All posts by Jean Beaupre

Releasing the 2019 Massachusetts Women’s Leadership Index

The Institute for Women’s Leadership is proud to release the 2019 Massachusetts Women’s Leadership Index (MWLI), designed to assess and monitor the status of women in power in the Commonwealth. It is the third such release, following the 2015 and 2017 indexes.

mapTo calculate an aggregate score, women’s representation in leadership is measured across political, corporate, and nonprofit sectors, then compared to gender parity and to the rest of the United States. A comparison of the total scores is listed below.  To read our perspectives and understand how the score was calculated, we invite you to read the 2019 MWLI release. With any questions or feedback, please contact us at

MWLI Year Total Score
2015 36
2017 39
2019 40

IWL Attends Largest Women’s Conference in the U.S.

The 2018 Massachusetts Conference for Women
By Rachael Fassnacht ’17, IWL Programming Coordinator


A group of eight students represented Nichols College at the largest women’s conference in the country this December in Boston. The 13th annual conference consisted of keynote speakers Viola Davis and Meryl Streep in addition to female icons such as Gloria Steinem and Diane Von Furstenberg as well as breakout sessions led by experts on issues that impact women. Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker spoke to the accomplishments of Boston and Massachusetts regarding women’s empowerment. The exhibit hall hosted a variety of pavilions including a Women-Owned Business Marketplace. Our attendees gave testimony on their experience at the 2018 Conference.

“The Massachusetts Conference for Women was one of my first and I knew from the moment that I walked in it would be life-changing. There were so many notable speakers like Viola Davis, Meryl Streep and some of my local favorites like State Street and Etsy.IMG_7108 There were small shops with women selling tiny things like scarves to innovations that could change the lives of women everywhere. The atmosphere felt very close-knit and united; I felt like everyone was there to better the women around them even the ones they did not know yet.” –Patricia Louidor ‘20

“This was my first year attending the Massachusetts Conference for Women and it was more impactful than I could have imagined. Besides the fact that there were famous names on the agenda, the feeling of being in there with 10,000 other women was hugely impactful.IMG_0947 Viola Davis spoke about what she had overcome in her life and it deeply moved me. Every session that I attended only multiplied the feeling I had while listening to Viola. She spoke about times where she tried to hide from who she is and leave it all behind and how that hurt her (in life and in her career). She spoke about owning every experience, including the terrible ones, to be the truest version of herself and that is something I will not soon forget. Viola concluded that if every woman could own every part of themselves and not internalize negativity, there would be no shame. And then, without shame, women will not be stopped. I absolutely loved every minute of the day.” –Rachel Ferreira, Director of the Institute for Women’s Leadership

“It was my first time attending the Massachusetts Conference for Women and I was impressed with the wonderful keynote speakers and the participants. My favorite speakers were Viola Davis Captureand Diane Von Furstenberg, I loved their inspirational stories and life lessons that they shared. It was a wonderful day all around, the energy was fantastic and I can’t wait to attend next year!”                       -Marshalee Johnson ‘19

“I am so thankful to have been able to attend the Massachusetts Conference for Women. It was one of the many opportunities that Nichols has provided me with that I wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to experience. The day was filled with inspirational speakers, and I learned a lot. Given the current circumstances and unsettling daily #MeToo social media posts, it was great to be surrounded by such inspiring and empowering women. I was most affected by the energy in the room. There was a feeling of optimism that I have not felt in a while. While people like Gloria Steinem and Meryl Streep Capture.1PNGwere speaking, you could see every woman in the audience hanging on every last word they said, feeling emotional and inspired all at the same time. I could tell that I was experiencing something big, and that it was a moment I should not take for granted. I am happy to say that I left feeling optimistic about what the future holds for women.” -Megan Nathanson ‘20

Welcome To Our 2017-2018 Panel Members!

by Rachael Fassnacht ’17, IWL Program Coordinator


The Institute welcomes four returning and nine new panel members to the 2017-2018 Student Advisory Panel. We are thrilled to introduce them with the quote that inspired them and the reason they were interested to be on the panel. (Missing from photo: Karen Velasco ’19 & Sammi Truong ’19)

Kristina Maxwell ’18

“I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity” – Michelle Obama

From Kristina: As a panelist last year, I was able to expand my knowledge of modern day women’s rights issues and learn a lot more about myself as an emerging woman in business. I enjoyed the behind the scenes planning of events, and appreciated the bond that I was able to make with my fellow panelists. I was able to make so many different connections through the IWL sponsored workshops and conversation projects, and being able to assist in planning them was an added pleasure. I was able to learn about and interact with so many different strong women in business as well as many strong female students who taught me how to become a confident and strong woman in the business world.

Isabella Sansone ’18

“True leadership stems from individuality that is honestly and sometimes imperfectly expressed… Leaders should strive for authenticity over perfection.” – Sheryl Sandberg

From Isabella: For the past two years, I have been a member of the IWL Student Advisory Panel where I have been able to learn the challenges that women face in the business world, a male-dominated industry when it comes to achieving leadership positions where a wage gap still exists today. At each and every conversation project I have enjoyed meeting various professional women who are in leadership roles that have defied the odds. I have taken away various useful tips and helpful advice that I can share with myself and others along the way throughout my career.

Sammi Truong ’19

“So we must stand together to resist for we will get what we can take – just that and no more,” -Rose Schneiderman

From Sammi: As a panelist, I’ve learned a lot and participated in many events to help advocate for women’s equality and equal pay. Not only did this club help educate me on the upsetting facts on the inequality in this country towards women, but it made me want to make a difference by influencing and informing people around me about the unfortunate treatment women receive.

Karen Velasco ’19

“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength” -G.D. Anderson

From Karen: The experience that the Institute has provided me with has been incredible. We have prepared empowering campus events to raise awareness about women rights and specifically the wage gap. It’s important for women on campus to unite their voices and through events such as the Awareness Week fight for the equality that we as women deserve. It has been important for the institute throughout these years to create an impact on campus and have women join the cause. It is important to me to become part of the Institute for Women’s Leadership each year, because it allows me the ability to voice my opinions and help the other students on the panel to come up with events that will change what people think and lead women to a better future.

Marshalee Johnson ’19

“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.” -James Belasco and Ralph Stayer Flight of the Buffalo 1994

From Marsha: I would like to be a part of the Institute for Women’s Leadership advisory panel because I am eager for change and want to be a part of a group that’s so much bigger than me. Advocacy is a powerful tool and I want to be a part of a group that advocates for an issue to be paid attention to as that’s often where change starts. If given the opportunity to be a part of this panel I will have access and visibility to women who have ideas of how to go about changing the way women are looked at and treated. When I leave Nichols I can share those experiences and hopefully inspire other women.

Lexxus Andrews ’20

“Power is not given to you, you have to take it.” –Beyoncé

From Lexxus: I’m looking to improve my leadership skills. I’m hoping to better my chances at surviving the Criminal Justice field and I believe the Institute for Women’s Leadership will do that and so much more for myself and the other females on campus. I would also love to be chosen as a panel member to give me an edge and learn more about myself.

Kaylin Goncalves ’20

“Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights. Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely – and the right to be heard.” -Hillary Clinton

From Kaylin: The Institute for Women’s Leadership would allow me not only to continue to learn more about issues involving women, but would provide me an opportunity to meet with other individuals who would also like to see changes.

Samara Hod ’20

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai

From Samara: If I am selected to be on the Student Advisory Panel for the Institute for Woman’s Leadership, I will not refrain from expressing ideas I have to encourage women everywhere.

Patricia Louidor ’20

“I speak not for myself but for those without voice…those who have fought for their rights…their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” –Malala Yousafzai

From Patricia: I am very enthusiastic and eager about applying to the panel because women’s leadership is something that I will always feel passionate about. Last year the IWL events that I attended were very life changing.T hey brought many well-rounded women into my life who genuinely cared about my education and other facets that could keep me stable after college.

Darianaliz Mercado ’20

“I believe in equality. And I believe in no difference between a man and a woman. I even believe that women are more powerful than men.” – Malala Yousfzai

From Darianaliz: When thinking about the Institute for Women’s Leadership I think about the endless opportunities that I must not only become a great leader but also to promote awareness to the issues that women are facing. I want to set a standard for not just my little sister to look up to but to do something that can help me to better myself so I can help others do the same.

Megan Nathanson ’20

“When they go low, we go high” –Michelle Obama

From Megan: I am a big supporter of women’s rights, and am very interested in joining the Student Advisory Panel to encourage the conversation of women’s leadership.

Sophia Prouty ’21

“My father used to tell me to say every morning that today would be a great day. That I can and I will. Well, Dad, I can and I did.”- Gina Rodriguez

From Sophia: I want to be on the panel to help inspire young girls like me to be more confident in themselves and everything that they do, the same way Gina Rodriguez inspired me. I do not just want to say women should be more confident, but I want to inspire them to do so and create great change in the women’s work force. Being on the IWL panel will give me a platform to speak up about what I believe is right; equality for all.

Anastasia Noyes ’21

“The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within: Strength, Courage, and Dignity.” – Ruby Dee

From Anastasia: The reason why I would like to be on the Student Advisory Panel is because I really enjoy reaching out to my community, spreading awareness on a multitude of topics, and feel as though my leadership skills that I have obtained over the years prove that I am capable of helping others.


(Missing from photo: Karen Velasco ’19 & Sammi Truong ’19)