$3.1 million from The MasterCard Foundation will support the Center’s development and promotion of world-class leadership and management practices throughout the sector.
The MasterCard Foundation and WWB established the Center, which will work with the Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Creative Metier Limited, to design and deliver executive education programs focused on cultivating principled, visionary leaders in microfinance. WWB will also expand its pioneering work in building workforce diversity in microfinance institutions through the Center, partnering with a select set of leading microfinance institutions to expand opportunities for all qualified staff, regardless of gender.
The Center was founded in response to critical changes in microfinance—increased commercialization, decreased presence of women staff at all levels of microfinance institutions, and rapid growth. These changes demand skilled, trained leaders and managers. The Center’s offerings are available to men and women leaders and managers of WWB network members and the top 200 microfinance providers worldwide that demonstrate excellence as measured by the 2008 Composite Ranking of The Microfinance Information Exchange (The MIX).
Planned leadership programs organized by the Center include “Women in Leadership,” aimed at women CEOs and senior managers; “Advanced Leadership,” aimed at men and women leaders of the top 200 microfinance institutions; and one-on-one coaching for a small cadre of leaders with the greatest potential to effect change. The first “Women in Leadership” workshop is planned for January 2010 in Bangalore, India. Elements of the Center for Microfinance Leadership include:
- Leadership Programs: Workshops will target the top 200 institutions in the industry with the goal of training 200 senior executives over the next three years.
- Institutional Development: The Center will offer a suite of organizational development services that are designed to improve gender diversity in high-performing institutions, as well as help them improve their human resources capacity through a management development program for mid-level managers.
- Leadership Excellence Award: WWB will launch an annual awards program to honor institutions in its network that demonstrate excellence and a commitment to gender diversity. The winner will receive a $25,000 award to be used to advance leadership and build managerial capacity.
The Center’s programs reinforce WWB’s fundamental belief that by addressing one of the most serious risks facing the sector, that of leadership and management capacity, microfinance providers will be better equipped to achieve, and maintain a strong focus on, their dual objectives of financial stability and poverty alleviation.