From Burcu Yalman, Istanbul, Turkey:
Firstly, our ratio in the Symbol process is 1 leader to 8 participant (overseeing 2 groups, interchangeably) and 1 assistant leader to 4 participants. This enables us to offer (1) up to 12 people with 1 leader/1 assistant leader or (2) up to 16 people with 2 leaders or 1 leader and 2 assistant leaders.
An assistant leader are Alumni who want to become a leader. So they are leaders in training. For leaders in training, in addition to covering their accommodation/transportation expenses, we also pay a daily fee. Sometimes, due to unavailability or timing mismatch we open this to Alumni who want to repeat the program. They come as an assistant, in this way they repeat without having to pay. We only cover their accommodation/transportation expenses.
The above ratios, enable us to raise income. Especially, when we reach the threshold of 12, it becomes more feasible to finance fully one additional participant or partially (50%) 2 additional participants, with the revenue we raise from the program. And this is possible, even using one standard fee for all. We no longer apply different fees for corporate participants or individual participants. They have the same fee regardless who is the sponsor. We offer 50% discount to non-profit organizations and university students. That is the only difference in pricing.
In this way, we have been able to fund participants without relying on TAI’s funds since 2011. In case we have more than one applicant for scholarship, then what we look for is the potential impact that participant is likely to create in her environment, various systems she is a part of or likelihood that she will take this program in wider communities in Istanbul or expand into other geographies in Turkey (if she comes from other cities).
With respect to company sponsored participants, we have realized that whenever a company sent a woman manager, especially an HR professional, to experience the program as a potential corporate women leadership program, the participant activated her social network to join the program but nothing happened on the corporate side, as they could not see how to make this very personal development and “spiritual” program a professional women leadership program. So, I no longer invite corporations to send their leaders in to this program. Rather what I have found useful is to go to the corporations with a totally different design and name, which takes its roots pretty much from CIYO. Once I differentiated them, I started seeing companies coming to me for women leadership programs. This may lead to an open program (such as CIYO), where only women in corporate life will join, which will enable those small-mid size companies which have only a limited number of women executives to open a private program, to promote leadership development of their women managers.