Request Information


The Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School Leadership Program is inspired by the legacy of Catherine McAuley and traditions of Mercy. Rooted in the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy - earth, immigration, nonviolence, racism, and women - Gwynedd educates and empowers young women to become prudent, ethical leaders of action and conviction. 

The department utilizes the Gardner Carney Leadership Lab method, developed by the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute (gcLi) in collaboration with the Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania. Led by 5 institute-certified faculty and staff, the gcLi method combines brain science, social and emotional intelligence, leadership studies, cultural competency, and developmental psychology. 

Role models like Catherine McAuley prove women make great leaders. Yet, research compiled in 2016 by the Harvard Graduate School of Education found that teen girls continue to face a powerful barrier to leadership: an unconscious gender bias from adults, other teens and even themselves. Alarmingly, while women hold almost 52 percent of all professional-level jobs in the country, their representation in top leadership positions in a broad range of fields—such as equity law partners, medical school deans, and corporate executive officers—remains stuck at a mere 10 percent to 20 percent.

Gwynedd is committed to helping our graduates shatter more “glass ceilings” and be positioned to make an even greater impact in the world. The program is designed to champion ethical leadership, develop leadership competencies, inspire change agents, encourage career exploration, promote diversity, develop global competency, and combat unconscious gender bias among adults and teens themselves.


"At girls’ schools, girls demonstrate great confidence in female leadership and become increasingly interested in leadership positions themselves. Data suggests that girls at coeducational schools actually become less interested in leadership positions with age."
      —Dr. Katherine Kinzler, Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago and Visiting Professor in the Department of Psychology at Cornell University 


female student shaking hands with teacher

Students are invited to apply for internships offered by the School. Internships are available in Advancement, Athletics, Counseling, Culinary, Leadership, Marketing & Communications, Performing Arts, Science, Strategic Planning, and Technology. Upon completion of the program, interns will receive a stipend of $500. 

Learn More


students and mentors posing for photo

Our Externship Program provides leadership learning in a professional setting. The program fosters personal, educational, and professional growth. Each student who applies for an externship is interviewed, providing practice and direction on presentation skills and highlighting her strengths and unique qualifications.

Learn More

Leadership Programming

student making a presentation

Our students have opportunities to take leadership to the next level. In our programs, students study, articulate, and learn practices and habits through teachable moments.

Program Benefits:
- Specialized curriculum
- Speaker opportunities
- Student summits
- National conferences

Learn More


"Programs at girls’ schools focus on the development of teamwork over other qualities of leadership, while the qualities of confidence, compassion,
and resilience also ranked prominently."
      —Dr. Nicole Archard, Student Leadership Development in Australian and New Zealand Secondary Girls’ Schools: A Staff Perspective 

Leadership Advisory Council - "Empowered Women Empower Women."

The Leadership Advisory Council includes 10 alumnae who work in an array of professions and industries. These women work with the Leadership Director and students in LEAD and Lead4Change to provide real-world insights, guidance, and mentorship. 


Our Partners


2020 EE Ford Foundation Grant
2020 Lead4Change Foundation Grant
2020 BLBB Charitable Grant



lead4change banner




Our Partners

blb logo



character lab logo


the giving tree logo