Every time we have the opportunity to bring together the Simmons College and 2U teams, I am reminded of the power of our partnership. This morning, I couldn’t contain my excitement as as I watched Simmons College President Helen Drinan talking to our employees as we headed into our morning session.
As the General Manager and EVP for Simmons Programs, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with President Drinan. I was thrilled that we were able to bring her to the 2015 2U company meeting to address our employees and share her thoughts.
One of the most remarkable aspects of 2U enabled programs is the courageous and visionary leadership at our partner schools. At each of these pioneering institutions, we are fortunate to work with leadership who have taken a leap into blurring the lines between on campus and online education and proving that you can offer a degree program equal in every way.
President Helen Drinan of Simmons College embodies that leadership. Since arriving at Simmons as President in July of 2008, President Drinan has embarked on many transformative projects including the launch and growth of Nursing@Simmons and SocialWork@Simmons. With the Enterprise model underway, we are continuing to work together to launch 2U enabled degrees.
In her keynote, President Drinan challenged us to “Dream Big Now” in all aspects of our lives. While dreaming big and chasing those dreams may feel risky, she reminded us that the real risk is not dreaming big enough and soon enough.
So many keynotes I have heard in my career focus on inspiring business stories about companies or individuals who have overcome roadblocks to achieve. This opening of our day was very different from all of those.
Over the course of her keynote, President Drinan shared with us her personal journey of dreaming and finding new dreams when life presented her with challenges. When roadblocks arose, if she couldn’t find ways to break through, she found ways to re-route her way to achieve her dreams and goals.
As we ask everyone at 2U to get out of their own personal and professional back row, her open sharing of her own path is deeply connected to our goal for the professional development focus of this company meeting.
The talk turned to the dreams Simmons College founder John Simmons had and Drinan’s own dreams for Simmons College when she became President. As the dreams of Simmons College and 2U aligned and we partnered on our programs, President Drinan shared her thoughts on how dreams evolve with new opportunities and the work we are doing is a clear extension of John Simmons’ dreams of the power of education.
In the fall of 2014, President Drinan was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has chosen to make that a public journey and had added to her dreams to be a champion for early detection. Yet another example of new dreams in the face of a challenge.
We all experience set backs which make us doubt our dreams and know people who tell us our dreams are too big. The next time, that happens to me, I’ll have the inspired memory of President Drinan’s story and dream bigger, dream sooner and see each challenge or roadblock as an opportunity for a new dream.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Every single person at our company meeting embracing #Dream2U15 is proving that to be true and we could not have had a better opening keynote to set us on our way.