The Strategic Leadership for Women Certificate Program starts on April 27. Learn More

Simmons Leadership Conference

March 23, 2021 Online
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Lead with your authentic self

Reinspire yourself at our 42nd annual conference. This year’s timely theme is resiliency and authenticity. Together we’ll explore how to model inclusive leadership yet courageously stay true to our authentic selves while pursuing our goals. Gain wisdom from world-class women leaders. Build leadership skills and knowledge. Network with peers and allies from around the globe.

6 Inspiring speakers
Keynotes: Mindy Kaling & Jenna Bush Hager
2 Thought-provoking panels
Unpack resiliency & authenticity in the workplace
2 Networking breakouts
Network with 6,500+ peers, visit our virtual exhibit hall
4 Interactive webinars
Signature Series of speakers every Tuesday in April!

Going virtual — and big!

In 2021, we’re offering our conference entirely online to ensure the well-being of every participant. We’ve also expanded the attendee experience beyond March 23 with bonus events and benefits.

For details see our FAQ.

Pre-conference inspiration

Meet fellow participants, connect with supportive organizations, engage on social media. Access our library of thought leadership and share your voice in our annual survey.

Conference day: March 23

Enjoy a full day of action-packed events including: exceptional keynotes and speakers with live Q & A, provocative panels, networking with 6,500+ women leaders and ally organizations—plus our inaugural Visionary Leader Award.

Tuesdays in April: exceptional signature keynotes

Engage in our Signature Series of live skill-building webinars led by women’s leadership experts: Angela Duckworth, Ally Love, Dr. Neha Sangwan and Margie Warrell. Four 60-minute online sessions every Tuesday in April at noon.

On-demand access to all sessions

Revisit our 42nd conference’s most powerful moments with 90-day video access to every event, including the April Signature Series.

Our speakers

This year’s lineup of inspiring women leaders will share their personal journeys, offer career-building advice, and lead thought-provoking discussions.

Speakers

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Angela Duckworth

New York Times Bestselling Author, TED Speaker, CEO of Character Lab

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Angela Duckworth

New York Times Bestselling Author, TED Speaker, CEO of Character Lab

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Angela Duckworth is the Founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance scientific insights that help children thrive. She is also the Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, faculty co-director of the Penn-Wharton Behavior Change For Good Initiative, and faculty co-director of Wharton People Analytics. A 2013 MacArthur Fellow, Duckworth has advised the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Prior to her career in research, Duckworth founded a summer school for underserved children that was profiled as a Harvard Kennedy School case study and, in 2018, celebrated its 25th anniversary. She has also been a McKinsey management consultant and a math and science teacher in the public schools of New York City, San Francisco, and Philadelphia.

Duckworth completed her undergraduate degree in Advanced Studies Neurobiology at Harvard, graduating magna cum laude. With the support of a Marshall Scholarship, she completed an MSc with Distinction in Neuroscience from Oxford University. She completed her PhD in Psychology as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Duckworth’s TED talk is among the most-viewed of all time. Her first book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, is a #1 New York Times best seller. She is also co-host, with Stephen Dubner, of the podcast No Stupid Questions.

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Tiffany Dufu

Founder & Author

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Tiffany Dufu

Founder & Author

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Tiffany Dufu is a catalyst-at-large in the world of women’s leadership and the author of Drop the Ball, a memoir and manifesto that shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go. According to foreword contributor Gloria Steinem, Drop the Ball is “important, path-breaking, intimate and brave.”

Named to Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women, Tiffany is Founder and CEO of The Cru, a peer coaching platform for women looking to accelerate their professional and personal growth. She was a launch team member to Lean In and was Chief Leadership Officer at Levo, one of the fastest growing millennial professional networks. Prior to that, Tiffany served as President of The White House Project, as a Major Gifts Officer at Simmons University in Boston, and as Associate Director of Development at Seattle Girls’ School.

Tiffany serves on the board of Girls Who Code and Simmons University. She is a member of Women’s Forum New York, Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. and is a Lifetime Girl Scouts. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

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Jenna Bush Hager

Cohost, TODAY with Hoda & Jenna

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Jenna Bush Hager

Cohost, TODAY with Hoda & Jenna

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Why Jenna Bush Hager Is Captivating Audiences
Humanitarian, Correspondent and Best-Selling Author, Jenna Bush Hager brings her unique vantage point to every audience leaving them mesmerized. Raised in the White House with her twin sister, Barbara, Hager cultivated an innate sense of purpose at an early age. Hager has seen firsthand how small change can make a large difference in a single life. Travels to impoverished areas in Africa and Latin America impressed upon her the call to address the most pressing health, education and economic inequality issues of our time. To all who listen, Hager ignites a passion to serve and inspire young leaders to give back in their schools, local communities or abroad.

Her latest book, Everything Beautiful in Its Time, will be released in the fall of this year. Hager shares moving, funny stories about her beloved grandparents and the wisdom they passed on that has shaped her life. With genuine appeal and heart felt warmth, Hager brings to light stories of hope, humor and humanity.

About Jenna Bush Hager
Jenna Bush Hager is the co-host of TODAY with Hoda and Jenna, alongside Hoda Kotb. She is also an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine. Currently Hager is the chair of UNICEF’s Next Generation, an initiative dedicated to reducing the number of preventable childhood deaths around the world. She has traveled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean with UNICEF where she saw firsthand the plight faced by the underprivileged.

Hager is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Sisters First, written with her sister Barbara Pierce Bush. This book takes readers on an extraordinary and deeply personal journey of what it is like to be born into a political dynasty. The sisters reveal never-before-told stories about their family and uncover the enduring sisterly bond that kept them sane through it all.

She also penned another New York Times bestseller Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope, which she wrote after interning with UNICEF in Latin America. The story is based on the life of a 17-year-old single mother living with HIV determined to shield her child from the abuse and neglect that riddled her own childhood.

Like her mother, Laura Bush, Hager once taught public school. Together, they co-authored the children’s books Our Great Big Backyard and Read All About It!.

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Whitney Johnson

Award-winning Author, Speaker & Executive Coach

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Whitney Johnson

Award-winning Author, Speaker & Executive Coach

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Whitney Johnson is recognized as one of the world’s most influential management thinkers and was selected as one of the Thinkers50 in 2015. She is best known for her work on driving corporate innovation through personal disruption. She is formerly an Institutional Investor-ranked analyst for eight consecutive years, including at Merrill Lynch, and is the former president and co-founder of a boutique investment firm with Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen. Johnson is the author of the critically-acclaimed Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work, one of Inc. Magazines Top 100 Business Books in 2015. Her next book is expected in early 2018. She is a frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, a Linkedin influencer, co-founder of Forty Women over 40 to Watch, and was named one of Fortune’s 55 Women to Follow on Twitter in 2014. You can follow her at @johnsonwhitney.

Whitneyjohnson.com

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Mindy Kaling

Writer, Producer & Actor

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Mindy Kaling

Writer, Producer & Actor

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Mindy Kaling is an American actress, comedian, writer, and producer. Mindy first gained recognition starring as Kelly Kapoor in the NBC sitcom The Office (2005–2013), for which she also served as a writer, executive producer, and director. For her work on the series, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series and five times for Outstanding Comedy Series. Kaling gained wider attention for creating, producing and starring in the Fox comedy series The Mindy Project (2012–2017). She created the NBC sitcom Champions (2018), also appearing in five episodes, the Hulu miniseries Four Weddings and a Funeral (2019), and the Netflix comedy-drama series Never Have I Ever (2020).

Kaling’s film career includes voice work in Despicable Me (2010), Wreck-It Ralph (2012), and Inside Out (2015). She had roles in comedy films, such as The Night Before (2015), Ocean’s 8 (2018), and Late Night (2019), the lattermost of which she also wrote and produced. Her memoirs, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (2011) and Why Not Me? (2015), reached The New York Times Best Seller list.

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Ally Love

Founder & CEO of Love Squad, Peleton Instructor & Host of Brooklyn Nets

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Ally Love

Founder & CEO of Love Squad, Peleton Instructor & Host of Brooklyn Nets

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Ally Love is a multifaceted woman who is pioneering the slash generation. She is the CEO/Founder of Love Squad, the in-arena host of the Brooklyn Nets, a Peloton Instructor, an adidas Global Ambassador, and a model. Through conversation and sweat, Ally uses her influence and platforms to create a space to celebrate and champion diversity in race and culture. Known as a “Boss of Business”, Ally reaches millions of people, which is what inspired her to create Love Squad – a space where moderated panels and open discussions around women’s empowerment foster real conversations and real change. Ally believes that our differences make us unique but our will to be better brings us together.

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Dr. Neha Sangwan

Physician, Communications Expert & Author of Talk Rx

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Dr. Neha Sangwan

Physician, Communications Expert & Author of Talk Rx

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An internal medicine physician who has discovered the prescription for inspiring transformation in leaders and teams across professions, Dr. Sangwan connects the dots between health and leadership performance by providing practical tools that elevate self awareness, build trust and clear communication across teams and empower organizations to excel under pressure. Both a physician and engineer by training, Dr. Sangwan is CEO and founder of Intuitive Intelligence, a leadership consulting firm. Through combining the science of medicine with the art of communication, she improves productivity and outcomes. Her innovative program, the iFive Experience™ uses scientifically proven techniques to reduce stress, build resilience, and foster individual and team accountability. Dr. Sangwan has pioneered programs that measurably improve metrics related to culture transformation, employee engagement, productivity, provider-patient communication and client satisfaction. She has shared her learnings on multiple TEDx stages and also as the author of Talk Rx: Five Steps to Honest Conversations that Create Connection, Health and Happiness. Dr. Sangwan’s common sense, yet transformative approaches have won praise from best-selling thought leaders ranging from Dr. Wayne Dyer to Mark Hyman, MD and have influenced the lives of audiences around the world.

After earning her BS in mechanical and biomedical engineering at Michigan State University, Dr. Sangwan worked as a manufacturing engineer at Motorola before attending medical school at State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY Buffalo). She went on to complete her Internal Medicine residency at Temple University, where she practiced as a hospitalist and became a physician-partner at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. Dr. Sangwan discovered the connections between health and productivity as she explored the root causes of her hospitalized patient’s ailments. Dr. Sangwan is faculty for the Center for Mind Body Medicine and also nationally certified by the International Federation of Coaches (ICF).

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Tererai Trent

Author & Educator

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Tererai Trent

Author & Educator

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Dr. Tererai Trent is one of today’s most internationally recognized voices for quality education and women’s empowerment. Distinguished as Oprah’s “All-Time Favorite Guest”, Dr. Trent is a scholar, humanitarian, motivational speaker, educator, mentor, and founder of Tererai Trent International.

Tererai grew up in a cattle-herding family in rural Zimbabwe, where she dreamed of getting an education, but was married at a young age and had three children by the time she was eighteen. Undeterred by traditional women’s role and cultural norms, Tererai determinedly taught herself to read and write from her brother’s schoolbooks.

As a young mother without a high school diploma, Tererai met a woman who would profound¬ly impact her life: Jo Luck, president and CEO of Heifer International. She told Tererai, “If you believe in your dreams, they are achievable”. With Jo Luck’s inspiration and her mother’s encouragement, Tererai wrote down her dreams of going to America for higher education, sealed them in a tin can, and buried them under a rock, ultimately redesigning the blueprint of her life.

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Margie Warrell

Best-selling Author, Founder of Global Courage & Women’s Leader Advocate

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Margie Warrell

Best-selling Author, Founder of Global Courage & Women’s Leader Advocate

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Dr. Margie Warrell is a bestselling author and global authority on courageous leadership. Margie has learned a lot about overcoming fear, building resilience and embracing change since her childhood growing up the big sister of seven on a small farm in rural Australia. She has spent the last 25 years working around the world – in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and the USA – while raising her four children.

Founder of Global Courage Leadership and a member of the advisory board of Forbes School of Business & Technology, Margie has led “courage-building” programs with forward-leading organizations around the world including NASA, Google, Deloitte, Dell, Abbot, UN Foundation, AstraZeneca and Salesforce.

An honoree of the Women’s Economic Forum and LinkedIn “Top Voice”, Margie is also a passionate advocate for the advancement of women, having recently completed her doctorate in the interplay of gender, power and leadership.

Margie walks her talk when it comes to living bravely, summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro with her husband and their four children. Her latest book You’ve Got This! The Life-Changing Power of Trusting Yourself has been hailed as a “book for these uncertain times!”

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Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten

President of Simmons University

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Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten

President of Simmons University

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Lynn Perry Wooten, a seasoned academic and an expert on organizational development and transformation, became the ninth president of Simmons University on July 1, 2020. She is the first African American to lead the university.

Specializing in crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, and positive leadership—organizational behavior that reveals and nurtures the highest level of human potential—Dr. Wooten is an innovative leader and prolific author and presenter whose research has informed her work in the classroom and as an administrator. She first joined a university faculty in 1994 and has served in administrative roles since 2008. Dr. Wooten came to Simmons from Cornell University, where she was the David J. Nolan Dean and Professor of Management and Organizations at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

Dr. Wooten also has had a robust clinical practice, providing leadership development, education, and training for a wide variety of companies and institutions, from the Kellogg Foundation to Harvard University’s Kennedy School to Google.

With leadership at the core of her work, Dr. Wooten’s research has ranged from an NIH-funded investigation of how leadership can positively alleviate health disparities to leading in a crisis and managing workforce diversity. She is the author of two books, Positive Organizing in a Global Society: Understanding and Engaging Differences for Capacity Building and Inclusion (2016) and Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During, and After a Crisis (2010). Sharing her work at nearly 60 symposia and conferences, she also is the author of nearly 30 journal articles and more than 15 book chapters, as well as managerial monographs and numerous teaching cases.

Dr. Wooten grew up in Philadelphia, where she attended an all-girls high school. She earned a BS in accounting in 1988 from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, a Historically Black College, where she graduated as valedictorian; an MBA from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business in 1990; and a PhD in business administration from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in 1995. She received a Certificate in Advanced Educational Leadership from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education in 2018.

Starting her career as assistant professor of management at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business, Dr. Wooten returned in 1998 to the University of Michigan, where she served on the faculty of the Ross School of Business for nearly 20 years. There she taught undergraduate, graduate, and executive education courses and served as Co-Faculty Director of the Center for Positive Organizations as well as Co-Faculty Director of the Executive Leadership Institute. She became engaged in student life as an associate dean, ultimately serving as Senior Associate Dean for Student and Academic Excellence. She left Michigan in 2017 for the deanship at Cornell.

Dr. Wooten is an active member of several national volunteer leadership organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Jack & Jill of America, Junior League, and The Links Inc. She is an advisory board member for the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program and on the boards of the Center for Effective Philanthropy and the University of Michigan Alumni Association.

She is a past recipient of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business’s BBA Student Award for Teaching Excellence as well as the school’s Andy Andrews Distinguished Service Award. She also was chosen as a “Next Generation Business Thinker” by the Financial Times.

Dr. Wooten is married to David Wooten, a chaired marketing professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, and they have two children, Justin and Jada.

Panelists

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Kim Ernzen

Vice President, Naval Power, Raytheon Missiles & Defense

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Kim Ernzen

Vice President, Naval Power, Raytheon Missiles & Defense

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Kim Ernzen is vice president of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business of Raytheon Technologies. Ernzen’s team provides the U.S. and its global allies in the maritime domain with sensors, command and control, and precision weapon solutions to protect allied ships and sailors around the world.

Ernzen served as vice president of Air Warfare Systems at Raytheon Missiles Systems, prior to Raytheon Company’s merger with United Technologies Corporation in 2020. Before that, she served as vice president of the Land Warfare Systems product line and as vice president of Operations for the business.

Ernzen currently serves as a board member for Tucson Values Teachers and previously served on both the Wichita Children’s Home board of directors and the Junior League of Wichita board.

She holds a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Wichita State University, as well as an executive MBA and bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering, also from Wichita State University.

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Stephanie Georges

Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Mercury

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Stephanie Georges

Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Mercury

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As Chief Marketing Officer, Stephanie Georges is responsible for driving Mercury’s marketing, communications and brand strategy. Prior to Mercury, she was Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Maxar Technologies and its predecessor, DigitalGlobe. She has also served as Executive Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development at CenturyLink and at Qwest Communications International.

Before joining Qwest, Stephanie spent 18 years covering the Telecommunications Services sector as a top-ranked sell-side analyst at Morgan Stanley and Salomon Brothers where she led the global telecommunications services equity research team and was the lead U.S. telecommunications services analyst.

Stephanie earned a Master of Business Administration from University of Pennsylvania Wharton School and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wellesley College.

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Caitlin Gordon

VP of Product Management for Integrated Solutions, Dell Technologies

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Caitlin Gordon

VP of Product Management for Integrated Solutions, Dell Technologies

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Caitlin Gordon, VP of Product Management for Integrated Solutions, has been at Dell Technologies for over 15 years, with broad experience in IT marketing and management. Expertise includes portfolio solutions, messaging and positioning, content creation and activation, product launches, creation and delivery of sales and partner training, press and analyst activity, customer briefings as well as influencing product requirements. In her free time, she can be found chasing around her two kids, watching Boston sports or riding her Peloton to keep sane.

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Millette Granville

Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at 2U, Inc.

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Millette Granville

Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at 2U, Inc.

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Millette Granville, CDP is the Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for 2U, Inc., a global education technology company that partners with over 75 top-tier, non-profit universities to build, deliver, and support high-quality online degrees, certificates, boot camps, and short courses. In this role, Millette is responsible for providing strategic leadership on all global equity, diversity, and inclusion policies, programs, and practices. Millette is a trusted partner to senior leaders, Business Resource Networks, and Mosaic, the DEI council. She also partners with the business, human resources, and communications teams on strategy, program launch, and implementing initiatives to ensure the optimal attraction, development, and retention of diverse talent while infusing DEI principles and practices into 2U’s products, outreach, and philanthropy.

Prior to joining 2U, Millette was the Vice President of Talent, Diversity & Inclusion and Organizational Development for Food Lion LLC, an Ahold Delhaize Company. In that role, Millette was responsible for the strategic implementation of diversity and inclusion, talent acquisition, as well as learning and organizational development strategies for Food Lion. Millette served on the Global Talent Network and the Associate Engagement Global Network, too. She provided oversight for nine BRGs and two Business Diversity Councils. And in 2019, Millette completed the “Leadership Journey from Purpose to Legacy” at Harvard School of Business.

Millette’s previous roles also include VP of Diversity & Inclusion for Time Warner Cable, VP of Diversity & College Recruiting with Wells Fargo, and President/CEO of Granville & Webb HR Connections, Inc.

Millette is the immediate past Chair of the Board of Directors for the Urban League of the Central Carolinas, and she serves on the Board of Advisors for Fashion and Compassion. Millette has been recognized by Radio One as a Top Woman of Excellence and named as a Savoy Magazine Most Influential Women in Business. She has also received the Career Mastered National Diversity Leadership Award as well as the Charlotte Catalyst award. Millette is a member of the CALIBR Global Leadership Network. She is the author of the book The Exceptional Leader, a quick guide to personal branding and leadership development.

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Jean Guan

Senior Vice President, Manager for Medical and SIU Claims Operations, Liberty Mutual

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Jean Guan

Senior Vice President, Manager for Medical and SIU Claims Operations, Liberty Mutual

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Jean Guan is the Senior Vice President, Manager for GRM US Claims Medical & SIU Field Operations with the responsibility of establishing, communicating and executing the vision and strategic priorities for NF and SIU operations.

Jean began her career with Liberty Mutual in Corporate Development Program in 2004 where she worked on cross-functional assignments in Commercial Professional Service Group, Workers Compensation Underwriting and Personal Market Pacific Region Management. In 2006, she joined Personal Market Product Management as the Manager of Special Projects and led the team to formulate and execute strategic projects for Personal Property Line. In 2008, she joined Personal Market Auto No Fault Claims as the Director of Special Projects where she was responsible for the strategic direction for two largest No Fault Operations in New York and New Jersey. In 2011, she assumed the Product Manager role responsible for the strategic direction of No Fault operations and Quality Assurance Program. In 2012, she assumed the Vice President, Manager for No Fault with responsibility for the No Fault product, analytics and field operations for Personal Line and Safeco. In 2014, she assumed the Vice President, Manager for PI Claims LMS, Customer Experience, Quality Assurance and Rewards/Recognition with responsibility of deploying and sustaining our Liberty Management System to drive continuous improvement, establishing and executing PI claims customer experience and re-designing QA program for coaching and talent development. In 2015, she assumed her current role to be part of GRM Claims Executive Leadership Team. Prior to joining Liberty, Jean worked in management consulting and investment evaluation for 5 years in Dalian, China.

Jean holds a BS in Economics and Law from Northwest University, China and an MBA from the Krannert School of Business at Purdue University. She obtained her CPCU designation in 2007 and Associate in Claims (AIC) in 2009.

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Rhonda Henley

Senior Director, Global Partner Organization Cisco Systems

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Rhonda Henley

Senior Director, Global Partner Organization Cisco Systems

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Rhonda Henley is a Senior Director within Cisco’s Global Partner Organization. She leads a portfolio of Cisco’s largest Global System Integrators, Consulting partners and IT Service providers, each focused on accelerating digital transformation with Cisco technologies. Her global team has a shared vision to deliver growth and competitive advantage by accelerating cloud and managed services for public and private sector customers.

Prior to her current global role, Rhonda held positions leading Cisco’s Public Sector Partner Organization and regional partnerships in the Americas. Each role providing an opportunity to plan, build and execute Cisco’s partner sales strategy across public and private sector clients resulting in revenue growth.

Before joining Cisco, Rhonda held leadership positions in sales, services and operations at AT&T and Lucent Technologies.

Rhonda holds a Master of Science in Organizational Development from the American University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of Maryland. She has also completed executive in-residence leadership training at the University of North Carolina.

Rhonda is committed to the development of early in career talent and invests in coaching, mentoring and career development both inside of Cisco and through community-based organizations. Outside of Cisco, Rhonda enjoys time with her family, and travel. She currently resides in the Washington DC metropolitan area with her husband and daughter.

Moderators

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Kerry Seitz

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

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Kerry Seitz

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

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Kerry Seitz brings tremendous passion and expertise in developing women leaders to her role with the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership. With the recent formation of the Institute, Simmons University has made an investment in becoming the global authority on the intersection of leadership, equity, and inclusion – with an emphasis on achieving gender parity in organizational leadership.

Prior to joining Simmons, Kerry was VP of Learning and Development at Landit, a career development tech startup aimed at democratizing career success. Previous to that role, Kerry was the Director of Advancing Women and Inclusive Leadership solutions and Executive Director of the Women in Leadership Institute at Linkage, a global leadership consulting firm. She began her work in leadership development as Principal of her own coaching business where she worked predominantly with women relaunching and redefining their career journey.

Kerry spent the first ten years of her career in the mental health field – as a clinician at the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, a researcher at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College, a coalition and program manager for the Support to End Exploitation Now coalition at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Suffolk County and adjunct faculty in the criminal justice department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Kerry has her Master’s in Counseling Psychology and a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Human Development – both from Boston College. She is also a Certified Career Coach from the Life Purpose Institute. Outside of work, Kerry enjoys running, yoga and spending time with her husband, three sons and (female!) Labrador Retriever.

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Elisa van Dam

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

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Elisa van Dam

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

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Elisa van Dam brings a wealth of experience in gender equity and inclusion to her role with the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership. As the leader of the Allyship and Inclusion practice area, Elisa works with organizations and individual leaders to increase their understanding and practice of inclusive leadership behaviors. In collaboration with Institute Fellows, she creates and delivers research-based content and programming, including a new framework that demystifies the Work of the Inclusive Leader™.

Elisa is a co-author on several publications, including Professional Women and Confidence: A New Understanding of the “Gap” (October 2017) and Women’s Experiences with “Male Allies” (November 2018).

Outside of Simmons, Elisa maintains a private coaching practice, working with women on successfully navigating maternity leave.

Prior to joining Simmons, Elisa was the Director of the Information Technology Programs at the Boston University Corporate Education Center. In this role, she oversaw design, marketing, sales, and operations for their IT training business, featuring open enrollment and custom education programs, as well as certificate programs. She also has extensive experience in the corporate conference arena. Most recently, she was the Vice President, Content and Learning for a global corporate event management company.

Elisa is a member of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network Advisory Board, and the Boston Women’s Workforce Council’s HR Advisory Board. She was the co-founder and chair of the Simmons Women’s Initiative Forum, a networking group for people who are responsible for women’s networks and employee resource groups. She is an IPEC Certified Professional Coach, and holds an ICF (International Coach Federation), ACC certification. She is also a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. She earned her BA in International Relations at Brown and received her MBA with Honors from Boston University. She is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma, the business honor society.

Elisa lives in the Boston area with her choreographer husband, their young adult son, and a willful rescue cat.

Co Hosts

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Joyce Kulhawik

Emmy Award-Winning Journalist

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Joyce Kulhawik

Emmy Award-Winning Journalist

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Joyce Kulhawik, best known as the Emmy Award-winning Arts & Entertainment Critic for CBS-Boston (WBZ-TV 1981-2008), has covered local and national events from Boston and Broadway to Hollywood and has co-hosted nationally-syndicated movie-review programs with Roger Ebert and Leonard Maltin. As the first arts reporter/critic in the U.S. to appear every weeknight as part of a local TV news team, Kulhawik gave journalistic stature to arts reporting and greatly enhanced her station’s commitment to community service. She is currently President of The Boston Theater Critics Association and a member of the Boston Society of Film Critics. Find her reviews online at JoycesChoices.com. A 3x cancer survivor, Kulhawik testified before Congress on the 20th anniversary of The National Cancer Act and helped launch the American Cancer Society’s first HOPE LODGE in Boston, which provides free lodging for cancer patients. The ACS honored Kulhawik with its National Bronze Medal for her work. In 2010 Kulhawik received the New England Emmys Governor’s Award for her distinguished career, which includes Emmys for the WBZ series/campaign “You Gotta Have Arts!” and team coverage of the World Trade Center attacks, being among the first on the scene. The recipient of countless awards for her career and advocacy, Kulhawik has an endowed scholarship in her name at the Berklee College of Music, and is not only a graduate of Simmons College class of ’74 but also holds an Honorary Doctorate in Communications from her alma mater.

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Susan MacKenty Brady

CEO of Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership

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Susan MacKenty Brady

CEO of Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership

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Susan MacKenty Brady is the Deloitte Ellen Gabriel Chair for Women and Leadership at Simmons University—the first chief executive officer of the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership, which produces game-changing solutions for the purpose of intersecting leadership, equity, and inclusion.

Susan, who has been featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, is the author of Mastering Your Inner Critic and 7 Other High Hurdles to Advancement: How the Best Women Leaders Practice Self-Awareness to Change What Really Matters (McGraw-Hill, November 2018) and The 30-Second Guide to Coaching Your Inner Critic (Linkage, 2014). As a celebrated speaker and executive coach, she educates and ignites leaders globally on fostering a mind-set of inclusion and self-awareness.

Prior to joining Simmons, Susan worked at Linkage, Inc., where she founded the Women in Leadership Institute and launched a global consulting practice on advancing women leaders. She also led Linkage’s field research behind the “7 Leadership Hurdles Women Leaders Face in the Workforce.”

Dedicated to inclusively and collaboratively inspiring every girl to realize her full potential, Susan serves on the board of the not-for-profit Strong Women, Strong Girls. She lives in the Boston area with her husband, two teenage daughters, and two Portuguese Water Dogs.

Nominate a speaker

We are always looking for inspirational speakers willing to lend their voices to our next annual conference. We warmly welcome your suggestions.

Program schedule

March 23, 2021
April signature series
9:00 am

Welcoming remarks

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Joyce Kulhawik

Emmy Award-Winning Journalist

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Susan MacKenty Brady

CEO of Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership

Our esteemed co-hosts kick things off, offering personal and professional insights into this year’s theme—Resilience & Authenticity—setting the stage for the exceptional women’s leadership lectures, events and workshops ahead.

9:15 am

Keynote: Inspiring Authenticity

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Tiffany Dufu

Founder & Author

Inspiring Authenticity: Live Your Story, Discover Your Leadership

Tiffany Dufu has relentlessly pursued one goal in every job she’s had, regardless of sector, industry, or job description l: manifest world in which women’s gifts and voices are fully harnessed for the benefit of all. In our opening session, Tiffany explores the correlation between passion, purpose and leadership success. She will guide us on how to discover our own purpose and why it’s critical to leading with authenticity and resilience.

9:45 am

Keynote: Inspiring Resilience

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Tererai Trent

Author & Educator

Inspiring Resilience: Achieving Dreams Against All Odds

Dr. Tererai Trent is a woman who grew up in rural Africa and overcame great obstacles to achieve her own success. Tererai’s story is a striking example that anything in life is possible. In this morning inspiring keynote session, Tererai will share her personal journey of perseverance and remind us to believe that we can always achieve, even if against all odds.

10:30 am

Business panel: Authenticity at Work

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Rhonda Henley

Sr. Director, Global Partner Organization at Cisco

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Millette Granville

Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at 2U

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Stephanie Georges

Chief Marketing Officer at Mercury Systems

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Moderator: Kerry Seitz

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

Unpacking Authenticity at Work

What does it mean to be authentic? And how does authenticity impact your professional identity, success and sense of fulfillment? In this moderated discussion, women business leaders will share their own personal stories and unpack authenticity at work.

11:00 am

Networking and virtual booths

Connect with peers and allies!

Take this opportunity to join a virtual networking room to expand your network of professional contacts or visit online booths hosted by sponsoring and affiliate organizations.

11:15 am

Fireside chat: Resilience

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Whitney Johnson

Award-winning Author, Speaker & Executive Coach

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Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten

President of Simmons University

Fireside chat on resilience: Disrupt Yourself

We are living in an era where the entire world has been disrupted and new ways of working, thinking and living are required..Leading well by managing a collective new learning curve is now a vital skill. In this fireside chat, Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten and Whitney Johnson, both experts on resilience, will guide us on how to persevere—and seize unexpected opportunities—in our own disrupted paths.

12:00 pm

Business panel: Resilience at Work

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Caitlin Gordon

Vice President, Product Management at Dell Technologies

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Jean Guan

Senior Vice President, Claims Field Operations, Medical & Special Investigation at Liberty Mutual

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Kim Ernzen

Vice President of Naval Power at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a business of Raytheon Technologies

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Moderator: Elisa van Dam

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

Unpacking Resilience at Work

Over the past year, the global pandemic has hijacked business—and life—as we know it. We have had to  find new ways of communicating, working and integrating our personal and professional worlds, prompting a tremendous amount of focus on what it takes to persevere. In this moderated discussion, women business leaders will share their own personal stories of resilience.

12:40 pm

Networking and virtual booths

Connect with peers and allies!

A second opportunity to join a virtual networking room to expand your network of professional contacts or visit online booths hosted by sponsoring and affiliate organizations.

1:00 pm

Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leader Award

Helen G. Drinan

President Emerita of Simmons University

Announcement of the 2021 Helen G. Drinan visionary award

Helen G. Drinan announces the inaugural recipient of this award named in her honor to an inspiring women’s leader who embodies the values of inclusive leadership in her personal and professional life.

1:15 pm

Keynote: Inspiring Resilience

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Jenna Bush Hager

Cohost, TODAY with Hoda & Jenna

Inspiring Resilience: The Power of Compassion

Everyone has the ability to make a profound impact on the lives of others. Jenna Bush Hager will inspire us in this powerful keynote to be a catalyst of positivity for others. Drawing from her own lifelong career as a devoted humanitarian, compassion Jenna will show us that the impact of actions both big and small—especially in these challenging times— can be enormous.

1:30 pm

A conversation about resilience & authenticity

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Jenna Bush Hager

Cohost, TODAY with Hoda & Jenna

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Mindy Kaling

Writer, Producer & Actor

A conversation about resilience & authenticity: Why Not Me?

Mindy Kaling asserts that her achievements as an award-winning actor, writer and producer and New York Times bestselling author required perseverance motivated by the internal challenge of “why not me?” In this candid and heartfelt closing conversation, Mindy and Jenna will share the impact that authenticity and resilience have had on their very different journeys to success.

2:15 pm

Program end

April 6, 2021 | 12pm–1pm EST | Online

Leading bravely through change & uncertainty

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Margie Warrell

Best-selling Author, Founder of Global Courage & Women’s Leader Advocate

No one is immune to fear. Yet in the midst of uncertain times, only those who’ve learned to rise above it and lead with courage can unlock the potential in themselves—and others— seize the opportunity that adversity always holds. In this keynote session, Margie will share proven resilience rituals that expand bandwidth and behavioral agility to thrive under pressure.

April 13, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm EST | Online

Resilience & self-care for high-performance leaders

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Dr. Neha Sangwan

Physician, Communications Expert & Author of Talk Rx

Have you ever noticed that when communication breaks down, your heart rate speeds up? In this thought-provoking keynote on the effects of stress, Dr. Sangwan will show us how physical health intersects with mental, emotional, social and spiritual health. She will also provide practical tools for empowering healthier communication, more collaborative workplaces, higher productivity and improved health.

April 20, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm EST | Online

Grit: the power & passion of perseverance

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Angela Duckworth

New York Times Bestselling Author, TED Speaker, CEO of Character Lab

Why do some people succeed and others fail? Through her research, Angela Duckworth has found that grit—a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal—is the hallmark of high achievers in every domain. In this keynote session, Angela will share insights into this research and powerful scientific evidence that grit can be nurtured and grown.

April 27, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 pm EST | Online

Bossing up

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Ally Love

Founder & CEO of Love Squad, Peloton Instructor & Host of Brooklyn Nets

Ally Love’s mission is to empower, encourage and uplift. As CEO of the Love Squad, host of the Brooklyn Nets and renowned Peloton instructor, Ally encourages women to push their limits and step into their power. In this energizing keynote, Ally will motivate us all to Boss Up.

Tickets

If you’re interested in buying over 25 tickets, please contact Tracie Charland to learn about tiered volume pricing.

1-25 passes

$495/person

Non-profit

$295/person

Simmons University Alumnae/i

$295/person

Simmons University Students

500 free tickets first-come, first-served

Interested in attending this year’s conference?

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Benefits of sponsorship

Join the hundreds of organizations whose sponsorship has helped advance their growth and develop their team members into inclusive leaders.

If you’re interested in learning more about the many benefits of becoming a sponsor, please contact Tracie Charland at 617-521-3830 or tracie.charland@simmons.edu.

Raise your visibility

Enhance your organization’s commitment to women’s leadership, gender equity, diversity, and inclusion by spotlighting participation of conference delegates at media events.

Recruit top talent

Network with over 500 accomplished women from around the world who boast impeccable educations, career paths and achievements.

Enhance your productivity

Improve team morale with delegates who return to work more motivated and equipped with innovative leadership tools and strategies. View Attendee Demographics

FAQ

Why is this year’s conference virtual?

We decided to take this year’s conference entirely online, as we did in 2020, to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all our participants during the global pandemic. Last year we set the bar pretty high. Not only did we pioneer one of America’s first major virtual events, but we also garnered rave reviews from over 4,000 participants. This year we’re planning an even richer online experience that extends well beyond March 23rd with pre-conference inspiration and engagement, an action-packed day of events, a bonus series of keynotes every Tuesday in April, and 90 days of video access post-conference.

What will I learn?

Our 42nd annual conference on Resiliency and Authenticity is ideal for both aspiring and accomplished women leaders.

  • World-class speakers will inspire you with their personal journeys to the top of their fields
  • Thought-provoking panel discussions will build your knowledge of leadership best practices
  • You’ll also have opportunities to network with peers and meet sponsor organizations

It’s a great way to enhance your own leadership development and support the journey of others.

What’s included in the ticket price?

Your ticket includes a full-day of unforgettable leadership speakers on March 23rd, four amazing April Signature Sessions – and more! Get ready for:

  • Pre-conference inspiration and engagement
  • A full day of live speakers, thought-provoking panel discussion, and virtual networking with peers and sponsors
  • Bonus live keynotes every Tuesday in April
  • 90 days of on-demand video access for anything you’ve missed

You can purchase tickets as an individual attendee, or your organization can sponsor you. If you’re interested in buying over 25 tickets, please contact Tracie Charland to learn about tiered volume pricing at tracie.charland@simmons.edu.

Need more information? Get in touch.

Space is limited and time is running out. So contact us today to learn more. We’re happy to answer any additional questions you might have about the conference schedule or how to register as a delegate.