Top FlightTM

1 Year Programme

Elevating Women Leaders to Executive Excellence

Programme Aim:
Designed to help women achieve CEO, ExCo and Permanent Secretary roles

What is Top Flight?

Top Flight is a 12-month executive leadership development programme exclusively for women. It is designed to be undertaken whilst participants remain at work where they can incorporate their new-found knowledge into their day-to-day lives.

Beginning in January each year and continuing in March, May, July, September and November, the programme comprises of 2 nights and 2 days of intense and interactive learning and workshops led by world renowned, inspirational business leaders. The women also experience one-to-one coaching and career planning sessions with executive coaches who have been successful at the highest levels of business.

Key to the success of the programme is the contracting process, which requires the CEO, C Suite line-manager and executive sponsor to be involved in the women’s development.

Our research shows that if you want to change the balance within your organisation you must start at the very top. This support signals the organisation is invested in her development, directly impacting the likelihood of retaining not just this woman but others who view her as a role model. Essentially – ‘if she can get there, so can I’.

80% of attendees are promoted to their Executive Committee
There are few, if any, other leadership programmes available today that can lay claim to this level of success.

Who is Top Flight for?

The programme is for the direct reports of FTSE350 Executive Committee members. In the Civil Service, it is for those striving to be Permanent Secretary. All women are part of their organisation’s C suite succession planning.

Women who join Top Flight work across all business areas. These include P&L roles such as ecommerce, marketing, sales and trading. Corporate functions including communications, finance, HR, IT, legal and policy.

We also welcome women in [traditionally male orientated] STEM roles such as cyber, engineering, operations, supply chain and technology.

Some are newly promoted to position and view the programme as essential in helping them navigate the challenges they’ll encounter in the most critical role of their career.

We accept women two levels below the executive committee who have an exceptionally large, global remit and those on the ExCo from heavily funded tech scale-ups.

Nominating organisations are seeking a development experience that:

  • Addresses the gap in women reaching executive CEO and Executive Committee roles.
  • Provides women with potential the opportunity to take the last difficult step to top leadership.
  • Helps women prepare for executive and non-executive director roles by joining a group board.
  • Offers unrivaled access to FTSE 100 Chairmen, CEOs, and other high achievers.
  • Focuses on learning from successful leaders' wisdom and mistakes.
  • Provides comprehensive content including personal narrative development, corporate governance knowledge, reputation promotion, and leadership style understanding.
  • Offers one-to-one reviews to tailor the programme to individual requirements within the organisational context.
  • Ensures peer support and a supportive environment for risk-taking and growth.

The ideal participant typically

  • Is a woman with potential for top leadership roles.
  • Is supported by their CEOs in participating in the programme.
  • Is willing to take the last difficult step to executive CEO and Executive Committee roles.
  • Is interested in joining a group board for development.
  • Seeks unrivaled access to top leaders for learning and mentorship.
  • Is open to learning from both successes and mistakes.
  • Values personal narrative development, corporate governance knowledge, reputation promotion, and leadership style understanding.
  • Is willing to engage in one-to-one reviews and peer support for growth and development.

Whether through our Open Programmes or tailored Closed Programmes, we welcome individual nominations and collaborate closely with organisations to address their specific challenges and goals.

Organisations who work with us include

Our framework

From our experience, informed by research, we have created a framework that captures differences in development outcomes that need to be considered if women and men are to experience equitable treatment in merit-based resourcing decisions.

Fundamentally, the challenge for organisations is that men and women differ in some crucial areas, which can impact performance in roles and during selection and resourcing processes. This often obscures women's capabilities and potential.

However, there are four key areas where coaching, input, and practice in a women-only environment can empower women to compete on merit and realise their potential to contribute to organisational success. Given the evidence, it is clear that supporting women in building their capabilities as they transition from middle management to senior roles, with support from their CEO, can significantly benefit both the individuals and their organisations. This support is especially crucial for women aiming to take the final step into Executive Committee roles.

The evidence points to four areas where, for women specifically, input, coaching, and support to build skills can ensure a more level playing field where their talents and abilities are more visible and recognisable as they are considered for promotion into Executive Committee roles:

  • In communicating about herself, her achievements, her value, and her needs.
  • In understanding and articulating her purpose.
  • In understanding how organisations work, what it takes to succeed and where women can utilise their differences to men for the benefit of the organisation.
  • Understanding the importance of networks.
  • Identifying and enlisting active sponsors within the organisation.
  • Sourcing coaching and mentoring and understanding how to structure this to deliver realistic career opportunities.
  • Having a clear plan and goals and being able to articulate these to herself and others.
  • Receiving valuable feedback from managers and others to understand the real gaps she needs to close and identify opportunities she can target for her next role, creating plans to close these gaps.
  • Establishing a healthy and sustainable work/life balance and managing the inevitable pressures of a senior role on other life responsibilities.
  • Understanding the specific health and wellbeing issues that come with being a woman and having strategies in place to manage them effectively.
  • Encouraging behaviour that acknowledges setbacks and fosters a growth mindset.
Let’s discuss your goals

Our outcomes

This programme is like no other on the market. It gives individuals unrivalled access so that they learn from FTSE 100 Chairmen and CEOs and other high achievers

Participants are a small, carefully selected group of women who, as part of their own development, and with the support of their CEOs, want to prepare for top leadership, by joining a group board (internally or externally). The Programme comprises of 6 modules run every other month in Central London, with 6 sessions of coaching, one following each module.

‘Top Flight’ is comprehensive. It allows for the development of a personal narrative, it deepens knowledge of corporate governance, it encourages promotion of the best personal and corporate reputation and helps women understand and develop their leadership style.

Before the course begins there is a one-to-one review of each individual, within her organisational context, to fully understand her requirements. Progress is reviewed over the year so that each individual finishes feeling strong and confident about the skills she has acquired and ready to make a success of the new challenges in her life.

What organisations will gain

  • Enhanced leadership pipeline: Access to a pool of highly skilled and empowered women ready to step into senior roles.
  • Increased diversity: By supporting women's advancement, organisations foster a more inclusive and diverse leadership team.
  • Improved performance: Research shows that gender-diverse teams often outperform homogeneous teams, leading to better organisational outcomes.
  • Enhanced reputation: Organisations committed to gender diversity and women's advancement demonstrate their dedication to progressive values, enhancing their reputation as employers of choice.
  • Improved retention: By investing in diverse talent organisations ensure that they foster engaged and loyal employees, who are ready to unlock discretionary effort.

Women will leave the programme with

  • Enhanced leadership skills: Acquiring advanced leadership competencies through personalised coaching and mentorship.
  • Expanded network: Access to a powerful network of influential leaders and peers, facilitating ongoing support and collaboration.
  • Increased confidence: Empowered with the knowledge, skills, and support to navigate challenges and excel in senior leadership roles.
  • Clear career trajectory: A well-defined path to progression, equipped with the tools and strategies to achieve career goals.
  • Stronger personal brand: Elevated visibility and credibility within their organisation and industry, enhancing their professional reputation.
25% of attendees are promoted to CEO, MD, Perm Sec or NED.
There are few, if any, other executive leadership programmes available today that can lay claim to this level of success.

How to enrol your female leaders on Top Flight?

With only one programme a year and a maximum of 20 women, Top Flight looks to attract a range of nominating organisations for any year

The number of organisations is driven by the scale of nominations they are looking to make over a calendar year. Ideally we are looking for organisations who want to nominate a few women enabling a good mix on every programme and the ability to build support networks back in the organisation itself.

We will add nominating organisations over the year but at a scale where they enable us to maintain the mix of attendees. This means that some nominating organisations may have an internal waiting list for places.

For companies wishing to build and strengthen internal networks, we can deliver Top Flight as a closed programme.

Programme dates & price

Top Flight starts in January and runs over 3 days in the following months:

January
Module 1
March
Module 2
May
Module 3
July
Module 4
September
Module 5
November
Module 6

The cost is £34,485 per participant – this includes 6 three-day group training sessions, bi-monthly executive coaching, two tailored one-to-one reviews, career planning, reading materials and hospitality (excludes VAT and accommodation)

Get in touch


The programme agenda:

January
Module 1

Session 1

Welcome drinks & dinner
Guest speaker

Led by: Programme Leaders

Session 2

Morning
- Welcome, why you are here, the science behind what works for women, the context for success, what to expect
- Personal Brand

Lunch
- Guest speaker

Afternoon
- Successful behaviour in recruitment
- Story boarding

Evening
- Networking drinks and dinner

Led by: Programme Leaders | Specialist Faculty

Session 3

Morning
- Coaching introduction
- The Board’s agenda and your role

Lunch
- Guest speaker

Afternoon
- Story boarding
- Reflections and next steps

Led by: Coaching Practive | Specialist Faculty | Programme Leaders
March
Module 2

Session 4

Evening
- Reception drinks & dinner
- Guest speaker

Led by: Programme Leaders

Session 5

Morning
- Practical interview practice

Lunch
- Guest speaker 'Leading a Business in Transformation'

Afternoon
- Conscious Leadership

Evening
- Reception drinks & dinner
- Guest speaker 'My route to the top'

Led by: Specialist Faculty | Programme Leaders

Session 6

Morning
- Neuroscience and its impacts on leadership
- Introduction to Firo B
- Working with your profile

Lunch
- Guest speaker 'Leading in adversity'

Afternoon
- Action planning with Programme leaders
- Building development priorities for the rest of the programme

Led by: Specialist faculty | Programme Leaders
May
Module 3

Session 7

Evening
- Networking drinks and dinner

Led by: Programme Leaders

Session 8

Morning
- Practical communication and storytelling

Lunch
- Reflections

Afternoon
- Practical communication and storytelling
- Debrief and reflections

Evening
- Networking drinks and dinner
- Guest speaker

Led by: Communication Trainers & Actors | Programme Leaders

Session 9

Morning
- The art of structuring your communication
- Putting theory into practice

Lunch
- Guest speaker 'My leadership journey'

Afternoon
- Structuring and delivering a communication
- Dealing with confidence issues
- Feedback and action plans
- Reflections and next steps

Led by: Specialist Faculty | Programme Leaders
July
Module 4

Session 10

Evening
- Networking drinks and dinner

Led by: Programme Leaders

Session 11

Morning
- Growth strategy

Lunch
- Guest speaker 'Rebuilding strategy in a changed environment'

Afternoon
- Career strategy

Evening
- Networking drinks and dinner
- Guest speaker 'Rethinking my career strategy'

Led by: Specialist Faculty | Programme Leaders

Session 12

Morning
- Personal Influencing strategies
- Advocacy vs Enquiry
- Dealing with different styles
- Data, Emotion, Logic and Inspiration: how to judge which strategy to pick

Lunch
- Guest speaker 'Influencing government'

Afternoon
- What are you trying to achieve for your business and yourself?

Led by: Specialist Faculty | Programme Leaders
September
Module 5

Session 13

Evening
- Networking drinks and dinner

Led by: Programme Leaders

Session 14

Morning
- Getting behind the numbers
- Understanding investment

Lunch
- Guest speaker 'The CFO’s perspective'

Afternoon
- Understanding the economy
- Review, reflect and test understanding: Identify what I need to know more of or build knowledge in depth
- Build a follow through plan

Evening
- Networking drinks and dinner

Led by: Specialist Faculty | Programme Leaders

Session 15

Morning
- Risk appetite, risk as an aid to decision making, how to use risk to run your business

Lunch
- Guest speaker 'Chair of Risk Committee'

Afternoon
- Reputational risk
- Review and reflections

Led by: Specialist Faculty | Programme Leaders
November
Module 6

Session 16

Evening
- Reception drinks and dinner
- Guest speaker

Led by: Programme Leaders

Session 17

Morning
- Practical interview practice

Lunch
- Networking

Afternoon
- Building networks and LinkedIn

Evening
- Graduation dinner

Led by: Specialist Faculty | Programme Leaders

Session 18

Morning
- Using what you’ve learnt to build next career steps
- Addressing health and wellbeing issues for women

Lunch
- Guest speaker 'Previous attendee success story'

Afternoon
- How I will make it happen

Led by: Specialist Faculty | Programme Leaders

Our programme team

Sue O’Brien OBE

Sue O’Brien OBE

Programme Facilitator

Baroness Casey of Blackstock DBE CB

Baroness Casey of Blackstock DBE CB

Programme Facilitator

Dr Suzanne Pollack

Dr Suzanne Pollack

Programme Facilitator

Paula Leach

Paula Leach

Programme Lead

Dr Sophy Antrobus MBE

Dr Sophy Antrobus MBE

Programme Lead

Tamara Dzgoeva

Tamara Dzgoeva

Programme Director

The Pipeline

Established to address gender disparity in leadership, The Pipeline offers bespoke consulting, coaching, and development programmes tailored to each client's needs. With a proven track record, we've assisted over 170 clients, including notable names like Aon, e.on, and JLR, in enhancing their talent pipeline performance.

Whether your organisation is at the onset of its gender parity journey or seeking to bolster existing efforts, we provide tailored solutions and insights to advance and retain senior female talent. Our programmes serve as catalysts for increasing female participation in promotions, fostering enduring change in organisational leadership dynamics. Join us in our mission to foster a more equitable and inclusive future across sectors. Whether you aim to enrich your talent pipeline, elevate gender parity in leadership, or explore avenues for growth, The Pipeline is committed to supporting your objectives at every turn. If you're eager to learn more about our Top Flight or any of our offerings, we're eager to connect. Reach out today to commence a discussion on how we can collaborate to realise your organisation's aspirations.

Let's empower women, ignite change, and forge a brighter tomorrow together.