top of page


Videos of our past Lessons in Leadership and Virtual Discussion Series Events

Jim Peyser - Virtual Discussion Series 

On July 21st 2020 Leaders in Lowell was joined by Massachusetts Secretary of Education Jim Peyser for a wide ranging discussion on education. Over the course of the discussion Secretary Peyser spoke on the digital divide in low income communities, student loan debt, and more. Secretary Peyser also spoke about the effect of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on our schools and students, as well as how the system will change as a result of the rise of distance learning. Speaking from his extensive experience in the Massachusetts Department of Education spanning from serving with Governors Weld, Swift, Romney, and Baker, he is an expert in his field and provides great insight into these important issues. We hope you enjoy the discussion.

Deval Patrick - Virtual Discussion Series 

On May 26, 2020 Leaders in Lowell was joined by Deval Patrick, the 71st Governor of Massachusetts and former presidential candidate, for a discussion about his career, race relations, civic engagement, and more. Governor Patrick gave us insight into his early life growing up on the South Side of Chicago, and the lessons he learned that helped shape him into the leader he is today. From talking about the importance of mentors and compassionate leaders, to being the first black Governor of Massachusetts, our discussion with Governor Patrick provides timely insight into how citizens at all levels can participate in making their communities a better place through bipartisan leadership and involvement.

Tara Setmayer - Virtual Discussion Series 

On April 29, 2020 Leaders in Lowell was joined by Tara Setmayer, a CNN Political Contributor and host of political podcast “Honestly Speaking”. Tara discussed her 25 year political career which has included working as Congressman Dana Rorbacher’s Communication Director, leading the charge to get two wrongly convicted Border Patrol agents sentence’s commuted, and working as a political commentator with numerous media organizations. Tara spoke on the current state of the political world and Republican Party under Donald Trump and how the party has strayed from true Conservatism. She also discussed her wish to see a return to the pre-Trump GOP when true conservative values and character were important. Her insightful commentary on everything from COVID-19 to criminal justice reform, Donald Trump, the media and more is timely, interesting, and important. 

Deborah Lee James - Virtual Discussion Series 

On April 27, 2020 Leaders in Lowell had the honor of speaking with Deborah Lee James, the former Secretary of the Air Force. In this talk, Secretary James discussed her career and the lessons she has learned from years of experience in the national security field. She shared her knowledge on the most effective styles of leadership, overcoming adversity and her 5 step plan to do so, tackling sexual assault in the military, civic engagement, and much more. Her lessons, laid out clearly for anyone to follow, can be applied to not just the Pentagon, but any leader in everyday life.

Peggy Grande - Virtual Discussion Series 

On April 16, 2020, Leaders in Lowell was joined by Peggy Grande, the former executive assistant to President Ronald Reagan. Peggy discussed her career, what it was like working with President Reagan including getting to know him as a leader, and as a person, as well as his overall leadership. Through her personal stories and memories, we got a glimpse into who Ronald Reagan was as a leader and as a man. Peggy discussed her incredible career after Reagan, including becoming an author, Fox News correspondent, and working on nonprofit “World for Brexit”. We hope you enjoy this informative, enlightening, and inspirational talk with Peggy Grande.

Deesha Dyer - Lessons in Leadership

On January 23, 2020 Leaders in Lowell was honored to host a talk with former White House Social Secretary Deesha Dyer. In her time with the Obama Administration, she planned state visits, official ceremonies, private events, and numerous other functions on the White House campus. Throughout the evening Deesha shared a variety of stories, both humorous and more serious, detailing her life and career leading to, during, and after her time at the White House, as well as how she personally managed all the stress and tried to maintain a happy and healthy personal life. From hip-hop writing to organizing a 12,000 person event for the Pope, Deesha was engaging, informative, inspirational to all who attended to follow their heart and do what’s best for both themselves and for those around them. Read more about the event here

Rena Finder - Lessons in Leadership

Lessons in Leadership with Rena Finder took place on June 26th 2019 with Rena Finder, a survivor of the Holocaust and one of the youngest saved by Oskar Schindler. Ms. Finder was born in Poland in 1929 and her family was later moved to the Krakow Ghetto before she was transported with her mother to the Plaszow concentration camp and later Auschwitz-Birkenau. She was saved from an almost certain death by the Nazi-businessman Oskar Schindler who saved over 1,200 Jews during the second world war. She gave a very moving and emotional talk on the horrors of her experience as well as the kindness she was shown by people and the immense effects that it had on her life and survival. The emphasis on the key values of kindness, tolerance, and the fact that, underneath, we are all the same and all deserve fair treatment and happiness. The message could not have been clearer, we must all live our lives and treat others with kindness and that there is never any excuse to be a bystander. It was a truly moving and unforgettable experience with a message that should never be forgotten.

Women in Leadership - Lessons in Leadership

On April 4, 2019 Leaders in Lowell was honored to host a panel on women in leadership, featuring a distinguished group of panelists, CEO of Community Teamwork Karen Frederick, Enterprise Bank Vice President Bopha Malone, The Wonderfund CEO Erin Murphy-Rafferty, and former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift. This wonderful group of leaders offered their insights into many topics including the barriers of being a woman in the workplace, collaboration between nonprofit, business, and government, the value of mentorship, their own personal journeys and experiences with leadership, and more. This event was hosted at the Middlesex Community College Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center and was made possible thanks to the Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Photo credit goes to Mr. and Mrs. Drew Photography.

Jasmine Grace- Virtual Discussion Series 

On September 10, 2020 Leaders in Lowell was joined by author and founder of Jasmine Grace Outreach, Jasmine Grace. A survivor of sex trafficking and drug abuse, Jasmine shared her powerful and moving story of recovery and success. She shared many resources as well as first hand takes on the best ways for us as a culture and community to support our most vulnerable members. Jasmine spoke on the shame survivors feel and the path to redemption as well as how we can alleviate that struggle. We hope you enjoy this talk as well as take some time to view the resources she shared below for victims as well as how communities of people can support survivors.

bottom of page