Original Publication
Open Access

Professional Development through Story and Reflection: The Stepping Stones of Women in Leadership Program

Published: July 28, 2014 | 10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9858

Included in this publication:

  • Instructor's Guide.docx
  • Stepping Stones Interview Guide.doc
  • Stepping Stones Planning Worksheet.docx
  • Stepping Stones Program Evaluation.docx

To view all publication components, extract (i.e., unzip) them from the downloaded .zip file.

Editor's Note: This publication predates our implementation of the Educational Summary Report in 2016 and thus displays a different format than newer publications.


Despite the great strides made by women in medicine and science, they still comprise a small proportion of leadership roles in academic medicine. To students, residents, and the junior or midcareer woman faculty member, the path to leadership can appear confusing, complex, and riddled with challenges. Since self-reflection plays a powerful role in the development of women leaders in academic medicine, discussing life lessons of successful women can be an important method to empower women to create and embrace their own career paths. It was for the purpose of demystifying the path to leadership that this resource was developed. Through interviews conducted in front of an audience, this resource uses the power of successful women’s stories to teach audience members about leadership and career development. Rather than a formal presentation, the interview format allows the personal and professional career development story to unfold more naturally, and capitalizes on the power of reflection to stimulate learning. This workshop is unique in that it uses public interviews with successful women leaders about their personal and professional milestones. We conducted this resource 17 times between 2008 and 2013, with a total combined attendance of 377 participants. At the conclusion of each interview, attendees were asked to evaluate the session. The session format was found to be highly interesting and effective, with a mean score of 4.67 on the Likert scale; individual session means on this item ranged from 4.28 to 5. Most attendees strongly agreed that they would recommend this program to others.

Educational Objectives

By the end of this resource, participants will be able to:

  1. Reflect on and recognize their own career development milestones.
  2. Identify strategies for building leadership skills.
  3. Describe ways to overcome challenges in career advancement.

Author Information

  • Mary Dankoski, PhD: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Julie Welch: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Megan Palmer: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Krista Hoffmann-Longtin: Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Emily Walvoord: Indiana University School of Medicine

None to report.

None to report.


Dankoski M, Welch J, Palmer M, Hoffmann-Longtin K, Walvoord E. Professional development through story and reflection: The Stepping Stones of Women in Leadership program. MedEdPORTAL. 2014;10:9858. https://doi.org/10.15766/mep_2374-8265.9858