Simmons Leadership Blog

Aretha Franklin and Arianna Huffington to Speak at Simmons Leadership Conference


We're so excited to announce the keynote speakers for our premier Simmons Leadership Conference! Focusing on the theme "Dare to Compete," the conference features Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, author and columnist Arianna Huffington, and Cisco Chief Technology and Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior.

In addition to Franklin, Huffington, and Warrior, the conference features Nilofer Merchant, author and business visionary; Claire Shipman, author of The Confidence Code; and legendary singer Darlene Love.

The event will be held on April 2nd, 2015 at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. Check back here for more news about the conference!

Highlights from Encore 2014

We held our second annual Encore program on Wednesday! This exciting event offers in-depth presentations from our most popular speakers from the Leadership Conference.

It was an inspiring and motivational day. In the morning session Dr. Lois Frankel and Carol Frohlinger, JD taught us how to negotiate just about anything, and in the afternoon Victoria Labalme gave us the insider scoop on rocking presentations.

You can experience all the excitement of Encore with the social media interactions captured below!

Looking Back at Leadership Conference

We're still buzzing from last week's Simmons Leadership Conference! It was an extraordinary, empowering day featuring talks by such incredible women as activist Zainab Salbi, astronaut Mae Jemison, legendary actress and singer Rita Moreno, and - of course - a moving closing keynote from the incomparable Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

See what our attendees thought of the day:

Live Blog: Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton


Hillary Rodham Clinton served as the nation's 67th Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013, after nearly four decades in public service. Her "smart power" approach to foreign policy repositioned American diplomacy and development for the 21st century. Clinton played a central role in restoring America's standing in the world, reasserting the United States as a Pacific power, imposing crippling sanction on Iran and North Korea, responding to the Arab Awakening, and negotiating a ceasefire in the Middle East. Earlier, as First Lady and then Senator from New York, she traveled to more than 80 countries as a champion of human rights, democracy, and opportunities for women and girls. Clinton also worked to provide health care to millions of children, create jobs and opportunity, and support first responders who risked their lives at Ground Zero. In her historic campaign for U.S. President in 2008, Clinton won 18 million votes.

Live Blog: Signature Dialogue: Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Human Potential


Mae Jemison gives new meaning to the expression "the sky's the limit." In addition to her pioneering role as the first African-American woman to travel in space, she is a successful entrepreneur and a passionate crusader for science education and literacy. In her latest endeavor, she is leading the 100 Year Starship initiative, tackling the massive challenges of innovation and planning to ensure human space travel to another star within the century.As a woman who continues to excel in the traditionally male-dominated realms of science, technology, and medicine, Jemison proves inspiring stories about achieving one's potential.

Live Blog: Afternoon Keynote, Rita Moreno


Rita Moreno is one of just a handful of performers-and the only Latina-to win the entertainment industry's four most prestigious awards. Her breakout performance came as Anita in West Side Story, earning her an Oscar for best supporting actress and paving the way for Hispanic actors to play more meaningful roles. She won the Grammy for her contribution to The Electric Company Album, and Tony for best featured actress in The Ritz, and two Emmys for guest appearances on The Muppet Show and The Rockford Files. She has continued to work steadily in feature films and on television, most recently in recurring roles in the prison drama Oz, and the sit-com Happily Divorced.

Live Blog: Morning Keynote, Rana Foroohar


Award-winning journalist Rana Foroohar is assistant managing editor of TIME magazine, overseeing business and economic coverage across all platforms. Her Curious Capitalist column, covering the intersection of the global economy and Main Street, has become a must-read for economic and political thought leaders. Foroohar previously served as Newsweek's deputy editor in charge of international business and economics, as well as the magazine's economic correspondent covering Europe and the Middle East. Known for her high-level yet accessible analysis of national and world events, she is a frequent commentator on business for CNN, MSNBC, and the BBC, and regularly chairs panel discussions with world leaders, intellectuals, and economists at the World Economic Forum. Foroohar is currently a contributor to The Daily Beast and can be heard weekly on the New York public radio show, Money Talking.

Every woman faces turning points in her career, leading up to the Simmons Leadership Conference, we asked Foroohar to share her advice on "jumping the curve" to become a leader in your field.

Live Blog: Signature Dialogue: The Other Side of War


Founder and former CEO of Women for Women International, Zainab Salbi has dedicated her life to empowering women in war-torn areas to become full and equal participants in their communities. In its 20 years, her organization has provided direct aid, rights education, job skills training, and small business development to more than 350,000 women from Afghanistan to South Sudan.An escapee from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Salbi describes her own experience of oppression, the extraordinary lessons learned from working with war survivors, and her new priority to help women in the Middle East play larger roles in business, politics, and the media.

Live Blog: Opening Keynote, Denise Morrison


Denise Morrison is the first woman to be named president and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company and among just 22 women - including her sister - to head a Fortune 500 company. Since assuming leadership in 2011, she has set about creating a culture of innovation, flexibility, and risk-taking at the 144-year-old consumer foods and beverages maker, tapping new growth markets with a host of product introductions. Leading up to the Simmons Leadership Conference, Denise Morrison filled us in on women she admires, turning points in her career, and more in a Q&A.

Breaking Old Patterns with Helaine Olen


Freelance journalist and former financial columnist Helaine Olen delights in debunking the idea that personal finance experts always have their clients' best interests in mind. In her recent book, Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry, she reveals the conflicts of interest and misleading advice offered by those who profit off the economic anxiety of everyday Americans while purporting to help them achieve financial security. Olen got her start in personal finance by writing the Money Makeover feature in The Los Angeles Times. Since then, her work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Slate, Salon, and Pacific Standard. Olen is currently a regular contributor to both The Great Debate and Equals on the Reuters website and regularly reports on a wide range of topics including personal finance, women's issues, politics, education, and career strategies.
We caught up with Helaine, who will be speaking at the Simmons Leadership Conference on April 23rd.

Career Advice from Kathy Garcia


A recognized leader in the IT services industry, Katherine Garcia is Senior Vice President of Applications Services for HP Enterprise Services. Her organization supports clients across all industries and located in more than 170 countries, applying innovation to modernize and manage their applications portfolios to enhance business results. Before joining HP, Garcia held several senior management positions at IBM that enabled her to gain a global perspective and to develop expertise in high-growth markets. In her most recent position there, she served as general manager of IBM Global Business Services, Growth Markets MTN, a global telecommunications company. In this role she was responsible for creating and executing strategic plans to initiate business operations across Africa. Previously in her career, Garcia was president of Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems.
Kathy Garcia talked to us about career advice, lending support to other women, and more!

Denise Morrison: Integrating Work and Life


Consistently named by Forbes and Fortune as one the country's most powerful women in business, Denise Morrison became president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company in 2011. The first woman to head the $7.7 billion consumer foods maker, she brought to the task a 30-year track record of building iconic brands at Kraft Foods, Nestle, Nabisco, and Pepsi-Cola. In just her first year as CEO, Morrison reinvigorated sales growth with the launch of 288 new products and the $1.55 billion acquisition of Bolthouse Farms, instilling a new spirit of innovation and creativity at the venerable company. Morrison is a founding member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a first-of-its-kind coalition of manufacturers, retailers, and other organizations to combat obesity, especially among children. She currently serves on the board of directors of Catalyst and Enactus, as well as of the Campbell Soup Company.
Denise Morrison filled us in on women she admires, turning points in her career, and more!

Turning Points with Nicole Parent Haughey


Nicole Parent Haughey is Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Development at United Technologies Corporation. She brings to UTC two decades of Wall Street experience, most recently as managing partner at Vertical Research Partners, an independent equity research firm that she co-founded. Haughey previously served as managing director and global sector head of industrials at Credit Suisse, covering the domestic electrical equipment and multi-industry sectors as well as coordinating industrial equity research across the United States, Europe, and Asia. She also held senior research positions at Banc of American Securities, LLC, SalomonSmithBarney, and Cowen & Company. A frequent guest on CNBC, she has been recognized by Institutional Investor, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and StarMine for her insightful analysis. Haughey currently serves on the board of overseers at Harvard University and on the advisory board of the Resolution Project, dedicated to developing socially responsible young leaders.
We had the opportunity to ask Nicole a few questions. Don't miss her session at the Simmons Leadership Conference!

Celebrating Your Success with Debbie Dunnam

dunnam.jpgDebbie Dunnam, Senior Vice President of Americas Services Sales at Cisco, leads a diverse organization with responsibility for all technical and professional services sales, channel partner sales, and field marketing in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. During her tenure, she has steadily advanced through several leadership positions, including heading up the Go To Market Shared Services organization, the Worldwide Customer Operations team, Cisco Services Sales in the US Enterprise, Commercial, and Canada customer base, the Inside Services Sales team, and the US Cisco Services Partner Organization sales group. Dunnam participates in multiple inclusion and diversity efforts, both inside the company and within the partner community. With more than 25 years of IT experience, she has held executive positions in other industry-leading companies including HP and Dell.

Debbie took the time to answer some questions about jumping the curve, work/life balance tips, and much more!

3 Questions with Betty Nguyen


NBC News and MSNBC anchor Betty Nguyen has spent her career covering breaking news around the globe, reporting on some of the most important political, environmental, and cultural events of our time--from the Boston Marathon bombings, to the 2012 presidential election, the Arab Spring, and the Gulf oil spill. Before her move to NBC, she anchored the CBS Morning News and reported for CBS This Morning, also serving as special correspondent for Entertainment Tonight. Nguyen previously anchored the weekend edition of CNN Newsroom, and contributed to award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the 2006 tsunami in South Asia. After returning to Vietnam for the first time since fleeing the war, Nguyen and her family were inspired to found Help the Hungry, a global nonprofit organization that distributes food, clothing, medicine, and basic essentials to those in need.
We had the opportunity to ask Betty a few questions. Don't miss her session at the Simmons Leadership Conference!

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