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News & Events for the Smith College Community
Events October 4, 2017

Diane Hessan: The Benefits of Taking Risks

Diane Hessan

Risk-taking is…risky. So why bother?

Entrepreneur and author Diane Hessan—the former CEO of Boston’s Startup Institute—will talk about the rewards and benefits of risk-taking in a talk highlighting the dedication of Smith’s Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18. A reception will follow.

The talk, which will take place in the Carroll Room of the Campus Center, follows an open house that begins at 3:30 p.m. and will feature student, faculty and staff presentations about the Conway Center’s work. The open house at the Conway Center (146 Elm St.) and Hessan’s talk are open to the public at no charge.

The event will honor the anonymous donor who endowed the Center with a $5-million challenge gift in President Emerita Jill Ker Conway’s name last fall, as well as numerous other alumnae who have stepped forward to support the center. Hessan’s talk is sponsored by the Elizabeth Miller ’81 Lecture Fund.

About Diane Hessan

Diane Hessan is a successful entrepreneur, researcher and author. The founder and chairman of C Space, a leading company in Boston’s innovation economy, Hessan now leads Salient Ventures, a new firm designed to help accelerate the next generation of growth companies in tech. 

As part of a voter research project, Hessan has interviewed nearly 1,000 people from various political backgrounds, looking for trends, shifts and common ground. A frequent commentator on CNN and in other media, she is co-author of the best-selling book Customer-Centered Growth: Five Strategies for Building Competitive Advantage and speaks often on leadership, entrepreneurship and women’s issues.

A member of the boards of Panera, Tufts University and Eastern Bank, among others, Hessan holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. degree in economics from Tufts University. 

About the Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center

Smith College’s Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center is an intellectual hub that challenges students, faculty and staff to develop innovative solutions to pressing problems. A catalyst for the acceleration of innovation and entrepreneurial activity at Smith, the Center provides students with tools and experiences to become business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators. Similarly, the Center provides faculty and staff with resources to facilitate innovative and entrepreneurial activity. The Center hosts and facilitates a slate of programs and activities focused on creative thinking, problem solving and interdisciplinary teamwork.

With a mission of supporting and educating the next generation of innovators, Smith’s Conway Center is built on three core pillars: innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and financial education. The Center’s work is driven by students’ demand: Smith students want to be constructive in the world. The Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center gives them the tools and confidence to do so.