Simmons Leadership Conference Explores 'Passion and Profession' with Inspiring Keynote Speakers Donna Karan, Anne Mulcahy, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, and Maria Hinojosa

Feb 08, 2011, 11:40 ET from Simmons College

BOSTON, Feb. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Simmons College today announced the speakers for its April 26 premier Leadership Conference, which focuses on the theme, "Passion and Profession." The conference features keynote addresses by legendary fashion designer Donna Karan, renowned business leader Anne Mulcahy, hospitality pioneer Marilyn Carlson Nelson, and award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa. Other notable speakers include veteran Hollywood producer Suzanne de Passe and Judith Jamison, Alvin Ailey's acclaimed artistic director.

"This year's speakers will explore the qualities of passion and tenacity that have led them to success and helped to make their organizations – and the world – a better place," said Conference Executive Director Joyce Kolligian. "Year after year, attendees attribute the transformational nature of this conference to the caliber and diversity of the speakers, as well as to the informal opportunities to connect with other exceptional professional women. It's a motivational and educational experience."

Celebrating its 32nd year, the Simmons Leadership Conference is the preeminent women's leadership forum in the country and annually attracts a global audience of 2,000 business and professional women. The event will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center Boston.

Keynote Speakers - Background

World famous fashion designer Donna Karan began her illustrious career at Anne Klein, where she worked for several years as head designer. Driven by a desire to start her own company, she launched her Donna Karan label in 1985 with a couture collection that won rave reviews. From there, Karan went on to build an international fashion empire spanning men's, women's, and children's clothing, accessories, beauty products, and home furnishings. Today she continues in her role as chair and lead designer of the company, which is now owned by the French luxury conglomerate LVMH.

During her 34-year career at Xerox Corporation, Anne Mulcahy worked her way up from sales representative to chief executive officer and chairman. Even more remarkably, she steered the organization from the brink of bankruptcy to financial stability, investing heavily in research and development, and refocusing the business on services. For this bravura turnaround performance, Mulcahy earned the number five spot on Forbes magazine's 2006 list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women. She also was the first woman to be chosen by her peers as Chief Executive of the Year in 2008.

Marilyn Carlson Nelson is chair and former CEO of the Carlson Companies, Inc., one of the world's largest privately held companies and a powerhouse in the hospitality and leisure travel industry. As head of her family-owned business from 1998 to 2008, Nelson nearly doubled sales, and grew Carlson into a true global giant with brands and services employing more than 200,000 people in 150 countries. Forbes magazine regularly includes her on its list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, and U.S. News & World Report has named her one of America's Best Leaders.

For 25 years, award-winning journalist and author Maria Hinojosa has helped to define the conversation about the changing cultural landscape in the United States with one of the most authentic voices in broadcast. She is currently managing editor and host of the long-running weekly NPR show "Latino USA," anchor of the talk show "Maria Hinojosa: One-on-One," and senior correspondent for the newsmagazine show "NOW" on PBS. During the last decade, Hinojosa has been named to Hispanic Business magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential Latinos in the United States three times.

Other Speakers – Background

  • Suzanne de Passe – 30-year veteran of Hollywood, former president of Motown Productions, and one of the world's most successful women producers
  • Jeffery Tobias Halter – highly experienced sales trainer, diversity champion, and noted author of Selling to Men, Selling to Women
  • Sally Helgesen – acclaimed expert on women's leadership, and author of pioneering works on women's leadership styles
  • Judith Jamison – world-famous dancer and choreographer, and artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
  • Betty Liu – anchor of Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop with Betty Liu," a daily business morning new program
  • Eileen McDargh – internationally renowned expert on leadership development, and successful author
  • Juliette Powell – thought leader, author, and consultant specializing in using social media to transform businesses and personal brands

In addition, Emmy award-winning journalist and Simmons alumna Joyce Kulhawik will moderate the Signature Dialogue session with Suzanne de Passe.

A complimentary Monday evening networking session for registered attendees will feature a presentation by Jill Zarin, "Real Housewives of New York City" reality star, entrepreneur, and Simmons alumna. Zarin will present an energizing, inspiring, and refreshingly unfiltered look at business in the fast lane. The session will be held at the Seaport World Trade Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

About the Conference

The Simmons Leadership Conference is one of the oldest and best-known women's leadership events in the country. The conference has featured such notable speakers as Madeleine Albright, Christiane Amanpour, Benazir Bhutto, Carly Fiorina, Toni Morrison, Queen Noor, Jehan Sadat, and Oprah Winfrey.

Conference proceeds go to further the development and advancement of future corporate, organizational, and civic leaders by helping to fund Simmons graduate scholarships.

Corporate Sponsors

Conference corporate sponsors for 2011 include EMC Corporation, Seaport World Trade Center Boston, HP, State Street, Novartis, TD Bank, PWC, Goldman Sachs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, MIT Professional Education, Sun Life Financial, Toshiba, BostonCoach, Vision Quest Consulting, WGBH, Diva Toolbox, Exhale magazine, Little Pink Book, and the Friends of Mel Foundation.

For the full conference schedule and registration information, please visit:

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