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Empowering women to shape the future of Executive Education

UNICON Leadership Academy women graduates
% of women participants who attended ULA
Female UNICON Board Chairs (since 2006)
Women members in UNICON Committees

Board of Director Chairs


Kathryn Venne

Harvard Business School, 2005-06

Mónica Sacristán

Mónica Sacristán

ITAM, 2007-08


Melanie Weaver Barnett

University of Michigan, 2012-13
UNICON Executive Director (current)


Rochelle Weichman

MIT, 2013-14


Kelly Bean

UCLA, 2014-15


Cathy Shea

Babson College, 2016-17


Tina Narron

University of North Carolina Kenan Flagler,

Lise Hammergren

Lise Hammergren

BI Norwegian Business School, 2020-21


Jean Choy

University of Washington, 2023-2024

We asked, you answered: what does UNICON mean to you?


Jean Choy

University of Washington,
UNICON Board Chair 2023-2024
UNICON Board Member 2017-19, 2022-25

"As members of UNICON, you have the opportunity to create a roadmap for your journey alongside allies in the industry. I encourage you to reach out to me, one another, board members, and other groups to support you in the long game."

UNICON means a great deal to me – it has provided a growth journey, support group, and invaluable connections that advance better learning experiences for my clients as well as theirs. These relationships we build with one another as members of the consortium take time, effort, and intentionality, but with openness to learning and a desire to get involved, it’s a long game that will yield positive rewards. 

For me, this has manifested in new business opportunities, introductions to key content creators, raising the visibility of our School, and important insights into growth strategies in this space. I started with just attending conferences but as I met others with the same goals and struggles, attendance shifted from learning as an individual to a group of allies with empathetic ears who welcomed sharing of ideas.

Soon, I was more actively involved in a committee that made impactful decisions. The progression led to joining the Board and as Chair of the Board this year, I am humbled and excited to see such a high level of engagement.

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Tapping into a network of colleagues in 30+ countries

From promoting job vacancies across the world, to connecting executive education professionals via our conferences worldwide, virtual events, and online learning community, our consortium provides new knowledge, inspiration, perspectives, and opportunities. 


Priya Mistry

UBC Sauder School of Business

"UNICON has been instrumental in transforming my career trajectory from Europe to North America. The expansive global network of peers facilitated by UNICON can open doors to new job opportunities anywhere in the world"

UNICON truly embodies the spirit of collaboration and growth, offering a platform which encourages you to connect with peers to challenge the norm, push boundaries, and expand your global network. The insights from the research shared within the community have empowered me to make informed tactical and strategic decisions. Moreover, the diverse perspectives offered at the conferences held on different campuses worldwide have broadened my horizons, providing fresh insights and fostering meaningful connections.



Aisha Azhar

Suleman Dawood School of Business
UNICON Board Member 2023-2025
UNICON Research Committee Co-Chair 2023-24

"From the first interaction I had with UNICON people way back in 2012 in a TDC conference to being part of a very congenial and enterprising group at the board, I've had the fortune to know, collaborate and befriend with the best in EE across the globe"

I think the most powerful aspect of UNICON is its global footprint. From the very geographically diverse membership to benchmarking, learning communities to conversations happening in small groups around the year, UNICON has enabled me unique and focused interactions and access to EE professionals and strategists from different parts of the world, and I find that extremely valuable. I absolutely love the camaraderie, as well as the unique and EE-focused perspective I get in all my interactions.

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A collaborative, warm and open environment

UNICON is comprised of schools that share a passion for executive development. Among our members, we build a community based on respect and collaboration.  


Cathy Shea

Babson College
UNICON Board Member 2011-17
UNICON Board Chair 2016-17
UNICON Continuity Committee Member

"What UNICON has meant to me is deeply personal. A heartfelt thank you to the many women who have supported me, offered advice, and commiserated with me as we juggled our careers while navigating child rearing and elder care"

I am inspired by the amazing women who I have had the privilege to work side by side with over three decades of UNICON committee work, board meetings, dinners, lovely chats on bus rides to venues across the globe, ULA sessions and coffee groups. I will cherish these friendships always.


Lise Hammergren

BI Norwegian Business School
UNICON Board Member 2016-22
UNICON Board Chair 2020-21

"Come join us at our table!"

Relatively new to the industry, and completely new to UNICON, I took the elevator up to the top floor of the swanky Vancouver hotel where the opening reception dinner of the 2012 Team Development Conference was about to take place. Slightly nervous, I looked around the large ball room – when I heard someone call out to me: Come join us at our table! The group of people I shared a table with that evening has since become good friends and colleagues I can discuss shared challenges with. The people of UNICON provide the most important value of UNICON.


Shalini Bhatia

Stanford Graduate School of Business
UNICON Board Member 2020-26
UNICON Conference Committee Co-Chair 2023-24

"Beyond the content, the best conversations I had were on the long bus rides where we had time to get to know each other and talk about our industry. UNICON Conferences allowed me to have deeper conversations and build friendships that are long lasting".

As we celebrate International Women’s Month, I have reflected on what UNICON has meant to me throughout my career in Executive Education. Gratitude is the one word to sum it up. UNICON is a special membership organization that has provided an avenue for collaboration, mentorship and lifelong friendships. In 2011, I began my career in Executive Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. As a new employee, our Associate Dean, Gale Bitter, gave me the opportunity to attend the UNICON Team Development Conference hosted by Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia in 2012. With this first exposure to UNICON, I was excited to network with my peers from other global universities where we learned from each other and brought those learnings back to our teams. As I continued to develop my career in Executive Education, I was fortunate to find opportunities through UNICON to continue to grow and find amazing mentors.

Where feasible, with the support of my Associate Dean, Dave Weinstein, I started attending more conferences to be part of the UNICON ecosystem. My most memorable conference was the UNICON Directors’ Conference hosted by HBS in Bombay, India in 2017. Another memorable experience was attending the UNICON Leadership Academy in Monterey, Mexico in 2017 which broadened my horizons about how to lead within executive education and how to think about the various aspects of our business – strategy, sales/marketing, people, and operations. I am indebted to Monica Sacristan, Kelly Bean, and Cathy Shea for their support, mentorship and encouragement.

Also, I became involved with the UNICON Research Committee and helped shepherd a research paper on ROI in Executive Education in 2019. Having served on a committee, attending conferences and building relationships, these activities reinforced my desire to give back to our industry and the UNICON membership in a continued, meaningful way. I felt fortunate to be nominated, supported by Stanford, and selected to serve on the UNICON Board in 2020. With so much change occurring globally over the last few years, I continue to be grateful to flex the resiliency muscle and weather these situations with my fellow UNICON board members, Bill Scheurer, Melanie Weaver Barnett, Taryn Streed, Dan Collins, and Danielle Macedo to support our mission. We are poised to support our membership to stay relevant and ready for the future. Without UNICON, my mentors, and friends, I would not be the same person as I am today. With Gratitude.


Does your business school have a serious commitment to quality executive education and development and is interested in joining UNICON? Learn more about our application process, including membership criteria, policies, guidelines, and more.


Jane Crombleholme

Alliance Manchester Business School
UNICON Board Member 2022-28
UNICON Membership Committee Co-Chair 2023-24

"I have now been in the industry for over 25 years and, to be perfectly candid, I am sure I would not have stayed in the business without the support of my many UNICON colleagues. I can therefore confidently say that being an active member of UNICON has had a profound impact on my professional life. It also had a huge impact on me personally."

Those who work closely with me know I have been a huge advocate of our consortium since Alliance Manchester Business School joined many years ago. I mean what is not to love about spending time with people who understand what you mean when you say “custom” and “open”. I attended my first conference in Los Angeles a VERY long time ago and I still recall the sheer relief that I had found my tribe. I have forged some truly fantastic global friendships and been privileged enough to visit so many colleagues to gain inspiration from their respective Schools. Our membership has given me the opportunity to learn about different ways of doing business, about developments in our rapidly changing industry and allowed me to appreciate what we do well here at Manchester. In the past decade, enhancements to our value proposition, such as The Leadership Academy, coffee chats and the new special interest groups via our online learning community on Volute demonstrate to me that we have a thriving member led consortium. It is a pleasure to be involved and long may we continue.


Katarzyna Fonseca

Nova School of Business and Economics
UNICON Membership Committee Member

"One colleague, in particular, took me under their wing, guiding me through the initiatives of UNICON initiatives and offering invaluable sharing along the way"

From the very moment I was embraced into the UNICON family, that I recognize as the leader institution for executive education university based, the warmth of the welcome and the unwavering support have been nothing short of extraordinary. Let me share a moment that vividly shows this ethos: as I embarked on a new chapter in my career in 2019, joining UNICON’s dynamic team at TDC, hosted by Santa Clara, I couldn’t help but feel a mix of excitement and apprehension. Would I be able to meet the high standards set by my colleagues? However, any doubts I had swiftly dissipated the moment I stepped through the doors. The team greeted me with genuine smiles and open arms, eager to share their opinions and expertise, welcoming me to several initiatives. 

In the months that followed, this sense of camaraderie only deepened. Whether celebrating or facing challenges head-on, I knew I had a network of support behind me. It not only bolstered my confidence, fostered a sense of belonging within the UNICON family by working in this very diverse forum, where we don’t compete (which is not usual), but collaborate and build together in a very ethical manner the future of executive education, reinventing UNICON and adapting to the new world. As working in the Membership Committee, hosting of European Meet Up, and TDC 2024 in Portugal, I evidence the impact of my contributions and involvement.

In essence, my journey with UNICON has been defined by the warm embrace of its members and the place of CONNECTION & SHARING that serves as a beacon where knowledge, perspectives, experiences, and capabilities seamlessly merge, and the effect of actively participating in the UNICON initiatives had contributed to the advancement of my professional career and progress of the institution I serve. It’s proof to the power of diversity, unity and collaboration, but also a permanent challenge to improve and get better every day, and I am grateful every day to be a part of such a remarkable family.


Tina Narron

UNC Executive Development
UNICON Board Member 2015-21
UNICON Board Chair 2017-18
UNICON Continuity Committee Member

"UNICON has been more than just a professional entity to me; it's been a nexus of connections, growth, and opportunity. Through its network, I've forged invaluable relationships, both personal and professional, that have deeply enriched my journey."

When I first began my career in Executive Development, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend a UNICON conference. This experience proved to be pivotal, not only in accelerating my understanding of the industry but also in opening a vast network of talented individuals and organizations. I had no idea at the time the profound impact this network would have on my career trajectory. Whether it’s benchmarking best practices or simply connecting with someone who understands the unique challenges of Executive Development, these connections have been instrumental in my professional growth. They’ve not only expanded my business knowledge but have also provided an invaluable support system and a strong sense of belonging.

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MicrosoftTeams-image (6)

Knowledge and growth

UNICON draws from the expertise of our members to research and disseminate benchmarking data in executive development. We create an open dialogue with our members to gain insights to improve our executive education offerings.  

Michelle Vaillancourt

Michelle Vaillancourt

HEC Montréal

"Being a member of UNICON has been an invaluable part of my professional journey, connecting me with a diverse network of global experts in executive education. It’s not just about expanding my knowledge, but also about cultivating worldwide friendships and collaborative opportunities. UNICON, to me, symbolizes the strength found in diversity and the endless possibilities that emerge when we come together for a common purpose".
Katharina Lange

Katharina Lange

IMD Business School
UNICON Board Member 2018-24
UNICON Membership Committee Co-Chair 2023-24

"In UNICON I found a collegial network of profound kindness. Some of the most powerful mentoring conversations in my career happened during the UNICON conferences and I am deeply grateful for the eye-opening learning. It changed my life. It is also very comforting to realize that I am not alone with whatever challenge I have".

Kelly Bean

University of Miami
UNICON Board Member 2010-16
UNICON Board Chair, 2014-15

"Upon arrival, I told the “veterans” of executive education my goal. And, every day, they asked me what I had learned and how I was thinking differently".

In 1998, I was a new staff member in executive education at the University of South Carolina. A mentor said I want you to attend the UNICON conference at Northwestern and learn everything you can from anyone who will talk to you. We are new members, so you are representing us. Come back and tell me how you will think differently about how people learn. Upon arrival, I told the “veterans” of executive education my goal. And, every day, they asked me what I had learned and how I was thinking differently. I knew that relationships make this industry unique, that being curious and acting with courage pushes your thinking, and it was my responsibility to grow others in this business the way so many people grew me. After 26 years as a leader in executive education, a rotation on the UNICON board, the support to start the UNICON Leadership Academy, the endless opportunities to build a network, the one thing that stands out above all else…. those lessons I got from that first UNICON conference so many years ago and sharing them with so many others along the way.

Monica Sacristan

Mónica Sacristán

UNICON Board Member 2003-09
UNICON Board Chair, 2007-08
UNICON Continuity Committee Off-Board Co-Chair, 2023-24

"When I took over as Dean of Executive Development at ITAM in 1999 I came for the Degree side of the Business and needed a lot of orientation. Thankfully I found UNICON"

In UNICON not only did I find a community of practice that helped me shape the business we now have, but I have also made deep lasting friendships. 

Over the years it has been wonderful to see more and more women taking over leadership roles in the Industry. 

I like to think UNICON has empowered us and allows us to empower the new generations. 

UNICON is full of wonderful role models and friends, always willing to share and help out. I still get a lot out of UNICON but it also lets me give back.

UNICON Leadership Academy: Applications Open

Our Leadership Academy is a unique opportunity to develop your executive education talent with leadership potential. This industry-specific experience has a proven track record for delivering excellence and shaping future leaders within member schools.