Simmons Leadership Blog

Breaking Old Patterns with Helaine Olen


Freelance journalist and former financial columnist Helaine Olen delights in debunking the idea that personal finance experts always have their clients' best interests in mind. In her recent book, Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry, she reveals the conflicts of interest and misleading advice offered by those who profit off the economic anxiety of everyday Americans while purporting to help them achieve financial security. Olen got her start in personal finance by writing the Money Makeover feature in The Los Angeles Times. Since then, her work has appeared in numerous print and online publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Slate, Salon, and Pacific Standard. Olen is currently a regular contributor to both The Great Debate and Equals on the Reuters website and regularly reports on a wide range of topics including personal finance, women's issues, politics, education, and career strategies.
We caught up with Helaine, who will be speaking at the Simmons Leadership Conference on April 23rd.

Career Advice from Kathy Garcia


A recognized leader in the IT services industry, Katherine Garcia is Senior Vice President of Applications Services for HP Enterprise Services. Her organization supports clients across all industries and located in more than 170 countries, applying innovation to modernize and manage their applications portfolios to enhance business results. Before joining HP, Garcia held several senior management positions at IBM that enabled her to gain a global perspective and to develop expertise in high-growth markets. In her most recent position there, she served as general manager of IBM Global Business Services, Growth Markets MTN, a global telecommunications company. In this role she was responsible for creating and executing strategic plans to initiate business operations across Africa. Previously in her career, Garcia was president of Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics and Surveillance Systems.
Kathy Garcia talked to us about career advice, lending support to other women, and more!

Denise Morrison: Integrating Work and Life


Consistently named by Forbes and Fortune as one the country's most powerful women in business, Denise Morrison became president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company in 2011. The first woman to head the $7.7 billion consumer foods maker, she brought to the task a 30-year track record of building iconic brands at Kraft Foods, Nestle, Nabisco, and Pepsi-Cola. In just her first year as CEO, Morrison reinvigorated sales growth with the launch of 288 new products and the $1.55 billion acquisition of Bolthouse Farms, instilling a new spirit of innovation and creativity at the venerable company. Morrison is a founding member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a first-of-its-kind coalition of manufacturers, retailers, and other organizations to combat obesity, especially among children. She currently serves on the board of directors of Catalyst and Enactus, as well as of the Campbell Soup Company.
Denise Morrison filled us in on women she admires, turning points in her career, and more!

Turning Points with Nicole Parent Haughey


Nicole Parent Haughey is Vice President of Corporate Strategy & Development at United Technologies Corporation. She brings to UTC two decades of Wall Street experience, most recently as managing partner at Vertical Research Partners, an independent equity research firm that she co-founded. Haughey previously served as managing director and global sector head of industrials at Credit Suisse, covering the domestic electrical equipment and multi-industry sectors as well as coordinating industrial equity research across the United States, Europe, and Asia. She also held senior research positions at Banc of American Securities, LLC, SalomonSmithBarney, and Cowen & Company. A frequent guest on CNBC, she has been recognized by Institutional Investor, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and StarMine for her insightful analysis. Haughey currently serves on the board of overseers at Harvard University and on the advisory board of the Resolution Project, dedicated to developing socially responsible young leaders.
We had the opportunity to ask Nicole a few questions. Don't miss her session at the Simmons Leadership Conference!

Celebrating Your Success with Debbie Dunnam

dunnam.jpgDebbie Dunnam, Senior Vice President of Americas Services Sales at Cisco, leads a diverse organization with responsibility for all technical and professional services sales, channel partner sales, and field marketing in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. During her tenure, she has steadily advanced through several leadership positions, including heading up the Go To Market Shared Services organization, the Worldwide Customer Operations team, Cisco Services Sales in the US Enterprise, Commercial, and Canada customer base, the Inside Services Sales team, and the US Cisco Services Partner Organization sales group. Dunnam participates in multiple inclusion and diversity efforts, both inside the company and within the partner community. With more than 25 years of IT experience, she has held executive positions in other industry-leading companies including HP and Dell.

Debbie took the time to answer some questions about jumping the curve, work/life balance tips, and much more!

3 Questions with Betty Nguyen


NBC News and MSNBC anchor Betty Nguyen has spent her career covering breaking news around the globe, reporting on some of the most important political, environmental, and cultural events of our time--from the Boston Marathon bombings, to the 2012 presidential election, the Arab Spring, and the Gulf oil spill. Before her move to NBC, she anchored the CBS Morning News and reported for CBS This Morning, also serving as special correspondent for Entertainment Tonight. Nguyen previously anchored the weekend edition of CNN Newsroom, and contributed to award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina and the 2006 tsunami in South Asia. After returning to Vietnam for the first time since fleeing the war, Nguyen and her family were inspired to found Help the Hungry, a global nonprofit organization that distributes food, clothing, medicine, and basic essentials to those in need.
We had the opportunity to ask Betty a few questions. Don't miss her session at the Simmons Leadership Conference!

Juliet Funt: Women I Admire


Juliet Funt is the founder and owner of WhiteSpace® at Work, a training and consulting firm that helps organizations, their leaders, and employees flip the norms of business to reclaim their creativity, productivity, and engagement. A nationally recognized expert in coping with the Age of Overload, she has developed a method for personal process improvement based on the concept of WhiteSpace--carving out time from overscheduled, multitasking work routines for the freeform, flexible thinking that is so vital to energized, focused, and successful performance. With her unique blend of charisma, humor, and tough love, she demonstrates to audiences how this practice can change the negative patterns and behaviors preventing organizations from achieving optimum results. Funt has brought her thought-provoking content and immediately applicable tools toa number of Fortune 100 corporations, as well as to companies in industries ranging from financial services to technology, from manufacturing to the military.

Juliet Funt took a moment to speak with us about women she admires and jumping the curve in her career.

Balancing Work and Life with Dr. Helen Fisher


Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher is a pioneer in the neurochemistry of leadership and gender differences. A visiting research professor at Rutgers University, she has produced groundbreaking studies on the biological basis of thinking styles, demonstrating how women's innate talents are especially suited to addressing some of today's most pressing problems. She has applied her insights in a variety of consulting assignments at VISA, Deloitte, Proctor & Gamble, and other organizations, and makes regular appearances on TV and radio talk shows such as Dateline NBC, Anderson Cooper, and Charlie Rose. Also renowned as the nation's leading expert on romantic love, Fisher has written extensively on the brain science of human attraction, including Why Him? Why Her? Finding Real Love By Understanding Your Personality Type. She currently serves as chief scientific advisor to the Internet dating site

Balancing work and life is a struggle for every woman, we asked Leadership Conference speaker Helen Fisher to share her tips on how to successfully balance professional and personal responsibilities.  

Rana Foroohar on Jumping the Curve


Award-winning journalist Rana Foroohar is assistant managing editor of TIME magazine, overseeing business and economic coverage across all platforms. Her Curious Capitalist column, covering the intersection of the global economy and Main Street, has become a must-read for economic and political thought leaders. Foroohar previously served as Newsweek's deputy editor in charge of international business and economics, as well as the magazine's economic correspondent covering Europe and the Middle East. Known for her high-level yet accessible analysis of national and world events, she is a frequent commentator on business for CNN, MSNBC, and the BBC, and regularly chairs panel discussions with world leaders, intellectuals, and economists at the World Economic Forum. Foroohar is currently a contributor to The Daily Beast and can be heard weekly on the New York public radio show, Money Talking.

Every woman faces turning points in her career. We asked Leadership Conference speaker Rana Foroohar to share her advice on "jumping the curve" to become a leader in your field:

Save the date for this important conversation!


For the second year, the Simmons Leadership Conference is partnering with 2020 Women on Boards to present the National Conversation on Board Diversity Panel. This year the event will take place on 11/12/13, from 7:30am to 9:30am in the Linda K. Paresky Conference Center at Simmons College.

This exciting and timely event is one of many held across the country to promote gender diversity on US corporate boards. It aims to promote the national campaign of 2020 Women on Boards to increase the percentage of women on US company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020.

The National Conversation on Board Diversity will feature panelists Joe Keefe (President & CEO of Pax World Funds and a leader in the field of sustainable investing) and Susan Vinnicombe (Simmons School of Management's Deloitte Ellen Gabriel Endowed Chair in Women's Leadership and an expert in women's leadership styles). Our own Cathy Minehan, Dean of the Simmons School of Management, will moderate.

Learn more and reserve your seat at the table!

Join the Conversation

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Remembering a great friend and colleague


Joyce J. Kolligian, Executive Director of the Simmons Leadership Conference passed away peacefully on June 11 at the age of 76. Joyce earned her BA from Simmons College in 1987 and her MBA from Simmons SOM in 1989. She was also the recipient of the SOM's Rappaport Award for Outstanding Leadership.

Joyce served as a consultant to the Simmons Leadership Conference from 1993 to 1998. From 2000 to the present, Joyce served as the conference's Executive Director. Under her leadership, the conference grew from a small regional gathering of SOM alumnae, which annually drew 150 women, to a nationally recognized premier leadership conference with over 3000 attendees.

Joyce was truly a part of the Simmons community and her wonderful and feisty personality was legendary!! Her heart and love for Simmons and everyone she worked with was something very special and we will miss her enormously.

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Josie Natori is living the entrepreneurial dream

Fashion designer Josie Natori exemplifies the true American entrepreneurial spirit.  She was one of the first female vice presidents of investment banking at Merrill Lynch when she decided to make a change and start her eponymous fashion line.

Here she tells the fascinating story of how she started her business and the important life lessons she learned along the way. In the afternoon session Josie Natori will talk with Simmons professor Teresa Nelson on how she has turned her business into a lifestyle brand.

Our interview with Judy Smith on the lessons learned throughout her career

Crisis management expert Judy Smith is the real-life inspiration for the Olivia Pope character on the television show Scandal. A former deputy White House press secretary and assistant US Attorney, Judy Smith brings years of public relations and communications experience to her corporate and private crisis management clients. 

Here she shares with us how she has managed her career. We look forward to her morning signature session with moderator Cheryl Howard on Women in Corporations.

Georgina Michael of Philips explains the benefits of investing in employee professional development at the Leadership Conference

A Simmons MBA alumna, Georgina Michael, from our silver sponsor Philips, talks about what it takes to recognize a leader.  Leading Stakeholder Relations at Philips Healthcare, her role provides strategic stakeholder relations, PR counsel and expertise to global teams around the world.  We recently interviewed Georgina for our first Sponsor Blog Post and discussed her leadership qualities and how Philips uses the Leadership Conference as a benefit for their employees who attend.

Professor Stacy Blake-Beard and the importance of mentors


Simmons SOM Associate Professor Stacy Blake-Beard has focused her research on mentoring and value to women across all industries.  She shares with us her perspectives on her career path and how important it is to network and foster mentoring relationships throughout the course of your career.  Stacy will participate in two sessions on mentoring at this year's Simmons Leadership Conference.

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