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.

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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 first Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award was presented at the Spring 2021 Simmons Leadership Conference. Candidates are nominated by Institute staff, experts and advisory board members and selected by an Awards Committee.

Who is eligible for the Helen G. Drinan award?

A women 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.

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What is the nomination process?

  • Nomination process for the second award will be launched in October 2021 with a nomination deadline of December 1, 2021.

  • The Award Committee will select and notify the recipient by February 1, 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 the annual Spring Simmons Leadership Conference.