Keynote: Christine Simmons on Women in Leadership

Women leaders bring unique strengths to the table.


In 2018, the Pew Research Center conducted a study examining Americans’ attitudes about women in leadership. Of the over 4500 respondents, a majority said they wanted to see more women in leadership positions in both public and private sectors, but felt women still have to work harder than their male counterparts to prove themselves.

A majority of the respondents also acknowledged that men and women approached leadership differently, but 62% felt that neither approach was better than the other. Among the differences identified by respondents, women performed better on measures like ‘empathy’ and ‘compromise,’ while men performed better on ‘being willing to take risks.’

We have some fantastic skill sets that our male counterparts can benefit from, and our male counterparts have skill sets that we can benefit from.

This survey and others like it serve to prove a point we at Ambassador Leaders earnestly believe: diversity of thought and experience is always going to yield better results than uniformity.

Christine Simmons, President & COO of the Los Angeles Sparks, has firsthand experience with the challenges women face and the opportunities they enjoy as they step into leadership roles. Listen as she shares what it takes to be a woman in leadership and what we can learn from one another.

We’re not going to get anywhere if we’re all talking to each other about our problems and not bringing in everyone else. We all have to figure this out together.

In her interview, Christine touches on a critical component of leadership: while it’s true that male and female leaders bring different strengths to their roles, the best leaders, whether male or female, borrow and incorporate traits from their counterparts into their own leadership style. As Christine says, young women in leadership must be willing to take the risks their male counterparts take on readily, and young men must develop the emotional intelligence their female counterparts possess. By doing so, both men and women become better leaders.

One day, to quote Christine, “we’ll be able to just talk about leaders and executives and athletes. Not female athletes, not male athletes, not female leaders—just leaders.” We’re not there yet, but as young men and women are given equal footing at leadership opportunities like an Ambassador Leaders Summit, we get closer to the goal of parity.

Ambassador Leaders will have an opportunity to hear from Christine Simmons in person at the 2019 Leadership Summit at UCLA. Check out more of her interview on leadership, community and what students can do today to prepare for the leadership role of tomorrow.

Corie Headshot.jpg

By Corie Bales

Corie is the Academic Affairs Manager of Ambassador Leaders. As a lifelong educator and avid traveler, she believes in empowering students and teachers to learn and lead through experiential education.