Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education




Organization & Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Desiree Zerquera

Second Advisor

Ursula Aldana

Third Advisor

Jane Bleasdale


Women in Senior Leadership Roles Career Mobility, Challenges, Success Stories and Need for Future Research Women represent 57.4% of the US working population (~77M in 2019). From this, 51.8% held positions in managerial or professional roles. Although women represent over half of the working population and have demonstrated success in management and professional roles, they face challenges in attaining senior level leadership roles across multiple fields. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to look at how women respond to these challenges as they navigate their careers and ultimately the tools they used to successfully advance to senior level leadership roles. A qualitative approach was selected as my research method. It involved a personal narrative approach where the soliciting of participant stories were implemented via a formal semi-structured interview as the primary method of inquiry. This research approach allowed me to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the data gathered and understand via a first-person account how participants responded to barriers as they navigated through their careers. Barriers associated with structural and societal gender stereotypes ingrained in our culture and connected to patriarchal views that regardless of a woman’s experience, education or abilities, fosters the perception that women are less qualified and less competent than men. This perception deeming women less capable to master senior leadership roles across multiple fields. iii In addressing these barriers study participants highlight the tools they used to successfully advance to senior level leadership roles. Key tools that enabled them to take ownership of their careers, attained senior leadership roles and execute them successfully. These are resilient, transformational women that exercise their soft skills and lead with authenticity. Strong confident women that take risks and move barriers in spite of hearing “No” along the way. Women that in their leadership approach value the insights of others while empowering them to meet their full potential. These are inspirational leaders that understand the importance of elevating their voice and the voices of those that surround them. Most significantly, these are women who were once little girls that learned from their family and community they could accomplish anything they set their minds to.