Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership

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About Us

The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian educational organization that provides ethical leadership training and professional development for women. Too often, success has been measured in terms of the accumulation of power and wealth with almost no consideration of how these accomplishments have been achieved. Ethical leadership is concerned with the means as well as the ends to personal and professional achievements. As such, Woodhull has developed a community that encourages women to lead with honesty, respect, courage and compassion; to strive for the common ground in decision-making and to share in community service.

The Institute defines ethical leadership as the compassionate use of power with attention to:

  • Community Service.
  • Mediation, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution.
  • Financial and Economic Literacy.
  • Effective and Ethical Speaking.

At Woodhull we understand that all issues are “women’s” issues from social justice to education, from the constitution to the economy, from science and politics to mathematics. To that end, Woodhull has reached out to women experts in all fields. Woodhull Fellows, Associates and Scholars do not share a single partisan or political position; they stand across the political spectrum. What they do share is the commitment to raise issues in a conscientious way, to encourage open debate, to challenge and enlighten public discussion in America.

Woodhull Women are making this a better world for us all by:

  • Establishing successful profit and not-for-profit corporations.
  • Publishing their books, articles and op-ed pieces.
  • Appearing on screen, stage and television.
  • Raising ethical children.
  • Leading corporations and parent associations.
  • Being elected to public office.


The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership originated in September 1997 when author and lecturer Naomi Wolf and current events KGO radio producer Margot Magowan came together to address their shared concerns regarding the future of American’s young women. Less than a year later, Naomi and Margot were joined by four remarkable women leaders from divergent social, ethnic and racial backgrounds. They were all united in their commitment to expand opportunities for the next generation of women. The group agreed that young women need greater guidance, skills and mentoring to support their leadership paths. This group dialogue led to the birth of the Woodhull Institute, a global community of women leaders. The Founding Board understood Virginia Woolf’s need for a “Room of Her Own.” They took this concept one step further and purchased an incredible retreat center in Ancramdale, New York, so that women would have a true home of their own. Woodhull’s retreat center is a place to grow, to develop new goals, and to infuse ideas with strength and empowerment.