Women of Influence

"Women of Influence in Education"

A Leadership Gathering in Hong Kong

Featuring: Ellen Deitsch Stern, Madeleine Maceda Heide, and Debra Boblitt
Sponsored By

Friday October 13 to Sunday October 15, 2017

Spend an empowering weekend with "Women of Influence" Ellen, Madeleine, and Debra…

  • Building your value as an educational leader.
  • Finding your next step and how to negotiate your true worth.
  • Board Work; Governance, strategy and presentations.
  • Finding the courage to lead authentically.
  • Conversational Leadership: Understanding people through conversation.
Registration Fee: Contact:
  • HK$3120 per person.
  • The weekend conference can accommodate a maximum of 80 participants.
  • You are encouraged to register early to secure your place.

Jacqueline Hutchings


Venue: Times:

Hong Kong International School
Lower Primary School Campus
6 South Bay Close
Repulse Bay
Hong Kong

Friday 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Saturday 8:30am - 5:15pm
Sunday 8:30am - 1:15pm

Registration Fee Payment Workshop Presentations
Registration fee can be paid with "Pay Dollar" only. All major credit cards are accepted.
Click here to register.

Download the general information sheet

Guest Speakers

Ellen Deitsch Stern

Ellen was a secondary math teacher, principal and head of school in the US before going overseas. Following eight years as director of the Anglo- American School of Moscow and St Petersburg, she has served as an interim head of school in 10 schools in the last 13 years. Starting at the American School of The Hague, then Ecole Mondale in Mumbai, AISVienna, Colegio Maya in Guatemala, AIS Krakow, Cairo American College, Saigon South International School, the French American International School in San Francisco, AIS Zagreb and most recently the American Embassy School in New Delhi.

Her passion is promoting, training and mentoring/coaching women in leadership. Collaborating with other directors, she has held workshops for ECIS, CEESA and AIS Chennai and founded the Global Women' Leadership Alliance. Her article, "Womanless History", written with Dr. Linda Duevel and Dr. Mona Nashman-Smith was published by ECIS.

Ellen is a graduate of Harvard/Radcliffe and has an MA in Education Administration from Teachers College of Columbia University.

Madeleine Maceda Heide

Madeleine Maceda Heide is a dynamic educator who has served in a variety of leadership roles in international schools in the Philippines, the United States, Taiwan, Belgium, Hong Kong, India and Ecuador. She began as an early childhood educator and then moved into expanded positions of leadership and authority as an educational coordinator, team leader, principal, teacher trainer, assistant superintendent and now serves as the Director of Academia Cotopaxi American International School in Quito, Ecuador. In every school, she led transformations big and small, cultivating reciprocal partnerships among diverse educators, business professionals, government and non-governmental authorities, Boards, parents and students. Always welcoming complex challenges, Madeleine is invested in energizing communities toward innovation, provoking learning through courageous conversations, building healthy organizations through collaborative relationships and strategic results, and developing diverse leaders focused on human-centered learning.

Madeleine has developed expertise in strategic planning, talent recruitment, accreditation, modern teaching and learning practices, organizational development, and leadership development. Her academic areas of expertise are in curriculum and assessment practices, language and literacy instruction, and early childhood programming. She is passionate about new models for schooling that include, engage and empower learners of all ages and abilities.

Madeleine also serves as the President of the Board of Trustees of the Association for American Schools in South America, and serves on the Advisory Council of the Association for the Advancement of International Education.

You can follow Madeleine on Twitter @MadeleineHeide and LinkedIn here.

Debra Boblitt

Debra Boblitt, CLF, spent nearly three decades as a leader at State Farm Insurance Companies®, the top insurer for life, auto and home in the United States. She served as Senior Vice President of the Southeastern Market Area from 2009 until April 2016, when she left the organization to pursue a portfolio career.

She has a proven track record of increasing revenue and market share, developing dynamic teams, and leading through change. Areas of expertise include customer needs and behaviors, and marketing and distribution.

Boblitt’s career began as an independent contractor agent for State Farm. She opened her agency with no accounts and grew it into a thriving business. Later, she accepted the call to leadership and spent the next 24 years rising through the organization’s executive ranks. Her career spanned the United States as she guided agents and leaders, leading them through historic growth and unprecedented change.

In 2001, Boblitt was the sole sales force representative on an executive committee that restructured her organization from 28 regional offices to 13 zones across the United States and Canada. In 2009, she became senior vice president with full P&L responsibilities for State Farm business in Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. Under her leadership, the area’s profit margin improved by more than 5.5 percent.

Most recently, her territorial responsibility covered seven states where she provided strategic leadership and oversaw sales for approximately 3,000 State Farm agents and leaders.


  • The American College of Financial Services, 2006, Chartered Leadership Fellow (CLF) designation
  • International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation Fellowship Program, 2009, IWF Fellow
  • University of Toledo, 1979, M.A. in Administration and Supervision
  • Kent State University,1976, B.S. in Education

Boards, Awards and Activities:

  • International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation Board of Directors, 2013-present
  • The American College Foundation Board of Directors, Secretary, 2012-2016
  • The American College Alumni Hall of Fame Inducted 2013
  • Professional Business Women of California, Board Chairperson, 2005-2006

Guest Panelists

Abigail DeLessio

An experienced senior executive with over 15 years of success in educational leadership and board relations, Ms. DeLessio is currently a Senior Consultant, Asia-Pacific with Triangle Associates an educational consultancy providing leadership support for international and independent educational institutions. Focusing on leadership searches and governance support, Abbi partners her extensive experience and skills with Triangle Associates’ state of the art approach to executive searches to meet the unique needs of individual schools; aligning the right leadership with effective governance to drive outcomes and sustainability and to raise the performance bar for trustees. Abbi’s expertise in governance, board development, strategic planning and operations management and her focus on the development of immediate and long-term goals, support sustainable growth. Her successful experience in governing independent schools supports her working closely with school leadership to maximize strengths and identify opportunities for differentiation and growth.

In her executive career, Abigail has held leadership positions at Triangle Associates (Asia-Pacific Region); Watchdog Early Education Centre; Asian University for Women Hong Kong Support Foundation; Hong Kong International School (HKIS); The American Chamber of Commerce Hong Kong; and Growing Together Limited. She has been responsible for providing strategic planning and oversight for organizational mission, vision, people, and priorities; as well as strategic focus and insight through facilitated workshops or direct leadership to develop short-term and long-term sustainable goals for schools, boards, associations, and partners. She has led boards in policy, standards, and process for continuous improvement in identification, recruitment, and cultivation of future institutional leaders. Abbi communicates effectively between institutional officials and boards, enabling the boards to govern rather than manage. She has researched and written position papers for submission to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council; grant proposals to corporate, community and government funders; and a position paper for submission to the U.N. Commission on Racial Discrimination.

Abigail obtained a B.A. in Economics from Clark University. She has served as chair or member of numerous boards and advisory councils, including Hong Kong International School (Chair); Asian University for Women Hong Kong Support Foundation (Charter Member); and Growing Together Limited (Chair). She recently received a Certified Financial Times Non-Executive Director Diploma (Level 7).

Abbi and her husband Tim have lived in Hong Kong for thirteen years and have two daughters: Alli, a Masters Candidate at The George Washington University in Washington, DC and Maggie, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania.

Marc T. Frankel, Ph.D.

Dr. Marc Frankel, Ph. D. is a Senior Consultant and partner in Triangle Associates, an international consultancy specializing in higher, independent and international education. A psychologist by training, Dr. Frankel facilitates governance workshops, leadership development programs, and strategic planning in the United States and around the world, and coaches numerous senior leaders in universities and independent schools. His clients include schools in Europe, Asia and North America, including large and small institutions and Tier 1 universities.

Among his accomplishments are the development of evaluation methodologies for governing boards and senior academic and administrative leaders, co-founding the School Leadership Institute for the National Association of Independent Schools, and authoring or co-authoring numerous articles and white papers on issues in governance and leadership of schools and universities. Dr. Frankel is a member of the governing board at the Wildwood School (Los Angeles), and he lives in St. Louis with his wife, Jacqueline. Their son, Alex, lives and works in Los Angeles.

Dr. Frankel’s undergraduate degree is from the University of Utah, and he completed his Masters and Ph.D. at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Frankel has been part of Triangle Associates for over 18 years.

Dr. Frankel can be reached via e-mail at marc@ta-stl.com

Judith Schechtman

Judith Schechtman is a Senior Consultant and principal in Triangle Associates, St. Louis, an international consulting firm specializing in leadership and organizational management. Ms. Schechtman holds a masters degree in Social Work from Washington University, St Louis. She received her BA in psychology from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. Formerly an adjunct professor at Washington University in the graduate school of Social Work for 15 years, she has researched and written on a broad spectrum of topics related to leadership and governance.

Ms. Schechtman works internationally in the fields of higher education and independent elementary and secondary school education. She specializes in governance, strategy, executive coaching and leadership development. She has developed assessment tools for boards and heads of school as well as professional development assessments specifically designed for independent/international school leaders. With her colleagues, she writes extensively on strategy, governance and leadership.

Ms. Schechtman is co-founder of the Leadership Program for Aspiring Heads for independent schools, the International Leadership Institute for EARCOS, as well as the ILEAD program for department chairs at the University of Virginia. She has been part of the original faculty for the Women in Leadership program of NCAIS. Her interest in women’s roles in leadership has led to speaking engagements on this topic with groups as diverse as college sororities to national conferences. Ms Schechtman, who is a trustee at an independent elementary school in her home town, lives in St. Louis with her husband, Richard. Their daughter lives and works in Washington, DC.

Ms. Schechtman can be reached via e-mail at: judy@ta-stl.com

Deborah Kan

Deborah Kan is a new media entrepreneur, media speaker and award-winning news anchor and journalist.

Executive Editor and Founder of Being Patient, she seeks to redefine health media by creating single-subject platforms around specific health topics. Being Patient is launching a news site this July solely dedicated to covering Alzheimer’s disease.

Kan was previously the Managing Editor for News Deeply’s Women & Girls, launched in partnership with the Gates Foundation. Women & Girls seeks to cover important female issues in the developing world, around health, education and crisis and conflict.

Previously Executive Producer at the Wall Street Journal, Kan launched the Journal’s video and multi-media operation in Asia and grew it into a substantial operation, spanning nine countries throughout the region.

Kan has interviewed many world leaders and CEOs during her tenure as a journalist. Uber founder Travis Kalanick, Airbnb’s co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk and Twitter’s former CEO Dick Costolo are among technology leaders Kan obtained exclusive interviews with. When she interviewed Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt in 2014, Kan broke the story of Google’s criticism of the U.S. National Security Agency.

Prior to joining the Journal in 2011, Kan was a news anchor with Reuters Insider, Thomson Reuters proprietary news channel, where she reported extensively on the 2008 global economic crisis, China’s 2009 massive economic stimulus package and regulation reform in the aftermath of the economic crisis.

Her broadcast experience also includes roles as anchor of “Star News Asia,” the award-winning newscast on Newscorp’s Star World, as well as presenter of “Talk with Deborah Kan.”

Throughout her career, Kan has conducted exclusive interviews with political leaders. She was also one of few international journalists to have interviewed Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was the only television journalist from Asia to accompany the New York Philharmonic on their historic 2008 performance in Pyongyang, North Korea. Other high profile interviews include former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, former Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and former Philippine President Joseph Estrada.

Kan is a member of the 2008 class of the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum. She obtained a BA from the University of California and attended the Mass Media Institute at Stanford University, where she studied broadcast journalism.

She lives a peripatetic life, splitting her time between San Francisco and Hong Kong.

Ben Way

Ben is the Chief Executive Officer of Macquarie Group Asia.

Macquarie Group is an Australian listed diversified financial group, providing clients with asset management and finance, banking, advisory and risk and capital solutions across debt, equity and commodities. Macquarie employs more than 13,500 people in over 27 countries and has assets under management of $A481.7 billion. In Asia, Macquarie has more than 3,400 people across 13 offices in 11 locations.

In addition to his CEO responsibilities in Asia, Ben is a member of the Macquarie Group’s Global Management Committee and co-heads Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) in Asia-Pacific. Since joining Macquarie in 2006, Ben has led the establishment of investment funds in Asia across sectors including utilities, renewables, communication, transport and water. As a leader Ben is passionate about engagement, diversity and inclusion, talent development and collaboration.

A director of several non-profit and professional organisations, Ben is Vice Chair of the Hong Kong-ASEAN Economic Cooperation Foundation, a member of the Chairman’s Council of the Australia-China Relations Institute and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council Financial Services Advisory Committee. He also participates in the Australia India Leadership Dialogue.

He is a board member of the Macquarie Group Foundation and Mekong Club. Ben is also a member of The Women’s Foundation Male Allies in Hong Kong and a signatory to the 30% Club and #HeForShe.

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