Franklin and Huffington to speak at leadership conference

By Haley Costen
Staff Writer

_DSC0031 Huffington_Arianna_ORIGINALThe College announced the speakers of the 36th annual Simmons Leadership Conference last Wednesday.

The conference, themed “Dare to Compete,” will feature keynote speakers Aretha Franklin, singer and Queen of Soul; Arianna Huffington, author and president of the Huffington Post Media Group; and Christy Haubegger, CEO and founder of Latina Magazine.

Signature speakers at the conference are Padmasree Warrior, Cisco Chief Technology and Strategy Officer; and Darlene Love, singer and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee.

The conference will also feature Nilofer Merchant, author and CEO of Rubicon Consulting; Claire Shipman, author and Good Morning America correspondent; Pamela Peeke, founder and CEO of the Peeke Performance Center for Healthy Living; and Mel Robbins, CNN and FOX News commentator and legal analyst.

Moderators include Jeffery Tobias Halter, founder of YWomen; Joyce Kulhawik, an entertainment anchor and critic for WBZ-TV; and Katie Conboy, provost and senior vice president of Simmons.

“At our spring conference, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called on attendees to ‘dare to compete’ at a higher level in our careers and our lives,” said Judy Benjamin, Executive Director, of the Simmons Leadership Conference in the College’s press release. “We took that to heart, and have created a program with resilient women who have pioneered and persevered, never backing down from a challenge throughout their careers.”

Four pre-conference seminars, which require separate registration, will kick off the conference on Wednesday, April 1.

Seminar topics include “Leadership: Create Your Powerful Future,” “Breaking the Glass Border through Global Mindset: The Next Leadership Challenge for Women,” “Leading Teams that Deliver Results,” and “Getting to Better Ideas: Creativity and Innovation in Practice.”

The Simmons Leadership Conference is the longest-running women’s leadership forum in the country, according to the press release on the program. The conference annually attracts a global audience of more than 3,000 business and professional women.

Past speakers featured at the Simmons Leadership Conference are Madeleine Albright, Christiane Amanpour, Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Carly Fiorina, Billie Jean King, Toni Morrison, Anne Mulcahy, Queen Noor, Jehan Sadat, Oprah Winfrey, and the late Benazir Bhutto.

Premium tickets are $799 and general tickets are $549. Tickets to the pre-conference seminars are $99 for each seminar, and tickets for leadership coaching are $199.

Conference proceeds help further the development and advancement of future corporate, organizational, and civic leaders through Simmons graduate scholarships, according to the press release.

The conference is the capstone program of SimmonsLEADS, a set of programs developed in 2013 feautring events that focus on the empowerment and development of women leaders.

The 2015 conference is sponsored by EMC, Seaport World Trade Center, Cisco, HP, MFS Investments, MIT Lincoln Lab, McGladrey, Vision Quest Consulting, Watson’s Candies, and Women’s Toolbox.

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