The WILMA Leadership Institute is part of WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative. Members of this group will go through intensive leadership training, serve as each other’s personal board of directors and have exposure to experienced leaders in the area.

Applications for WILMA’s 2021 Leadership Institute are closed!

The group will meet once a month from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. between April-December, except the April session which will be a full-day session.

Due to the uncertainty of this year’s sessions, we will plan to operate on a more fluid and flexible agenda for the 2021 Institute class. With that being said, we have included prospective skills topics for the 2021 program below as well as a list of guest speakers that have been involved in the program in the past.

Individuals can apply themselves, and companies are encouraged to nominate high-potential leaders in their organizations. Up to 32 women will be selected to be part of the class.

The program is geared toward those from New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties. Women from a range of backgrounds including large companies, small businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, educational fields, and others are encouraged to apply.

A panel of judges will review all of the submitted applications. If selected as a finalist, the applicant will be notified early in February to schedule a virtual interview with the selection committee, which will choose the final class.

If the applicant is accepted, the cost for the nine-month program is $2,150. The cost includes program fee, course materials and assessments.

The Leadership Institute has some scholarships, which are underwritten by our sponsors. If you work for a nonprofit that affects your organization’s ability to cover the tuition costs, you will have the opportunity to provide details during the application process. (You must include confirmation that you have already checked with your employer to see if they are willing to cover the tuition.) Payment is due by April 15.

The Institute is part of WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative, which has a mission to help develop more women leaders in the Wilmington area.

Questions? Contact us at

WILMA’s Women to Watch Leadership Initiative Co-Directors,
Maggi Apel, WILMA/Greater Wilmington Business Journal Vice President of Sales and Vicky Janowski, WILMA/Greater Wilmington Business Journal Editor


Wednesday’s (8am-1pm)

April 21 (kick-off)
May 19
June 23
July 21
August 18
September 22
October 20
November 17
December 15 (Graduation)


  • Understanding Communication Styles
  • Leveraging Strengths
  • Thinking Strategically
  • Motivating Teams & Managing Conflict
  • Negotiating Techniques
  • Building Resilience & Leading Through Challenging Times
  • Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace


  • Elizabeth Forte, NHRMC Health Equity Education Specialist
  • Huntley Garriott, Live Oak Bank, President
  • Stephanie Mann, Live Oak Bank, EVP-Corporate Development and Strategy
  • Tracey Newkirk, Genesis Block, Co-founder
  • Lisa Leath, Leath HR Group, President and WorkTok, Founder
  • Ruth Smith, RR Smith Strategic Solutions (R2S3), Owner
  • Regina Fisher, Business Broker and Merger & Acquisitions Advisor, Bristol Group Business Brokers
  • Donyell Roseboro, UNCW Interim Chief Diversity Officer

Learn about WILMA Leadership Institute’s impact from several of its recent graduates:

Vera Newkirk, Compliance and Privacy Officer for New Hanover Regional Medical Center

Katie Gloe, Product Line Manufacturing Engineer for Corning Inc.

April England, Supervisor of Work Management Support for Duke Energy