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Leadership conference speakers deliver powerful wisdom

Celina Colby | 4/20/2017, 6 a.m.
More than 3,000 attendees gathered at the Seaport World Trade Center on Thursday, April 13 to hear the wisdom of ...
Jade Simmons Photo: Lisa Cohen

More than 3,000 attendees gathered at the Seaport World Trade Center on Thursday, April 13 to hear the wisdom of some of the country’s most successful women, who spoke at the Simmons Leadership Conference. John Simmons created the conference 38 years ago with the goal of helping women achieve independent livelihoods. Now it’s a nonprofit fundraiser for graduate programs at Simmons, and a day where women come together to build each other up.

Jade Simmons, pianist and motivational speaker, took the stage in a dramatic black and white printed skirt and delivered a powerful speech on working outside the mold. In addition to breaking the barriers of classical music, she teaches business, technology and arts organizations “maverick behavior” and out-of-the-box branding techniques. She also runs The School of Emergence, which provides programs to creative entrepreneurs to launch their businesses.

She discussed her own experience building her company Jade Media, which has thrust her into areas of business she never expected to explore. “I want women to become more confident bringing all of themselves to every table, every time,” she said in an interview prior to the conference.

Simmons’s speech, “How to Move like a Maverick,” centered on personal identity and how self-confidence can affect change, both within and around you. The versatile business owner also debuted her latest project, The Designer Growth Club, a high-level life coaching platform that allows her to keep in touch with the people she meets in her travels and to continue to support their professional and personal development.

On the web

To learn more about the speakers from the conference, visit: www.simmons.edu/leadership

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe and Diane von Furstenberg were among the speakers at this year’s 38th annual Simmons Leadership Conference (April 13).

Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe and Diane von Furstenberg were among the speakers at this year’s 38th annual Simmons Leadership Conference (April 13).

Posing another perspective, speaker Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe encouraged women to look outward. Nyirumbe provides a safe harbor for women in her home country of Uganda who have been abducted, raped or tortured during Joseph Kony’s reign of terror. In St. Monica’s, the women are educated and taught marketable skills such tailoring and catering that can help them establish independent income.

Nyirumbe stressed the importance of helping each other. “It’s very important for every woman who has succeeded in something to look back and see who she can inspire,” she said. “Their success can only shine brighter if they help women who have not been successful.”

This sister-helping-sister attitude was an important component of the conference takeaways. Many of the women in the audience were college students or alums with successful, sometimes burgeoning, careers. Nyirumbe reminded the audience that success isn’t only about moving yourself forward.

Together the two speakers reminded women that the road to greatness is no easy journey, especially for women. It takes grit, hard work and endless compassion. Simmons said, “We cannot be asleep anymore.”