Skip to main content


Executive Women’s Forum

To Lift. To Rise. To Soar.

Ascend 2022Organized by the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego, the ASCEND Forum supports the professional community by bringing together top female leaders to connect in a safe space to discuss the challenges they have endured, while simultaneously cultivating guidance, mentorship, and advocacy. Ultimately, we strive to go beyond the gender conversation to address the greatest challenges identified by the Forum, because at the end of the day, the desire to succeed transcends gender.

Mission statement: ASCEND seeks to create an inclusive and authentic space for top female leaders, and allies, who aspire to change the conversation for a better San Diego business community.

Why Rady

UC San Diego and the Rady School of Management were built on innovation and entrepreneurship, and as such, we seek to be a pillar in the community for change. The Rady School has a strong interest in bringing the community together in ways that support industry, has a focus on supporting our female community through an effort to increase our female enrollment, and supports our faculty that research gendered business issues.

Innovation, entrepreneurship, and catalyzing change are part of the ethos of UC San Diego and core to the mission of the Rady School of Management. The Rady School is uniquely positioned to serve as a thought leader and partner for female leadership, acting as a convenor of leadership initiatives focused on advancing women in industry. With partnerships in place across many leading companies and institutions focused on equity in leadership, the Rady School will take a progressive stance on leveraging academic research to support and advance top female talent in San Diego.

The Forum

The Forum is an exclusive event for influential, VP-level equivalent and above women leaders across some of the most impactful organizations in San Diego. Each leader is encouraged to pay-it-forward by inviting a Director-level equivalent woman in their organization that they see as a mentee or potential mentee that could benefit from access and interaction with the top women leaders in the room. Hosted bi-annually, each Forum covers a designated topic presented by an eminent guest speaker from the Rady School, UC San Diego or the community at large - depending upon the topic.

During the Forum, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss relevant issues to women leaders in San Diego, share insights on what’s working within their own organizations, and discuss how we collectively can foster more inclusive leadership; all while building deeper relationships across, and within, the Forum community.

Past Forums

  • May 2022 – Keynote: Rady professor Sally Sadoff – You Belong Here

  • November 2021 – Keynote: Rady professor Elizabeth Campbell on her research examining gender differences in career advancement processes like hiring, promotion, and receiving career support

  • May 2021 – Keynote: Author Marianne Cooper – Advancing and Supporting Women Employees During a Global Crisis: What Managers and Companies Can do