Women of the Dream

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Celebrating the Legacy of Black Alumnae at Simmons College


  • mCelebrating the legaCy of blaCk alumnae at SimmonS


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    Carol Waller Pope 74B.A., Psychology and Education

    Three presidents, including Barack Obama, have nominated Pope to the highest levels of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), an in-dependent agency that governs labor relations between the federal govern-ment and its employees. She is the first FLRA career employee to serve as the agencys chairman and member.

    ACCOLADES: National Partnership for Reinvent-

    ing Government, Hammer Award Federal Labor Relations Authority

    Special Achievement Award Simmons College Alumnae Service


    CurrEnt WOrK: Nominated by both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Pope has served as a member of the FLRA since 2000.

    PriOr WOrK: President Barack Obama selected Pope in 2009 to become

    chairman of the Federal Labor Rela-tions Authority, where she oversaw the enforcement of fair labor practices for government employees. She began her federal career as an attorney with the Employee Benefits Division of the Office of the Solicitor at the U.S. Department of Labor, and went on to work in several capacities for the FLRA, starting in its Boston office.

    ADDitiOnAL DEGrEES: J.D. Northeastern University

    What element of your personality has most helped you to achieve success?Self-confidence.

    What role does education play in womens success? What role did Simmons play in yours? Education is the key to success. Formal education, life lessons, and experien-tial education all deliver the tools for success. Simmons provided me with a good education and excellent role models in both my peer group and in its faculty and staff.

    Pamela m. Dashiell 75B.A., Psychology and Education

    Dashiell presides as an associate justice of the Trial Court of the Com-monwealth of Massachusetts in the Boston Municipal Court Department (BMC).

    ACCOLADES: Boston YMCA Black Achievers


    CurrEnt WOrK: Appointed to the bench by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick in 2009, she hears both criminal and civil matters within the jurisdiction of the BMC.

    PriOr WOrK: Dashiell has extensive experience in state and federal contracts, legislation, and regulations, and has practiced law in the public and private sectors.

    ADDitiOnAL DEGrEES: J.D. Northwestern University

    What dream do you have for young women of color today?That they develop and maintain an unshakable confidence and belief in themselves. I would like to see them proudly acknowledge who they are as individuals and the value their pres-ence brings to any situation. I want them to appreciate their inner and outer beauty and intellectual gifts, and not settle for less than they deserve.

    policy makers

    Meet the Women of the DreamThese inspiring, accomplished alumnae represent the African American women who came to Simmons in unprecedented numbers between 1965 and 1979. Among the first generation of black youth to benefit from the Civil Rights Movement, they have risen to

    positions of leadership in a range of fields: business, media, education, human services, government, and healthcare. Meet some of these extraordinary women in the pages that follow, starting below with select alumnae policy makers.

    leslie morris 75ACCOLADES: Morris released an autobiography

    entitled How Ya Like Me Now, in 2007.

    She founded one of the nations first HIV testing programs and imple-mented a nationally recognized teen abstinence program that was featured on both the CBS Evening News and CBS This Morning.

    CurrEnt WOrK: For the past seven years, Morris has been Director of Community Relations at the New Jersey Primary Care Association (NJPCA), working closely with state policy makers on health issues that im-pact the poor. She is also a part-time instructor at the Rutgers University School of Social Work.

    PriOr WOrK: Morris has worked in

    community health for 25 years, holding positions in Roxbury, MA, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.

    ADDitiOnAL DEGrEES: MSW, Boston College; MPH, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    What element of your personality has most helped you to achieve success? I am very determined, focused, tenacious, and persistent. As a child, I was determined to make something out of my life, no matter what obstacles I faced.

    What role did Simmons play in your success? Most of my friends at Simmons were extremely serious about their educa-tion and the benefits it would later bring. Having grown up in public housing where a number of my close friends fell prey to teen pregnancy and substance abuse, it was both refreshing and encouraging to meet and affiliate with women who were on a different path in life. This exposure definitely served to solidify my goals and priorities. I often say that Simmons chose me, I didnt choose Simmons. This may be true, but I chose to take advantage of the opportunity that was presented to me by Simmons College. And choosing to attend a womens college was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

    What dream do you have for young women of color today? I want young women of color to work on self-development before they seek marriage and children, to be leaders rather than followers, and to shape their own lives based on whats im-portant to them. Lastly, I want young girls of color to transition into young adulthood equipped with the internal resources that will allow them to make sound decisions about their lives.

    For the past 25 years, Leslie Morris 75 has witnessed the challenges facing young girls of color through her work at commu-nity health centers. Far too many are falling by the wayside, she says. Their challenges inspired Morris to create the Women of the Dream project, a research initiative featuring data from black Simmons alumnae who have become leaders in their fields since graduating in the 60s and 70s. Morris has collected materials, histories, and insights from more than 100 black graduates from this time period. She hopes to eventually develop and publish an inspiring reference guide for underprivileged African American girls. When the book is opened, they will see profiles and pictures of these extraordinary black women graduates of Simmons, Morris explains. Its impossible to underestimate the importance of responsible, positive adults in the lives of young people.

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    Many Women of the Dream have made signif-icant contributions as top executives in major corporations, including IBM, Xerox, and Gillette, and as innovative entrepreneurs. By developing in-demand expertise and an ability to manage people and change, theyve broken boundaries in the business world.

    Catherine b. eagan 75b.a., education and history

    Eagan is an experienced and trusted voice in the financial community, with a passion for teaching people how to gain increased financial intelligence and effectively manage money regardless of global economic challenges.

    ACCOLADES: Received the Entrepreneurial Spirit

    Award from the Detroit City Council in 2011.

    Named #2 in the Top U.S. African American Christian Women Entrepreneurs list by Empowering Everyday Women.

    CurrEnt WOrK: As CEO and Presi-dent of Catherine Eagan Enterprises, LLC, Eagan heads two of its primary entities: Eagan Financial Group and the Wealthy Woman Network.

    PriOr WOrK: Eagan has shared her knowledge of personal financial management and business develop-ment on television programs, radio shows, and in numerous print publications. She has also authored more than 10 books including Dominating Money.

    ADDitiOnAL DEGrEES: Ed.M., Harvard University

    What element of your personality has most helped you to achieve success?The elements for my success include faith, discipline, education, great men-tors (including family), determination, effort, confidence, adaptability, tenacity, and courage. Ultimately, its my belief system, a vision for the future, being teachable, a life-long learner, and never being dissuaded from my pursuits.

    What dream do you have for young women of color today?To see them identify and pursue their personal greatness and fight for their right to be successful in every aspect of their lives. My hope is that each of them will become contributing family members, successful in work, contrib-utors to society, and anchored in faith.

    ann hayward 66B.A., History and Government

    With more than three decades in administration, project management, and audiovisual communications, Hayward has excelled as a senior executive in both the nonprofit and corporate worlds.

    ACCOLADES: Multiple awards for her radio series

    Then Ill Be Free to Travel Home: The Legacy of the New York African Burial Ground, which aired on National Public Radio

    CurrEnt WOrK: Hayward collaborates with a variety of clients as an indepen-dent consultant to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. She also continues to write, direct, and produce audiovisual productions for corporate and public broadcasting.

    PriOr WOrK: Haywards accomplish-ments include high-profile work as a producer, director, and writer. Among her many freelance audiovisual clients are the Disney Channel, Levi Strauss, and the National Geographic Society. As a project management consultant, she has advised clients ranging from NASA to the Miami Science Museum.

    ADDitiOnAL DEGrEES: Post-graduate certificate in Journalism as a Knight Fellow, Stanford University

    What inspires you to want to help the next generation of women of color?I am striving to live in an environment of social justice and mental peace. As I try to be respectful, inclusive, and supportive of all people and to work toward the best