Igniting Future Women Leaders

Eisenhower Fellowships Women’s Leadership Network Initiative

The Eisenhower Fellowships’ women’s leadership network is a highly accomplished group of nearly 700 global trailblazers from diverse professional fields who have the talent, commitment and skills to inspire and mentor the next generation of young women.  The female Eisenhower Fellows in this network, bonded by trust, share a vision of making the world more peaceful, prosperous and just.

The goal of the Igniting Future Women Leaders initiative is to leverage the power and promise of our network to connect, inspire and empower young women and girls around the world.

Female Eisenhower Fellows will identify and convene groups of young women and girls, ages 13-19, to build their confidence, foster a sense of community and develop their leadership skills.  This aligns with Eisenhower Fellowships core belief that creating opportunities for people-to-people dialogue across borders brings about greater understanding and builds bridges of trust.

The Igniting Future Women Leaders initiative will feature two twin projects, proceeding on parallel tracks, creating platforms for female Fellows to work together to sponsor groups of young women.

These groups will enable the young women and girls to engage with each other across borders and cultures by collaborating on projects, learning specific skills and participating in discussions on topics of shared interest.

The twin projects under the Igniting Future Women Leaders umbrella are:

The EF Women’s Webinar Series and Face to Face: EF Women and Girls Convening in Conversation.

By the end of 2024, EF will document the reach and impact of both projects with a major deliverable combining the insights and impact of both projects.

Digital photos, work products and assets will be collected and curated for a final work product, the “Eisenhower Fellowships Women’s Leadership Key Insights Report.”

The report will highlight leadership lessons learned from the different countries, discussions and perspectives in both twin projects under the Igniting Future Women Leaders initiative. Their respective project descriptions are below. 

EF Women’s Webinar Series

The goal of the webinar series is to reach more than 700 young women and girls in 2024, leveraging the power and the promise of our global network of Fellows to inspire and empower.  

Project Approach 

Themes for the webinar series will be curated and based on the responses to the Women’s Leadership Survey circulated among the EF Women Fellows’ network, as well as interviews and outreach to fellows in identified fields of women’s leadership. 

The webinar series will be large-scale gatherings on Zoom, four to six per year, with a spotlight on women Fellows’ subject matter experts.  The leadership themes that emerge from the pre-conference survey will be vetted and match Fellows in groups for a robust series of webinar presentations. 

This webinar series will be led by Diane Melley in collaboration with a working group of Eisenhower Fellows that will include Fellows from each region of the world. 

All Eisenhower Fellows–male, female and other-identifying–will be invited to participate in the EF Women’s Webinar Series.  However, all speakers will be women Fellows. 

All EF Women’s Webinars will have prior prep sessions. Each session in the series will be one hour in length and tied to a theme, with multiple female Fellows leading the session and a panel of young women from different countries selected to participate. 

Large-scale reach can be achieved through live Zoom participation.  Digital recordings for other Fellows and partner youth groups we will form to leverage the content during school hours, after school and during their programming.  Key partners will be identified as themes are finalized.  Key would be organizations such as state Departments of Education, local county school systems, Girl Scouts, 4H, Girls Inc, Girls Who Code, to name a few.

Female Eisenhower Fellows can identify and convene groups of young women in ‘local watch parties’ to build their global awareness, foster a sense of community and develop their leadership skills.    Fellows and young women can participate in one, a few or all of these webinar gatherings.   

The EF Women’s Webinar Series will receive communications and platform support from EF HQ, under the supervision of Erin Hillman, Vice President, Programs and Operations, to ensure effective utilization of staff time and cohesiveness of message and resources.  

We will cast a wide net for participation with attention to high-quality, best-of-class speakers and panelists, with curated program content on-message and consistent with EF’s stellar quality.   


  • Post-San Francisco World Forum (Nov/Dec 2023)    Convene the full working group, review survey data and begin to curate themes (4-6 max) and identify expert Fellows for the Webinar Series.

  • Early Q1 2024    Finalize overall initiative Work Plan and Communications strategy 
  • Mid-Q1 2024     Host the first session and follow up with a rolling schedule of bi-monthly sessions through the 2024 Eisenhower Day of Impact.
  • Early Q3 2024    Internally compile Table of Contents of the Key Insights Report
  • EF Day of Impact (October 14, 2024)       Publish Findings and Key Insights Report

Face to Face: EF Women Convening in Conversation

EF is surveying the nearly 700 women Fellows from the EF network to elicit their thoughts on the most relevant issues facing women leaders around the world and to gauge their interest in volunteering to serve as sponsors and mentors for young women in their country, region or community.

In the first year, we will identify up to 12 Eisenhower Fellow volunteers and match them in six groups.

Each volunteer will be asked to select a prominent outside organization to serve as a partner, preferably an organization with which she already is affiliated that focuses on empowering, educating or supporting young girls in some capacity. Preference would be given to organizations that work with teenagers, ages 13 to 19. 

Each Fellow sponsor should aim to invite seven girls or young women from their country, region, community or organization to participate in the initiative, a total of 14 young women or girls in each of the six groups led by Fellow sponsors.  

EF then will aim to conduct six virtual meetings, known as convenings, over the course of the year, bringing together approximately 84 young women or girls on Zoom along with the Fellow sponsors and possibly EF staff.

Eisenhower Fellowships will promote these Women’s Leadership Network convenings and the collaborations that flow from them on its social media channels and website to mark the annual EF Day of Impact.

The first ones would take place in the first quarter of 2024, with subsequent convenings roughly every other month, alternating with virtual gatherings of the EF Women’s Webinar Series 


Erin Hillman will oversee staff implementation of the Face to Face initiative and serve as its Executive Director.   Erin will match and introduce the Fellow volunteers and help them plan their sessions and manage the convenings project.

Outcome and Impact

Erin will work closely the Fellow volunteers to help drive and track the impact of the convenings and future collaborations.  Ultimately, the aim is to make this an annual undertaking.

EF will seek to measure how many Fellows and young girls participate, how many convenings take place and how many follow-up meetings are scheduled. We also want to track what partnerships are brokered, what projects are initiated and what impact they generate.

This initiative expands the universe of EF’s programs to reach an even younger demographic than the Global Scholars Program that sends recent American college graduates to Europe for a year of postgraduate study and immersion in the EF global network.  

The girls and young women chosen to participate in this initiative will be welcomed at virtual events open to the EF network.  EF Fellow volunteers will be encouraged to introduce their mentees to their own personal and professional networks.  

When relevant, EF’s Global Network Programs team also can make introductions to individual Eisenhower Fellows to help guide these young people as they advance in their careers. 

The EF Director of Global Network Programs will oversee engagement with these young people after the first year of their participation in the initial round of convenings.  We will include these young women on our mailing list to receive EF communications and track their engagement with EF and with each other in the organization’s database.


By adding the two legs of the Igniting Future Women Leaders initiative to our existing Women’s Leadership work and our outreach to Eisenhower Fellows around the world, we advance two EF strategic objectives:

1) to strengthen and deepen engagement with and among our Fellows, and

2) to establish creative new programs that support increased interaction and collaboration between international and American Eisenhower Fellows and Global Scholars.

This Women’s Leadership Network initiative also provides a vehicle for Fellows to give back to their societies and underscores EF’s requirement that all Fellows must mentor younger leaders behind them.

In the process, the Women’s Leadership Network Initiative advances the EF mission of enhancing understanding among ascendant leaders through direct dialogue.

The Eisenhower Fellowships Women’s Leadership Key Insights Report will help elevate EF’s public visibility and name recognition for our work in one of the core areas of our program emphasis.

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