Congress held in Lucerne, Switzerland in 2005 focused on aspects of leadership where sharing and learning from each other provides opportunities for development:

  • Taking a front-row seat
  • Focusing on the essential
  • Dealing with setbacks


When it comes to developing the potential of women, it is always advisable to turn back to our founder, Dr. Lena Madesin Phillips, who, in 1930, stated: “The first step toward change has to be taken by the individual member.”  Thus, BPW have to rise to the challenge of becoming a role model and accepting the responsibility of mentoring. It is their valuable contribution to the growth and development of the next generation of BPW.

1. The Organisation as a Leader

Leadership is not just for individuals – organisations can also accept a leadership role! The question is: How can we enable the individual clubs and federations to fill this role? Clubs and countries that already have initiated mentoring programs, business consulting projects and training sessions will share their expertise in this field. The web site platform Projects & Events provides information on these developments.

2. Teamwork and Leadership

A leader who deserves this name knows that she or he cannot achieve great results without the team around him. Leading this team is more an art than a technique: Treating, for example, team members with respect, concentrating on the essential, believing in open communication and transparent actions.

Leadership is definitely not: wasting precious time and energies on fighting each other – openly or covertly -, self-aggrandizement or remonstrating.

Learning in this area might include:

  • What are the secrets of successful teams?
  • How do they deal with conflicts?
  • Is it diversity or the desire for harmony that represent the basis for teamwork that should be both: efficient and effective?

3. Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

Women should focus on these aspects;

Taking a front-row seat

  • While they would be perfectly capable of taking on top positions, many women are not willing to do so.
  • Why is it that women prefer to keep in the background?
  • Why do they prefer to fill the frame rather than setting it?
  • And why are they content to sit in the second row?

Focusing on the essential

One of women’s’ strengths is taking the long view. When it comes to decision-making, women tend to incorporate as many aspects as possible that could influence their decision. This is an important factor to consider when building decision-making teams. On the other hand: many leadership situations require fast decisions, based on a minimum of criteria.

Consider whether women need to develop their decision-making and risk-taking abilities?

Dealing with Setbacks

Failure, rejection, roadblocks: many women interpret them as stop signs, when, in reality, they could be seen as a signal for reflection, as a natural obstacle which can be overcome – if it were only for training purposes! As a result, women in such situations frequently question their own leadership ability. These setbacks add significantly to those arguments that prompt women to withdraw from the business world in favour of excelling in family activities, knowing how others successfully dealt with setbacks can be valuable training for dealing with the next one.

Leadership is an important issue for women and men, young and old alike. BPW will also focus on partnership between genders, generations, and cultures.

Thus, opening up to New Dimensions of Leadership becomes a multi-dimensional, fascinating challenge.

Themes from the previous years:

  • 2011-2014 “Empowered Women Leading Business”
  • 2008-2011 “The Power to make a Difference”
  • 2005-2008 “New Dimensions of Leadership”
  • 2002-2005 “A World of Peace”
  • 1999-2002 “Empowering Women for the 21st Century”
  • 1996-1999 “Partnerships for the Future”
  • 1993-1996 “Taking IFBPW Forward”
  • 1991-1993 “Women – Environment and Development”
  • 1989-1991 “Women – the Spirit of Enterprise”
  • 1987-1989 “Women – The Vital Force”
  • 1985-1987 “Youth Today Leaders Tomorrow”
  • 1983-1985 “Women in Transition – Strategies for Success: Preparation and Progress”
  • 1980-1983 “A Golden Opportunity: Golden Jubilee”
  • 1977-1980 “The Challenges to the New Women”
  • 1974-1977 “Looking Towards the 21st Century Women …Their Full Potential”
  • 1971-1974 “The Significant Seventies”
  • 1968-1971 “Human Value in Today’s World”
  • 1965-1968 “Developing Channels for Cooperation”
  • 1962-1965 “Road to World-Wide Understanding”
  • 1959-1962 “Building Bridges between People”
  • 1950-1959 “The Trained Women – Her contribution to World Affairs”
  • 1947-1950 “The Art of Living Together”
  • 1938-1946 “Business and Professional Women and the New Social Order”
  • 1936-1938 “The Work of Women in the Modern World in Different Spheres of Business, Science, Art and the Professions”

The most important thing is that we all work together to support each other in achieving our goals – the BPW NZ team would love to see you at the next Leadership Forum, so do come and join us for a weekend of learning, sharing and fun.

Please note there is billeting

Women working for women


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