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Rachel  Simmons

Rachel Simmons

Best-Selling Author & Leadership Educator


Praised by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg as “the expert on helping girls become leaders,” Rachel Simmons is a best-selling author, educator and leadership consultant helping girls and women to become more authentic, assertive, resilient and fulfilled. Her most recent bestseller, Enough as She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy and Fulfilling Lives, builds upon more than two decades of research to take on “supergirl” pressure, brutal self-criticism and toxic stress culture of constant competition and comparison that today’s girls face. She also excels in applying her research and experience to help professional women build their “inner resume” through career-changing keynotes and leadership workshops. Read More >

An experienced curriculum writer and educator, Simmons rose to worldwide attention with two groundbreaking New York Times best-sellers. Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, which was adapted into a highly acclaimed Lifetime television movie, ignited a long-overdue conversation about the hidden culture of female bullying in the age of social media. The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence focused on how girls are pressured to embrace a version of selfhood that sharply curtails their power and potential. Simmons is currently the leadership development specialist at the Wurtele Center for Leadership at Smith College, working with schools and universities across the country. She is co-founder of the national nonprofit Girls Leadership and has served as a national spokesperson for the Always #LikeAGirl and Keds Brave Life Project campaigns. Simmons also consults on women’s professional development and leadership, appearing before audiences at Google, Unilever and Lean In, among others. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Slate, The Atlantic, and numerous other publications. She is a regular contributor to Good Morning America and TIME and was the host of the PBS television special, “A Girl’s Life.” A Rhodes Scholar and Vassar graduate, Simmons is currently working on a new book about the new skills young women need for college and beyond.

Whether speaking to parents and educators or appearing before corporate audiences, Rachel Simmons’ empowering presentations break down the research to provide practical, actionable takeaways. Sharing a contagious passion for helping women and girls succeed in school, the workplace, and life, Simmons provides game-changing insights and tactics that anyone can immediately put into practice to address challenges, leverage strengths and spark transformational change. Read Less ^

Speaker Videos

National Conference of College Women Student Leaders

Leadership for Rebels

A Real Girl is in Touch With her Feelings

Fear of Losing Relationships

Burden of Communication

Speech Topics

Enough as She Is: Moving Beyond Impossible Standards

Today’s young women have never been more “successful.” They have also never been as unhappy. Between 2010 and 2015, girls’ depressive symptoms increased by 50%, more than double the rate of boys. Though outpacing male peers in GPAs and college enrollment, too many feel that, no matter how hard they try, they will never be smart enough, successful enough, pretty enough, thin enough, popular enough—the list goes on. Sound familiar? Rachel Simmons comes to the rescue. Backed by vivid case studies and two decades of research, Simmons offers a clear understanding of this devastating problem and provides practical, actionable advice for parents and educators. These include teaching girls self-compassion as an alternative to self-criticism, how to manage overthinking, resist the constant urge to compare themselves to peers, take healthy risks, navigate toxic elements of social media, prioritize self-care, and seek support when they need it. Simmons also draws parallels from her research to address the stress and self-criticism that many adult women experience navigating work and life, sharing valuable tactics to cultivate leadership skills. As Gloria Steinem said about the takeaways from Simmons book: “Enough As She Is may save millions of women from the idea that ‘having it all’ means ‘doing it all.’”

Failing Well: Strategies for Resilience & Courage

When you can fail well, the world opens up to you. There’s no challenge you can’t pursue, no risk you can’t take, because you know how to get back up when you’re knocked down. In this workshop, learn tools to take healthy risks, bounce back after a setback, and redefine your beliefs about success and failure.

How to Quit Overthinking

Do you replay your missteps in your head at night, thinking about what you could have done differently? Research shows overthinking disproportionately affects women and girls, and can lead to anxiety, depression, and loss of motivation. At this workshop, learn why we overthink and how to stop, so you can move on, free your mind and focus on more productive activities.

The Art of Small Talk & Networking

Grades and hard work will take you far, but your ability to form relationships through small talk and networking can make a critical, immeasurable difference to your career – and is a vital leadership skill to boot. Learn and practice the secrets of effective small talk and networking, and learn how seemingly random conversations can open doors to new connections and opportunities, right now and after you graduate.

Courage Boot Camp

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? What’s the worst that could happen? In this workshop, learn and practice tools to set realistic goals, take healthy risks and manage setbacks. This is about trying new things, being curious, going where you haven’t gone before, facing down something unpredictable.

Imposter Phenomenon: Why So Many High Achievers Think They're Frauds

Imposter Phenomenon is the belief one is a fraud, even when evidence exists to the contrary. Often occurring among high achievers, or people working in fields where they are breaking barriers, IP can create a glass ceiling in your own head – limiting your risks and voice. In this workshop, learn more about IP and practice hands-on strategies to manage it.

How Self-Compassion Makes You Braver, Happier & More Successful

Research shows that self-criticism heightens anxiety and lowers motivation, yet most people believe it’s the key to success. In this workshop, learn a researched, three-step practice to deal with setbacks, manage difficult feelings, and quiet the voice of a destructive inner critic.