Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, born in Aachen in 1954, studied History and Art History in Aachen and Law at the universities of Bonn, Lausanne and Freiburg. Between 1983 and 1988, she worked in various positions in the cultural and scientific administration in Hamburg. In 1989 she was appointed vice-chancellor of the Cologne University of Music. From 1999 to 2004 she worked in Aachen as a city councillor for cultural and social affairs. She was also a member of the committee for cultural affairs at the Association of German Cities, the administrative board of the German Theatre Association, and the federal board in the Association of German Music Schools.
Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen has headed the Cultural Foundation of German States as its general secretary since 1 November 2004.
She is a member of the curatorial panel at the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation and the Sparkassen Cultural Fund, the advisory board at the University of Kassel, the advisory committee at the Federal Cultural Foundation, the advisory board of the Friedenstein Castle Foundation and the curatorial panel of the Akademie Schloss Solitude. She is also a member of the Art Advisory Board for the State of Baden-Württemberg and the North Rhine-Westphalian Future Commission.