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SOM Dean Delivers Keynote Speeches at Women’s Leadership Events

June 12, 2012

Photo Caption: Sylvia Ferrell-Jones, YWCA Boston President and CEO; SOM Dean Cathy Minehan; Kathy Murphy, Co-Chair, YWCA Boston Board of Directors.

Simmons School of Management Dean Cathy Minehan delivered two keynote speeches at women's leadership events this spring, shining light on the challenges facing women leaders today and the steps that need to be taken to empower women for success.

"We face very real challenges in realizing the dreams all of us had 40 years ago for women succeeding in the work place," Minehan said. "It is a hard and continuing task, and one that deserves constant attention by both the women who want to succeed and the businesses who want them to be successful."

At the Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) Women Leaders Program May 23 at Simmons, Minehan reflected on her career as the first female president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, and shared some lessons learned along the way. Among them: don't worry if you haven't perfected the "work life balance," form supportive relationships with women peers in other fields, embrace change, and never underestimate the power of sheer luck.

"In my experience, thinking that you can plot every step is foolish," Minehan said. "I have always concentrated on doing the best job that I can at the task at hand, viewing it as broadly as I can, and working to be a leader among my peers. Then I let luck, or providence, or serendipity, or whatever you might want to call it, take its course."

Today, women continue to earn less money than men in identical positions, despite making up a majority of the graduate student population. Groups such as BBH that bring women together for both networking and education are now more important than ever, Minehan noted. The May event hosted by Simmons featured an array of panelists and table discussions facilitated by leadership experts.

On June 4, Minehan joined the YWCA of Greater Boston to celebrate women leaders at the 18th Annual Academy of Women Achievers Celebration Luncheon, where she delivered the keynote address. Minehan was inducted into the Academy of Women Achievers in 1996.

"We are pleased to have Cathy serve as our keynote speaker. She is a true inspiration, living proof that no dream is too large, and no job unattainable," said Sylvia Ferrell-Jones, President and CEO of YWCA Boston.

At the luncheon, the following five women were inducted into the Academy of Women Achievers:
  • Deborah Barnard, Partner, Holland & Knight
  • Yvonne Garcia, Director of Segment Marketing, Liberty Mutual Group
  • Crystal Johnson, Founder and Principal, Integrative Sustainability & Environment Solutions (ISES)
  • Mary Mazzio, Founder and CEO, 50 EGGS, Inc.
  • Jean Russell, Founder and President, BenefitsMart

 

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