Mentor and Professional Development Program

WIIS provides valuable services and resources to build a global network of women in the peace and security field, and increases the number and visibility of women across sectors and around the world. WIIS also educates and inspires women at all stages of their careers – the multigenerational aspect of its network is one of WIIS’ greatest strengths.

A key objective of WIIS’ Mentor and Professional Development (MPD) program is to increase the professional opportunities of women, focusing specifically on women at the mid and senior-levels. The MPD program helps women navigate real and presumed obstacles in their careers through the provision of a skill-building series, resource center, and promotion of a transparent network of leaders.

Gender Pay Gaps and Glass Ceilings: Why a Mentor and Professional Development program is needed

Over time the gender pay gap has slowed in its decrease and remained more prevalent in the higher echelons of professions. Each successive group of young women entering the workforce narrow the pay gender pay gap, moving a $0.36 gap in 1980 to $0.07 in 2012. However, while women worked to close the gender pay gap by $0.11 in the 1980's, there was only an increase of $0.03 in the 1990's and $0.06 in the 2000's.

Additionally, this decrease in the gender pay gap is only relevant to women at the early stages of their careers. In general, the gender pay gap grows as workers reach mid and senior levels. Young professionals tend to start their careers with comparable levels of earnings, but over time the gender pay gap grows. While some of the growth in the gender pay gap is because women are more likely to take time out of the labor force and work fewer hours, a pay gap remains even after accounting for time out of the workforce and job tenure. Women get fewer raises and promotions, partially because they negotiate less. But even when women do negotiate, they are likely to receive less than men or be penalized for violating social norms.

(Source: Eileen Patten, There’s More to the Story of the Shrinking Pay Gap (Pew Research, April 14, 2015); Betsey Stevenson, Five Facts About the Gender Pay Gap (the White House, April 14, 2015)


Skill-Building Series

The first component of this initiative is a skill-building series. Based on the results of a member survey, a series of professional development workshops will be facilitated to provide targeted training and knowledge on areas of greatest need. Possible skill-building exercises and trainings include leadership skills, interview techniques, presentation skills, best practices for career transitions, how to drive for results, strategic thinking and execution, cultivating a motivating and innovative workplace, problem-solving skills, team and relationship building, how to better utilize technical and technology skills, etc.

Salary Negotiation Seminar (September 30; November 2015)

Members of Women in International Security (WIIS) and the Women’s Mentor Network (WMN) are invited to participate in a seminar on salary negotiation. Participants will learn techniques and tips for salary negotiation, and have the opportunity to practice newly learned negotiation skills in two exercises. This salary negotiation seminar will be taught by Dr. Margaret New, founder and CEO of The Middleburg Group, LLC, a career coaching consultancy. In addition to 30 years of experience helping women one-on-one with job search skills and salary negotiation, Dr. New provides workshops and consults with the Foreign Service Institute.

Participant outcomes:

  • Each person will understand why women in the past have not received the salary that a man has received for same work;
  • Each person will understand and be able to use a BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement);
  • Each person will have the opportunity to practice two salary negotiation exercises;
  • Each person will have the opportunity to match up with a fellow participant for further salary mentoring.
Essential Management Skills Seminar (October/November 2015)

WIIS will host a seminar on essential management skills. Essential management skills covered in this skill-building seminar include: how to establish and achieve a results driven work environment (lower managers); and essential components for strategic thinking and execution (top level management).

Seminar on Presentation and Communication Skills (October/November 2015)

A seminar on presentation and communication skills will be provided for members to strengthen and enhance their communication techniques. Presentation and communication skills include: basics for public speaking and best practices in interpersonal communication; how to sell yourself and capabilities without being abrasive; how to make yourself memorable, etc.


Resource Center

A second component of this initiative is a resource center containing information about professional development for women within the peace and security field. Resource topics include: how to write a resume and cover letter; job searching tips; how to transition from an interview to paid position; interview techniques; negotiation skills; effective public speaking and presentation skills; best practices for building a network; and characteristics of an effective leader. These resources will be available separately on the WIIS website and compiled into a resource guide.


Network of Leaders

WIIS connects leaders across the globe to promote the advancement of women in the peace and security field. The WIIS network is mapped out to reflect the numerous institutions and organizations with WIIS members, illustrating the expansive character of the network. The WIIS network serves as a tool for leaders to collaborate, network, and expand their professional opportunities.

The third component highlights the organizations with WIIS members. Members have the opportunity to request informational interviews, job shadowing, intern positions, and collaborate with other organizations in the network.

Lastly, WIIS provides a forum for networking by hosting regular happy hours. Networking happy hours may feature a distinguished guest to provide remarks on a topic of their choice. Networking happy hours may also take place as an informal gathering, facilitated as a speed networking event, or contain an instructional briefing for best practices in networking before members mix and meet.

Upcoming Networking Happy Hours

March 2, 2016: Join Women In International Security for a collaborative networking event to kick off 2016! This is a great opportunity to have candid conversations and form both personal and professional relationships with established practitioners in the security and international affairs field. Participants are encouraged to invite friends and colleagues. We ask that you RSVP so we can have an accurate head count. Please contact WIIS at with any questions, concerns, or requests for additional information.

December 16, 2015: International security professionals from WIIS, Women in Defense, the Women's Mentoring Network of Brookings Institute, and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy met for a networking happy hour. Participants got into the holiday spirit as they met, mingled, and networked across organizations.

October 5, 2015: WIIS-DC will host a networking happy hour to launch a new series of events they will hold over the coming months. Participants will gather at the bar of P.J. Clarke's (1600 K Street NW) on Monday, October 5th at 6:30pm (the Farragut North and West metro stops are the closest stations). Please RSVP to You need not be a member of WIIS to attend, so be sure to spread the word and bring your friends!


Partners and Supporters of the MPD Program

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