Leadership Certificate Program

Starting in May 2024

The emPOWERment Institute™ is a transformational leadership development program for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) professionals who aspire to leadership roles and want to grow the skillset, mindset, and heartset to lead diverse teams with courage while unapologetically showing up as their authentic selves.

This leadership development program centers the unique experiences of BIPOC individuals, empowering them to effectively grow their capacity to lead. We are heartened to see organizations doubling down on antiracism goals, and this program provides a powerful way to diversify talent pipelines. In turn, we will begin to see more diversity of lived experiences, equity-mindedness, and inclusive decision-making at the helm of key initiatives. Upon completion, learners will have developed a sustainable action plan for embedding transformational leadership as a part of their daily experience, including the prioritization of self-care and setting healthy boundaries.

Drawn from the wisdom in Mary-Frances Winters’ best-selling book Black Fatigue: How Racism Erodes the Mind, Body, and Spirit, and other resources, this experience will encourage professionals of color to flow from fatigue to fullness.

Who is this program for?

The emPOWERment Institute™ is open to early to mid-career BIPOC professionals who aspire to move into leadership roles or progress into higher-level leadership roles. This certificate builds and affirms core competencies needed to navigate the intricacies of leading and thriving in predominantly white spaces. Using an asset rather than deficit framework, learners will learn to move boldly into their inherent power. While each cultural group (e.g., Black, Latine, Asian, Indigenous, multiracial) has different history with assimilation or acculturation, the commonality is a minoritized experience where they are “othered” and kept from progressing in organizations. Many BIPOC may be susceptible to internalized oppression, learned helplessness, and a general “divide and conquer ideology” perpetuated by the dominant culture. This program seeks to build coalitions, while honoring the unique experiences of each group. The program utilizes an innovative pod-coaching strategy to allow for community building among affinity groups for sharing and learning.

Need help advocating to attend?

Are you requesting support from your organization to attend? We've created a request letter template for you to customize and send to your organization. Download this letter here

How does this program serve BIPOC individuals?

Traditional leadership development programs typically rely on dominant culture narratives and overlook the realities of BIPOC professionals in the workplace who face daily microaggressions and other more serious inequities. Such programs also ignore African-, Eastern-, Indigenous-, and Latine-inspired leadership styles that may come more naturally to BIPOC employees and bring additional value to the organization. Our program helps you build the skills and capabilities needed to lead diverse teams while navigating predominantly white spaces, advancing your career in a way that prioritizes healing, activates personal agency, and celebrates your authentic self. The award-winning global faculty created a high-impact, engaging experiential learning program that builds skillsets to lead and influence organizational cultures to become more just and equitable.

How does this program support organizational success?

Leaders in predominately white organizations have been lamenting for decades that there are too few BIPOC in the leadership ranks. Leadership development programs aimed at cultural assimilation rather than cultural adaptation have not succeeded in changing the situation. It is well-documented that diverse thinking and decision-making leads to better organizational outcomes. Grow and develop your leadership pipeline by empowering BIPOC professionals with the skillset, mindset, and heartset to unleash their innate talent. Your organization will make tangible progress toward its diversity and inclusion goals with employees who graduate from this program leadership-ready and prepared to help your organization thrive without compromising their authentic selves.

Mary-Frances Winters

Founder and CEO, The Winters Group

Program Chairs

The award-winning international BIPOC faculty created a high-impact, engaging experiential learning program that builds skillsets around cultural understanding, trust, conflict resolution, bridging across differences, influence, and strategies for self-care and healing in the workplace. They have designed this program from their deep lived experiences and can identify with your journey.

Dr. Terrence Harewood

Principal Strategist, Cultural Competence and Intercultural Communication, The Winters Group

Get a preview of the schedule:

Program Kickoff

  • May 16, 2024 (10am – 5pm EST with a 1-hour break)
  • Community, connection, and grounding. Learners will be introduced to the program, faculty, expectations, and meet their learning pod partners.

Cultivating a Robust Sense of Self as a Leader

  • June 27, 2024 (2pm – 5pm EST)
  • Learners will examine their own cultural identities and its influence on how they experience the workplace as people of color and how they impact their capacity to lead.

Trust and Conflict Across Differences

  • August 1, 2024 (2pm – 5pm EST)
  • Learners will leave with an understanding of how their and other cultural groups build trust and resolve conflict in the workplace and enhance their leadership ability with strategies for bridging.

Demystifying Internalized Oppression and its Impact on Your Leadership Success

  • September 5, 2024 (2pm – 5pm EST)
  • Learners will interrogate and learn strategies for interrupting dominant cultural norms and narratives that compromise healthy racial identity and undermine culturally informed leadership styles.

Beyond Survival – Thriving

  • October 10, 2024 (2pm – 5pm EST)
  • Learners will explore strategies for moving beyond assimilation and imposter syndrome in the workplace. Learners will also learn new skills to enhance their leadership capacity.

Personal Agency and Healthy Boundaries in the Workplace

  • November 14, 2024 (2pm – 5pm EST)
  • Learners will develop action plans for prioritizing mental well-being and healthy boundaries in their career and leadership pursuits.

Preparing for the Transformation

  • January 16, 2025 (2pm – 5pm EST)
  • Learners will have the opportunity to work with a small group to consider exhibition design, what change will look like, who should be involved, and what type of accountability is needed for sustainability.

Wrap Up

  • February 27, 2025 (10am – 5pm EST with a 1-hour break)
  • What have we learned, and where do we go from here? Featuring participants’ exhibition.


The emPOWERment Institute™ is open to early to mid-career BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) professionals who aspire to move into leadership roles or progress into higher-level leadership roles. This is a program that is carefully and intentionally created for BIPOC individuals; it is not a space for aspiring allies. Whether you are just starting your career and looking to develop leadership skills, or you are in a leadership position and wish to refine and enhance your skills to advance further in your career, this program will support you.

To maximize the experience of this program, we have a cap of 30 participants. 

The cost of this 9-month accredited leadership certificate program is $7,500. Limited financial fellowships are available (more on this in the below FAQ). 

The Winters Group has set aside funds to support a limited number of learners who need financial assistance to participate in the program. If you are able to pay the tuition amount in full, either individually or through support of your organization, we ask you to do so in order to allow us to prioritize funds for those who would not be able to attend without financial assistance. Requests for financial assistance can be made during the registration process or by clicking here. All requests for financial assistance must be received by September 4, 2023. Requestors will be notified of any award amounts by September 18, 2023, and must confirm participation by September 29, 2023, to reserve a seat in the program. Those that receive financial assistance can choose to pay any remaining balance in full at time of acceptance, or can request to pay in 4 installments. All balances are due by January 31, 2024.

Yes, the sessions will be recorded and available to participants.

While the live experience is part of the value of the program, we understand that things come up. To receive the certification, participants can only miss up to two sessions. The kickoff and wrap-up sessions are mandatory.