The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership
Fellows Program Curriculum
Too many women leaders engaged in important, world-changing work do not have the skills to advocate through the mainstream media, to ensure that their ideas influence large audiences. The Woodhull Fellows Program will teach women leaders to preach beyond the choir, giving them skills to make significant inroads into mainstream media — to get their books and articles published, to speak on talk radio and TV programs, and to use social media effectively. The workshops will inspire ethical women leaders to use the media, providing them with the practical skills to get out their messages effectively.
All workshops are taught by professional experts in the field.
All workshops also have an ethical leadership component. The program also includes a dedicated workshop that will explore ethical leadership in the media.
Trainings will be conducted over three days retreats; via online classes and through individual coaching and long-term mentor pairing.
Using Media to Influence the World
This workshop is an introduction to all media forms that will prime Fellows to learn more specific strategies in following workshops.
Is the media biased against women or are women biased against the media?
Too many women leaders believe that speaking on talk radio programs, blogging, commenting on news sites, writing op-eds or letters to the editor is a waste of time. They are often “above it all”, too smart, too busy, or too intimidated. These women leaders don’t take full advantage of media opportunities that are open to them and are missing out on influencing wide audiences. Talk radio programs, op-eds, feature articles in magazines and social media are some ways women can get their important messages to more people. This workshop will present an overview of the media, including the general “psychology” of media along with the “psychology” of women leaders, and the conflicts that have kept too many women from becoming media leaders and experts.
The workshop will clearly illustrate to Fellows that it’s not so much a sexist media that is blocking women, but often the reticence to risk putting their ideas forward. Fellows will confront their biases and learn how to overcome them in order to take full advantage of the media that is open to them. They will learn the skills to advocate for their causes in a way that’s compelling to media professionals. They will also learn how not to “talk too much” or “confide” in a media professional and stay in control of their messages. They will learn what “off the record” really means, how not to ramble, to be concise, stay calm, keep their cool, to pause before responding, to keep on point, and other skills.
The workshop will explore “What is an expert?” and why men with the same level of experience, or less, tend to voice their opinions more frequently, focused, and confidently than women do. The workshop will examine the ethics of media: Who can call herself an expert and why? How do you get the media’s attention in an ethical way?
This workshop includes exercises to teach women basic media skills, such as how to link the issue they care about to a front-page news story. The workshop will give Fellows the confidence to put their ideas forward in a public format in a way that producers and editors will respond to enthusiastically. Fellows will learn about demographics. They will understand that the job of media professionals is to make their shows entertaining. They will learn how professionals in the media sell their shows to sponsors and to the public, so women leaders will know how to “sell” the issues they care about to the media.
Fellows will learn the general etiquette of dealing with media professionals most effectively in all mediums, including how to approach a producer or editor, how to pitch and how to respond to media request.
How to Write a Press Release
Too many important events don’t get covered by the media, because women leaders don’t have the skills to write a compelling press release. This workshop will teach Fellows how to write a press release geared toward engaging producers, editors and eyeballs. Fellows will learn all the information that must be included (who, what, when, where, bold face names, a quote and, most importantly, a news hook.) Then they will learn exactly how to present information in a way that is most likely to get their event media attention. They will learn how to match their issue with the appropriate and specific shows, hosts, producers and editors.
This workshop will deconstruct social media, how it works and how to take advantage of it including blogging and the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Fellows will go over some of the different social media platforms and look at some strategies for success. Fellows will learn how to write compelling blogs that cover the issues they care about and the news stories of the day, in order to have the best chance of getting picked up by other blogs and sites. Fellows will learn how to comment on other blogs in order to get more traffic to their own blogs. They’ll learn how to get eyeballs to their blogs and how to make their messages “go viral” to reach the most people. Fellows also will learn about blog talk radio—what it is and how to use it. They’ll develop strategies on how to use social media as an advocacy tool to build constituencies.
The workshop also will go over the ethics of social media as far as sourcing, responding to nasty or aggressive commenters and how to blog with integrity. We will also discuss ethics, disclosures and transparency when you are your own editor and publisher as well as trying to make a living.
The workshop will take a look at when you do and don’t need to use social media, how to partake in it, but not let it overwhelm your life. Many women leaders don’t seem to know exactly how much time to put into social media and why, all of these questions will be addressed.
Social Media Intensive
This workshop will cover technical aspects of getting eyeballs to your site including: search engine optimization training, reciprocal link and button exchange, blog ads and other methods to generate revenue for self sustaining independent media
DIY Digital Media Training
This workshop will teach how to use personal computers to produce radio and TV-ready media of the highest, most professional level. Participants will learn how to package brief messages that have high impact, across text, radio/audio, video, TV, Web and print media.
Op-ed Writing/ Publishing
The Op-Ed pages of major newspapers are read by diplomats, businesspeople, scholars and those in the highest levels of government. They can sway public opinion and change the world through them. Op-eds also attract the attention of television producers, book agents and policy makers. A single op-ed can make the writer part of a national debate. And it’s the one section of the newspaper dedicated to outside contributors — including those without publishing experience. This workshop is designed to show Fellows how to write about an issue in a way that will make a difference. Fellows will learn how to generate winning ideas, how to craft a powerful argument, how to use news hooks, how to address or preempt potential critics, how to pitch an idea and how to frame an issue to make your point and persuade your readers. We will explore ways to write more broadly, to think bigger and to make a bigger impact on the world. This workshop is not just about writing op-eds — it’s about empowering you to find your voice and make a difference
Feature Magazine Writing
Many nonfiction writers are taught to disdain publications in middle brow markets such as women’s magazines, Sunday supplements and specialty magazines. However, these publications influence millions and there is room in many of them for a good writer to tackle important and timely subjects. Instructors will teach Fellows how to pitch an editor by phone and by email; how to write a query letter; how to identify an important or exciting subject that is likely to engage a readership; how to research and write a classic 3,000-word magazine feature; and how to pursue the etiquette of the editorial and publication cycle of a mainstream magazine.
Nonfiction Book Proposals: How to Write and Sell
In this workshop, the instructor will teach the Fellows how to take a subject they are passionate about and generate an exciting, marketable, serious nonfiction book proposal. The instructor will cover the proposal itself, the chapter outline, the bio and the marketing section. She will walk the participants through the cycle of submission to an agent; the agent’s submission of the proposal to multiple houses; the bidding process; the signing of the contract; the writing cycle; the editing and copy editing and fact checking cycle; the publishing cycle; and the publicity phase of the hardback non-fiction book. She will show participants what the common mistakes are that writers make in crafting book proposals and will demonstrate the difference between an un-publishable and a highly commercial book proposal both of which are based on an identical subject. This workshop will also cover an overview of the publishing business, including ebooks.
Writing Your Book: Discipline, Skills and Time-management
Everyone says they want to write a book, but who actually does it? This workshop will cover how to overcome blocks and obstacles, debunk myths about inspiration and “artists.” The workshop will give skills to keep up regular, sustained high writing production.
Basic Ethics of Negotiation and the Art and Science of “The Deal.”
This workshop will cover ethics and expectations, an overview of how to get a book deal, radio syndication deal and TV deal, what the deal consists of, how to negotiate the best deal for an author/host and the legal and financial aspects of contracts.
Talk Radio Debate
Too many women leaders avoid talk radio, considering it a bastion of right wing media, or decide they are “above it all.” Talk radio has been influencing politics ever since it helped elect Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. This workshop will show that talk radio is actually one of the most accessible mediums for women. It will teach Fellows the simple steps to take to get your issue on air. Fellows will learn tips on how to get a producer’s attention and to move to the front of the caller line. They also will learn how to get booked as a scheduled guest on a talk radio show, and how to win the debate with hosts and callers. They will learn the ethics of dealing with nasty callers or aggressive hosts.
Fellows will learn how to get booked as guests on top-rated TV programs, how to use the front pages of newspapers to directly link their issues to current events. Fellows will gain the confidence and skills to approach producers, making winning pitches for their issues and events. Fellows will learn about the different networks, programs and hosts that their issues are appropriate for. They will also learn basic skills of TV presentation: the etiquette of TV debate, when to interrupt, when not to, how to have fun in the whole process. They will learn what to do to get asked back and become regular contributors to programs.
Ethics and the Media
This workshop will be taught by a panel of professionals in the media fields, including producers from TV and radio, editors, bloggers, agents, publishers, etc. This panel will give more detailed information on how to debate ethically and effectively—avoiding personal attacks, sticking to the issues, not demonizing your opponent.
Fellows will think and learn about whether it’s most important to “be right” or persuade people to get behind their cause. The panel will give tips and strategies to deal ethically with opponents, such as beginning by complimenting her on her achievements or progress. The panel will teach Fellows how to set the tone of the show and stay in charge.
Ethical leadership is always taught at Woodhull. Ethical leadership means the use of courage and compassion and a respect for equality; ethical leaders see all people as equal. Ethical leadership is not the power of stepping on others, but of shining a light for others. Ethical leadership is also about being fearless in doing what is right. The panel will underscore these ideas and give specifics about how to “walk their talk” in all mediums. Many women are afraid of speaking up. There is no physical danger, of course, but fear of ostracism, rejection, being alone, being undervalued, being called names, being mocked or not knowing the “right” answer is common. Women are often hesitant to trust the power of conscience, to speak up for what they believe, risking criticism, ridicule and isolation that so often follow. All that criticism and ridicule will certainly follow! Especially in talk radio and social media. For ethical leaders, there must be an inner compass — a faith in truth and ultimately a faith that they will be protected by sticking to what they believe in. This direction gives ethical leaders courage in adversity. This workshop will teach women how to access their confidence at all times, when on TV or when confronted with hostility. The panel will teach Fellows how to always be courageous, persistent, calm and ethical.
(taught at all Woodhull retreats)
Research has shown that speaking in public is reported to be one of the scariest things that people are asked to do. At Woodhull we understand how important it is for women to be able to deliver a clear and powerful speech. This workshop is designed to help Fellows powerfully advocate for themselves and the world they want to see. Our goal is to create strong women leaders – with strong speaking voices. In this workshop, participants will learn hands-on skills that will teach them better ways to communicate.
This workshop will include individual coaching to deal with some of the emotional roadblocks that get in the way of presenting a powerful speech. Fellows will be provided with a streaming video of their presentations. These videos will help to reinforce the individual coaching pointers that the Fellows receive during the presentation.
(taught at all Woodhull retreats)
In order to be effective, ethical leaders, women need to understand their own unique identities; they need to know and be comfortable with who they are and what challenges, energizes and nurtures their identities. Carol Gilligan’s seminal work, In A Different Voice, reveals the importance of women truly understanding who they are in the way that they speak. She asserts, “The failure to see the different reality of women’s lives and to hear the differences in their voices stems in part from the assumption that there is a single mode of social experience and interpretation. ” The Woodhull Institute’s voice and identity workshop addresses this challenge by teaching women how to actively understand and celebrate their different voices and the expressions of their differences. This process is initiated by our focus on self-reflection. Through journaling, small group discussion, time alone and time spent outside with inspiring Mother Nature, participants begin to think about and ask themselves the important and often difficult, overlooked questions of identity. These include: “Who are you?” “What are your values?” “How do you identify yourself?” “Do you identify yourself through your parents, your boyfriends, your girlfriends or through yourselves?” “What are your earliest memories about your self?” and “How did you learn about who you are?”
Participants are directed to analyze what affects their identifications. Then they begin to look at how their identifications act as obstacles toward their ethical leadership dreams. With time allocated to these paramount questions, women can begin to unfold and understand the layers of their identity. This self-analysis contributes to a greater sense of direction and ultimately an enhancement of leadership capability and potential.
After these provoking questions are sufficiently thought out, women can begin to learn how their voices communicate their identities. Through an analysis of the participants’ earliest experiences of voice, and the voices of their parents and mentors, participants will begin to understand what shapes their voice. They will learn to understand and manage what inhibits or contributes to their voice. Participants will learn how their voice affects the presentation of their identities. Through constructive criticism of film clips, participants learn how different expressions of voice affect the way identity is presented. Women begin to realize that a tentative voice cannot reflect a strong, confident identity; while a strong, engaging voice does. From this workshop, participants will experience and learn how clear, effective, assertive voices can garner power and affiliation — some of the necessary tools required for effective leadership.