Kellogg School of Management and Poker Powher Launch Pilot to Combine the Art of Poker with Women’s Leadership Development

The six-week extracurricular program combines the rigor of Kellogg School of Management’s academic content with the skill of world-famous poker professionals for a unique educational experience focused on leadership, strategy and confidence-building for women MBAs.

CHICAGO--()--Poker Powher is pleased to announce a first-of-its-kind extracurricular pilot program with the Kellogg School of Management designed to help female-identifying MBA students build crucial leadership skills in negotiation, emotional intelligence and decision-making by learning the art of poker. The program will be taught by world-renowned Kellogg faculty, including negotiation and decision expert Victoria Medvec and Deputy Director of the Kellogg Center for Executive Women Gail Berger, professional poker player Melanie Weisner, and will feature a guest lecture from psychologist and New York Times best-selling author Maria Konnikova.

This extracurricular program comes at a time of unprecedented professional setbacks for women across the United States, with one in four women considering downshifting their careers and 2.5 million women having left the workforce entirely. Many top business schools, including Kellogg, have more than 40 percent female students—yet only a fraction of C-suite roles are held by women. Each week, pilot participants will engage in a lecture with a Kellogg professor, followed by small group discussions and a poker lesson that applies the leadership insights learned. Students have the chance to practice their new skills through gameplay at the end of each session.

“We are thrilled to launch this pilot, which will help women explore and build crucial leadership abilities in a creative and engaging way,” said Victoria Medvec, Professor of Management and Organizations and Co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Executive Women. “Not only will participants gain an edge in their careers by diving deep into negotiations strategies, they will have the opportunity to build relationships with Kellogg women across our full-time, part-time and executive MBA degree programs.”

“Why are we bringing poker to the women of Kellogg? Because this game is a game-changer,” said Erin Lydon, Managing Director and GM of Poker Powher. “At Poker Powher, we firmly believe there is a link between why so few women play this game of skill and risk and why so few women advance to the top in business and industry. Through this partnership, we are thrilled to shape tomorrow’s brightest minds in business—and change the future for generations of women.”

This partnership builds on the Kellogg School of Management’s strong commitment and rich history of leadership in the education and advancement of women in business. Through pathbreaking programming and an expansive network of engaged alumni, Kellogg has a proven track record of empowering women to become adaptable, impactful leaders.

Through a global network of clubs, tournaments, and corporate events, Poker Powher utilizes gameplay—but never gambling—to help women of all ages build confidence, challenge the status quo, learn strategy, and assess risk in a fun, supportive, safe-to-fail environment. Through this pilot program with Kellogg and other year-round programming, Poker Powher is flipping the table on traditional professional development methods and using poker to equip women with the skills to advance in their lives and careers.

To learn more about Poker Powher and the movement to teach one million women the game of skill, visit and follow @PokerPowher on social media.


Poker Powher is a company led by women for women with the goal of teaching one million women how to play the game of poker—and the skills required to play that also predict success in work and in life. Through a global network of clubs, tournaments and corporate events, Poker Powher utilizes gameplay (not gambling) to help women build confidence, challenge the status quo, learn strategy and assess risk in a fun, support, safe-to-fail environment. By empowering women with these skills, the organization plans to change the future for generations to come. To learn more about Poker Powher, please visit:


For more information about the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, visit


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