CHICAGO, December 21, 2022 – 1871’s WMNtech Leaders Cohort is returning February 2023 for a 4-month accelerator and mentoring initiative, devoted to cultivating the next generation of women leaders in tech. Applications for the 2023 program will be accepted through February 3rd, 2023. 

Formerly known as Women Influence Chicago (WIC), this program was developed and launched back in 2019 to continue the initiative of promoting technological advancement in Chicago, especially for women accelerating in their careers. 

We have partnered with Ethos, a culture consulting meets diversity, equity, inclusion firm, for the development and execution of the program.  

About the program

This unique experience involves participation from women in leading tech roles, nominated women employees from tech companies, and mentors volunteering to join and work in unison to accelerate and strengthen practices and skills for women currently working in leading roles in the tech realm. 

The initiative is designed for mid-career, women professionals in the tech industry exhibiting exceptional promise in their current roles, and would benefit from support from this experience. Participants must have 3-10 years of management experience and work for a tech company in either a Market-facing or Technical role. Hear from a WMNtech Leader alumni about her experience in the Technical track. 

“The program was absolutely fantastic and just what I needed at this point in my career. This program provided me with the space, time, and resources to think about what kind of leader I want to be, and the skills I need to work on to get there,” said Elissa Trainer, App & Mobile Technology Director at Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants. “It gave me the confidence to work on things like setting boundaries, effective communication, knowing that I don’t always have to have the perfect answer, and to let go of things to give others the opportunity to grow and how to break larger goals out into smaller actions and strategies while providing a community of people to work with on these skills. Thank you and everyone on your team and the extended teams for making the program so rewarding.”

Program breakdown 

The cohort runs one Friday per month, virtually, from 2.24.23-6.14.23. After orientation, participants will be engaged in monthly “Connect days”, which consist of group coaching sessions, Leadership Development Workshops, peer-driven facilitated forums, and 1:1 mentoring with top tech leaders in Chicago.  

The forums and group coaching sessions are split into two groups- Market-facing and Technical, designed for each group with the necessary tools and resources for their primary takeaways of the program. 

  • Market Facing Leaders—individuals who work in Marketing and Communications, HR, Sales, Customer Service, etc.
  • Technical Leaders— individuals who work in Software Engineering & Development, IT, Analytics, etc. 

Participants are also paired with a volunteer “Super Mentor”, meeting several times throughout the program to discuss leadership, personal, and professional development skills, and to provide participants with knowledge from the mentor’s own experience and expertise.  

The initiative ends with our WMNtech Leaders Graduation on 6.14.23, to commemorate and celebrate this cohort of women leaders’ growth and accomplishments throughout the experience. 

An information session will be held on 1.11.23 from 10:00-11:00 AM CST for attendants to learn more about this hands-on and inclusive virtual experience.

Applications are open for participation in the next cohort of WMNtech Leaders. Deadline to apply is 2.3.23. More information and the application to become a participant or mentor can be found at

About 1871

1871 is Chicago’s innovation hub and the #1 ranked private business incubator in the world. It exists to inspire, equip, and support early stage, growth stage and corporate innovators in building extraordinary businesses. 1871 is home to ~400 technology startups, ~200 growth stage companies, and ~1,500 members, and is supported by an entire ecosystem focused on accelerating their growth and creating jobs in the Chicagoland area. The member experience includes virtual and in person access to workshops, events, mentorship, and more. The nonprofit organization has 350 mentors available to its members, alongside access to more than 200 partner corporations, universities, education programs, accelerators, venture funds and others. Since its inception in 2012, more than 850 alumni companies are currently still active, have created over 14,500 jobs, and have raised more than $3.5 billion in follow-on capital.

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