Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Leadership Studies






John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Publication Date


First Page


Last Page



Women, especially those from highly religious societies, are underrepresented in professional and civic leadership positions. Considering how women's life experiences, especially from religious volunteer opportunities, can be reframed as training for broader leadership roles could help address this disparity. The potential for women to learn leadership skills from volunteer religious service is an overlooked, but possibly important, means of transferability to larger leadership roles. The current article describes a qualitative study of women's perceptions of leadership skills gained while serving as full-time volunteer missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during young adulthood. Respondents described perceptions of leadership skills developed throughout missions as well as perceptions about how they are currently using these skills. Findings suggest many women perceived growth in leadership skills from missionary service, especially in the areas of interpersonal interactions and relationships, although they reported currently utilizing skills more in church and family roles rather than professional or civic ones. The study is discussed in the context of literature related to gender and types of leadership approaches, as well as Relational-Cultural Theory. Implications for facilitating respondents' post-mission skill transfer to future leadership roles are presented. Larger scale applications for women's leadership development are also considered.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article:Lafkas, S. M., Fox-Kirk, W., Madsen, S. R., & Scribner, R. T. (2021). Strengthening sisters: How Latter-day Saint missionary service prepares women for leadership. Journal of Leadership Studies., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.

Included in

Marketing Commons