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Rachel  Simmons

Rachel Simmons

Best-Selling Author & Leadership Educator


Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out and The Curse of the Good Girl, and Enough As She Is. Rachel’s dynamism and charisma have earned her international acclaim. A master facilitator and executive coach, she works for the world’s most innovative companies to design and deliver programs for women’s leadership development and gender equity. She is renowned for translating social science research into accessible strategies with authenticity and humor, while creating a safe space to explore uncomfortable topics. Read More >

Rachel serves on the faculty of the Google School for Leaders and is an associate with the firm Cultivating Leadership. After co-founding the national nonprofit Girls Leadership, she led the Phoebe Lewis Leadership Program at Smith College. Her writing has appeared in the The New York Times and Harvard Business Review, among many other publications.

An ABC News Contributor for Good Morning America, Rachel is a recognized thought leader in the national media. She is a proud gay parent and lives in Western Massachusetts with her daughter and two rescue dogs. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

Chief Risk Taking

Ageism and Women

Breaking Down Bullying Culture

Speech Topics

Gender Intelligence for Men

A safe, dynamic learning opportunity for men to learn the root causes of gender inequity, understand and respond to bias, and get inspired to mentor and sponsor women. Shame and blame have no place here; the assumption is men want to help, and this session shows them how.

Activate a Culture of Sponsorship

Diverse teams deliver better results, but an absence of sponsorship prevents women and other underrepresented groups from advancing. Rachel designs and delivers successful sponsorship programs globally, and in this practical, interactive session, participants learn the difference between being a mentor and sponsor, receive a playbook for sponsoring high potential employees and generate specific strategies for their teams and organization.

Find a Sponsor: Three Key Skills for Sponsees

Employees are sick of being “mentored to death.” They want a sponsor, but don’t know how to find one – much less maximize the relationship. In this dynamic session, participants learn how to move beyond a mentor, and practice three core skills necessary to build and drive a relationship with a sponsor.

Unlock Psychological Safety

Creativity, innovation and belonging suffer when teams feel silenced or fearful about taking interpersonal risks. Research confirms psychological safety is mission critical, yet few understand how to create it. In this practical session, learn tools to build safe spaces where people can speak up, seek support and optimize team cohesion.

Self-Advocacy & Saying No: The Art of Boundary Setting

We set boundaries when we say no, delegate, seek feedback and ask for more resources. Boundary setting directly affects our wellness, relationships and growth potential; it’s a crucial part of how we define who we are and where we want to go. Yet many women struggle to claim their space in the face of pressure to please others. In this session, participants learn and practice skills for effective limit setting, including tools to overcome the discomfort saying “no” brings to so many of us.

Enough As You Are: Moving Beyond Impossible Standards of Success for Teens

Today’s teens have never been more successful, yet they have also never been as unhappy. Too many feel that, no matter how hard they try, they will never be enough – not smart enough, successful enough, attractive enough, popular enough—the list goes on. Backed by vivid case studies and two decades of research, Rachel offers a clear understanding of this devastating problem and provides practical, data driven advice for parents and educators. These include self-compassion as an alternative to self-criticism; tools to manage overthinking and take healthy risks; strategies to navigate toxic elements of social media; and realistic ways to prioritize self-care. Rachel also tells her own story: once a Rhodes Scholar, she became burned out on the culture of overachievement surrounding her. She learned that being successful doesn’t make one happy—just successful.

Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Healthy Friendships at Any Age (For any gender audience)

Exclusion. Toxic friendships. Cyberbullying. When a child’s relationships are in trouble, their core sense of self is threatened. Parents feel anguished and helpless. For over 20 years, Rachel has studied the politics of girls’ relationships. She has empowered parents globally to help their children negotiate some of the most painful moments of their lives. Simmons’ rigorous research and unparalleled experience with girls makes her a favorite of parent associations around the world. She weaves down-to-earth advice with analysis of girls’ development to provide parents with concrete strategies and scripts to help kids cope with best friends, worst enemies and everything in between. An intimate observer of the social worlds of girls, Simmons offers parents a window into the hidden culture of girls’ aggression.

How to Succeed Without Sacrificing Yourself

Women report unprecedented levels of burnout, anxiety and stress. In 2022, more senior women left their posts than ever. In this empowering, practical session, participants learn how early messages about femininity shape women’s experience at work; strategies for psychological flexibility to better manage stress; ways to approach “imposter” feelings; and a three step protocol for self-compassion.