Gender and Intersectional Network Series (GAINS)

A Leadership Workshop for Professional Students

Gender inequality has significant effects on leadership disparities, but it interacts with race, indigeneity, sexuality, and other cross-cutting forms of inequality to create challenges to leadership that will be experienced differently by individuals with different identities. How do we address these leadership disparities?

The Gender and Intersectional Network Series (GAINS) leadership workshop series provides professional students with the tools to succeed as leaders by building on their personal strengths and diverse experiences. Through case studies, group discussions, self reflection, and simulations that encourage peer learning, students develop their leadership capacity and build the knowledge needed to transform institutions to address formal and informal forms of bias. Participants also build a network of practice that will serve them as they advance in their professional careers. 

Course Details

GAINS is a one-credit leadership course that meets for four 2.5-hour workshops per semester. Led by the Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, the course is open to professional students across the University of Minnesota and is offered every other year. 

Organized by the Center's faculty director Christina Ewig, each workshop is led or co-led by community experts who seek to provide participating students with the practical skills to think intersectionally, navigate systematic hierarchies, and overcome personal leadership obstacles in their future careers. 

Interested students can sign up for the course through the normal class registration process. Contact [email protected] with questions.

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Fall 2020 series

September 18, 2020: Introduction to Leadership and Intersectionality 

This session focuses on establishing the key concepts of intersectionality and leadership. Students will review the concept of intersectionality and consider how personal experiences with intersecting inequalities impact personal goals and achievements, as well as how others view their leadership. Led by Humphrey School professor and CWGPP faculty director Christina Ewig.

October 9, 2020: Intersectional Barriers, Authentic Leadership and Institutional Transformation 

This session introduces students to a deeper understanding of intersectionality and how identity can impact leadership style and leadership opportunities. The workshop focuses on authentic leadership and its relationship to institutional transformation. Led by Anita Patel, Leadership Programs Director at the Bush Foundation.

November 13, 2020: Changing the Culture of White Supremacy and “Network Weaving”

This session explores the culture of white supremacy and strategies to stop its perpetuation. Students explore the gendered, racialized and ablest nature of traditional networking and self-promotional frameworks, learn to apply network weaving principles within a racial justice framework to build effective relationships, and identify ways to strengthen relationships and networks through "closing triangles” and complex reciprocity. Led by Donte Curtis, CEO of Catch Your Dream Consulting.

December 11, 2020: Individual and Organizational Well-Being 

In this workshop, students gain a deeper understanding of how trauma, toxic stress, and adverse childhood experiences impact individual and organizational health. They learn practical skills to reduce fight/flight/freeze reactivity and enhance cognitive functioning, creativity, and problem-solving. Led by Suzanne Koeplinger, director of the Catalyst Initiative at The Minneapolis Foundation. 

Spring 2021 series

January 29, 2020: Introduction to Leadership, Intersectionality, and Institutional Bias 

This workshop focuses on intersectionality and institutional barriers to leadership success. Students begin to understand institutional bias and from where it stems. They also develop strategies to overcome institutional biases. Led by Humphrey School professor and CWGPP faculty director Christina Ewig.

Check back soon for details on additional workshops.

Previous GAINS offerings

Fall 2018 

  • Intersectional Barriers, Authentic Leadership and Institutional Transformation (with Anita Patel)
  • Intersectional Barriers and Decision-Making Criteria (with Terri Thao)
  • Individual and Organizational Well-Being (with Suzanne Koepplinger)
  • Wrapping it Up and Bringing it Together (with Octavia Smith and Debra Fitzpatrick)

Spring 2019

  • Beyond Transactional Networking to “Network Weaving” (with Sindy Morales Garcia and Kirsten Johnson)
  • Intersectionally Focused Negotiation (with Margaret Anderson Kelliher)
  • Communication With Storytelling Tools (with Eleanore Wesserle)
  • Wrapping it Up, Bringing it Together and Becoming a Change Agent (with Humphrey School alumni)