Virginia Tech® home

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 in local government with the connections and tools to further develop their skills, strengthening the pipeline for women to lead communities in Virginia and beyond. 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 an everlasting support network among participants, past and present.
  • Build the pipeline of women leading government in Virginia.
Loading player for

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

Every session will begin with an optional “pay on your own” dinner on Wednesday evenings prior to the content rich sessions on Thursdays and Fridays. This “Connection (or Reconnection) before Content” will be an opportunity to get to know one another on a more personal level and to build everlasting relationships. Following is a sampling of topics included in the curriculum:

  • Imagining Your Leadership Future
  • Know Thyself (and One Another): Personality Assessments and How to Use Your Personality Type as a Leader
  • Essential Skills: Budget, Finance, Strategic Planning, Council/Manager Relations
  • Negotiating Strategies for Women
  • The Leap to Leadership/Formal and Informal Leadership
  • Mastermind Problem-Solving


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

Loading player for

Nelsie Birch, chief financial officer for Albemarle County

Loading player for

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

Loading player for

Nina Rezai, economic development director for Campbell County

Loading player for

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 at no later than midnight Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. Explain in your cover letter your career goals and how you believe the Institute will help you achieve such goals. Explain how you will use your experience to “pay it forward.” Please email Bonnie with any questions you may have prior to application.

Participants will be notified of their acceptance in the 2024 Institute no later than Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. Depending on demand, the number of participants per locality may be limited. Virginia Tech will award up to 7.2 Continuing Education Units / 72 contact hours to participants upon successful completion of the Institute requirements.

Scholarships are available to locality members of the Virginia Risk Sharing Association (VRSA) through their Risk Management Grant Funds. Contact Peter Stephenson at for details.

Program Details

  • Who: The Institute will be limited to 25 women aspiring to fill leadership positions in local government. Participants should be committed to be actively engaged and attend every session to learn from one another and from content leaders. Participants may miss one in-person session and one virtual session, if necessary. Missing more than these two sessions will disqualify a participant from receiving the Certificate of Completion.
  • What: The delivery format is hybrid including six two-day in-person sessions and two virtual half-day sessions. Tuition of $1,800 includes the opening dinner on March 20, breakfast and lunch for all in-person sessions, as well as hotel accommodations for Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21 at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. All other accommodations, meals, and travel expenses are at the participant’s expense. Participants are responsible for purchasing the book needed for the July virtual session.
  • When: The Institute will launch Wednesday evening, March 20, 2024, with a “Connections before Content” dinner in Roanoke. The Institute will conclude at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center on Friday, Oct. 18, 2024. Institute schedule.
  • Where: Participants will be asked to meet regionally at a common venue with fellow participants for the virtual half-day sessions. Locations for the April, June, August, and September sessions are noted on the attached schedule. Note: These locations are subject to change pending availability

In the News