2021 Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award Recipient

Sandra Fenwick

sandra fenwick headshot


Sandra Fenwick ‘72 received the inaugural Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award. Drinan, who served as President of Simmons University from 2008-2020, presented the award at the 42nd Simmons Leadership Conference.

“Sandi’s vision for an institution committed to the well-being of children here in Boston, and by extension of their expertise, to the rest of the world, makes her a natural candidate for recognition by her alma mater,” said Drinan. “It is my honor to award Sandi Fenwick the Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award.”

Fenwick served Boston Children’s Hospital, the nation’s top-ranked pediatric hospital and world’s leading pediatric medical and health research institution, for more than 20 years until her retirement in 2021. Fenwick, who became the hospital’s first woman chief executive officer in 2013, led a 20,000-person team dedicated to advancing child health through clinical care, biomedical research, medical education, and community engagement.

“I can’t think of a better choice for this inaugural award than Sandi, a graduate of Simmons University whose commitment, leadership, and service at Boston Children’s Hospital has been truly visionary,” said Susan MacKenty Brady, CEO of the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership. “This award is designed to recognize Helen Drinan’s many accomplishments during her tenure as Simmons president, while also elevating women leaders who are making a difference in our communities. We are honored to present this award to Sandi.”

Drinan, who stepped down as president in 2020, led a transformational chapter of Simmons’ history. Similarly, the Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leadership Award recognizes women leaders who showcase strong values in their actions and leadership, demonstrate a commitment to their organizations, and have the courage to make challenging and necessary business decisions.

“It is such an honor to receive this award,” said Fenwick. “I would like to dedicate this award as a capstone to my nearly 50-year professional journey. The work we do cannot be done without people, and we need the very best. We need to free them to be their best selves and to do their best work—never forgetting our north star of making a difference in people’s lives.”

Fenwick led Boston Children’s successful efforts to advance and improve the health and well-being of children everywhere.  Boston Children’s treats more patients with rare diseases and complex conditions than any other hospital in the world.  The hospital treats patients from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.