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Is it Time to Go Back to Class?

You bet your ROE it is.

The wave of capital support for female-founded startups is building and so is the variety of educational resources to help ensure their success. But who has the time?  Fortunately there are a variety of formats to help women choose what best meets their needs and optimize Return on Effort (ROE).

One thing is clear.  For today’s woman business owner, continuing education means more than sharpening the finance or social media skills.  It’s about learning to compete to win — and compete like a woman — in a male-dominated arena.

Programs like Cornell University’s  Women in Leadership program, launched by Professor Deborah Streeter as the latest addition to the school’s eCornell curriculum, stretch beyond tactical knowledge and help women out-strategize gender bias to compete and lead effectively.

The format and content are mobile, interactive, collaborative and meeting what Cornell sees as a burgeoning need for women to hone their SheEO skills.  The program, says Streeter, “covers essential negotiation skills, emotional intelligence, and performance feedback—helping women gain strategies and tools they can quickly apply.”

And it goes one big step further. Participants explore exec-level gender dynamics and how to overcome them.  “Women are often penalized for using stereotypically masculine leadership behaviors but seen as weak if their behavior is deemed too feminine,” Streeter shared. “This program provides specific tactics for how to recognize and outmaneuver these dynamics.“

Cornell’s program hits a sweet spot, but investing educational time while you run a business is not a one-size-fits-all formula.  Consider your needs and business demands carefully and remember to take advantage of free trial periods before committing.

A few options to get you started:

  • Need an intensive, mentoring-based program?   Consider investor-backed programs such as  Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Businesses program.
  • Looking for more topic-specific options?  Check out Coursera or Udemy and their startup-specific series.
  • Pinched for time or money but still want to polish your skills? Try Microsoft’s Small Business Academy Webcast series or LinkedIn’s Lynda.com training modules on small business leadership.

What’s worked for you?  Share your recommendations with sheBOOM readers in the Comments section below!