7 Tips on Leading with Purpose

April 11, 2017

Diane von Furstenberg and Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe

From President Helen Drinan

For more than a century, Simmons College has championed women’s leadership. Our now global Simmons Leadership Conference is just one of the ways we amplify the voices of women. Hillary Clinton, Geena Davis, Anita Hill, Arianna Huffington, and Dr. Jane Goodall are just some of the accomplished speakers who have inspired our audiences by encouraging them to make their own impactful mark on the world.

This spring’s Simmons Leadership Conference speakers shared some tips on how all women can learn to lead with purpose and passion, while advancing their careers:

#1. CREATE THE LIFE YOU WANT TO LIVE

“When I made the decision to start my own business, it was to create the life I wanted to live. As long as I remember that, I’m learning new things every day about the ways I can share my gifts with the world. With the work I do, I can teach and inspire others to share their gifts too.”

- Roshini Rajkumar, CEO, Roshini Performance Group

#2. EFFECT POSITIVE CHANGE

“We should be able to find a way to contribute and find the time to effect positive change in society. To replenish, refresh, and nourish our souls, and to share that with others.”

- Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe, Director, Saint Monica Girls’ Tailoring Center in Gulu, Uganda

#3. SET BOUNDARIES

“Understand what is non-negotiable and where you can be flexible. It may be time for practicing your faith, for being home for dinner a certain number of nights a week, or for attending to your own wellness. Those boundaries give you a sense of control and, as long as you continue to deliver results, your company will benefit from your improved engagement.” 

- Gail Jackson, Vice President of Talent, Inclusion & Engagement at United Technologies Corporation

#4. BUILD YOUR NETWORK

“Build your network, which means essentially: Keep in touch with people, go out of your way to meet new, interesting people, respect everyone's time, say thank you, give back to the community and be of help yourself anytime you can.”

- Nora Poggi, Journalist and Filmmaker

#5. BE AN OPEN BOOK

“Be an open book. Drop the facade. Help other women understand that current success comes with great failure and most of us fall hard before we arrive. It’s not pretty but it’s true.” 

- Raquel Eatmon, CEO of the communications company Rising Media LLC and founder of the Woman of Power Leadership Conference in Cleveland, Ohio

#6. DON'T WAIT TO BE DISCOVERED 

"Don't wait around to be discovered. Discover yourself instead." 

- Jade Simmons, Classical Pianist and Entrepreneur

#7. ALWAYS INCLUDE WOMEN

“Always include women, even when it’s tough. When you are hiring, be sure there are at least two women candidates. When you have a chance to say something to a young girl, tell her first that she is clever, smart, tough, strong, great at math, great at science, a leader. Leave “pretty” for the end.”

- Karen Hough, Founder and CEO of ImprovEdge


Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe and Diane von Furstenberg. Photo by Lisa Cohen.