In this new role at IES Abroad, Gretchen will continue her valuable and highly successful leadership of IES Abroad’s underrepresented student recruitment efforts with the Diversity Relations team, while also serving in a key leadership position that will strengthen organization-wide efforts to increase diversity and inclusion.

“This new position is a natural progression of Gretchen’s valuable and highly effective leadership of IES Abroad’s underrepresented student recruitment efforts. Her leadership in the field has driven continued growth in both numbers and percentages of underrepresented students studying abroad on our programs,” remarked President and CEO, Dr. Gregory Hess. “This expanded role allows Gretchen to also serve in a key leadership position that further strengthens all of the organization’s work to increase diversity and inclusion—work that IES Abroad considers an inextricable part of our mission to educate successful and empathetic global leaders.”

Gretchen holds a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College and a master’s degree in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University. While at Spelman, Gretchen studied abroad on an IES Abroad program in Nagoya, Japan. A 25-year marketing and PR professional with more than 10 years of experience in international education, Gretchen joined IES Abroad in 2011 as the Director of Diversity Recruiting. She was then promoted to the position of Assistant Vice President, Diversity Recruiting and Advising. Gretchen has developed a reputation as one of the study abroad field’s most respected voices in diversity and inclusion.

During her time with IES Abroad, Gretchen and her team have driven continued growth in underrepresented students on IES Abroad programs. “I joined IES Abroad almost 10 years ago and it’s been wonderful to have the support from the leadership level and across the organization,” says Gretchen. “Working with my IES Abroad colleagues from around the world and with our partners and friends within the study abroad field has been extremely rewarding. It has been invigorating to witness how genuinely the critical work of furthering diversity and inclusion has been embraced by IES Abroad and the field.”

An award-winning professional, Gretchen and her team have increased enrollment of ethnically diverse students by 151% since IES Abroad established the diversity initiative more than 10 years ago. In 2019-20, their efforts led to racially- and ethnically-diverse students making up 27% of the IES Abroad student body just prior to the pandemic. IES Abroad’s ongoing and award-winning diversity and inclusion efforts are integral to their commitment to represent and integrate diverse perspectives, cultures, and ideas at home and abroad.

In addition to her work at IES Abroad, she is also well known in the study abroad field and within her local community. She hosts webinars, town halls, and trainings on topics such as achieving equity in virtual global learning, exploring the intersections of diverse identities abroad, and connecting students at Historically Black Colleges & Universities with tools and information for studying abroad.

IES Abroad is a not-for-profit study abroad and internship provider based in Chicago. They send more than 10,000 college students to live and learn around the world each year, educating students to become global leaders. Their mission is rooted in changing the world, one student at a time—a commitment more critical now than ever before.

About IES Abroad

Founded in 1950, IES Abroad is a global, not-for-profit academic consortium of more than 500 top-tier American colleges and universities. IES Abroad provides premier study abroad and internship programs around the world through IES Abroad, IES Internships, Customized & Faculty-Led Programs, and The Study Abroad Foundation. With more than 400 study abroad programs in 85 locations worldwide, the organization creates authentic global education opportunities for more than 10,000 students annually. IES Abroad has more than 140,000 alumni who have benefited from studying on IES Abroad programs since its inception, and offers $6+ million in scholarships and aid.

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