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Virginia Women’s Municipal Leadership Institute

Outside group photo of about 25 women with dark woods in the background.

This partnership between Virginia Women Leading Government and the Virginia Tech Roanoke Center provides women aspiring to become local government leaders with connections, content, tools, and opportunities to further develop their skills and broaden their network. The Institute is designed to:

  • Teach tangible and transformational leadership skills to increase self-confidence, knowledge, and ability.
  • Provide connection and content to strengthen leadership skills.
  • Create a long-lasting support network among cohort participants and women leaders in local government.
  • Build the pipeline of women leading government in Virginia.
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Virginia ranks in the lowest quartile of women appointed chief administrative officials in the country at 17% according to the recently released

Program Curriculum Highlights

Each session begins with “Connection before Content,” a time to build relationships as the cohort spends eight months together building skills to strengthen women’s presence at all leadership levels in local government. Following is a sampling of the curriculum:

  • What It Means to Work in Local Government
  • Finance and Budget
  • Supervisory Skills/Building an Inclusive Workpace
  • Using Personality Type as a Leader
  • Council/Manager Relations
  • You Can't Make This Stuff Up - Ethical Decision-Making


Four graduates of the institute's first cohort share their experiences in these 1-minute videos.

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Nelsie Birch, chief financial officer for Albemarle County

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Tevya Griffin,  director of planning and codes compliance for the city of Williamsburg

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Nina Rezai, economic development director for Campbell County

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Brandy Rosser, director of general properties for Franklin County

How Do I Apply?

Email a cover letter expressing why you are interested in participating in the institute at this stage in your career as well as your current resume to Bonnie Svrcek, institute coordinator. Please email Bonnie with any questions you may have prior to application.

Only two participants per locality will be accepted into each annual institute. Virginia Tech will award approximately 6.0 Continuing Education units/60 contact hours to participants upon completion of the institute.

Program Details

  • Who: The Institute will be limited to 25 women aspiring to fill leadership positions in local government. Participants should be prepared to be actively engaged and attend every session to learn from one another and from content leaders.
  • What: The delivery format is hybrid including five two-day sessions and three virtual half-day sessions.
  • Cost: Tuition of $1,500 includes breakfast and lunch for all in-person sessions as well as hotel accommodations for the first evening at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. All other accommodations for and travel expenses are at the participant's expense.
  • When: The 2023 institute is now in session, concluding at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. Applicants for the next cohort will be invited to apply in early 2024. Email Bonnie Svrcek, institute coordinator, for more information.

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