Orange Alert

A&S Alumna Debra Adams Simmons Discusses Leadership in Q&A

Debra Adama Simmons headshot.

Posted on: June 6, 2023

Debra Adams Simmons ’86, who majored in English in the College of Arts and Sciences and broadcast journalism in the Newhouse School, was featured in a Q&A by Post-Standard. The article came on the heels of Simmons’ visit to Syracuse University, where she served as the alumni keynote speaker for the 2023 A&S | Maxwell undergraduate Convocation ceremony. (Listen to Simmons' Convocation address, beginning at 44:00)

After graduating from Syracuse, Simmons was a reporter and editor for various papers in Connecticut, Virginia and Ohio. In 2010, she became one of two Black women executive editors in the country with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Simmons went on to be named vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) at National Geographic Media in 2022. In that role, she helps lead diversity initiatives across the company’s parent organization, The Walt Disney Company.

In the Q&A, Simmons talked about being a successful and inspiring leader. In the article she says, “Live fearlessly. Don’t be afraid to take risks….I encourage people to tap into their inner National Geographic Explorer. The world awaits! Great things can happen.”

Read the full Q&A with Debra Adams Simmons (subscription required).