Women's Leadership Program for
Women Who Have Overcome Adversity

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“Women who flee domestic violence situations often have no money and minimal job skills. Our programs give women and their families the support services they need to escape their violent living situation. Now with the Speak for Success Women’s Leadership Institute, we can take our support to the next level and insure that these women have the tools they need when they’re on their own to take care of themselves and their families by being successful in the workplace, and in life.”

Casey Gwinn, CEO, YWCA of San Diego County

Our Vision is to Give Women the Tools, Support, and Confidence to:

  • Set and achieve leadership goals
  • Be inspiring role models for their families and women everywhere
  • Stand up and speak out as advocates for the prevention of domestic
    violence and other issues
  • Receive promotions and career success
  • Start their own businesses
  • Become leaders in their communities, corporations, and non-profit organizations

Our long-term goal is to become a nationwide program that empowers more women to overcome adversity and reach their leadership potential in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors.

Program Curriculum

The Speak for Success Women’s Leadership Institute helps women to:

  • Identify leadership goals and develop action plans
  • Develop public speaking skills to be more comfortable and confident in all career/social/life situations
  • Learn and use assertive communication skills
  • Transform negative situations and beliefs to positive action and results by demonstrating positive acknowledgement of self and others
  • Learn professional attire and their own best style of dress
  • Build and manage their finances and credit
  • Demonstrate leadership skills by teaching and empowering women in the community

Dana Bristol-Smith, founder of Speak for Success, created the Women's Leadership Institute to help women build self-confidence by finding and using their voices for positive change in their lives and their communities.

“It’s hard to say who has benefited most from the program – the participants, or myself and my team of instructors. Our extraordinary graduates have inspired us with their courage and strength. Everyone involved in the project has fallen in love with our participants and has been deeply touched by their stories and their successes.”

The Women’s Leadership Institute Partners


Special thanks to Sempra Energy Foundation and our program host National University.







The Women’s Leadership Institute Founding Faculty

  • Dana Bristol-Smith, Professional Speaker, Trainer and Author
  • Helice Bridges, Professional Speaker, Trainer, Consultant and Author
  • Debbie Lousberg, Certified Career Coach, Trainer and Author
  • Donna Lange, M.C., Certified Career Coach
  • Beth Thorp, Certified Image Consultant, Professional Speaker and Trainer
  • Deborah Waitley, Ph.D., Professional Speaker and Trainer

2008 Program Graduates and Instructors

See our Women's Leadership video

If you'd like to be involved with us or find out more
about the Women's Leadership Institute
please email
or call
Dana Bristol-Smith: 760-726-5272

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Graduates Anna and Lana
with Jane Seymour