In celebration of International Women’s Day, three of Weber State University’s female deans shared their thoughts and experiences to inspire other women in leadership.

Seven of the university’s eight deans are women.

In 2022, a Utah State University study found that the rate of female principals in Utah is lower than the national average.

Kristin Hadley, dean of Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education, commented on the importance of aspiring teachers seeing other women in leadership roles.

She encouraged incoming teacher candidates to seek out opportunities in the education field.

“I didn’t envision my current career path, but opportunities arose and I prepared myself to be able to accept those challenges,” Hadley said.

72% of the U.S. public educator workforce is female, but just 13% of superintendents are women. Why?

Yasmen Simonian, dean of the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions since 2008, expressed her gratitude for working with other deans who are women at Weber State.

“It used to be that I was the only female dean for a while. I’m grateful for having female colleagues now,” Simonian said. “We share information, solve problems, help one another, bounce ideas and much more. We celebrate and honor each other in leadership positions.”

Yasmen Simonian, dean of the Dumke College of Health Professions at Weber State University, is pictured on Aug. 18, 2022. | Benjamin Zack, Weber State University

Simonian encourages aspiring women leaders to “learn as much as you can” and “never underestimate who you are and what you know.”

She said women pursuing roles in leadership should “take courage and step out of your comfort zone.”

Andrea Easter-Pilcher is the dean of the College of Science at Weber State University. | Joshua Yetman

Andrea Easter-Pilcher, dean of the College of Science, said there is room to improve the number of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

Female leadership, she said, can help motivate and inspire others.

Both Hadley and Easter-Pilcher said the support of female colleagues helped them to take on the challenge of being involved in academic leadership, a role neither initially intended to pursue.

Hadley said she “felt the need for strong, effective women leaders in the field of education as a role model for others.”

Easter-Pilcher said women in leadership should “work to actively elevate others.”

She encouraged women to believe in the value of their words, thoughts, ideas and dreams.