Wise Women of WU: New Mentoring Program for Aspiring Women Leaders


In Austria, women are still blatantly underrepresented in top-level management positions. Supporting women who aspire to high-profile careers as business leaders is therefore a key priority for WU and WU Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger. For this reason, WU has launched a new mentoring program entitled “Wise Women of WU.” The program is targeted at high-potential WU alumnae in early stages of their careers. Under the program, these promising women are coached by successful female executives who are themselves WU alumnae and have experience as managing directors or members of executive or supervisory boards. The program not only aims to improve the career prospects of female WU graduates, but also to increase the number of women in senior management positions in the long run.

According to the 2018 Frauen.Management.Report issued by the Vienna Chamber of Labor, men hold 81.5% of all supervisory board positions at Austria’s top 200 companies by revenue. “Women are still less likely to be considered as potential candidates for such positions because they are not part of the relevant networks. All too often, their careers hit a ceiling in second or third-level management positions. And this is exactly where our new Wise Women of WU mentoring program comes in,” says WU Rector Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger. Before her appointment as rector, Edeltraud Hanappi-Egger carried out comprehensive research on these issues and published extensively on the topic. As part of the program, 10 well-established, high-profile WU alumnae will share their insights and strategies with women graduates who are interested in boosting their personal development and careers and who are facing professional challenges or major career decisions.

Networking and exchange of experiences

The mentors and mentees enter into a one-on-one mentoring relationship to exchange experiences. The program is based on a give-and-take approach to make sure that mentors and mentees can benefit equally from the exchange of knowledge and experience involved in the relationship. The mentors support their mentees’ career development and share insights into their personal success strategies, while at the same time broadening their own horizons by entering into a dialog bridging generational and hierarchical boundaries. Aside from building strong networks among WU alumnae, one of the program’s additional goals is to increase the visibility of women business leaders as role models.

How the program works

Women WU graduates interested in becoming mentees can apply online starting on August 7. After a selection procedure, the ten best candidates are admitted to the program and each is assigned a personal mentor. The core elements of the program are one-on-one meetings between mentor and mentee, a networking dinner with all current program participants, and annual networking meetings with the rector and distinguished speakers from business and academia. The program is carried out in one-year cycles. The first cycle is scheduled to start in November 2018. Applications are being accepted until September 30, 2018.

The roster of mentors includes Silvia Angelo, Elfriede Baumann, Christine Catasta, Bettina Glatz-Kremsner, Sabine Hogl, Monika Kircher, Sandra Kolleth, Tatjana Oppitz, Regina Prehofer, and Birgit Rechberger-Krammer.

Click here for more information on the program

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