Women First: Leadership and Professional Development Program

Group of women leaders in discussion

Program Description

Offered by Cal State LA Downtown, the Women First: Leadership and Professional Development Online Program cultivates aspiring female leaders and fosters an environment of learning, mentorship, and support by providing specific tools for women’s professional growth. Students will attain the necessary knowledge, motivational, and organizational skills to thrive in the professional world as leaders. In today’s business world, women are more powerful than ever - contributing a unique perspective on a number of concerns that hold substantial relevance in organizational performance and aptitude. The data clearly demonstrates that organizations perform at optimal levels with women in leadership roles. As the world grows more diverse and cohesive, it is important now more than ever that investment is made in the professional development of women. This program will provide a comprehensive understanding of organizational leadership and the necessary tools to influence, engage, and navigate the workforce.

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Program Objectives

  • Demonstrate conceptual knowledge of leadership development.
  • Understanding of how to create and institute developmental opportunities to increase organizational performance.
  • Create an organizational feedback initiative.
  • Evaluate the organizational policies that support diversity and gender-specific needs.
  • Improve self-efficacy beliefs.
  • Value mentorship and receiving support.
  • Understand the importance of collaborative learning and working in organizational cultures of justice and fairness.

Good Day LA logo


Watch Program Instructor Dr. Maria C. Akopian's interview on FOX11's "Good Day LA."


Who Should Enroll?

Aspiring leaders in any field should enroll in the Women First: Leadership and Professional Development Program. Participants do not have to be in a current leadership position to engage in the program.


Register for a live webinar OR to view/listen to a pre-recorded Women First: Leadership and Professional Development Program webinar presentation here.

Tuition & Fees

The total program cost is $1,999 and includes access to course curriculum on Canvas. Tuition must be paid prior to the start of the program.

Financial Assistance

Federal financial aid is not available for this program. However, you can apply for a private student loan here.

Course Schedule

The program is an estimated 20-hour program that includes live lectures, discussions, and activities.

View the Spring 2022 program schedule here.

About the Instructor

Instructor Maria Akopian has long blonde-brown hair. She wears a white blouse and black scarf.Maria C. Akopian, MBA, Ed.D., currently serves as an instructor at the College of Business and Economics and a Subject Matter Expert at the College of Professional Global Education, both at Cal State LA. She completed an MBA from Woodbury University with Beta Gamma Sigma honors and a doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California. Dr. Akopian’s dissertation was an innovative study aimed to design a distinctive women’s leadership development program. The research focused on identifying the knowledge, motivational and organizational influences of executive female leaders in healthcare, education, government, and technology. Watch Dr. Akopian discuss the program on FOX 11's "Good Day LA."


Enrollment for the Spring 2022 Women First Leadership and Professional Development Program will open to the general public on Monday, October 25, 2021.

The Spring 2022 program will meet online via Zoom on the listed times and dates noted in the program schedule. The instructor and participants will actively engage in live discussions, lectures, and utilize Canvas (the University's learning management system). Login information will be emailed to registered participants a week before the program begins. As a result, it is required that you register by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 21, 2022, to ensure you receive all crucial information to start the program.

Participants will receive a Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the program. 

Note: If you encounter technical difficulties enrolling in this program, please email the College of Professional and Global Education Student Services for assistance.


For more information about the Women First: Leadership and Professional Development Online Program, please contact the College of Professional and Global Education at Cal State LA via email or (323) 343-4915.