First Ladies: A Short Primer

For nearly 10 years, we have worked with 45 First Ladies and their offices to assist them as they set priorities, identify strategic partners, generate positive impact, and develop lasting legacies. This handbook lays out our lessons learned, and is made available for use by First Ladies’ offices across the world. It is open-source and collaborative, and we will continue to upload case studies and content directly from the First Ladies offices.

The Power of First Ladies

As partners of presidents and prime ministers, First Ladies occupy a unique position at the pinnacle of society. Their status and prestige, their role as private counsel to the president, as well as their ready access to national policy makers and development partners, make them one of their country’s most influential figures.

At a time when more diverse leadership is needed to navigate complex, interconnected challenges, First Ladies are leveraging their positions to champion change and improve the lives of their populations.

Select case studies on the impact of our work with First Ladies:
Sierra Leone

GFLA programs and services are built on the premise that positive change requires not only vision, but also deliberate, conscientious support of the actors responsible for creating and sustaining lasting change.

See more photos here.



GFLA – Oxford Said Business School Leadership Institute

We are delighted to announce a new executive education joint partnership programme between the University of Oxford’s Executive Education Programme and the Global First Ladies Alliance.

During this 3.5 day intensive at Oxford University, First Ladies will gain practical skills and share knowledge on topics including: leadership, executive management, and global policy and development. The course will be supplemented by on-going active mentoring and internal network development over the following year.

Why the University of Oxford? Why Said Business School?

While Oxford is one of the world’s oldest universities having been created in 1096, it is still consistently ranked as one of the top academic institutions in the world.  The 2015 World University Rankings listed Oxford as the third top university globally, and US News and World Report ranked it as number 1.  As importantly, Oxford’s global influence is unparalleled given its highly diverse student body representing 140 countries, with alumni who have gone on to pursue leadership careers in business, government, academia and civil society organizations.

In comparison to its University home, the Saïd Business School is very young, created in 1996, but strategically poised to achieve life-changing learning and experiences for its currently 320 students from 50 countries.   In 2015, the Financial Times (FT) ranked Saïd’s MBA number one in Europe and seventh in the world for entrepreneurship. This year, the FT ranked Saïd’s Executive Education programme as the top UK school and in the top ten worldwide.

Saïd and its Executive Education programme have spearheaded important global events focused on the critical role of women in the economy, including its annual event, Power Shift and the Women Transforming Leadership Programme offered by Executive Education.

Namibia Birthing Shelter

We are excited to announce the completion of the Okongo, Namibia birthing shelter!

Direct Advising Services

GFLA experts work directly with First Ladies to set their individual agendas, craft annual strategic and long term plans, secure partnerships, communicate successes and needs to national and global audiences, and cultivate a vision for continued work upon leaving office. Services include:

  • Transitions Into Office
  • Defining Priorities & Setting Agendas
  • Alignment with Executive Branch
  • Multi-sector Consensus Building
  • Communications and Outreach
  • Staff Training and Mentoring
  • Building a Lasting Legacy