Campus & Community

Looking back at the 43rd Annual Simmons Leadership Conference

The 2022 Simmons Leadership Conference, produced by the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership, focused on the transformational power of “Cultivating Courage and Connection.”

Such power was evident in speeches given by powerful leaders, including Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Susan MacKenty Brady, Janet Foutty, Lynn Perry Wooten, Amanda Gorman, Molly Fletcher, Erica Dhawan, Amy Gallo, Brene Brown, and Simone Biles, as well as advice from business leaders from 2U, Inc., Deloitte, and Cisco. 

Take a look at these highlights from the conference for some inspiration, courtesy of the Simmons Leadership Conference! 

Media Coverage


Moving Moments

Luvvie Ajayi Jones

New York Times Bestselling Author, Podcast Host and Professional Troublemaker

"In the absence of fear there is no courage. If it’s easy, it’s not brave."

"I consider regret one of my biggest worst-case scenarios. I often ask myself: Will my silence convict me? Will my inaction make me proud? When we are afraid, we actually have a chance to choose courage, and it may actually push us over the edge to use our voice and use our power."

"Be a disruptor for good. What is happening in the room is absolutely your business. Elevate the space by spending your privilege and power. Challenging an idea will not get you fired."


Susan Brady

CEO of Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership

"Investing in our best self means we don’t forget about ourselves in our leadership journey."

"Being your best self is not a constant state. Life happens! First you have to know your best self, and then you have to return to her."


Lynn Perry Wooten

President of Simmons University

"My superpower is optimizing teams. My job is not only to be my best self but to empower others on my team to be their best selves."

"Something I learned from my mother is to have a vision for everything you do. If you have a vision it’s your roadmap, and you can use it to inspire others."


Amanda Gorman

America’s First Youth Poet Laureate

"I approach poetry not just as a literary craft, but something that underwrites the change I would like to see in the world."

"Whenever I stood up for myself at school I was to return home, tell my mom, and be applauded. Courage starts at home, it starts with the self, it starts young. It’s not something we arrive at randomly in adulthood."

"Courage isn’t the absence of fear but the recognition that there is something more important than fear. It’s how we begin to articulate our dreams. It has a real pulse and significance and movement."


Simone Biles

World’s Most Decorated Gymnast

"Walking away from the Olympic Games was a win in itself. I know a lot of people though I failed because they expected me to go out with five or six medals, but walking out of it was my biggest win…It was probably the most courageous I’ve ever been."

"I found strength and courage in being vulnerable and by opening up."

"Be authentically yourself and unapologetically yourself. That’s how you stay true to yourself."


Brené Brown

Researcher & Bestselling Author

"People are not okay right now, in general. We gathered at work here for the first time in two years, and the first thing I said was, no one’s okay and it’s okay…We can be not okay together. You have to normalize the grief and the anxiety that we’re all in."

You have to challenge the myth that vulnerability is weakness. There is no courage without vulnerability."

"Vulnerability is showing up and being seen when we can’t control the outcome."


Please note: not every speaker is featured above.

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