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Simmons 45th Women’s Leadership Conference

I’m still buzzing from the energy and insights from the Simmons 45th Women’s Leadership Conference on April 3. Truly inspiring speakers and so great to see former colleagues and current clients!

I’m incredibly proud to be a Fellow and Executive Coach at The Simmons Institute for Inclusive Leadership. Congratulations to the Kristin Palson and the whole team there…you did an amazing job once again! 

Here were just a few of the highlights for me: 

Jennifer Hyman (Rent the Runway co-founder) talked about the importance of embracing the journey, not the end goal - dreaming BIG, for your life and not just your career. She reminded us that the “real” risk in life is staying small and safe- and not doing the things you deeply desire but are too afraid to do. 

Dr. Magie Cook, Latina entrepreneur and brilliantly resilient woman, took us on her incredible journey of a lifetime- from growing up in an orphanage in Mexico to becoming a wildly successful business owner who sold her salsa company for $231 million. She talked about how to succeed against all odds and why each person in the room was extraordinary. She was incredible!

Padma Lakshmi, food writer, actor and activist, was brilliant in her own unique and powerful way. She told the audience “If you don’t consider yourself a feminist you should get up and walk out of this room right now. Because feminism is about equality.” I loved that because I’ve been surprised to hear women recently not wanting to identify as feminists…is that still a concern really?!? We need to unpack that one. She also reminded us that “every decision is a feminist decision.” Meaning that every choice we make should be looked at through the lens of how it impacts women. Please think about that when you vote in November!!!! 

And then the final keynote was extraordinary…Gloria Steinem and Trevor Noah! What a power duo…both feminists of course. Too many topics and questions to cover here but when asked: What needs to happen to create more gender parity in organizations? 

Trevor: Men have to do the work. They need to learn to speak to each other, to build an intimacy among men to discuss the stories they’ve been told about what it means to be a man. They need to be able to access empathy, care, showing feelings, and actually wanting equality.

Gloria: Women need to use their massive consumer power to send messages to companies that don’t promote and support women. Look at the company Board…who is on it? Make it public and do it together en masse. (There’s power in numbers!)

Gloria also said “Hope is a form of planning.”  

So let’s HOPE BIG!!!

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