The fifth installment of our Women Powering Technology series features Helen Drinan, President of Simmons College, a Boston-based, private women's college established in 1899. She is the eighth President of Simmons College and the former Chair of the Simmons College Board of Trustees. Previously, Drinan was Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Caritas Christi Health Care. She also served as President and CEO of the Society of Human Resources Management and as Executive Vice President of Human Resources for BankBoston. In 2001, she was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources, and in 2007 she received the John D. Erdlen Five Star Award — the highest award given annually by the Northeast Human Resource Association. -Kimberly Fahey, Vice President, Global Client Solutions at Randstad
KF:) In a 2012 Boston Globe column, you addressed the fact that although women account for more than half of entry-level professionals in the largest American industrial corporations, they represent just 3 percent of Fortune500 CEOs, and less than 15 percent of corporate executives at top companies worldwide. As a two-time graduate and president of Simmons College, you wrote this about women's colleges: "I have no doubt that these educational outlets continue to play a vital role in educating and preparing women for leadership positions, helping our nation tap into an enormous segment of underutilized talent." One of the advantages of a women's college is that it's an environment that encourages women to take risks during the course of their careers, without fear of failure. Failure, you wrote, can be a necessary part of the path to leadership. What advice can you give to women hoping to enter the challenging and male-dominated tech world? How do you approach failure and utilize it in order to enhance your career and ascend to leadership positions?