Celebrating visionary women leaders

Visionary Leader Award

The Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award

In 2020, the Institute established an annual Visionary Leader Award to celebrate a woman leader who embodies our vision of manifesting equity in leadership in our lifetime. The award is presented each year at the Simmons Leadership Conference in honor of Simmons University’s eighth president, Helen G. Drinan, and her 12 years of distinguished service.

helen g drinan award graphic

Visionary leaders see around corners. They make manifest a reality that today does not exist. Helen G. Drinan’s legacy of leadership is one of commitment, values and action. It is a legacy Simmons University is proud to carry on in her name and to amplify so that other visionary women leaders are seen and honored.

Susan MacKenty Brady

CEO, Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership

About the award

The Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award is presented at our annual Simmons Leadership Conference. Candidates are nominated by the Institute’s team of staff, experts, and strategic advisory board members based on the recommendations offered by community members and business leaders worldwide. Each year’s recipient is selected by a distinguished Awards Committee.

Who is eligible for the Helen G. Drinan award?

A woman leader who:

  • Exemplifies their values in their actions and leadership style.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to an organization, compassion to its members, and courage to make challenging business decisions.
  • Ensures the long-term stability of an organization with vision and action.
  • Open and transparent about challenges in an effort to show others that they are not alone.
  • Demonstrates curiosity and a “work is never done” attitude necessary for organizations to stay ahead of the curve (innovation, anticipation).
  • Prioritizes financial stability and fiscal responsibility.

visionary leader word cloud

What is the nomination process?

  • Nomination process for the 2022 award will be launched in early December 2021, with a nomination deadline of December 31, 2021.

  • The Award Committee will select and notify the recipient by February 28, 2022.

  • Public announcement of the recipient will be made at the Simmons Leadership Conference on April 13, 2022.

When will it be awarded?

  • The award will be presented each year our annual Simmons Leadership Conference. Our next conference exploring the theme of Cultivating Courage and Connection takes place on April 13, 2022. Learn more.