Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership Announces New Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leadership Award

The Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership today announced the new Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leadership Award.

Named in honor of Simmons University President Helen G. Drinan, the award will recognize distinguished women leaders who demonstrate exceptional commitment, compassion and vision.

“Helen’s tenure at Simmons has been extraordinary, and her legacy of leadership is defined by commitment, values and action,” said Susan Brady, CEO of the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership. “Visionary leaders not only anticipate what is to come, their drive and determination help shape new possibilities that don’t exist today. Simmons University is proud to recognize Helen’s many accomplishments with this award that amplifies and honors other women leaders who are serving their communities.”

Drinan, who will step down from her current role on June 30, 2020, has led a transformational chapter of Simmons’ history over the past 12 years. Under her leadership, Simmons reconfigured its undergraduate curriculum with a focus on leadership development, became a university in 2018, developed world-class coed online graduate degree programs, and cemented its status as a premier institution for women scholars.

Similarly, the Helen G. Drinan Visionary Leadership Award will recognize women leaders who showcase strong values in their actions and leadership style, while also demonstrating a commitment to their organizations, compassion to their members and the courage to make challenging and necessary business decisions. The winning recipients will be individuals whose vision and actions ensure the long-term stability and growth of an organization, who are open and transparent about challenges, and who demonstrate curiosity and an innovative, work-is-never-done attitude.

The award was announced during the annual Simmons Leadership Conference, which went virtual this year for the first time in its continuous 41-year history. The conference – the longest-running women’s leadership forum in the nation – took place on April 16th and focused on the theme of “Defining Power.” Headlining the event were powerful women leaders, including tennis champion, activist and entrepreneur Serena Williams; media pioneer and TEDWomen editorial director Pat Mitchell; Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw; and economist and author Dambisa Moyo.

The first round of nominations for the award will begin in September and the nomination deadline is November 2020. A committee will be responsible for the selection of the awardee based on the established criteria. The first award will be presented at the 2021 Simmons Leadership Conference. Established in 2019, the Simmons University Institute for Inclusive Leadership is an emerging authority on the intersection of leadership, equity and inclusion – with an emphasis on achieving gender parity in organizational leadership and helping inspire women to realize their full leadership potential.

The Institute, which takes Simmons’ longstanding success in developing empowered women leaders to a new level, hosts global conferences and conversations, offers educational programs for corporate partners, conducts research studies, and develops other activities to advance women’s leadership.

The Simmons Institute for Leadership also draws on the expertise of Simmons faculty, alumnae/i and students, as well as global thought leaders, academicians, executives, authors and other experts to empower and inspire women of all ages to become leaders in their personal and professional lives.

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