The Massachusetts ACE Women’s Network holds events throughout the year that allow for the fostering of connections among women leaders in higher education throughout Massachusetts. The events are scheduled as in-person events at geographically diverse campus sites so that women from various corners of the state can attend. Scheduled events will be posted here.

Spring 2021

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 8:30 AM – Virtual Discussion

“Living an Integrative Life in the Academy” by President Lynn Perry Wooten

The ACE Women’s Network Massachusetts warmly invites you to join us for a virtual gathering with President of Simmons University, Dr. Lynn Perry Wooten.


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About this Event

President Wooten will discuss her leadership journey and the importance of her village during various stages of that journey. Also, she will focus on how her identity and experiences have influenced her leadership practices. Her presentation will conclude with a discussion on career branding, leadership legacy, and living a balanced life.

President Wooten ‘s Bio:

Lynn Perry Wooten, a seasoned academic and an expert on organizational development and transformation, became the ninth president and first African American to lead Simmons University on July 1, 2020.

Specializing in crisis leadership, diversity and inclusion, and positive leadership — organizational behavior that reveals and nurtures the highest level of human potential — Dr. Wooten is an innovative leader whose research has informed her work in the classroom and as an administrator.

Prior Events – October 2020

Professional Transitions: A three-session virtual professional development workshop.

Friday, October 16th, Friday, October 23rd, and Friday, October 30th

The 3-session workshop series will be co-facilitated by:

  • Barbara Viniar, Founder and President Rise Up Leadership Coaching and former President of Berkshire Community College
  • Lori Weir, MA ACE Network Executive Board member and Director of Education Opportunity Programs at North Shore Community College
Session One 
Friday, October 16, 2020, 3-4:30 pm

What are the internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats that will help or hinder your transition? How have the MeToo Movement, Black Lives Matter, and COVID changed the environment for transitions? 

Especially in these times of uncertainty, what actions should you be taking to always be prepared for a transition? 
Session Two 
Friday, October 23, 2020, 3-4:30 pm

Based on questions from the participants, three women leaders, from a community college, a four-year public university, and a central higher education office, will engage in a conversation about transitions. 

What paths did they follow? What are the essential issues that everyone in higher ed should be able to address? How have the current realities changed the hiring landscape? 


  • Dr. Ellen Kennedy, President of Berkshire Community College
  • Dr. Lorretta Holloway, Vice President Enrollment and Student Development, Framingham State University
  • Dr. Patricia Marshall, Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs & Student Success at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education 
Session Three
Friday, October 30, 2020, 3-4:30 pm

What does “being strategic” mean? How important are mentors, professional development and certifications and volunteer work?

How can you mobilize your network and write a cover letter that sets you apart?

How do your values influence your transitions? 

Barbara Viniar

Founder and President Rise Up Leadership Coaching and former President of Berkshire Community College

Dr. Barbara Viniar has been a leader in public higher education for 40 years. She has served as President of Berkshire Community College, Executive Director of the Institute for Community College Development (ICCD) at Cornell, and until her retirement in 2018, as President of Chesapeake College on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Through her leadership consulting firm, RiseUp Leadership Coaching, she has helped individuals in higher education clarify their goals and negotiate transitions and worked with non-profits to develop leadership teams. She has published numerous journal articles on leadership and writes a weekly blog. 

Lori Weir

MA ACE Network Executive Board Member and Director of Education Opportunity Programs at North Shore Community College

Lori has more than twenty years’ experience in public higher education administration. Her work has centered on student success initiatives and bridging the gap from secondary to post-secondary education. She is currently the Director of three federal TRIO programs at North Shore Community College, she previously served as the Director of PK-12 Partnerships for Northern Essex Community College, and she has been an adjunct faculty member in the Business Department at Middlesex Community College for over 22 years. Lori earned an A.S. in Science from Middlesex Community College, a B.S. in Business Education from Salem State College, an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from Lesley University, and she is currently pursuing a Public Leadership Credential from the Harvard Kennedy School. 

Dr. Ellen Kennedy

President of Berkshire Community College 

President Kennedy has a longstanding commitment to public higher education, Berkshire Community College and to the role higher education plays in providing pathways to access and support for all students particularly those traditionally underserved. President Kennedy was CAO for 6 years at MCLA, and CFO at Berkshire Community College for 3 years, before being appointed Interim President and then President of Berkshire Community College in 2012.

Dr. Kennedy has a BS from North Adams State College (now MCLA); an MPA from Harvard University, an MBA from UMass Amherst, and EdD from Northeastern University.

Dr. Lorretta Holloway

Vice President Enrollment and Student Development, Framingham State University

Prior to her current position, Dr. Holloway was a 15 -year faculty member in the English Department teaching undergraduate, graduate, and high school students in FSU’s College Tomorrow program. Her K-16 work includes creating and teaching professional development courses, working on the MA ELA Curriculum Frameworks, and serving as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Basic Education (now the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education). Currently, her research focus is in international comparisons of college readiness. She is a former recipient of the Robert A. Martin First Year Advocate Award.

Dr. Holloway has a B.A. from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, an M.A. from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Kansas.

Dr. Patricia Marshall

Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs & Student Success at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education 

Dr. Marshall previously served as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Worcester State University where she was the founding Chair of the Department of World Languages and held a tenured appointment as an Associate Professor of Spanish. She has held faculty appointments at Clark University, Wesleyan University, Providence College, and served as a clinical faculty member with the Brown School of Medicine. 

During her career she participated in the Upward Bound program at the University of Maine Orono and was the 2014 recipient of the New England Educational Opportunity Association’s Achiever Award. Dr. Marshall is also a founding board member of MassEdCO, a statewide network of service sites that works with economically and educationally disadvantaged students. 

Dr. Marshall holds a BA from Colby College and a PhD in Hispanic Studies from Brown University.

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