• Leadership | Community | Impact


  • About SWAN

    The alumni pillar of the Johns Hopkins SAIS Women Lead (SWL) Initiative


    The Johns Hopkins SAIS Women's Alumni Network (SWAN) was launched in 2014 to position SAIS alumnae as leaders in international relations and related fields. The alumni group quickly expanded with the launch of leadership hubs in Washington D.C., New York, London and Brussels to bridge a global community of active and engaged SAIS alumni. SWAN hosts a diverse line-up of programming in professional and career development, roundtable discussions, documentary film forums, mentorship and networking opportunities. We also have a dynamic online community via LinkedIn and Facebook.


    SWAN is a key pillar of the broader SAIS Women Lead (SWL) initiative. SWL brings together alumni, students, faculty, policymakers and market experts to promote women in leadership. It is a program to educate and train leaders, assess impact, leverage SAIS technical expertise, drive discussion and build community. In addition to alumni engagement via SWAN, SWL includes the Global Women in Leadership student organization, the Women Who Inspire lecture series and the recently launched academic curriculum, SAIS Global Women’s Leadership Development Program.


    broken image

    Rachel Dunsmoor

    SWAN DC Hub Co-Chair

    Reach Rachel Dunsmoor (B'07, DC'08) at swandchub@gmail.com.

    broken image

    Dara Iserson

    SWAN DC Hub Co-Chair

    Reach Dara Iserson (B'08, DC'09) at swandchub@gmail.com.

    broken image

    Jamie Shellenberger-Bessmann

    SWAN NYC Hub Chair

    Reach Jamie Shellenberger-Bessmann (B'10, DC '11) at swannychub@gmail.com.

    broken image

    Alison Evans

    SWAN London Hub Chair

    Reach Alison Evans (B'12, DC 13) at swanlondonhub@gmail.com.

    broken image

    Lisa Satolli

    SWAN Brussels Hub Chair

    Reach Lisa Satolli (B'17) at swanbrusselshub@gmail.com.


    Want to hear from extraordinary SAIS Alumnae? Listen to SWAN's "Lessons from Leaders" podcast.

    Our newest podcast is below. Click the SoundCloud link to hear the entire series.


    Have ideas? Want to partner with SWAN in your city? Let's talk.


    Click here to join our mailing list


    Click here to register for upcoming events

  • Take Action with the

    SAIS Women's Alumni Network

    Join an active community of SAIS alumni and make an impact in women's leadership and professional development.

    SWAN Connect: Join the SWAN community. Receive our global email newsletter or be part of the conversation on LinkedIn or Facebook.
    SWAN Leadership: Sign up to be on the SWAN Speaker Bureau as a panelist, moderator or facilitator for an event or for the SWAN Documentary Film Forum.
    SWAN Professional Development: Take initiative and facilitate a professional skills workshop or speak on a career panel in your city.
    SWAN Partnership: Ready to join forces with SWAN on a new initiative? SWAN partners with corporations, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations on a diversity of projects and events.
    SWAN Action: Get involved. Learn how to become a professional resource for women Syrian scholars studying in the US and Canada.
    SWAN Podcast: Listen, Laugh, and Learn. Add your voice to Lessons on Leadership by reaching out to the Podcast team on LinkedIn to be featured on the SWAN Podcast. Share your story, successes, as well as the hurdles you continue to jump over in your professional and personal life.
    To support SAIS Women Lead, click here or visit https://www.sais-jhu.edu/swl.
    For more information about SWAN, email swanglobalevents@gmail.com.
  • SWAN Events

    Upcoming and Recent Initiatives with the SAIS Women's Alumni Network

    broken image

    February 27, 2020: 6:00 p.m. | Washington, DC

    Networking in the Real World: Developing Your Digital Brand

    Join our esteemed branding experts Lisa Kopp (SAIS MIPP '07) and Dr. Elisse Wright Barnes, and in a hands-on, practical workshop that will offer participants the opportunity to:

    • Critically review their digital presence;

    • Gain insight into future career and industry trends;

    • Identify a “minimum viable content approach to both Influence audience behavior and learn about their needs while advancing their career and/or business goals; and

    • Learn practical tips for leveraging their LinkedIn presence to maximize their personal brands.

    Participants of all levels of social media familiarity and use are welcomed. Please bring a laptop, tablet, or other mobile device.

    Your registration includes a dinner reception that begins at 6 pm.


    For more information and to register, click here.

    Recent SWAN Events

    October 17, 6:00 p.m. | Washington, DC

    Creating Opportunity: Practical Steps for Designing Your Career

    Join SWAN DC on October 17 from 6pm to 8:30pm for a workshop and alumni panel discussion that will debunk some common myths around taking charge of your career at any stage. It will offer practical strategies for prioritizing yourself, designing your career, and showcasing your value to create new opportunities with people and organizations. Participants will leave this event with a clearer idea of what they bring to the table, strategies for capitalizing on their skillsets to create opportunities, and tangible steps they can take.
    The cost is $25 per person ($20 before October 3), and includes dinner reception. Please register in advance. For more information and to RSVP, please go to https://swandccreatingopportunity.eventbrite.com.

    broken image

    September 11, 5:30 p.m. | Washington, DC

    SWAN DC Fall Kickoff Happy Hour with SAIS Global Women in Leadership

    Join the SAIS Women's Alumni Network (SWAN) DC Hub as it kicks off the 2019/2020 year with a joint happy hour with SAIS's Global Women in Leadership group at Ankara Turkish & Mediterranean Restaurant. Whether you are a current SWAN member or are interested in joining, we invite you to come meet our team and learn about our exciting plans for this year! We extend a special invitation to the Class of 2019 to join us! For more information or to RSVP, please click here.

    broken image

    May 15, 6:00 p.m. | Washington, DC

    Pitch Perfect! Mastering Your Elevator Pitch

    Do you ever struggle when someone asks you the dreaded question: "So, what do you do?" In this interactive workshop at SAIS on May 15th, attendees learned all the ingredients needed to create their perfect pitch: what goes into a memorable pitch, how to structure it, tailor your story and leverage your body language for your audience. They had the opportunity to practice their pitches and receive live feedback. At the end of the event, attendees developed a customizable pitch to can apply in the real world. 


    This event was open only to SAIS Alumni.

    broken image

    May 9, 2019, 6:30 p.m. | London

    Brexit and Its Impact on Domestic Politics, Business and International Relations

    This SWAN Panelist Discussion was held at the Reform Club, 104 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5EW. For more information on this past event, read our blog post here.


    Event organized by the SWAN London Hub

    broken image

    May 7, 2019, 3:00 p.m. | Washington, DC

    Swantrepreneurs' Quarterly Roundtable

    Are you a business owner? Wish you could meet and learn from other SAIS Women Alumnae entrepreneurs? On May 7th, SWAN DC hosted its second quarterly SWAN-trepreneur Roundtable at Teaism in Penn Quarter. During this event, attendees learned about each other's businesses and how we can help each other grow.


    This event was open to SAIS alumni only.

    broken image

    April 10, 2019 | New York

    Alumni Panel: Career Enhancement through Volunteering

    On Wednesday, April 10, the SAIS Women's Alumni Network New York hub (SWAN NYC) hosted an alumnae panel discussion featuring Daniela Kaisth ('89), Sarah O'Hagan ('86), and Azish Filabi ('05) on professional and personal development through volunteering and extra-curricular activities, such as serving on boards and through philanthropy. The panelists discussed how they had created opportunities for professional development through their extracurricular endeavors, what they had learned – both hard skills and organizational knowledge – and the mentors they had met along their accomplished volunteering paths outside their professional occupations. The panel presentations were followed by a lively discussion with the approximately 30 alumnae in attendance and a reception. The event was held at the New York Film Academy, which generously opened its doors to SWAN NYC.

    broken image

    March 5, 2019 | Washington, DC

    SWAN DC 2019 International Women's Day Celebration

    In celebration of International Women's Day, SWAN and SAIS’s Global Women in Leadership (GWL) student organization screened Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs and hosted a happy hour-style reception following the film. We partnered with the organization, Peace is Loud, to bring you the story of the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition and their role in the historic peace talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement. Carmen Suro-Bredie, '72, who coached the Northern Ireland Women's Coalition, shared her insights with us at the film’s conclusion. After her remarks, attendees went to the Beacon Bar and Grill to continue the discussion, including with Carmen herself, meet fellow SWAN members, and celebrate women's successes.

    broken image

    January 8, 2019 7:00 p.m. | New York

    New Year's NYC Networking Event

    To get the new year started on the right foot, on January 8 SWAN NYC brought together 30 SAIS alums and current students at the New York Film Academy for an evening of interactive conversations. SAIS alumni rotated around the room between six different stations for six rounds of questions on their personal and professional interests, skills, and professional experiences. The program allowed for alums to chat informally about their experience without the pressure of having to initiate the conversation and was followed by a reception where alums were able to continue the conversation and exchange contact information.

    broken image

    December 3, 7:00 p.m. | New York

    Building Your Network: Transforming Associates Into Trusted Allies (NY)

    On December 3 the successful SAIS Women's Alumni Network (SWAN) networking skills session was rolled out to the SWAN NYC hub with a panel of four powerful SAIS alumnae relationship-builders from the classes of 1994, 2001, 2006 and 2015. Over 25 alums were in attendance and participated in the interactive skills session and panel discussion on building successful networks, which were followed by a reception.

    broken image

    November 13, 5:45pm | Washington, DC

    SWAN Annual Major Event

    SWAN is very pleased to focus this year's Evening with SAIS Women Leaders on the Asia-Pacific region and is thrilled to be hosted by the Embassy of Australia! Our fourth annual signature event brings together an outstanding cadre of SAIS alumnae experts on the Asia Pacific region, including America's highest diplomat on Asia over the past year and a half, two of Politico's top 10 experts on China, and GE's former team lead on policy and advocacy for the Trans Pacific Partnership! You don't want to miss this opportunity to learn about Asia-Pacific security and trade issues from our SAIS alumnae experts, as well as celebrate the 75th anniversary of SAIS. The panel will also share their experiences and keys to success as prominent women leaders.


    A networking reception will be held before and after the panel discussion, so that you can make better connections with fellow SAIS women! The reception will feature primarily Asian-style heavy hors d'oeuvres, as well as Australian wine and beer.


    For more information and to register, click here.

    broken image

    October 10, 6:30 p.m. | Washington, DC

    Building Your Network: Transforming Associates Into Trusted Allies

    The SAIS Women’s Alumni Network (SWAN) allowed participants to strengthen their networking skills at Building Your Network: Transforming Associates Into Trusted Allies. We conducted exercises to practice tactical skills to build and strengthen relationships to grow participants' networks in the short-term and to successfully guide their long-term careers. During the workshop, we learned from a panel of Johns Hopkins SAIS alumni how they successfully build and strengthen their networks.

    broken image

    Oct 3, 7:00 p.m. | Brussels

    SWAN Brussels Kickoff Aperitivo

    Around twenty SAIS alumnae, from graduating classes spanning four decades, met in Brussels on the evening of October 3, for an aperitvo to mark a new, active phase in the SWAN Brussels hub. Women working in academia, business, consulting, diplomacy, finance, foreign policy, government, human rights, IT, and law came together - proof that a SAIS education enables a vast number of vocational paths. The evening was a moment out of busy weeks to reflect on how far these SAIS women have come and where they want to go. They talked about their goals for the SWAN Brussels hub: mentorship; substantive discussions about career challenges and international affairs; fun social events; and strong links with global SWAN and SAIS alumni. It was an evening of companionship, conversation, and canapés. And it promised to be just the start, with much more to come.

    broken image

    September 5, 5:30p.m. | Washington, DC

    SWAN DC September 2018 Kickoff Happy Hour with SAIS Global Women in Leadership

    Join the SWAN DC Hub as it kicks off the 2018/2019 year with a joint happy hour with SAIS's Global Women in Leadership group at City Tap House, 1250 Connecticut Avenue NW. Whether you are a current SWAN member or are interested in joining, we invite you to come meet our team and learn about our exciting plans for this year! We extend a special invitation to the Class of 2018 to join us! For more information, contact swandchub@gmail.com. Please register here.

    broken image

    September 7, 5:30 p.m. | London

    SWAN Happy Hour at Lamb Tavern

    Join the SAIS London Alumni Network and SWAN London for some end-of-summer drinks! It will take place on Friday, September 7 at Lamb Tavern, 10-12 Leadenhall Market, EC3V1. Register here and feel free to send questions to swanlondonhub@gmail.com.

    broken image

    August 29, 6:00 p.m. | New York

    SWAN Happy Hour at Wheeltapper Pub

    SWAN NYC kicked off the 2018-2019 year with an end-of-summer, outdoor happy hour for NY-area alumnae on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at the Wheeltapper Pub on E 44th St. Over 15 alumnae from the classes of 1994 to our most recent grads from the class of 2018 dropped in to connect with former classmates and meet new alumnae, discuss recent career developments, and discuss SWAN activities for the upcoming year. It was a great opportunity to connect!

    broken image

    Mar 29 8:30-5:30 p.m. | Washington D.C.

    2018 SAIS Global Women in Leadership Conference

    Marching Into an Equal Future

    The SAIS Global Women in Leadership invite you to their  the annual conference, Marching into an Equal Future. This year's event will tackle key challenges in gender relations across the politics, peacebuilding and civil society sectors at this pivotal moment in history. Join the discussion alongside a tremendous line-up of panelists and speakers. For details and to register for the event, visit saiswomenlead.org.
    broken image

    Mar 19, 6:30 p.m. | New York

    Alumni-Student Happy Hour at Lily's Bar

    Join SWAN and the SAIS New York Alumni Club for a special evening of cocktails and conversation with students from the SAIS Women Lead and International Law academic programs after their visit to the United Nations. This event will take place at Lily's Bar in the Roger Smith Hotel (501 Lexington Avenue). RSVP here.

    broken image

    Mar 13, 6:00 p.m. | Washington D.C.

    Skills Workshop: Body Language

    The SAIS Women’s Alumni Network (SWAN) held a dynamic Body Language Workshop and Panel with Irvine Nugent, Ph.D. We learned how to master simple body language techniques and become more aware of how we communicate in our personal and professional interactions.

    broken image

    Mar 1, 5:30 p.m. | Washington D.C.

    International Women's Day Happy Hour

    Join SWAN DC with a happy hour in honor of Women's History Month and International Women's Day! In addition to networking, catching up with fellow SWAN members, and learning about SWAN DC's upcoming events, we are pleased to offer you the opportunity to expand SWAN's impact across the globe. Syga Thomas, '08, Chairman of the Thomas Foundation, will discuss the foundation's work on girls' education, particularly Education For All Morocco, which provides a secondary education to girls from rural Morocco. Come join us to socialize, network, and celebrate the education of women and girls at home and abroad!

    broken image

    Nov 30, 6:00 p.m. | Washington, DC

    SWAN Annual Event

    Join SAIS alumni for SWAN's major event of the year. A wine and cheese networking reception will be followed by a panel discussion featuring prominent SAIS women on today's foreign policy challenges, including Russia, North Korea, Afghanistan, counter-terrorism, humanitarian crises, civilian security, and more. Email swandchub@gmail.com with questions and to register.

    broken image

    Oct 21, 11 a.m.-2:15 p.m. | Washington D.C.

    Workshop: Urban Farming and Food Waste Policy

    SWAN DC invites you to a special opportunity to learn about sustainable agricultural practices and experience ECO-City Farm, a thriving urban farm. The event will include a guided tour of the main farm, a hands on vermi (worm) culture demonstration and a catered "zero waste lunch," featuring a panel discussion with food waste policy and composting experts, including PG County Sierra Club Chair, Martha Ainsworth (SAIS '81), moderated by Sarah Colon (SAIS '00). Register here.

    broken image

    Oct 17, 6:30-9 p.m. | New York

    2nd Annual SWAN

    Documentary Film Forum

    Afghanistan and 'What Tomorrow Brings'

    Join SWAN and the New York Film Academy for a dynamic evening of cross-sector discussion and a film screening on development in Afghanistan. Sarah Sewall, Speyer Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs and former Undersecretary to the Obama Administration, will provide her expert insights into the country. Beth Murphy, award-winning filmmaker from the Ground Truth Project, will then provide first-hand reflections following a screening from her latest documentary, What Tomorrow Brings. Click here for more information and to register.​

    broken image

    Sept 11, 6:30 p.m. | New York

    Understanding the US National Security and Intelligence Landscape and What Lies Ahead

    The SAIS Women's Alumni Network (SWAN) in conjunction with the SAIS New York Alumni Club and the alumni of the NYU School of Professional Studies Center for Global Affairs, are pleased to invite you to a panel discussion analyzing the evolving relationship between the Intelligence Community, the National Security institutions and the new Administration, and its impact on foreign policy decision making. The discussion will feature panelists: John E. McLaughlin B’66, ’66, Distinguished Practitioner-in-Residence, Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies, Johns Hopkins SAIS; Yaël Eisenstat ’99, Adjunct Professor, New York University and Founder, Kilele Global; Alexandra Rogan, Senior Vice President, Teneo Intelligence; and Patricia Sabga ’95, Special Correspondent, PBS NewsHour Weekend.

  • Hire SAIS Alumnae

    Are you looking to hire SAIS alumnae for their international expertise and quantitative skills? Let us know about your opportunity! We will distribute it to our email list.