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Authority on Women and Leadership Named Dean of Simmons School of Management

Assumes Leadership of World's Only Business School Designed for Women

BOSTON (April 25, 2005) — The Simmons College Board of Trustees has appointed Deborah Merrill-Sands, a recognized authority on women and leadership, as the dean of the Simmons School of Management in Boston, the world's only business school specifically designed for women.

Merrill-Sands, widely cited as an expert on issues relating to women's success in the workplace, assumes the new role following a year as acting dean and a number of years in various leadership positions at the School of Management (SOM). She replaces Patricia O'Brien, who joined Harvard College last year as deputy dean.

The School of Management ( is a unique school recognized as a national center for women, leadership, and management.

The School of Management was founded in 1973 by two female Harvard Business School professors who decried the classroom focus solely on men as business leaders. Today, SOM programs include undergraduate management and MBA programs that emphasize leadership, and offer a rigorous business curriculum combined with behavioral courses that address the effects of gender on leadership, communication, and management. Its new entrepreneurship initiative educates women from numerous disciplines who want to launch or improve their own business.

The SOM is a resource to organizations and individuals interested in women and leadership. Its Center for Gender in Organizations ( conducts cutting-edge research for businesses worldwide on improving organizational effectiveness by strengthening gender equity in the workplace. It offers the nation's premiere annual conference on women and leadership, attended by more than 2,500 women professionals nationwide. The School also delivers custom and open-enrollment executive programs for women leaders, partnering with such leading companies as Deloitte, Time Warner, Verizon, and Eli Lilly.

Merrill-Sands is an authority on gender dynamics in the workplace, women and leadership, women in science, and organizational change. As associate dean, she led the school's double-digit growth in executive education, and was co-founder and former co-director of the Center for Gender in Organizations.

Before joining the School of Management, Merrill-Sands was a consultant with the World Bank and the Ford Foundation, working on increasing the role of women in science, and was a senior researcher in a United Nations-sponsored research agency where she led international teams addressing issues of improving the livelihood of the rural poor--particularly women and families--in developing countries.

She is the author of numerous monographs, journal articles and book chapters, most focusing on diversity and gender issues in the workplace. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in applied anthropology from Cornell University, and her B.A. from Hampshire College. She has received numerous prestigious fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, Fulbright Hays, and the Social Science Research Council.

Simmons School of Management is one of five schools at the nationally ranked Simmons College ( an undergraduate women's college, the SOM, and co-educational schools of health studies, library and information science, and social work.