AUSTIN, Texas —The University of Texas at Austin and Kendra Scott have established a new leadership program at the university, which will open to all students in Spring 2020. Named the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) Institute, the program is uniquely built to address the challenges women often face in business.
Kendra Scott and the university celebrated the unveiling of the WEL Institute with a launch event on September 24 at UT Austin’s Bass Concert Hall, which included special appearances from actress Freida Pinto, television personality Rachel Lindsay, and country music singer Cam.
The WEL Institute, which will open in Spring 2020, will serve as a community of diversity, inclusion, and entrepreneurship, empowering women to advocate for themselves and find the white space to make their impact. The Institute will be a central hub for programming such as:
- A women’s leadership workshop series with industry leaders, presented by Blackstone LaunchPad at UT Austin and COFA’s School of Design and Creative Technologies, that will allow students to learn from and network with entrepreneurs and leaders across various industries
- UT Austin will host a women’s leadership summit featuring a pitch competition and an array of entrepreneurs and speakers
- UT’s McCombs School of Business will offer a Kendra Scott Consumer Products Entrepreneurship Practicum
- UT’s College of Natural Sciences will offer an experiential accessories design and merchandising course
- UT’s College of Fine Arts will offer the Kendra Scott Studio Partnership, featuring a three-hour seminar course hosted at the Kendra Scott headquarters and centered around the Kendra Scott Design process
- Internship program
- Leadership training and mentoring
- Speaker series featuring industry leaders
- Campus wide venture funding opportunities
“With the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute, we are creating a center where aspiring women leaders can gain knowledge, motivation and experience for their careers and lives after graduation,” said UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves. “It is an honor to partner with Kendra Scott — one of the most creative and dynamic entrepreneurs in the country — to empower and inspire the next generation of women CEOs, founders and innovators, right here on the Forty Acres.”
As the founder of a billion-dollar company, Kendra has a strong perspective on what it means to be a leader. UT’s Kendra Scott WEL Institute seeks to establish a community of diversity, inclusivity, and empowerment. By increasing engagement and support for female entrepreneurs on campus, the WEL Institute aims to boost the number of women-owned and women-led businesses.
“Together with The University of Texas, we are creating a program focused on redefining leadership and entrepreneurship through a gender-enlightened lens,” said CEO and Founder Kendra Scott. “With this institute, we want to create a pipeline of courageous, creative female leaders who will shatter stereotypes of what an entrepreneur should look like, and will challenge the rulebooks that have governed the business world for generations.”