Female brain power: (Self-)leadership module for female professionals


The training program ‘Female brain power’, by Dr Karolien Notebaert (The Science and Leadership Academy), teaches the essential skills that professional women need to fully develop their unique potential, enhance their power and take the lead. Based on neuroscience, this training provides effective strategies and solutions for women to significantly improve their (self-)leadership skills and strengthen their career position. It focuses on perceptions, behaviors, stereotypes, and (unconscious) destructive self-bias women uniquely face in their career development. Based on a mixture of theory and practice, the participants learn to tackle performance, power and relationships, negotiation skills and positive influence.

The training program consists of four different modules, spread over seven months, with 'mastermind sessions' in-between.

MODULE 1. Hack your brain - Unlock your female brain power

Hack your brain?! How can you unlock your unique female potential in the digital age? Neuroscience provides answers! In this module, participants will learn what mental performance and unlocking potential in the brain truly means. Based on theory and practice, they will learn a powerful strategy that significantly boosts mental strength, performance, decision making and quality of life. In addition, participants will be able to experience how one can measure the effectiveness of the exercises. With a live demo (real-time measure of the effectiveness of self-regulation practice), hacking your brain becomes very much hands on and eye-opening.

Learning outcomes

After attending this module, participants will ...

  • understand the influence of information overload and digitalisation on brain performance,
  • have insight into the definitions of healthy performance and female potential from a neuroscientific perspective,
  • have discovered situations and activities that give / drain energy,
  • understand and are able to apply self-regulation to increase their mental strength, performance and quality of life.

MODULE 2. Tackling unconscious (self-)biases that sabotage career advancement

Now that we have learned how to hack our female potential, how can female leaders use it to climb the career ladder in a business world that is often characterised by strong male leadership? This question will be addressed from a scientific point of view and put into action through practice. After understanding how unconscious biases are part of our decision making process, participants will gain a profound insight into the different biological set-ups that naturally result in different behavioural patterns and leadership styles for women and men. Based on this knowledge, they will work out effective solutions for the most common unconscious behavioural patterns that sabotage women in their career advancement.

Learning outcomes

After attending this module, participants will ...

  • have insight into how we are all driven by (un)conscious biases and how they influence decision making and may lead to (self-)sabotage,
  • have explored gender diversity questions and (gender) leadership styles from a (neuro)scientific perspective,
  • be able to position themselves stronger as a female leader,
  • understand the most common unconscious thinking and behavioural patterns that sabotage career advancement,
  • understand how self-regulation is a key strategy to actively reduce unconscious bias.

MODULE 3. Taking the lead: Personality-based leadership to increase your influence

The real truth about why we do what we do! This is what you can expect in this part of the module ‘Female brain power’. A vast amount of our daily behaviour and decision making is influenced by the personality that is anchored in our brain. Through theory and practice, participants will gain a profound insight into how the brain makes decisions and how this process is dominantly influenced by our personality. Participants will learn how to use their own personality as the most important success factor in career development. In addition, we will discuss and practice how this in-depth knowledge can be used to positively influence our interactions, negotiations, discussions and general (self-)leadership skills.

Learning outcomes

After attending this module, participants will ...

  • understand the unique constellation of needs that constantly drive us in our decision making and behaviour,
  • be able to apply the Six Human Needs theory (A. Robins) in order to improve career choices and to more positively influence others,
  • have insight into the neuroscience of decision making (how two dominant motivational systems are anchored in the brain and how they make up our personality structure)
  • be able to use personality knowledge to positively influence interactions, to negotiate power, in discussions and to develop general (self-)leadership skills.

MODULE 4. Recap, check, further implementation and closing

During the final session of this program, participants will receive a recap of all the content and exercises that were taught during the program. Undertaken implementations will be tested, evaluated and refined. In order to measure the effectiveness of the regular practice of the self-regulation strategies, all have the option to participate in a final HeartMath® measure. The program will be closed with a fun and personal team exercise.

Learning outcomes

After attending this module, participants will ...

  • have planned concrete actions and refined strategies,
  • know how to present their strengths (as well as personal key learnings from the training).


  • Group work: At the start of the training, participants will be divided into small groups of 4-5 people. During and in-between the seminars, participants will complete certain exercises in group. Group work takes the form of discussions, reflections and presentations.
  • Individual work: During the training and in-between sessions, theory will be deepened and applied through individual exercises. This individual work comprises self-reflection exercises, HeartMath® measures, self-regulation exercises and short presentations.
  • Buddy work: At the start of the training, each participant will be assigned a buddy. A buddy is another participant with whom regular sparring meetings are organised. The sparring meetings can be organised in real life or online, depending on the agendas / location of the participants. Buddies will work together on several exercises, such as ‘defining your career goals and strategies’, ‘discovering energy loss situations and suitable solutions’, ‘strength exercise’, … Although the buddy discussions are mostly organized in-between the group sessions, these exercises are guided and discussed also during the sessions.
  • Interactive theory: The theory that is presented during this training will be brought in an interactive way. A large number of interaction possibilities are offered to deepen the understanding of the theory and to actively engage the participants regularly.
  • HeartMath® measures: Throughout this training program, participants are offered the possibility to take part in HeartMath® measures. These biofeedback measures capture the heart rate coherence, which is a proxi measure of (stress) arousal levels. Participants will be taught to positively influence their heart rate coherence. These measures will be repeated throughout the training program in order to give the participants a visual image of their self-regulation improvement.
  • Mastermind sessions: These involve additional exercises/insights/contents that are provided through audio-files, video-files or short online meetings with the trainer. During these sessions, content of the live sessions will be extended or refined.


An important part of preparing for any further professional step is becoming (more) aware of the competences you have developed and/or want to develop. In the current workshop, the following competences from the UHasselt competency overview are actively dealt with:

  • personal effectiveness:
    • self-confidence
    • self-development
    • stress management
  • interpersonal competences:
    • assertiveness
    • leadership
    • networking


For whom?

  • female professionals in the academic sector with at least two years of professional experience
  • 16 places available
  • Priority will be given to postdocs.

When and where?

  • Module 1
    • October 13, 2021 - 9:30-17:30
    • October 14, 2021 - 9:30-12:30
  • Module 2
    • December 16, 2021 - 9:30-17:30
    • December 17, 2021 - 9:30-12:30
  • Module 3
    • February 17, 2022 - 9:30-17:30
    • February 18, 2022 - 9:30-12:30
  • Module 4
    • April 7, 2022 - 9:30-17:30
    • April 8, 2022 - 9:30-12:30
  • Presence on all workshop days is required.
  • Location: campus Hasselt, Old Prison, green room (OG-B1.1Gr)


  • Closed since September 13, 2021.
  • Please register only if you can attend all workshop days. As places are limited, registering does not automatically imply that you will be able to participate. You will be notified by email in due time.
  • Please cancel your registration at least one week in advance in case you cannot make it (cf. cancellation & no-show policy).

Acknowledged as?

  • DS BSH: category 'career management & personal development' - workshop on personal development
  • DS HLS: category 'transferable skills' - one compulsory elective course
  • DS ST: category 'career & personal development' - course on personal development