Leadership Conference Live Blog

April 22, 2014

Hillary Clinton

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Speaks at the Simmons Leadership Conference.

Hillary Rodham Clinton served as the nation's 67th Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013, after nearly four decades in public service. Her "smart power" approach to foreign policy repositioned American diplomacy and development for the 21st century. Clinton played a central role in restoring America's standing in the world, reasserting the United States as a Pacific power, imposing crippling sanction on Iran and North Korea, responding to the Arab Awakening, and negotiating a ceasefire in the Middle East. Earlier, as First Lady and then Senator from New York, she traveled to more than 80 countries as a champion of human rights, democracy, and opportunities for women and girls. Clinton also worked to provide health care to millions of children, create jobs and opportunity, and support first responders who risked their lives at Ground Zero. In her historic campaign for U.S. President in 2008, Clinton won 18 million votes.

3:51pm - Excitement is in the air as we await HER arrival! 3:57pm - President Drinan is on stage. "We are about to have a wonderful hour!"
3:58pm - "Regardless of your politics, it is impossible not to find inspiration from this amazingly accomplished American woman" - President Drinan
4:02pm - President Drinan quotes Secretary Clinton: "Women's rights are human rights."
4:04pm - She's on stage!
4:06pm - "What a great week to be in Boston! I watched with pride as thousands of people from across the world lined the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Copley on Monday to not just watch the Boston Marathon, not just to cheer the runners, but to send a message of hope, resilience and determination." - Clinton
4:08pm - Clinton recounts the inspirational story of the Corcoran family: "That's Boston. That's America."
4:09pm - "Has there ever been a bigger game-changer than the experiment that began here in Boston 239 years ago?" - Clinton
4:10pm - "Our country's greatness is not a birthright. It has to be earned by every generation." - Clinton
4:11pm - "I believe that advancing the rights, opportunities and roles of women here and around the world, is the great unfinished business of the 21st century." - Clinton
4:13pm - "In too many places too many women still face ceilings, crushing their ambitions making it harder for them to pursue their dreams." - Clinton
4:13pm - "In some places still, women cannot open a bank account or sign a contract." - Clinton
4:14:pm -"Women in our country hold less than 17% of board seats. The situation is even worse in some industries. It's a real problem when America's cutting edge companies are so far behind the curve." - Clinton
4:15pm - "You don't have to try to climb the corporate ladder to hit the glass ceiling. Women hold a majority of lower wage jobs in this country." - Clinton
4:16pm - "Holding back women - that isn't right and it isn't smart. Women can drive our economy. They can lift up themselves, their families and indeed, the country." - Clinton
4:19pm - "The truth is, too many women trying to build a life and a family in our country don't just face ceilings on their aspirations and opportunities -- they feel as though the floor is shaking, even collapsing underneath them." - Clinton
4:20 - "There's now a mountain of evidence that shows that when women participate in the economy, productivity goes up." - Clinton
4:24pm - Clinton discusses #noceilings: The Full Participation Project.
4:25pm - "Simmons College has been making that call for years, educating women since 1899," Clinton says while mentioning our participation in WPSP this year.
4:28pm - One of Hillary Clinton's favorite documentaries is Pray The Devil Back To Hell by Abigail Disney who recently visited Simmons!
4:30pm - Clinton quotes Eleanor Roosevelt: "Every woman in public life needs to develop skin as tough as rhinoceros hide."
4:31pm - "Women, especially young women, need to learn how to take criticism seriously but not personally. Your critics can turn out to be your best advisors." - Clinton
4:32pm - "Women have to dare to compete." - Clinton
4:33pm - "It's surprising to me how many young women think they have to be perfect. I've rarely met a young man who doesn't already think he is." - Clinton
4:36pm - "I hope you'll join me in helping the next generation of women leaders dare to compete." - Clinton
4:40pm - Entering into the Q&A session:
Question from President Drinan: As a student you were a student government leader and quite the activist, how did that influence your decisions later in life?
"I was active in student government in high school and college, I liked taking on big jobs and organizing and advocating. I think that they gave me some real insights into how I could best represent myself. I never thought that I would run for elected public office when I got out of college. I thought I would use those tools for advocacy."
"It was a great gateway into listening to people and negotiating conflicting viewpoints. Looking for as much win/win as you can get. Finding common ground when that wasn't possible."
"I was at Wellesley during a particularly trying time, feelings were very raw. Being in a position of responsibility gave me more insight into how to deal with those challenges."
4:42pm - Question: What it was like to be Secretary of State as a woman on the world stage:
"There are a lot of very impressive women leaders on the world scene in the last several years. The part of the world with more women leaders than any other? South America."
"The strongest leader in Europe is in Germany - Angela Merkel."
"They do not all look the name. They do not all behave the same. It's no longer expected that you have to fit a certain mold. And that is a breakthrough."
"[in conservative societies] You're treated like an honorary man. I developed cordial relationships with many of the leaders of the Gulf countries, but I never fooled myself that I was breaking boundaries for women."
4:47pm - "I give my parents credit for whatever resilience I have. They made it clear that there was no difference between boys and girls.They emphasized sports: developing the habits of competition, winning, losing, getting knocked down and getting back up." - Clinton
4:48pm - "When I got into politics both running in the senate in 2000 and getting re-elected in 2006, I tried to work really hard, and use the advice I shared earlier. There were people not only trying to knock me down but knock me out. Through ridicule and insult. Maybe the way I was raised or the lessons I learned as a child, I was able to shake it off and keep going. Now that doesn't mean it was easy and it didn't affect me, because of course it wasn't easy and it did affect me. But it didn't stop me or lay me out, as I think some of the attacks were meant to do." - Clinton
4:50pm - "When I was going through New Hampshire, young men were holding up signs that said "iron my shirt" and I said...."iron it yourself." - Clinton
4:54pm - Clinton talks about the complicated subject of intervention in countries, like Syria, experiencing conflict:"It doesn't mean you're not incensed, heartsick, angry...but then you need to stop and say 'well, what can we do about it? How can we intervene in a way that helps, not hurts?'"
4:57pm - Question: If you could change the outcome of any event what would it be?
"It would certainly be the attack on Benghazi."
"It's one of the tough parts of the job. When you lose people...it's deeply saddening and that's why I said I would take responsibility and do everything I could to make sure it never happens again."
4:59pm - Question: What advice did you give Chelsea as she was growing up and coming into adulthood?
"At the risk of repeating myself. It started as a baby, as a toddler, as an elementary school child. Chelsea grew up in such unusual circumstances, her father was Governor of Arkansas when she was born. She spent the formative years of her life in the governor's mansion in Little Rock, and just shy of 13 moved to the white house. I tried to stress education and habits and attitudes on how you are supposed to treat other people, and we spent a lot of time, Bill and I, to make sure that she had chores to do, and she had volunteer work and a full life outside of the cocoon of public life."
"I was pleased that eventually after some difficulties that the press understood what we were trying to do. She didn't pick her parents or her life so she deserved to have as much of an ordinary, every day life as she could possibly have."
"I am a very strong believer that you really do need to understand the different stages of development that your children are at. So once they get to high school and pick college, and then graduate and go out into the world, whether or not they listen to you over that period, they remember the advice and the values and the strong grounding you try to give them."
"it's nothing out of the ordinary, but if you find yourself in a situation like we did, you have to try to make the best out of it, and avoid the problems that can come of that."
"As an adult, you should have a sense of purpose about your life. even if it's not what your mother or your friends would choose for you. In this day in age it could be very unique, very entrepreneurial."
"Be creative, be innovative, know that you have a much longer life. What do you do in your 20s might not be what you do in your 40s."
"Keep challenging yourself, keep educating yourself. If an opportunity comes up, decide if you're willing to go for it."
5:07pm - Question: Do you think we have any opportunity to increase the number of women in the workforce, given embedded stereotypes?
"One of the ways you fix [the economy] is knocking down the barriers for women. It should be fairly obvious."
"There are embedded stereotypes [about women in the workplace]. How do we bring them out into the light of day? A lot of people truly don't know they're falling back on them. "
"We have a long way to go, and everyone has to participate: academia, media, business, politics. If we can begin to open up the doors to a bigger room and get more women participating our economy will be better off. As long as women aren't consigned to the lower paying jobs."
"It's not a women's issue; it's a family issue. It's an economic issue."
"There's an army of women -- and frankly a very large group of older women -- who can make a huge difference to the workforce."
5:09pm - And Hillary Clinton has left the building!