Cultivating Women’s Leadership brings together women of diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds to learn from and with each other.

2017 CWL Training Locations & Dates

April 30 – May 5, 2017 – Heart of the Redwoods Earth Matters in Ben Lomond, CA
Applications due by February 15, 2017 Facilitated by: Nina Simons, Toby Herzlich, & Rachel Bagby

July 23 – 28, 2017 – New Mexico Mountain Valley Ocamora Retreat Center in Northern NM
Applications due by April 25, 2017 Facilitated by: Nina Simons, Toby Herzlich, & Elsa Menéndez
2017 CWL Flyer PDF

Watch the videos, and read the testimonials–to see what women say about the CWL trainings

Cultivating Women’s Leadership Trainings (CWL)

These 6‐day residential intensives bring together impassioned women from diverse cultures, ages, and backgrounds to learn from and with each other. Rooted in values of respect, humility, creativity, intentionality and inquiry, CWL trainings develop women’s leadership by:

• Featuring experiential learning and transformative leadership practices including arts, ritual, movement and storytelling that help connect the personal with the structural, systemic and political
• Consciously shedding insidious beliefs, stories and biases that can limit women’s leadership capacity and considering new ideas, narratives or frameworks in their stead
• Surfacing and appreciating what women uniquely bring to reinventing leadership while integrating healthy feminine and masculine characteristics for full‐spectrum leadership
• Prioritizing connecting across differences as an essential leadership skill
• Connecting women to networks of diverse peers for ongoing coaching, influence, access and supportEmphasis is placed on: practices for skill‐building and leadership cultivation; strengthening both gender and racial justice lenses and analyses; making visible the legacy of imbalance reflected in our decision‐making, organizations, and society at large; and connecting towards collaboration across cultural divides, siloes and differences. Each cohort of 20 women is selected for their significant capacities to influence change in their communities and also to optimize diversity, with at least 30% women of color.

Participants come to:

• clarify their own sense of purpose, calling or unique ‘assignment’
• embody new forms of leadership and self‐identity
• integrate the wisdom of nature and their own intuition
• embrace a whole‐person approach, integrating emotions, embodiment and spirituality as well as shadow material
• learn skills to further their own and others’ ongoing leadership cultivation, and experience how deeply, rapidly and enduringly women in a community of peers can grow each other’s capacity and effectiveness. The program’s uniqueness is in its systemic or intersectional approach to leadership. Rather than focusing on either internal work or skill‐building for external change, CWL connects personal awareness practices with increased capacity to be bold and effective multi‐cultural leaders in the world. Alumnae report lasting and profound impacts, including many who have had extensive prior leadership experience. You can hear their own words here.

Workshop Facilitators

NINA SIMONS is an award winning social entrepreneur and co-editor of Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart. She co-founded Bioneers, and has helped to lead the organization through 23 years of identifying, gathering and disseminating breakthrough innovations to re-imagine how we live on Earth and with each other. Currently, Nina’s focus is on inspiring leadership that connects women, nature, healing, diversity and justice. She co-founded Cultivating Women’s Leadership trainings with Toby Herzlich in 2006, is developing, and co-facilitates trainings while speaking and teaching widely.

TOBY HERZLICH is a leadership trainer, facilitator of transformational change, and network weaver, focused on assisting groups and individuals dedicated to building community assets and catalyzing progressive social and environmental change. As Founder of Biomimicry for Social Innovation, Toby guides leaders in learning from nature’s wisdom. Toby is co-founder of Cultivating Women’s Leadership and a Senior Trainer with the Rockwood Leadership Institute. Working nationally and globally, Toby has supported women to be effective and heartfelt leaders in the Middle East, Bosnia, the US and Canada.

RACHEL BAGBY, an artist with a Stanford Law Degree in Social Change, is a leadership consultant whose clients include leaders from organizations like Google, the Sierra Club and Rockwood Institute. A former member of Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra Ensemble and author of Divine Daughters: Liberating the Power and Passion of Women’s Voices, Rachel originated Dekaaz, a poetic form that hones vast amounts of information in to just 10 syllables of shareable wisdom.

SARAH CROWELL has taught dance, theater and violence prevention to youth and adults for over 20 years. She currently serves as Artistic Director at Destiny Arts Center. Sarah received 9 California Arts Council grants  and a National Endowment for the Arts grant. She is the recipient of the KPFA Peace Award and the Purple Moon Dream Speakers Award. Sarah has spoken and facilitated workshops at numerous national conferences since  2000.

ELSA MENENDEZ is a writer, director, producer and performer with Tricklock Company and the Director of Education at the National Hispanic Cultural Center(NHCC). She has spent the last 30 years working in theatre around the world.  In 1992 she co-founding BOOM!theatre, a theatre company within a men’s medium security prison comprised of individuals serving the longest sentences.  Elsa served as associate artistic director /co-artistic director of Tricklock from 2004-2009.  She is the founder and director of the Circo Latino and Circo Radical summer youth institutes at NHCC.

Join us to explore how to most effectively transform yourself and the world.

Tuition, Lodging, & Meals for Each Intensive Workshop

$1950 Earth Matters, Ben Lomond California

$1950 Ocamora Retreat Center, Northern New Mexico CWL has evolved over 10 years with consistent feedback cycles and improvement to provide deep and enduring value for women from all walks of life. The retreat experience reflects a high quality of care, attention and experience from a skillful team of three facilitators, and the food and lodging selected for hosting these retreats has been chosen to nourish each woman inwardly and externally with beautiful natural surroundings, healthy organic food, and comfortable lodging.

Scholarship availability

If you can pay the full cost and contribute to our scholarship fund to support lower-income women attending, we will be most grateful. It may increase the likelihood of your being accepted. Our goal is to assemble a terrific and diverse group of women, with few limitations due to their capacity to pay.

Because our scholarship funding** is limited, we tend to prioritize resources for women of color and who are local to the region. Many past participants have successfully raised funds from their communities to support their attending. To learn more…


Click here to apply online:

Apply Now - Orange

**Cultivating Women’s Leadership does not currently have the administrative support necessary to navigate obtaining visas, nor do we have travel funding available for international applicants. If you are an international applicant who is considering applying to CWL, please be sure to have autonomous access to such support (and feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions about your specific international circumstances before applying). 


For more information, contact us via email:, or call: 505-986-0366.