Simmons Leadership Blog

April 2011 Archives

Donna Karan: Finding Philanthropy in Commerce

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Chief Designer, Donna Karan, on what it means to be a change agent. Speaking at the Simmons Leadership Conference. In her own words:

My first lessons came from working as a sales girl in a clothing store. It's not about what you want, and what you design--it's about who she is, and what she wants.

I wasn't a very good student. I stayed back. I played in the art department and created my first collection there. I went off to Parson's School of Design. I got a summer job working for Anne Klein, and that changed my life. She took care of me. 


Judith Jamison: "I Have a Light Inside of Me"

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Judith Jamison spent many years of her life communicating through dance. And that experience has helped her live into the leadership role she holds today as the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey dance company. She sat down with Maria Hinojosa at the Simmons Leadership Conference.

Here's a bit of the wisdom she shared: 

Hinojosa: I know the positivity hasn't been easy. What happens when you take over an institution that's $1 million dollars in debt?

Jamison: I deal with things in order.


Maria Hinojosa: We must have an open dialogue about diversity

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Award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa spoke to a sold out crowd at the Simmons Leadership Conference about the opportunities and challenges that surround the integration of immigrants into mainstream American life and work.

She said diversity to her means no fear. It means that change is not a threat. She told attendees that we each have a responsibility to be tolerant and to actively engage in open dialogue. 

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Juliette Powell: Everything I need to know about social media...

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I learned by being a kid. "We all just want to be heard," says Juliette Powell, author of 33 Million People in a Room, and digital media consultant and co-founder of The Gathering Think Tank. Powell spoke today at The Simmons Leadership Conference, about making connections.

As a kid, Powell attended 19 different schools as she moved from place to place. In order to make friends, and fit in, she learned to listen. Listen to what people want and to who they say they are.

She urged attendees to use these same childhood skills, when forming a social media strategy.



Marilyn Carlson Nelson: If you don't like it, fix it

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Marilyn Carlson Nelson spoke at the morning plenary session. She is the chair and former CEO of travel and hospitality giant Carlson Companies, a company she transformed into a $40 billion global entity and one of the top employees to work for, specifically among working mothers.  She's been named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics and says doing the right thing will always triumph.  

She says she believes we're at the tipping point of awareness.  We're becoming more aware of the importance of women contributions as well as the well-being of the world.  She made a special shout-out to Simmons students saying that putting yourself in a predominately female environment teaches you there are no gender roles and women are the leaders.

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Anne Mulcahy: Profession without passion is just a job

Opening speaker Anne Mulcahy, who rose through the ranks of Xerox to become CEO, spearheaded a new leadership team that resulted in a truly remarkable turnaround for the company.  She talked to the audience about different leadership styles, what she learned about what makes a good leader and provided some advice for women who aspire to a leadership role.

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President Drinan welcomes attendees to 32nd annual conference

President Drinan took the stage to welcome a record number of attendees to the 32nd annual conference.  She says the Simmons Leadership Conference started as a small alumni gathering with one speaker.  Today it has grown to become one of the premiere women's conferences in the nation.  The conference aims to support the advancement of women and reflects Simmons' commitment to inspiring women to lead meaningful lives.  

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Welcome to the Simmons Leadership Conference!

We're at the Seaport WTC getting ready to kick off today's events.  The conference will begin in about 10 minutes in the Commonwealth Complex with opening remarks from Executive Director Joyce Kolligian, Simmons College President Helen Drinan, and conference sponsors.  Anne Mulcahy of Xerox fame will open with the plenary session at 8:35.

Today's theme is Passion and Profession.

Follow @SimmonsConf on Twitter for live updates. Use hashtag #lead2011! Stay tuned...

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