Women's Leadership Development Program

Applications open Oct. 1 for mentors and mentees
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Women's Leadership Development Program

The Women's Leadership Development Program provides emerging women leaders within the ARVO membership a highly interactive, year-long learning experience focused on leadership skill development and facilitating leadership opportunities and networking within ARVO. The program started in 2016 and hosts 9-12 participants and their mentors (men and women) each year.

Eligible participants include early- to mid-career female scientists who are in a faculty/tenure-track (or equivalent) position for not more than 10 years and who have been ARVO members for at least three consecutive years at time of application.

Senior scientist and junior scientist smiling2020 - 2021 program timeline

Applications open Oct. 1 - 30 for the 2020 - 2021 program year

  • Application opens Oct. 1, 2019
  • Application closes Oct. 31, 2019
  • Applicants notified December 2019
  • Program begins May 1, 2020
  • Program concludes April 30, 2021

Program curriculum

In-person kick-off program and alumni reception
Participants meet their mentors and past participants in the program in person the Friday before the ARVO Annual Meeting

Monthly discussion topics facilitated by guest speakers
Includes live video chats with well-known leaders in the field and supplemental web-based written discussion.

Joan O'Brien speaks into a microphoneTopics include themes such as:

  • Finding Your Strengths
  • Building and Maintaining Your Network
  • Time Management & Maximizing Your Productivity
  • Positioning Yourself Internally and Externally
  • People Management
  • ARVO Service Opportunities
  • Confidence
  • Negotiation

One-on-one guidance from a mentor
Participants meet monthly with their assigned mentors for individualized support during the program year.

Program impact

The Women's Leadership Development Program aims to prepare more women to serve in leadership roles within ARVO and within their academic insititutions.

  • After participating in the program, 73% of the 2018-2019 class plans to pursue a leadership role at their institution within the next two years.
  • Of current program alumni, 62% are currently serving on an ARVO committee.

Who should apply to be a participant/mentee?

Two young women listening to a presentationEarly- to mid-career female scientists who are:

  • In a faculty/tenure-track or equivalent position for not more than 10 years
  • Have been ARVO members for at least three (3) consecutive years at time of application (i.e. active membership in 2017, 2018, and 2019) and who will maintain active membership throughout the program
  • Interested in future leadership positions within ARVO
  • Eager and able to commit to active participation in the program, including:
    • Attending a day-long face-to-face kickoff program the Friday before the ARVO 2020 Annual Meeting (May 1, 2020 in Baltimore, MD)
    • Monthly or more frequent interactions with her assigned mentor
    • Engaging and collaborating with program class and program alumni via topical discussions in a dedicated ARVOConnect community
    • Requesting their institution's support of the $500 program fee

Program fee for particpants:
To help support the operating costs of the program, mentee participants’ home institutions are expected to support their faculty with a $500 participation fee and the costs associated with the extended/early stay at the ARVO Annual Meeting that is required for the kick-off program.

A brief letter of support from the mentee’s department chair, or other appropriate institutional representative will be requested within the application form that acknowledges the program fee and mentee’s participation in the program.

There is no cost to apply for volunteer mentors.

Who should apply to be a mentor?

Any ARVO member (men and women) who:

  • Have been an active ARVO member for at least five (5) past consecutive years who will maintain active membership throughout the program
  • Have served in ARVO volunteer/leadership roles, such as committee, or editorial board service
  • Want to help develop future ARVO leaders with the goal of gender parity in ARVO leadership
  • Can commit to attending a face-to-face kickoff program the Friday before the ARVO 2020 Annual Meeting (May 1, 2020 in Baltimore, MD); ARVO will reimburse one night’s hotel stay for each mentor

Program supporters

The Women's Leadership Development Program is underwritten in part by the ARVO Foundation through the Ramesh and Brenda Tripathi Vision Research Fund and funds raised at the annual Women in Eye and Vision Research (WEAVR) Luncheon.

 funded by the Ramesh and Brenda Tripathi Vision Research Fund

Stela Vujosevic, MD, PhD, FEBO, Year 1 Participant

"This program was a great opportunity to meet leaders in ARVO, and to increase my network of colleagues and friends in the ARVO community. You will learn to take risks, celebrate overcoming certain mindsets, and how to approach doubt. You can enhance your short and long term goals using advice from your mentor and the other participants in the program. There is such value in having an open space to share and learn from a range of women’s different experiences."