Some 20 senior managers have signed up for a new six-session training program on communication skills sponsored by the UCSF Center for Gender Equity. The center has partnered with the renowned executive coach Rayona Sharpnack to offer the series called "Leading through Influence Initiative." The program will allow senior managers -- ranked at the MSP IV level and above -- to explore in depth the techniques necessary to improve their persuasive communication skills. Participants will attend six workshops scheduled from July 18 through February 2006 in the Lange Room of the UCSF Kalmanovitz Library on the Parnassus campus. The series is designed to help senior managers work cooperatively and effectively with their peers, subordinates, superiors and external constituents. While authority, position and title will help achieve goals sometimes, senior managers also need to master the art of persuading and influencing others across all levels of the university. Lessons will be taught through a series of discussions, hands-on practice sessions and extracurricular practice assignments. This workshop was created specifically for UCSF senior managers based on feedback from the senior women managers who attended the "Executive Women Leading Change" program with Sharpnack on May 17, according to Amy Levine, director of the Center for Gender Equity. "This initiative compliments the work of campus administration to improve the climate for senior women managers at UCSF," Levine says. "For example, in recent months, women have been hired or promoted to many of the most recently recruited leadership positions. In addition, the Center for Gender Equity's initiative will be supplemented by a survey sponsored by Vice Chancellor Steve Barclay and Executive Vice Chancellor Eugene Washington to assess the climate for senior managers." The workshop, geared for senior women managers, is critical to those who want to achieve their potential at the top-rated health sciences university. A 2004 report outlines the ongoing problems women have faced in making progress at UCSF, especially in key areas such as salary inequity, lack of balance in hiring and promotion practices and appointments into leadership positions. Sharpnack founded the Institute for Women's Leadership, an organization renowned for its groundbreaking work throughout the United States, Australia and Canada. Drawing from her successful careers in education, professional sports, and business, Sharpnack has become an inspirational coach and mentor for executives in Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, emerging businesses and nonprofits seeking to effect breakthrough change within their organization. Her important work has earned her an appointment on the Kennedy School Women's Leadership Board at Harvard. Our purpose in focusing primarily on women's leadership development is based on our belief that increasing the number and quality of women leaders exponentially improves an organization's ability to innovate, collaborate and improve performance," reads a statement on the institute's website. For more information on this series contact Victoria Auer at the UCSF Center for Gender Equity at 415/4765222.