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ACE - Leadership Development for Women Change-Makers

3 days onsite in Vienna, Austria
January 22-26, 2025

Become a powerful agent of change with the ACE leadership program for experienced women leaders in non-profits, public service and academia.

If you’re ready to solve your challenges like a pro, make sure to join us.

Onsite Vienna, 22 Jan - 4pm to 26 Jan - noon CET
Online 15 Jan, 12 and 26 Feb - 5pm-7pm CET
Listen to the testimonials of our facilitators and participants
The Active Citizenship Excellerator (ACE) is a highly experiential and immersive advanced leadership program for women change-makers from non-profits, public service and academia.

Too busy to join this time?
Or working in the corporate sector? Join the waitlist, your time is coming.


You’ve been feeling stuck in your organization lately.
You feel like you're doing it alone.

There is nobody to turn to for guidance or help.
There is too much going on.

You have no space or energy to take care of yourself.
You worry: am I going to burn out?

Are you ready to ace it?

  • The ACE program will provide you with the competencies to succeed with healthy confidence, grace and mastery. 
  • You will connect with other women leaders in the Women Lead Community and benefit from the support of a resourceful community of peers.
  • You will become more effective and impactful without compromising your wellbeing. You will thrive as a leader.

After the ACE program

  • You’ll have greater confidence and the tools to navigate complex situations with mastery. 
  • You’ll have all it takes to leave behind the rat race and enjoy your time with your beloved.
  • You will be in full alignment with your purpose and others will compliment you on the positive change you drive and inspire.
  • You’ll be part of the Women Lead Community (WLC) – a network of peers and mentors to turn to for support, advice and guidance, and access to exclusive learning and development opportunities, mentoring and coaching.


You will be ready to ACE it!


Get the tools and strategies you need for impact and wellbeing.

Find your place in a supportive community of women leaders.

Topics of the ACE program

Self-awareness and self-reflection

Gain valuable insights into who you are. Grow your gravitas.

Personal Productivity

Embrace simple but extremely effective hacks that maximize your efficiency and productivity.

Complexity Tools

Navigate complex situations with integrity and mastery.

Leadership Embodiment

You are more than your brain. Use your body consciously.


Leverage the power of neuroscience to overcome your limiting beliefs and unhelpful habits.

Master Difficult Conversations

Learn high-leverage communication skills that influence every aspect of your leadership. And life.

Energy & Attention

Manage your energy and attention for optimal performance.

Deep Relaxation Techniques

Recharge your batteries with proven techniques for relaxation.

Find Your Haven

Bond with a diverse group of peers, find your community. Re-charge with energy and joy.

Get the tools and strategies you need for impact and wellbeing now.

Find your place in a supportive community of women leaders.

What other women leaders said about our programs

Too busy to join this time? Join the waitlist, your time is coming.


Simply fill in our application form! 

  • Applications are accepted now for the January 2025 cohort and will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • Scholarships are available based on the pay it forward principle: if you are able to pay the full price – or even more – for the program, you will be sponsoring other women who are less fortunate than you! 
  • Simply indicate in the application form, whether you are able to pay it forward, pay the regular price, or what you are able to contribute to your participation. 
  • You will be notified about the result of the selection process no later than 15 December 2024.
  • We reserve the right to make changes to the timeline. In this case, we will notify you accordingly.

The ACE program is ideal for you if you are looking for an advanced leadership program, one where you can express the unique challenges you may be facing as a woman who wants to expand her leadership influence and impact.

Prerequisites for participating

  • You identify as a woman
  • You currently work in the non-profit sector, the public service, academia or you are active in your community (and if not, join the waitlist for the next ACE program here)
  • You have at least 7 years of overall professional experience
  • You have at least 3 years of managerial experience with responsibility for staff
  • You are able to articulate your thoughts and ideas easily in English
  • You are a national or resident in one of the EU countries
  • You are committed to participating in all sessions of the program 

Your peers

Your peers are carefully selected so that you can benefit from the exchange and connections with a diverse group of women leaders and change-makers.

Prerequisites for participating

  • You identify as a woman
  • You currently work in the non-profit sector, the public service, academia or you are active in your community (and if not, join the waitlist for the next ACE program here)
  • You have at least 7 years of overall professional experience
  • You have at least 3 years of managerial experience with responsibility for staff
  • You are able to articulate your thoughts and ideas easily in English
  • You are committed to participating in all sessions of the program

The ACE program provides a safe and supportive environment exclusively for women to reflect on their leadership journey and gain the practical tools they need to move forward in their careers and life without compromising their wellbeing.


Explore your personal leadership context

Explore your leadership context and strategies. Notice how you make choices, what distracts you and where you “excuse” yourself from living fully. 


Expand your influence and impact

Develop your authentic leadership style. Get practical tools and strategies to bolster your assertiveness and leadership finesse, visibility and gravitas.


Boost your confidence

Grow your self-awareness & confidence. Learn to play to win and take on your challenges or next-level position with self-assurance and poise. 


Become the Jedi of adaptive leadership

Learn to navigate complex situations with mastery. Overcome barriers and biases that are holding you back. 


Benefit from the Women Lead Community

Your peers will become a trusted resource, encourage your leadership journey, and enrich you in many beneficial ways during the program and beyond it.

  • A toolbox with leadership hacks and strategies for clarity, impact and wellbeing.
  • Personalized feedback on your leadership challenges 
  • ACE workbook with leadership concepts, techniques and strategies
  • Your personal playbook with your action plan, and insights on how to continue your leadership journey 
  • Onsite (40 hours) and online (6 hours) workshops with faculty and an inspiring group of peer women leaders, who are  facing similar challenges 
  • A certificate
  • Ongoing support, including workout sessions, coaching and mentoring in the Women Lead Community

Welcome Session (online: 15 January 2025, 17:00-19:00 CET) 

The online Welcome Session with the facilitators and your peers will set the tone for your transformative experience. You will find out how to best prepare for the program.

Take Stock & Reflect (self-paced preparation)

You will go through self-paced assignments that are carefully designed to help you reflect on your unique professional and personal journey. This will help you identify the key leadership challenge you wish to work on in the ACE program.  

Review & Upgrade your leadership game (on-site: 22-26 January 2025)

We are together Saturday afternoon to Wednesday noon, with an option to leave Tuesday night, if necessary.

5 days full of face-to-face exchanges, workshops  and reflection with faculty, coaches, and peers in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria.

You’ll be inspired by an immersive experience designed to explore how you lead, provide you with a toolbox to navigate complexity and build lasting connections with other women leaders.

Day 1: Welcome Mixer and more (afternoon and evening)

  • Afternoon: The Leadership Course Welcome Mixer: Raise a Glass to Your Future.
  • Evening: A game that is not just a game: Join us for an eye-opening leadership development opportunity disguised as a fun game  

Day 2: I / Me – Lead Yourself with Grace and Style

  • My leadership context
  • Inner and Outer Game of Leadership
  • Essential competencies for self-leadership
  • Breaking through your limiting beliefs

Day 3: We / Team – Ace the Workplace 

  • Be the Queen of Communication
  • Step Out of Your Drama Triangle 
  • Strategies to Ace the Workplace’s Politics  

Day 4: The System: Seeing the Bigger Picture

  • Seeing the Systems
  • Polarities Management 
  • Navigating Complexity
  • Prepare Your Playbook

Day 5: Step into your power (morning only)

  • Integration through Meditation or Conscious Movement
  • Practical Acts of Self-care
  • Special Time for Your Self
  • Consultations with Faculty and Peers

Follow-up Workshop 1: Apply & Fly (online: 12 February 2025, 17:00-19:00 CET)

  • Master Your Tools – Review of Your Progress 
  • Expert and Community Feedback and Support 
  • Leverage your Network, Amplify Your Impact 


Follow-up Workshop 2: Soar to the Sky (online: 26 February 2025, 17:00-19:00 CET)

  • Master your tools – Review of Your Progress
  • Fly with the Women Lead Community  


Individual follow-up

About two months after the program, we will reach out and help you take stock of how far you’ve come, where you stand with your leadership challenges and ensure that you have what you need to reach new heights.

Individual coaching session (optional)

Your personal coach will help you consolidate your learning within the context of your own leadership challenges. This will help you find clarity on how to move confidently onwards and upwards.

Please note: the timing of the sessions may still be adapted based on availability. The final schedule will be communicated to applicants in a timely manner.

In order to fully benefit from the program, it is recommended that you allow approximately 5 hours a week over the course of six weeks in addition to the four full days of the onsite workshop.

Are you ready to invest in yourself like pros do and take your leadership skills to the next level? 

Program Fee 

The program costs EUR 2790,-  for 5 days of engagement with our experienced facilitators and a cohort of at least 10 excellent women leaders like yourself. In addition, you will be granted free premium access to the Women Lead Community where you are able to connect to inspiring women from around the globe. We purposefully keep the program fee low compared to other programs of similar level and scope. You may choose to support the participation of a woman in a disadvantaged situation. Or you might need financial support yourself. Please let us know in the application form.

Travel, Board & Lodging

Participants are responsible for the cost of and for organizing their own travel, board and lodging for the duration of the course. Refreshments will be provided during breaks.  

Yes, we strive to offer financial support to individuals who cannot afford the full cost of the program. This assistance is made possible through the generosity of participants who can pay it forward, helping other women in need. Please note that financial assistance is not guaranteed, and we ask each recipient to contribute a nominal amount based on their financial ability. This contribution ensures that all participants are committed to actively engaging in and completing the program. If you require a scholarship, please indicate your need and reasons in the application form.

Where was ACE born? 

In the muddy trenches of real life leadership. In those moments when we’ve been talked over in meetings, when our ideas were dismissed or simply ignored. When we have been expected to take minutes, serve coffee in professional meetings and laugh when our male colleagues were telling sexist jokes. In moments, when we felt: Oh dear, this would not have happened to a man. 

And then, one day we had enough of taking minutes and serving coffee in work meetings, and looking perplexed when our male colleagues were again laughing at sexist jokes. You name it. 

But what to do next? 

It is one thing to have had enough of feeling undervalued, disrespected and overlooked or simply taken for granted. But it is quite another thing to be able to do something really smart and effective about it.

Through decades of research, analysis, deep learning, self-discovery work, and countless certifications and credentials, we honed our understanding of this field. We developed a set of strategies and techniques that have helped us become better leaders and better humans. 

And now we want to share the most powerful of tools, strategies and practical hacks with other women leaders like you. That’s why we have created the ACE program. It is the culmination of years of learning, growth, and experience, and it’s our way of giving back to a community of women who deserve better.

We believe that every woman has the potential to be a powerful, effective leader, and we are ready to support you to unlock that potential. Are you ready to join us on this journey toward your professional and personal growth and success?

Angelika, Bettina, Blanka and Elke

Program Staff and Facilitators

Dr. Blanka Bellak is a certified neuro-coach and leadership development expert with more than 20 years of professional experience in international finance, diplomacy and development.


Credentials and Certifications

  • PhD in Conflict Resolution
  • 20+ years in management and leadership positions
  • 15+ years in adult learning, leadership development and coaching 
  • Neuro-coaching certifications (Bonnie Badenoch, Parks, Jana Thann)
  • Rapid Transformational Therapy certification (Marisa Peer)
  • Emotional and body wisdom certification (The Hendricks Institute)
  • Cynefin Framework, Cynefin Suite Tools (Dave Snowden)
  • Lectical Decision Making Assessment debriefer certification (Lectica)
  • The Leadership Circle Profile 360° feedback debriefer certification (TLCP)
  • Systemic constellations certification (Jana Thann)
  • Coaching (ICF, member of ICF Austria Board),
  • Intercultural experience from EU, Eastern Europe, Africa, North America, the Middle East and Asia.


Dr. Elke Fein is a social and political scientist and the founder of the Institute for Integral Studies (IFIS) Freiburg. She works in the field of adult development and its relevance for society and politics. 

Credentials and Certifications

  • PhD in Political Sciences
  • 20 + years in research and integral studies
  • Associate Editor, Integral Review, www.integral-review.org  
  • Host of Integral Political Salons
  • Deep Democracy/Co-Resolve Certification Training (Christiane Leiste)
  • U-Lab – Transforming Business, Society and Self (Otto Scharmer – MIT)
  • Sociocratic Circle Organization and Facilitation (Level III)
  • Lectical Decision Making Assessment and Lectical Self-Understanding Assessment debriefer (Lectica)
  • LMF development facilitator (Leadership Maturity Framework, Dr. Susanne Cook-Greuter)
  • Person-Centered (Scientific) Conversation, Society for Scientific Conversation (GWG, Freiburg)


Dr. Bettina Geiken has a background in natural sciences and 25 years of experience in EU cooperation projects. She is passionate about self/leadership, learning and development. 

Credentials and Certifications

  • PhD in Natural Sciences
  • 25+ years in consulting on development cooperation projects 
  • 20+ years in adult education and adult development
  • 7+ years of development and facilitation of innovative on-site and digital learning for collective knowledge creation 
  • CTI Co-active Coaching – Intermediate Certification (ICF accredited)
  • Cynefin Framework, Sensemaker and Sense-making (Dave Snowden Cynefin Company, Anne Caspari EZC Partners) 
  • Adult Development for Culture Growth (Susanne Cook-Greuter, Robert Kegan, and others – Ekskäret Foundation)
  • U-Lab – Transforming Business, Society and Sefl (Otto Scharmer – MIT)
  • Spiral Dynamics Integral (Sdi), Meshwork and Social Architect – Innovative Ecosystems (Claudine Villemot-Kienzle, Ingrid Schneider)
  • OPO-Open Participatory Organisation (Bonnita Roy – APP Associates)
  • Values-in-Action Facilitator Training for OD (SelfLeaders)
  • Principles of Sociocracy and effective meetings (Anja Ritter) and Holacracy (Brian Robertson)
  • Licensed Leadership Coach (incl. Belief and Attention management, Awareness and Shadow Work)
  • Systemic constellations (Bert Hellinger)
  • Argentinian Tango Teacher


Angelika Pohnitzer is a certified sociocratic facilitator. She serves on several boards of non-profit organizations. She has a background in diplomacy, social innovation and management systems.

Credentials and Certifications

  • 20+ years in management and leadership positions
  • 15+ years in adult learning, leadership development and coaching 
  • Certified Sociocratic Facilitator and TalentCoach
  • Certified Organizational Development Consultant
  • UN University for Peace Diploma in Social Innovation
  • Diplomatic Academy Vienna Graduate
  • BA Sociology, MA Criminology, MA Business
  • Additional Certifications as Senior Risk Manager, Lead Auditor, Quality Manager, Project Manager
  • Intercultural experience from across Europe, the Americas and Central Asia.

We look forward to connecting with you!

Leadership Associates delivers inclusive conscious leadership for individuals, communities, and society. Our certified facilitators and coaches design and catalyze sustainable positive personal and organizational changes through a powerful blend of innovative techniques. 

The Institute for Integral Studies (IFIS) is a non-profit inter-disciplinary adult education provider with a focus on transformative education, collaborative leadership, new politics and social entrepreneurship so that individuals and societies can adequately respond to challenges in our age of global crises.

Discover the benefits of this program for you and your organization

Still not sure if ACE is the right program for you? Schedule a session with Blanka or Angelika to find out more.


At Leadership Associates, the Institute for Integral Studies (IFIS) and MARA we care about your privacy. We do not share any personal information for marketing purposes. Read our complete privacy policies on our websites.