Women’s Leadership

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Mary Anne Haas Women’s Symposium and decades of supporting women leaders.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Mary Anne Haas Women’s Symposium and Mary Anne’s 96th Birthday, we hosted a special event: Hope and Women’s Leadership with Jane Goodall.

Watch the session here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5uSCIx5gX0g

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBA, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and UN Messenger of Peace, is a world-renowned ethologist and activist inspiring greater understanding and action on behalf of the natural world. Jane is a global icon, spreading hope and turning it into a meaningful, positive impact to create a better world for people, other animals, and the planet we share.

According to data from the Academy of International School Heads (AISH), over the past decade, the percentage of women heads at international schools has increased from 27% to 33%. That growth is attributable to the early female pioneers as well as to many male and female champions who encouraged women to seek leadership roles in international schools.

There is still more progress to be made! If you are an aspiring woman head or an established head interested in championing women in leadership, please let us know.

Supporting Women’s Leadership

Each year, over two dozen leaders from international schools around the world assemble for the annual ISS Mary Anne Haas Women’s Symposium to discuss the context for women leadership in international schools, network, and further their own professional development in a stimulating series of workshops and conversations.

Since 2002, this annual symposium has helped to advance women educators in leadership in international schools – as well as provide important role models to future generations of women leaders.

In recent years, symposium alumni have organized workshops at regional conferences for both male and female leaders. In 2020-21 we are adapting to virtual settings.

ISS Mary Anne Haas Women’s Symposium Virtual Gatherings

While we have been unable to gather in-person, we have found ways to continue to build and strengthen positive connections amidst the shared experience of educating and leading. The goal is to continue to host meaningful activities and discussions that will build up this community of women leaders in international schools. View the presentations from our gatherings below.

View some of the sessions that occurred during the school break: June 16 video | May 4 video

A Growing Network

Key organizer of the symposium, Beth Pfannl, ISS VP of Administrative Searches and Governance Services, said, “Mary Anne Haas has been a wonderful mentor and dear friend to so many individuals, but now, looking at all of the symposium delegates and their positive energy, I can see the empowerment multiplying and spreading throughout the world. This event is a true catalyst and I am thrilled to be a part of it.” In July 2016 Mary Anne retired from ISS at the age of ninety, and continues her active role in the international community! Read More »

Stay connected with us on social media using #ISSWomenLead and by joining our Facebook group. We always encourage you to spread your experiences, photos, and support with other women throughout the educational community.

Stay Involved

Organizers and alumni of the ISS Mary Anne Haas Women’s Symposium also host an annual Women’s Breakfast in conjunction with AAIE and present topical workshops at regional conferences around the world to spread the impact of the symposium.

About The Sponsors

The ISS Mary Anne Haas Women’s Symposium is made possible through a generous grant from the Office of Overseas Schools at the US Department of State, as well as key sponsors.

Considering being a sponsor? Download our Sponsorship Package »


Greatest Hits: Frameworks & Strategies for Further Developing Your Leadership Skills

Presented June 2019

Download »


Read about past events: 2019 | 2018

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