Simmons School of Management
Simmons School of Library and Information Science
Mount Holyoke College
Helen G. Drinan is the eighth president of Simmons College. During her tenure, she has used her leadership experience to guide the institution to a position of competitive strength financially, academically, and operationally. Before being named president in 2008, Drinan served as the chair of the Simmons College Board of Trustees.
Drinan has been recognized by numerous organizations for her work on behalf of women’s and girls’ education and leadership. Her awards include MissionSAFE “Be the Change” Award (2015), 2014 Honoree; Women’s Lunch Place (2014); Strong Women Strong Girls “Phenomenal Woman” (2014); Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts Leading Woman (2013); Woman LEAD "Woman Who Leads in Academia and Inspires Others" (2013); and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Arts & Education (2012).
Since 2012, Drinan has brought six programs to Simmons through the U.S. Department of State and the Wilson Center, all emphasizing women's education, leadership, and success. In 2014, Ms. Drinan had the privilege of introducing and interviewing former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Simmons Leadership Conference, the premier women's leadership conference in the world.
A recognized expert on women's education as a pathway to successful women leaders, Drinan has been interviewed for and written about in numerous media outlets including National Public Radio, The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Boston Business Journal.
Drinan is a member of several organizations working to empower women, including the Advisory Council of the Women in Public Service Project, 2020 Women on Boards, the Massachusetts Women's Forum, and the Mount Holyoke College Board of Trustees.
Previously, Drinan was senior vice president of human resources at Caritas Christi Health Care. She received national attention for the strength of character and values she displayed in her service to Caritas Christi, and for her work cultivating a culture focused on those the institution serves. Drinan also served as president and CEO of the Society of Human Resources Management, a professional organization with the largest human resource membership in the world; and as executive vice president of human resources for BankBoston, where she developed nationally recognized programs on executive compensation, work-life strategy, and diversity.
In 2007, Drinan received the John D. Erdlen Five Star Award, the highest award given annually by the Northeast Human Resource Association; in 2001 she was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources. Drinan currently serves on the board of directors of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM).
Drinan has contributed significantly to the New England Jesuit Province (Member, Jesuit Provincial Development Committee); the Catherine Laboure Center (Board of Directors); Saint Anthony Shrine, the Workers' Chapel (Lector); Newton Country Day School (Board of Directors); as well as to her South Boston parish of St. Brigid's. She was a founding member of the Boston College Club and served as a member of the Commonwealth's Court Management Advisory Board.
Her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines in the early 1970s with her husband and two small children provided her with important multicultural experiences that have influenced her leadership style and sensitivity. President Drinan was one of five prominent Bostonians highlighted inThe Boston Globe’s 50th Anniversary Peace Corp feature article.
An undergraduate alumna of Mount Holyoke College, Drinan also holds degrees from the Simmons School of Management and the Simmons School of Library and Information Science. She resides in Boston with her husband, David H. Drinan. They have three grown children and six grandchildren.