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with changes brought on by the pandemic. Because some women wanted to discuss some of the topics in more depth, Cabral said, developing a course was a logical next step.
“These women want to get to know them- selves better, to identify what skills they need to focus on and promote their strengths,” she
The luncheon reminded her of a program the Women’s Fund used to run known as the Lead- ership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI). While it had some success, Borgatti and her colleagues thought the program suffered from trying to be all things to all women and
fell short in that effort. After compiling feedback from women who had gone through LIPPI, the Women’s
ing sponsorships of up to $650 to defray the $799 tuition cost.
“The Women’s Fund is contributing in such a meaningful way. With their sponsorships, HCC is able to bring this program to people who would not have access otherwise,” Cabral said, add-
ing that many employers do not reimburse the cost of training, so these sponsorships make the course more accessible for women who struggle to pay for self-development.
“HCC provides the education, the Women’s Fund provides the sponsorship, and together, we bring our common mission out to the commu- nity,” she noted.
Borgatti said taking part in the course was
an easy call because it allows her organization
to reach women who are seeking personal and professional development. “We want to see more women in leadership positions across our region, so we’re proud to partner with HCC to help more women become effective leaders.”
While the goals of the Women’s Fund address gender equity and gender justice, Borgatti also made it clear that her organization also strives to improve racial equity and racial justice.
“We know that women are not in leadership roles as much as men, and there are even fewer women of color in leadership positions,” she said, noting that the HCC course is one way to support the current and future leaders of color in the community.
Borgatti added that her organization became involved to make sure affordability would not prevent anyone from taking the course. “We want
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“These women want to get to know themselves better, to identify what skills they need to focus on and promote their strengths. They were looking for a more structured program to help guide them through that process.”
Fund put the program on hold.
“LIPPI grads gave the program its highest marks in the cohort learning approach,” she recalled. The graduates also cited networking opportunities and making connections as solid benefits from the program.
After wrapping up LIPPI, Borgatti explained, the
 explained. “They were looking for a more struc- tured program to help guide them through that process.”
A few years back, Monica Borgatti attended the Women’s Leadership Luncheons at HCC. As chief operating officer for the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, she especially liked the cohort-style of learning (a collaborative approach in which individuals advance together in an edu- cation program) that took place at the events.
“The cohort model works well in this type of learning situation because people start to feel comfortable with each other, and they are more willing to be vulnerable as they share and learn together,” she said.
Women’s Fund’s emphasis shifted from creating and running programs to identifying leadership programs it could adapt for this area, as well as support for existing programs.
“When I learned HCC was developing a more in-depth leadership program, I thought it was worth exploring to see if there might be a part- nership opportunity for the Women’s Fund,” she said.
Engaged in Equity
The course is targeted to women in mid- career, especially those who are emerging as leaders in their careers and the community. As part of its partnership, the Women’s Fund is offer-
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