CWRU's FLEX program began in 2012 when Dean Pamela B. Davis, Dean of the School of Medicine, endorsed a grass-roots concept of empowerment to potentially facilitate a culture change within the university faculty. Using focus groups to determine the barriers to achieve such a goal, members of the Steering Committee of Women Faculty School of Medicine (WFSOM) proposed a program to address the disparities in the number of women entering the field of health sciences as compared to the proportion of women in leadership positions in their field. Since FLEX I (2012-13) during which 8 women faculty were included, six subsequent cohorts to our current group in FLEX VII have experienced this program. Over 104 women faculty have participated, uniformly moved closer to their personal and professional goals, and facilitated opportunities to mentor and sponsor all colleagues, including women.
FLEX: A Professional Development Program for Women Faculty of the School of Medicine is a customized program that provides training and skills development to help talented women faculty advance their careers and prepare for leadership opportunities. Through a series of workshops and coaching sessions, FLEX provides executive leadership training to build competencies in communication, leadership and executive presence.
- Increase the number of women in leadership positions
- Empower women to pursue national and international career opportunities
- Decrease the attrition rate of high-achieving women, thereby increasing the proportion of women at higher academic ranks
- Develop a leadership pipeline of skilled and qualified women
- Serve as a national model for other academic organizations
- Become a destination site for leadership development for faculty in other academic medical centers