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.

Expand all

Spring 2021 series

January 29, 2021: Don’t Complain, Activate! 

In this session, students will increase their understanding of intersectionality and leadership, reflect on their own leadership values and goals in relation to the journeys of other leaders, and learn about community activation. Led by consultant and civil rights activist Leslie Redmond.

February 26, 2021: Institutionalizing Inclusion 

This session examines underlying conceptual debates on gender, race, intersectionality and leadership. Students will begin to recognize how these have played out in personal experience and impact personal goals and achievement, and understand why diversity is good for organizations. Students will begin to understand institutional bias and from where it stems, along with strategies to overcome it. Led by Humphrey School professor and CWGPP faculty director Christina Ewig.

March 19, 2021: Communicating with Storytelling Tools

In this session, students will increase awareness of the importance of aspirational narrative in how they communicate their work, and increase their ability to apply visioning to your communications. They will leave with new storytelling tools and frameworks. Led by Dreams to Power founder Eleonore Wesserle.

April 16, 2021: Wrapping it Up, Bringing it Together, and Becoming a Change Agent 

A panel of Humphrey School alumni with a variety of leadership profiles and life experiences will share their perspectives on questions generated by workshop participants.

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. 

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)