Advancing Life & Work

Designing success

On April 2, The Simmons Leadership Conference held its 40th annual event in Boston, MA. As the nation’s premier professional development event for women, the event hosted more than 5000 women from around the world. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of girl power concentrated into one location and the experience was electric.

Group photo of some of our HPE delegates at the Simmons ConferenceGroup photo of some of our HPE delegates at the Simmons Conference

This year, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) gave me the opportunity to attend this amazing event, which aims to motivate, educate and empower leaders at every stage of their careers. The theme of this year’s gathering was “Designing Success” with a focus on reinvention and adaptation in an ever-changing, fast-paced world. As a woman in the tech industry, this proved to be extremely relevant as no two days are the same.

The day included keynotes from successful and trailblazing women like Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and Laverne Cox, a transgender woman of color making her mark in Hollywood, but it was Susan O’Malley, the first female to own a NBA franchise, who really spoke to me. Throughout her hilariously funny take-aways from her life and career, she conveyed 7 Rules to Success that can be applied to anyone in any field from sports to technology. They are: Make you bed, Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan, Outwork Everybody, Set Expectations, Do the Right Thing, and Have Fun. To understand the full weight of what she means, you must read her book. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Alongside the inspiring keynotes were many insightful discussions on a wide-range of topics led by remarkable women. One such panel discussion highlighted the importance of a diverse and inclusive team and how it engenders a more innovative, engaged and creative workforce. HPE’s own Alessandra Ginante, EVP & Chief Talent Officer shared her thoughts on how HPE is proactively taking measures to ensure even greater inclusion and diversity standards within the company. Additionally, I had the chance to hear best practices on how to communicate in the digital world from business strategist and innovation expert, Erica Dhawan. Each keynote and session was illuminating and will no doubt help me design a successful career from how I communicate with colleagues to navigating difficult situations that anyone can face in the workplace.

However, my most treasured moments from this conference were the encounters I had with fellow HPE women at the event. Throughout the various activities, I held many conversations with women from Sales, Engineering and Consultation Services that left me feeling more connected and empowered. Although there were differences in where we worked both physically and in our respective fields, we still found common ground over similar experiences in the workplace. Most importantly, I learned how smart, innovative and confident my fellow colleagues are at HPE.

HPE employees, Samantha Jarrell and Jennifer Strickland at the Simmons ConferenceHPE employees, Samantha Jarrell and Jennifer Strickland at the Simmons Conference

It was truly an amazing day filled with motivating keynote speakers, insightful discussions and impressive women. I’m extremely proud to work for a company like HPE that not only supports the development of its own female employees, but also for demonstrating a 20 year commitment to this cause in sponsoring such an incredible event for women.

About the writer:

Jennifer Strickland, HPE Communications ManagerJennifer Strickland, HPE Communications ManagerJennifer Strickland is a Communications Manager in the Global Employee Communications group at HPE. With almost 8 years at HPE, she has held a variety of roles within the marketing and communications fields ranging from video coordination and production to employee and executive communications support. Stay connected to Jennifer via LinkedIn.





Susan Graye
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Susan Graye
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