Executive Institute

The NCAA/Women Leaders in College Sports Executive Institute (EI) is an advanced professional development program for women who hold senior level leadership roles within sports. The Executive Institute provides an immersive leadership experience that will teach executive level leadership skills, prepare you for the search process and position you for advancement to the highest level.

June 27-29, 2023 in Kansas City, MO

 Program Goals
  • Develop and improve executive presence & leadership brand
  • Understand the search process and win the interview
  • Build connections with key industry influencers including University Presidents, Search Firm representatives and sitting Athletic Director and Commissioners
  • Preparation for success in the first 90 days on the job

Application Process

Applications Open: February 27th

Applications Close: April 10th at 11:59pm CT

Candidates are selected through a comprehensive application process. Attendees are asked to submit an application outlining their qualifications for the program, followed by a recommendation from a Women Leaders Board of Director, a Women Leaders Education & Professional Development Committee member, or graduates of past NCAA/Women Leaders in College Sports Executive Institutes. Candidates are reviewed through their strength of application materials and eligibility requirements. EI includes two separate tracks, a DI track and a DII/DIII track. Each of the two classes tracks are limited to 15 participants, making a total of 30 attendees.

Applicants will be notified of the status of their application no later than April 14th. You must be a Women Leaders member to participate. (Not a member? Join Here

Application Form

First, the candidate must complete the application below. Each candidate is asked to meet all eligibility requirements prior to submitting an application. Once an application is submitted, please make sure to complete step two by asking for a recommendation by an eligible administrator. This may be completed by filling out the form to the right.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Current Women Leaders member
  • Experience and intention to become an athletic director or conference commissioner in the next two to four years
  • Current position (with consideration given to varying organizational structures):
    • Campus: Senior Associate AD-level or above
    • Conference: Senior Associate Commissioner-level or above
    • NCAA National Office: Director-level or above
  • Minimum of 10-12 years intercollegiate athletics experience preferred
  • Recognized or demonstrated ability to lead through any or all of the following:
    • Current work role
    • Educational association
    • Successful completion of professional leadership program (i.e. Institute for Administrative Advancement, Leadership Enhancement Institute, NCAA Pathways)
  • Skills and experience that will be considered include:
    • Sport oversight (revenue sport preferred)
    • Development (i.e. Associate AD for Development)
    • Coaching (previous or current)
    • Senior Woman Administrator
    • Internal operations (i.e. oversight of business, compliance, academics, facilities)
    • External operations (i.e. oversight of marketing, fundraising)
    • Staff supervision experience
    • Service on senior leadership team


Tuition fees are $1,000 per participant and cover all registration fees. The program Includes::

  • 2.5 days of in-person leadership development and coaching, including a comprehensive communication workshop with experts from Dardis Communication.
  • 2 nights at the host hotel inclusive of meals and receptions.
  • A kick-off prep session for all participants to set the tone for Executive Institute and build connection across the group.
  • Two-,virtual follow-up sessions in 2023 that will feature access to sitting Athletic Directors, Commissioners and other industry experts. 
  • All participants will receive an "Executive Institute Toolkit" with program materials, books and your favorite Women Leader's swag. 

Future Event Information

The Executive Institute is held every other year, in "odd" years, and alternates with the Leadership Enhancement Institute, held in "even" years. The next Executive Institute will be held in July 2025 in Kansas City, Missouri. Application information will be posted as it becomes available. .If you are interested in supporting scholarships for future Executive Institute participants, donate here .

Graduate Success

Past NCAA/Women Leaders in College Sports Executive Institute graduates have experienced high advancement rates within intercollegiate athletics. Since 2017, 63%  of Executive Institute graduates have either advanced or been promoted to senior-level positions, including eleven of which have become athletics directors or commissioners. 

Questions? Contact Kara Hess.

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