The Best of #SLC45: Our Top 5 Quotable Leadership Moments

By Kristen Palson
May 1, 2024


On April 3, thousands of leaders joined us in-person in Boston and virtually for the Simmons Leadership Conference. This year marks the 45th year of the event as the longest running women’s conference in the world and is also Simmons University’s 125th Anniversary. 

The event theme, Creating Impact, formed the foundation for this transformative, one-day leadership conference, where we focused on the role of inclusion and inclusive leadership in today’s multifaceted and diverse workforce. 

The words of wisdom and moments of inspiration flourished throughout the day as attendees experienced our world-renowned keynote speaker line-up on our main stage paired with our deep dive signature skill-building sessions. Attendees shared their “ah-hah” moments with wonder and excitement in our virtual platform and could be heard throughout the hallways of the Hynes Convention Center.

Suffice to say, our team left proud, excited and inspired to bring you top 5 quotable moments from the main stage – from iconic women’s activist Gloria Steinem and Emmy award winning comedian and bestselling author Trevor Noah to change enthusiast expert Cassandra Worthy, their experiences and words of wisdom have forever changed us. Here, we are sharing our best of, with you. 


Quotable moment #1:
“Resilience is not anything that we’re born with; it has been ripped to shreds and built up over time, and we do that through the practice of experience.”

Cassandra Worthy, World’s Leading Expert on Change Enthusiasm®

As it turns out, resilience builds up over time as we experience change. Cassandra Worthy opened the day and lit up the stage with her refreshingly unique take on not just “managing” but growing through change. She encouraged us to think about what happens when we embrace change with a different mindset: Change Enthusiasm®. This approach is inspired by the emotion that runs through us… when it happens, we can choose to acknowledge it and give ourselves grace – and recognize that it is giving us the opportunity to learn. It’s time to self-assess our change emotions and redirect our anxiety and fears into moments of opportunity and impact. 


Quotable moment #2:
“Dream big, not only for your career, but dream big for your life.”

Jennifer Hyman, Co-founder & 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 joined 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. The reality is that no one has ever been successful alone. You have to attract people who are motivated by the same mission, but are fundamentally different from one another and bring different skills to the table. 


Quotable moment #3:
“All you need is one “yes” – and every “no” is closer to a “yes”!”

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

We can either let life control us–or we take control of our life. We will never change our lives if we don’t change our habits. Magie Cook took the main stage next to remind us about the power of returning to our purpose and living and leading with gratitude. She is a Latina businesswoman who overcame homelessness to become the CEO & founder of Maggie’s Salsa, LLC. She started the company with $800, and later 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. She left us with this powerful reminder: Your why has the ability to bring you so much success. It’s about becoming and doing something bigger than yourself. 


Quotable moment #4:
“When you get a little bit of power, wield it for someone else, and it feels wonderful.”

Padma Lakshmi, Emmy-Nominated Food Expert, Television Host & Author

Ask yourself: How do I want to spend my time? What will not only be most impactful for my work and for others, but what will be most impactful for my long-term growth? Padma Lakshmi joined us on the main stage to talk about her personal journey to becoming a New York Times bestselling author and Emmy Award-nominated host, where she currently serves as Executive Producer of Hulu’s Taste the Nation. Joined by Simmons University President, Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten, Padma discussed her life and career while showcasing the ways she has used her platform to make a positive impact around the globe. 


Quotable moment #5:
“Difference is a blessing, since we learn from difference, not from sameness.”

Gloria Steinem, Writer & Feminist Activist

When we foster candid conversations and in-person human connection, we have the opportunity to ask questions, gain new understanding, and achieve personal growth — this is how social movements evolve. In an engaging conversation, Trevor Noah and Gloria Steinem explored the essence of inclusive leadership and the promotion of equity, regardless of how one identifies. It’s time to look beyond the labels and stereotypes from society to learn from one another by listening. With this mindset shift, we can create a world where all voices are heard, regardless of gender–and all perspectives are honored.


Don’t Miss a Moment with Video on Demand

These are just a few of the memorable moments brought to you by #SLC45. Together, we are creating a more inclusive workforce–and world, one conversation at a time. We are humbled and grateful to be alongside you on this journey and hope to see you in Boston on May 1, 2025 for #SLC46!

In the meantime, you can purchase the entire program through Video on Demand