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Simmons Leadership Conference Celebrates "Spirit of Resilience" with Keynote Speakers Cicely Tyson, Tina Brown, Mia Farrow, and Sheryl WuDunn

BOSTON (February 10, 2010) — Simmons College today announced the speakers for its April 30 premier Leadership Conference focused on the theme, "The Spirit of Resilience." Featured are keynote addresses by four remarkable women: award-winning actress Cicely Tyson, renowned editor and entrepreneur Tina Brown, humanitarian and actress Mia Farrow, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Sheryl WuDunn.

 Conference Executive Director Joyce Kolligian said, "This year's extraordinary speakers personify the resilience needed to excel in these challenging times. The program continues the Simmons tradition of blending timely presentations delivered by exceptional leaders, information-packed seminars and workshops, and informal networking opportunities with fellow attendees."

 Celebrating its 31st year, the conference is the preeminent women's leadership forum in the country and annually attracts a global audience of 2,000 business and professional women. The event will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center Boston. 

 Keynote Speakers - Background

Actress, activist, and humanitarian, Cicely Tyson is a legend of the American stage and screen. In a career than spans more than five decades, she shattered negative stereotypes of black women with her groundbreaking role in Sounder, helping to usher in a new era of black storytelling. With this success, Tyson came to epitomize the wise, courageous, and dignified women she portrayed in a long series of award-winning productions, including The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Roots, The Oldest Living Confederate, Widow Tells All, and Diary of a Mad Black Woman, to name only a few.

 Perhaps the most talked about magazine editor in the world, Tina Brown is a master marketer and media entrepreneur. From a young writer for Punch and the London Sunday Times, she quickly rose through the ranks of the industry to become editor of Vanity Fair. There, the dynamic Brown transformed the magazine into a turnaround success story. She next became the first female editor of the venerable The New Yorker, where her innovative strategies also revived circulation. In 2008, Brown founded, a one-stop news shop, where she currently is editor-in-chief.

Mia Farrow has achieved international renown as an award-winning actress and an outspoken advocate for children's rights. She has starred in more than 40 critically acclaimed movies, including Rosemary's Baby and Hannah and Her Sisters. Farrow has raised 14 children (10 of whom she adopted from overseas) and supported the cause of refugees in conflict-torn countries. As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, she has worked tirelessly to draw attention to the fight to help eradicate polio and to stop the genocide in Sudan, Chad, and the Central African Republic. Her humanitarian efforts have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Honor.

Acclaimed author and human rights activist Sheryl WuDunn has been chronicling conditions in the developing world for 20 years. She spent much of her career at The New York Times, moving seamlessly from correspondent in the Beijing and Tokyo bureaus to strategic planning. Collaborating with husband Nicholas Kristof, WuDunn was the first Asian-American to win a Pulitzer Prize, awarded for coverage of China's Tiananmen Square protests. They co-wrote the current bestseller Half the Sky, describing how women entrepreneurs are transforming societies around the world. In 2009 WuDunn and Kristof received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Session Speakers — Background
  • Ambassador Charlene Barshefsky — senior partner at WilmerHale, formerly the nation's chief trade negotiator
  • Dr. Stacy Blake-Beard — associate professor at Simmons School of Management and senior faculty affiliate at its Center for Gender in Organizations
  • Warren Brown — founder/owner of the CakeLove baking empire and host of the Food Network's Sugar Rush show
  • Eileen McDargh — internationally renowned expert on organizational culture change and successful author
  • Dr. Teresa Nelson — professor of entrepreneurship at the Simmons School ofManagement and director of its entrepreneurship program
  • Ranjini Poddar — co-founder and president of Artech Information Systems, a global IT consulting firm employing 2600 professionals
  • Roxana Saberi — Iranian-American journalist who was imprisoned in Iran for five months in early 2009
  • Terry Savage — Emmy Award-winning commentator on personal finance and frequent guest on CNN, CNBC, PBS, and NBC
  • Marie Savard, MD — medical contributor to ABC News and one of the country's most trusted voices on women's health and wellness
  • David Meerman Scott — social media expert and author of the new hit book, "World Wide Rave," as well as the bestselling "The New Rules of Marketing & PR"
  • Irina Simmons — senior vice president and treasurer of high-tech giant EMC Corporation
About the Conference

 The Simmons Leadership Conference is one of the oldest and best-known women's leadership events in the country. The conference has featured such notable speakers as Madeleine Albright, Benazir Bhutto, Carly Fiorina, Toni Morrison, Queen Noor, Jehan Sadat, and Oprah Winfrey. Conference proceeds go to further the development and advancement of future corporate, organizational, and civic leaders by helping to fund Simmons graduate scholarships.

Conference corporate sponsors for 2010 include EMC Corporation, Seaport World Trade Center Boston, HP, KPMG, Novartis, Deloitte, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Putnam Investments, Goldman Sachs, CVS Caremark, Ali International, American Heart Association, Diva Toolbox, and Little Pink Book. For the full conference schedule and a discounted rate for early registration, visit:

Simmons College is a nationally recognized private university located in the heart of Boston. It offers an undergraduate education for women, and renowned coeducational graduate programs in health sciences, education, liberal arts, social work, library and information science, and communications management, as well as the nation's first MBA program designed specifically for women.