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Professional Women of Color: An Unusual, Frank, and Public Discussion of Why They Still Lag in the Workplace

Women Across New England Converge on Simmons College May 6 to Name the Problem, Debate Solutions

BOSTON (April 9, 2004) — Frustrated by white privilege, often overlooked for positions of power, forced to lead double lives —these are important yet seldom publicly acknowledged issues that many professional women of color still face today.

Nearly 200 professional women of color from throughout New England who represent myriad industries and cultural identities will come together at Simmons College in Boston Thursday, May 6 for an unusual day-long "town hall meeting" to bring to the fore an issue too often swept under the rug—the status and advancement of women of color. (Registration is $75. For further information or to register, call 617-521-3824 or go to

The conference, "Professional Women of Color: Patterns in the Tapestry of Difference," will culminate in an unusual and frank discussion of the issues at a 3:45 p.m. town hall meeting in the Simmons College Main Campus Building, 300 The Fenway, Boston.

A recent Catalyst study noted that women of color in management continue to lag behind white men and women in all measurements of pay equity and job status across all industries. Working Mother Magazine began to address the challenge by holding several regional town hall meetings across the country to help expand the thinking of all women and the companies they work for, by discussing the controversial subject of how race--often subconsciously-- continues to divide people in the workplace.

The Simmons School of Management and its Center for Gender in Organizations is co-hosting the New England town hall meeting, as part of its goal to help advance women of diverse backgrounds into leadership positions.

Following a morning series of closed, frank discussions between and among groups of professional woman of color, white women, and men, participants will come together publicly at 3:45 p.m. in a town hall meeting format to share key elements of their private discussions about workplace issues that impede them, and possible solutions. The town hall session will be moderated by Callie Crossley, Emmy Award-winning media commentator featured on "Beat the Press" and former producer of ABC News 20/20.

There will be a wrap-up panel at 4:30 p.m.,"Multicultual Women Talk: Facing the Issues Straight On." Panelists are Aida Sabo, senior operations manager of corporate diversity for EMC Corporation; Alex Yim, affinity group leader; and Benaree P. Wiley, president and CEO of The Partnership, Inc.

Conference sponsors say the event is designed to be a forum for professional working women and men of all races to think of ways companies can leverage the benefits of difference, and offer support and strategies for working across differences for increased organizational equity and excellence.

The Simmons School of Management is the only business school in the world designed specifically for women.