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Wurtele Center for Leadership

Student in a classroom

The Wurtele Center for Leadership strives to help students realize their leadership potential, as well as discover the leadership that exists in everyday life. Through a variety of workshops, intensives, speakers and trainings, the Wurtele Center ensures that all students at Smith have the opportunity to develop their leadership skills and in doing so, realize that who they are is who they need to be.


Phoebe Reese Lewis Leadership Program

The Lewis Leadership program is an intimate cohort program developing the foundations of ethical leadership: self-awareness, courage, purpose and communication. Beginning in fall 2018, Lewis Leaders will convene to learn skills in each of these domains. During a J-Term leadership intensive, students will travel to New York City to continue skill-building, connect personally with global change makers, and discover one of the most extraordinary cities on the planet. Directed by bestselling author Rachel Simmons, the Lewis Leadership program will focus on building close-knit community, courage through vulnerability, and practice by doing.


Last year’s Lewis Leaders visited:

  • Jamia Wilson, Activist and Publisher of the Feminist Press

  • Playwright and actor Diana Oh ‘08, creator of My Lingerie Play

  • The Novo Foundation, the world’s leading funder of initiatives fighting violence against women and girls

  • Girl Up, a global leadership initiative positioning girls to be leaders in the movement for gender equality

  • The Narratives Project at Smith College

  • Trapeze School of New York

  • Rattlestick Theater

Apply here (deadline 9/28/18):

For photos from the 2018 Lewis Program, visit:

Leadership Workshops

These sessions require no preregistration and are open to all Smith students, as well as the community. Covering a wide variety of topics, these workshops explore the concept of leadership and build practical skills. Workshops are presented online and in person. 2018 calendar coming soon. 

Failing Well

Failing Well is a set of programs dedicated to the discussion of failure, risk taking and mistakes. A partnership between the Wurtele Center and the Lazarus Center for Career Development, our mission is to increase student resilience by teaching, telling stories, and opening a campus conversation about failure.

What does it mean to fail well?
  • When you can fail well, the world opens up to you. There's no challenge you can't pursue, no risk you can't take, because you know how to get back up when you're knocked down. Your potential for change, for possibility and for success as you define it becomes limitless.
  • 'When you can fail well, your self-worth doesn't ride on your success. You know that you are enough as you are, no matter what—and don't have to lose your sense of self when things don't work out.
  • When you can fail well, you have the courage to ask for help when you need it—and leverage every resource available to get the job done. You have the ability to be vulnerable about your limits and authentic with your peers—and forge powerful networks as a result.
How do I learn to fail well?

Failing well is a skill—a set of skills, actually. Skills are like muscles: the more you flex them, the stronger they get. Our programs will give you the opportunity to start learning and failing well.

Past Failing Well Workshops

To get a sense of some of the topics covered in the Failing Well Program, here are a few past workshops:

  • Self-Promotion for People Who Hate to Brag
  • Communication Norms Beyond the Bubble
  • The Art of Small Talk and Networking
  • Imposter Phenomenon: Why So Many High Acheivers Think They're Frauds
  • How to Quit Overthinking

We welcome students to invite us to do workshops on the following topics:

  • Being brave
  • Conflict negotiation
  • Everyday leadership
  • Failing well
  • Impacting social change
  • Leadership through co-curriculars
  • Leadership types
  • Public speaking
  • Self care
  • Smalltalk
  • Strengths
  • Teambuilding

And more! Contact us.

About BOLD Women's Leadership Network

The BOLD Network is focused on developing courageous leadership among young women within higher education who possess the skills necessary to move discourse forward on some of our most challenging social issues. Rooted within an intergenerational mentoring network of women from all sectors, BOLD Scholars aim to leverage their own identities, strengths, and collective knowledge to positively impact social change and foster inclusive campus environments. The BOLD Network is committed to supporting young women from all backgrounds and especially those who have been significantly underrepresented in higher education in terms of socioeconomic class, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship, and ability.

Program Background

Smith is thrilled to announce our partnership in the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network along with California State University at Fullerton, Middlebury College and Rutgers University-Newark, which serves as the hub for the program and national team. BOLD is an exciting new initiative established by the Pussycat Foundation in the spirit of Helen Gurley Brown as an intergenerational network across four institutions that have demonstrated commitment to collaboration, innovation, diversity and inclusion. BOLD will provide students with scholarships and funding to engage in learning abroad, professional networking, career preparation, leadership summits and project development.

Program Launch & Highlights

BOLD launched in January 2017 with its inaugural cohort of dynamic, engaged and passionate student leaders. 

Curriculum & Cohort Model

Each BOLD cohort meets weekly with the faculty mentor. Mentors will follow a curriculum focused on intergroup dialogue and leadership development, community transformation projects and group cohesion. The aim of this curriculum is to provide a common ideology, skill set, framework and structure for the implementation and execution of the BOLD program across network campuses.

Campus Transformation Projects

Each BOLD cohort is responsible for implementing a specific and tangible transformation project on campus that reflects the mission of the BOLD network. In addition, BOLD cohorts will identify major quantifiable goals related to campus inclusion that they would like to accomplish by the end of their BOLD experience. These goals may be related to implementing and creating new campus initiatives or enhancing already existing programs. BOLD campus transformation projects will be focused on creating spaces for discourse on campus related to challenging issues of inequity and should focus on engaging cross-sections of the campus community including students, faculty from multiple disciplines, and staff from various departments. BOLD Scholars will design, organize, and plan transformation projects during the second semester of their junior year in weekly meetings with their faculty mentors. These projects will be the signature "product" of the program on campus.

International Immersion

The first cohort of 40 BOLD Scholars across four institutions had an international immersion experience in the summer of 2017. Students traveled in mixed groups assigned to one of four sites. The trip occurred over the course of a three-week period and focused on "local citizenship in a global world" at an established program abroad. The goal of the international immersion experience is to reinforce in a global context, the issues of social equity explored through the BOLD program and foster the growth of BOLD Scholars as change agents locally and in the greater global community. Scholars will be prepared for their international experience and equipped with cultural context and a specific set of learning objectives in order to enrich the experience and connect it to the program mission.

BOLD Alumna Fellowships

With the goal of full employment across the BOLD Network, each young woman will graduate from college with the opportunity to apply for a Helen Gurley Brown BOLD Fellowship, which would provide funding of up to $40,000 per BOLD Scholar for employment at an organization that embodies the values of the BOLD vision.

BOLD Convenings

Leadership Summit

A biannual leadership summit will be held in New York City at the Heart Corporation (the parent company of the Pussycat Foundation). The Summit will include BOLD Scholars, national program staff, faculty mentors, as well as women leaders in the BOLD Network across sectors. Themes and issues related to bold women's leadership in the workforce, being a change agent, and social inequity on a national and global scale will be explored by women across multiple fields, sectors and generations. Themes related to inclusion and equity on BOLD college/university campuses will be discussed and each of the campus transformation projects will be detailed in presentations by each of the four cohorts of BOLD Scholars.

Community Retreat

A community-building retreat for the new cohorts will take place each year at a convenient location. The purpose of this retreat is to strengthen community across different BOLD cohorts and deepen a collective understanding of the BOLD mission and program on campus. 


Annie Cohen
BOLD Women’s Leadership Network
Program Site Coordinator

BOLD on Facebook

As a component of BOLD, the BridgeUp program was designed to foster mentorship relationships between BOLD and BridgeUp scholars. As we learned through the implementation of BOLD, time and intention is key in implementing a successful program, as is collaboration. Through BOLD, relationships have been fostered with various campus partners (faculty, staff and administration). We saw the opportunity to use the BridgeUp program as a way to build on Smith’s existing and successful BRIDGE program, while also partnering with the Wurtele Center for Leadership. Therefore,  BridgeUp Smith is a collaborative scholarship opportunity sponsored by all three entities: the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, The Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Wurtele Center for Leadership.

BridgeUp scholars will have the opportunity to engage in workshops and trainings to gain and develop leadership skills. They will meet weekly as a cohort team to engage in a leadership development curriculum focused on social change and identity. Additionally, a mentor component has been added where students will be broken up into 4 groups and assigned to one of 4 mentors: Ana Devlin Gauthier, L'Tanya Richmond, Whitley Hadley and Annie Cohen. We are offering this as an opportunity to have the students connected with a staff member 1-1. Lastly, this program will foster relationships between Bridge-Up scholars and BOLD scholars to facilitate connections across programs.

BridgeUp is envisioned to serve as a pipeline to foster leadership skills for students that eventually want to apply for positions such as the BLISS program, leadership positions, or other programs created by the Wurtele Center, OMA, or others.  We believe that the program we have created will help them to build that solid foundation in an innovative way not yet seen at Smith.


Throughout the year we bring a variety of speakers to campus to help students expand their leadership horizons. Our next speaker will be Tarana Burke, founder of the “Me Too’ Movement, March 20, 2019, at 7 p.m. 

Past Speakers
  • Jamia Wilson (left), writer, commentator and feminist activist; executive director and publisher of Feminist Press at City University of New York, January 2018
  • Jamie Lee ’11 (center), negotiation and leadership coach with SheNegotiates; specialist in working with self-starters to help them confront the fear of asking so they can own their negotiation prowess, November 2017
  • Tara Mohr (right), author of Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create and Lead and an expert on women’s leadership and well-being, October 2017

Photos of Jamia Wilson, Jamie Lee and Tara Mohr

Leadership Awards

Leadership Awards

The Student Leadership Awards recognize and honor the contributions that student leaders, student employees, recognized student organizations, club sports and house communities make to student life at Smith and the global community. Nominations for the 2019 awards are now open! To nominate, please go to the Google form. Nominations are due 3/17. 

Faculty & Staff Leadership Awards

The Faculty & Staff Leadership Awards recognize and honor the contributions that faculty and staff advisers make to student life at Smith and the global community. All nominees must have made a positive contribution to the Smith community and have gone above and beyond the call of duty. See full descriptions of the awards

Adviser of the Year

This award recognizes a faculty or staff adviser who advises recognized student organization or a coach for a recognized club sport. This person embodies the ideals of working with a dedicated group of students. Please note: This is NOT for academic advisers. Consideration for recognition is based on the following criteria:

  • Serves as an adviser to a recognized student organization or coach to a recognized club sport, and has done so for a minimum of one full semester.
  • Displays commitment to furthering the goals of the organization or club sport by giving excellent guidance and advice.
  • Plays an active role in the organization through participation in meetings, events and organization efforts.
Supervisor of the Year

This award recognizes a faculty or staff supervisor who oversees a student employee or employees on campus. This person embodies the ideals of working with students in an employment setting, valuing the work a student does outside of the classroom to complement their academic pursuits. Consideration for recognition is based on the following criteria:

  • Serves as a supervisor to student employees in an on campus office or department and has done so for a minimum of one full semester.
  • Displays commitment to furthering the professional development of students through meaningful work experiences.



Wurtele Center for Leadership
Clark Hall
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01060
Phone: 413-585-4937

Senior Leadership Coordinator:
Ana Devlin Gauthier

Leadership Development Specialist:
Rachel Simmons