Celebrating International Women’s Day…Internationally!

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IES Abroad

This year, for Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (IWD), which was on March 8th, we decided to celebrate some of our own international women—the female Center Directors of IES Abroad. We are proud that more than half of our Centers around the world are led by women who continue to contribute to the field and provide exceptional study abroad experiences for students each and every term. Here, we share some words of wisdom from, as well some thanks for, these leading ladies of IES Abroad.

What advice would you give to women just starting out in their careers?

“Building and maintaining a reliable network of female friends and professionals has been crucial throughout my career to meet challenges, cope with issues.” – Barbara Finke (right), Center Director, IES Abroad Berlin

"Be fearless. Don't be intimidated by the overwhelming number of men in upper management and executive positions. Be vocal. Men tend to ask for what they need and negotiate more than women. We need to change that." - Barbara Liberatore, Center Director, IES Abroad Salamanca  

In line with this year's IWD theme #BreakTheBias, how did you overcome bias in your career path?

"Meeting the right people at the right time and sharing that, even after a pause in my career to raise three children, I could still be an addition to a team." - Nathalie Lenfant (left), Center Director, IES Abroad Paris Business & International Affairs 

"I have developed active listening skills and am inspired by different stories. I love to have honest and in-depth conversations with people that hold different views to me, so I burst my bubbles and understand the world through other people's lenses." - Kate Smart, Center Director, IES Abroad Sydney

What/who inspired you on your path to leadership?

"Natalia Ginzburg, ​Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Michelle Obama, Mary Dwyer (former IES Abroad President & CEO), and my mother, who is fearless." - Barbara Liberatore (right)

"My parents, who believed in me and let me as a teenager seize opportunities and feel as though nothing was impossible (studying abroad while in high school was one of them)." - Nathalie Lenfant

"I have been lucky to have women leaders throughout my life, some of whom have become mentors. My first role in International Education saw me working with a fabulous Resident Director. Along with being an inspirational leader, she led a very interesting and varied life. She was a professional Opera singer, a dedicated mum, inspirational trainer of mental health support among many other interesting pursuits. She made me understand that you don’t have to be defined by one domain in your life, and her mentorship has inspired me to create community and interest in all aspects of my life." - Kate Smart (left)

We also heard from Spring 2022 Student Correspondent Whitney Wyche, who had kind words to share about IES Abroad Quito & Galápagos Center Director Tania Ledergerber (right): 
"Thank you, Tania, for all of your hard work making sure we have a blast during our study abroad program! You are so inspiring from your past working for the United Nations to your current dedication to IES Abroad. I appreciate all that you do!” 

Thank you to all our Center Directors for their work, including the IES Abroad women in leadership for continuing to blaze a path and be an inspiration for future generations. We commend your achievements 👏

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