people in conference room watching large screen


There’s so much to explore at the 2024 conference, from influential keynotes to insightful panel discussions.  Explore the full details below. 


April 3: Mainstage Keynote Agenda

On the Mainstage
9:00 am EST

Welcoming Remarks

Susan Makenty Brady

Susan MacKenty Brady

CEO of Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership


Joyce Kulhawik

Emmy Award-Winning Journalist


Kristen Palson

COO, Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership and Executive Producer, Simmons Leadership Conference

Our Institute CEO, Susan MacKenty Brady, will ignite the atmosphere as she welcomes you to an electrifying day. She will then hand the spotlight to our esteemed co-hosts, Joyce Kulhawik and Kristen Palson, who will set the stage for an outstanding day of leadership and allyship.

9:15 am EST

Uncover Your Inner Change Enthusiast to Maximize Your Impact


Cassandra Worthy

World’s Leading Expert on Change Enthusiasm

Cassandra Worthy is the world’s leading expert on Change Enthusiasm®. She will light up the stage with her refreshingly unique take on not just “managing” but growing through change. The Change Enthusiasm® strategy she will share in this keynote empowers you to self-assess your change emotions and redirect anxiety and fears into moments of opportunity and  impact. You will leave with the steps to cultivate a growth mindset to thrive in the face of change, and the motivation to take the first step to becoming a Change Enthusiast.

10:00am EST

Business Panel: Creating Impact as a Leader


Annabel Flores

Raytheon Deputy President, L&ADS, RTX


Diane Gilworth

Senior Vice President, Health Care Services, Point32Health


Gloria Goins

Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Cisco


Denise Millard

Chief Partner Officer, Dell

Kerry Seitz

Kerry Seitz

Vice President, Women’s Leadership, Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership

In this moderated discussion, business leaders will reflect on their personal journeys, offer career-building advice, and engage in a thought-provoking conversation with a focus on how they were able to create an impact and succeed in leadership. Moderated by Kerry Seitz, the Institute’s VP for Women’s Leadership, our panelists will share their stories of overcoming obstacles and offer tips and strategies for how to create impact in your own organization.

10:35am EST

Networking Break

Network with peers from around the world and learn more about sponsor organizations in the Virtual Exhibit Hall.

11:00am EST

How to Have a Big Career AND a Big Life


Jennifer Hyman

Co-founder and CEO, Rent the Runway

There is unending debate about work-life balance and whether it is possible, especially as a senior executive. As a founder of a high-growth company, the CEO of a public company, and board member of three public companies, Jennifer Hyman is uniquely positioned to share how she manages both a big career and a big life. She will join us virtually to discuss how she is able to have a huge impact at work while being married, having and raising two kids, and building a community.

12:00pm EST

Signature Sessions: Concurrent Choices

With our Signature Sessions, you have the opportunity to choose the topic that most intrigues or inspires you. 

Note some offerings are online only, some are in-person only, and some are available for both audiences. But don’t worry, you won’t miss out! Post-conference, you’ll also be able to access the wisdom shared in the sessions you didn’t attend via video on demand.

See details below in Concurrent Signature Session Options.

1:00pm EST

Lunch Break

Enjoy a 60-minute lunch break to refresh, renew, and refocus for the afternoon sessions.

2:00pm EST

Think Like a CEO


Magie Cook

CEO, Magie’s All-Natural Fresh Salsas and Dips, Author

Magie Cook is a Latina businesswoman who overcame homelessness to become the CEO & founder of Maggie’s Salsa, LLC. She started the company with $800, and after bringing it to tremendous success, she sold it to Campbell’s Soup for $231M. Magie is now living her dream by helping leaders discover their hidden personal power so they can create impact and make a difference. Magie will share her incredible story of triumph against impossible odds, and through her story she will reveal what it takes to create a shift in mentality that allows you to achieve your full potential. 

2:45pm EST

Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award

helen drinan headshot

Helen G. Drinan

President Emerita at Simmons University

Thasunda Brown Duckett

President & CEO, TIAA

2024 Award Winner

helen g drinan award graphic

We are excited to annouce Thasunda Brown Duckett as the 2024 Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award winner. 

Join us as we present this year’s Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award. The annual award is named in honor of the former president of Simmons University and celebrates a woman leader who embodies the values of inclusive leadership in her personal and professional life.

Learn about the award and see a showcase of past winners.

3:00pm EST

Fireside Chat: Taste the Nation & Impact the World


Padma Lakshmi

Emmy-Nominated Food Expert, Television Host & New York Times Bestselling Author


Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten

President, Simmons University

Padma Lakshmi is a New York Times bestselling author and Emmy Award-nominated host who currently serves as Executive Producer of Hulu’s Taste the Nation. On-screen she is seen exploring the rich and diverse food culture of various immigrant groups, seeking out the people who have so heavily shaped what American food is today. Off-screen, Padma is widely known as a fierce philanthropic advocate, working with organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on immigrants’ rights and women’s rights. In this inspiring conversation with Simmons University President, Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten, Padma discusses her life and career while showcasing the ways she has used her platform to make a positive impact around the globe. 

3:35pm EST

Networking Break

Network with peers from around the world and learn more about sponsor organizations in the Virtual Exhibit Hall.

4:00pm EST

Allyship: Uniting for Change


Gloria Steinem

Writer & Feminist Activist


Trevor Noah

Comedian & Bestselling Author

Susan Makenty Brady

Susan MacKenty Brady

CEO of Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership

Under the theme “Creating Impact” and in celebration of our 45th conference, we’re embarking on a new chapter by amplifying the voices of men, showcasing our commitment to allyship. In a groundbreaking keynote, Trevor Noah will join us virtually to share his signature blend of humor, global insights, and a unique perspective on leadership and cultural transformation.

Adding to the brilliance and joining us in-person – is the iconic Gloria Steinem. This presents a rare opportunity to hear from a visionary leader who continues to be a pillar in shaping conversations around women’s rights and social justice. Steinem’s impact spans generations, inspiring both women and men alike.

In an engaging conversation moderated by Susan MacKenty Brady, the Institute’s CEO, Trevor Noah and Gloria Steinem will explore the essence of inclusive leadership and the promotion of equity, regardless of how one identifies. This promises to be a transformative discussion, encouraging us all to rethink how we create inclusion and drive impactful change.

5:00pm EST

Program Ends

April 3: Concurrent Signature Sessions

Concurrent Signature Sessions
12:00pm EST

YOUR CHOICE! What Intrigues or Inspires You?

All Signature Sessions are offered concurrently starting at 12PM.

Our presenters are global experts who provide timely and relevant expertise on key topics. We are also offering a moderated discussion, where women business leaders will share their personal stories about their leadership journeys and how they create positive impact.

Note some offerings are online only, some are in-person only, and some are available for both audiences. But don’t worry, you won’t miss out! Post-conference, you’ll also be able to access the wisdom shared in the sessions you didn’t attend via video on demand.

Click the titles to expand and see details for each session. 

In-Person Only

Dare to Educate: Impact that Inspires

Shabana Basij-Rasikh

Shabana Basij-Rasikh

Co-Founder & President of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA)

Raised in Kabul during the Taliban’s first regime, Shabana Basij-Rasikh has dedicated her entire adult life to educating Afghan girls. She is the co-founder and president of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA) – the first and only boarding school for Afghan girls, operating in Kabul from 2016 through the summer of 2021. In this deeply moving talk, Shabana will share the harrowing story of evacuating more than 250 students, staff and family members from SOLA to Rwanda after the Taliban took power in 2021.

In this session she will share her experiences to better amplify the voices of countless individuals striving to create a positive impact in the face of adversity. Her story serves as a testament to the transformative power of education in empowering individuals and shaping brighter futures.

In-Person and Online

Thriving with Impact: Creating a Best Self Team Culture

Susan Makenty Brady

Susan MacKenty Brady

CEO of Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership

Being intentional about how you show up can skyrocket your career, your leadership, and your team. In this breakout, learn from best-selling author and Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership CEO Susan MacKenty Brady how to create team cohesion and inspire the best people to want to join, stay, and fully engage.

  • Build the capability to return to your best self in the moment
  • Deepen your understanding of how to coach team members in ways that value and motivate individuals
In-Person Only

Are you Ready? What It Takes To Make an Impact


Audra Bohannon

Founder, Bohannon Advisory

This deeply reflective, highly interactive session with DEI thought leader and executive coach Audra Bohannon will guide you toward recognizing and understanding what is required to make the impact you want. Through big picture prompts, small group conversations, and a laser focus on how we all must learn to link our behavior to our intentions, every single day, you’ll be motivated to identify and tap into your own capacity to do the things you say you want to do.

Online Only

Break Free of Good Girl Brainwashing & Embrace Your Power to Lead


Lisa Carmen Wang

Founder and Host of Bad Bitch Empire

If you struggle with people-pleasing, perfectionism, or prioritizing other people before yourself, chances are you’ve been subjected to what Lisa Carmen Wang describes as “Good Girl Brainwashing.”

In this session, you’ll learn how to identify and release the good girl habits that sabotage your confidence and how to embrace power over perfection to take decisive action. Plus, Lisa discusses how to leave behind the competitive zero-sum system driven by fear and scarcity, and she advocates for a new world order where powerful women lead to collectively build a system of financial abundance and global impact.

Online Only

Create Impact through the Art of Active Listening


Heather R. Younger

Founder and CEO of Employee Fanatix

When you hear the term Active Listening, you may think, “Well, I’m already good at that!” But do you really listen as well as you think you do? Get ready to turbocharge your listening skills and elevate your impact at work with Heather R. Younger. Active listening isn’t just about hearing; it’s the secret sauce for increased belonging, loyalty, profitability, and innovation. Heather, armed with 12 years of experience and insights from reviewing 25,000 employee engagement surveys, is here to unveil a game-changing five-step change model for organizational listening.

In this session Heather breaks down the art of “active lightning” – a process that goes beyond understanding, ensuring you leave every interaction with valuable insights. Discover the one success characteristic that will propel you towards your goals and turn every workplace scenario into a win-win situation. Get ready to be seen, heard, and valued like never before.  In this session you will learn tips to create a lasting impact and forging stronger connections at work.

In-Person and Online

Inclusive Leadership In Action™


Dr. Gary Bailey

Assistant Dean for Community Engagement & Social Justice, College of Social Sciences, Policy & Practice, Simmons University


Elisa van Dam

Vice President, Allyship & Inclusion, Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership

If you’re on a journey to become a more inclusive leader, but you aren’t sure exactly what steps to take, you’re not alone! In this interactive and action-oriented session, Elisa van Dam, the Institute’s VP for Allyship and Inclusion, and Dr. Gary Bailey, Professor and MSW Program Director of the Simmons University School of Social Work, will share the 6 Actions of the Work of the Inclusive Leader™. You’ll explore how you are already acting as an ally and upstander, and leave with a game plan for changes you can implement immediately to increase inclusion and belonging for yourself and your team.