Discover the Stories and Strategies of Inspiring Women in Higher Education





This publication highlights the leadership experiences of ten female presidents, chancellors, and rectors from diverse higher education institutions that are part of the International Association of University Presidents (IAUP).

Despite the wide range of institutions—varying in size, age, location, and focus—common themes emerged in their leadership journeys. Each leader contributed insights on their institution, tenure, career trajectory, gender dynamics, successful strategies, and advice for current and aspiring female leaders.

Findings reveal consistent patterns in their paths to leadership, the influence of gender on their careers, and their shared strategies and recommendations, providing valuable perspectives on female leadership in higher education globally.

Being the First Female Institutional Leader

Proving oneself

Dedication to a Higher Purpose

Importance of a Mentor/Coach

Essential Attributes Needed

Navigating External Perceptions

Imposter Syndrome

Importance of Listening Carefully

Sue Cunningham
President and CEO, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (USA)
Silvia Giorguli
President, El Colegio de México (Mexico)
Carmen Lamagna
Vice Chancellor, American International University, Bangladesh (Bangladesh)
Eun-joo Lee
President, Seoul Cyber University (South Korea)
Devorah Lieberman
President Emerita, University of La Verne (USA)
Gülsün Sağlamer
Rector, Istanbul Technical University (Türkiye)
Elizabeth Stroble
Chancellor, Webster University (USA)
 Jamienne S. Studley
President and Chief Executive Officer, WASC Senior College & University Commission (USA)
María Vicenta Mestre
Rector, Universitat de València (Spain)
 Inga Žalėnienė
Rector, Mykolas Romeris University (Lithuania)