Senior Associate Bridget McNamer was thrilled to contribute to the professional development offered at the 2016 Educational Collaborative for International Schools (ECIS) Educators Conference in Copenhagen on November 18-19th. Along with Beth Pfannl and Laura Light from International Schools Services (ISS) and Pauline O'Brien from the Council of International Schools (CIS), Bridget co-facilitated a session on Women in Leadership. She said,
"It is notable that our three agencies have come together to jointly address an issue that we recognize as important to our collective work… Art Charles from Carney Sandoe attended as well, which meant representatives from the four largest recruiting firms were in attendance."
With two opportunities to present their session–one as a pre-conference session and one during the second day of the conference—Bridget, Beth, Laura, and Pauline focused on the relative lack of females serving as Heads of School. They displayed some statistics highlighting the nature of the situation before facilitating group discussions on patterns that seem to affect women's success in the workplace, drawn from a recently published book by Joan C. Williams, What Works for Women at Work: Discussions focused on practical tips for addressing these patterns. The recruiters chairing the session provided insights from their work on leadership searches, including ways women hold themselves back. A prime example: women are loath to apply for leadership roles if they don't meet all the specifications in a job announcement whereas many male applicants, who also don't meet all the specifications, are confident they can do the job. The turnout for the workshop exceeded expectations, particularly with the second session. Bridget said,
"It was standing room only! We'd anticipated 25-30 participants, and got more than 50, including several men. One young woman came up to me afterwards and told me that it was worth coming to the ECIS conference just for this session."
Based in Europe, ECISwas founded in 1965 to provide professional development, research, advocacy, and funding to international and internationally-minded schools, individuals associated with them, institutions of higher education, and organizations that support education through their products and services. This year's ECIS conference Keynote Speakers, Dr. William Rankin and Ewan McIntosh addressed the 2016 theme, Cultivating Curiosity, by describing their respective successes in the creation, promotion, and enhancement of innovative teaching and learning tools for pre-K to post-age-20 learning environments.
Bridget, joined by her partner John Doxey, cultivated the curiosity of many conference attendees by engaging them in discussions about Search Associates' services for teacher candidates and international schools. Their exhibit table was rarely quiet. Bridget and John were pleased to hear several positive stories from conference participants about the positive role Search Associates has played in nurturing their international careers, and they spoke with several educators interested in joining Search Associates in order to find new opportunities overseas.