Verna Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.

Senior Advisor

Verna Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.

Verna Fitzsimmons is a seasoned leader with more than 30 years thriving in male-dominated industries, dedicated to achieving equity for herself and supporting other women in their struggles for equity.

She has an extensive background serving in both higher education and the private sector, including in a variety of leadership roles, from the president of her own engineering consultancy to CEO of K-State Polytechnic.

Throughout all her roles, Verna's true passion has always stemmed from wanting to make the world a better place for her daughters. In 2018, she decided to take her commitment to narrowing the gender gap to the next level and joined the HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) leadership team as the new president.

Although Verna was new to the role, she was aware of the important mission of HERS. Her experience at the 2011 HERS Institute gave her the confidence, courage and challenge to “lift as you climb.” Now, she spends her days educating and mentoring others on how to best champion women in higher education, motivated by the thought of her granddaughter and her desire for her to have a better future.

As President of HERS, Verna provides strategic leadership and manages the day-to-day operations to ensure fundraising, research, recruitment, marketing, program development, and strategies are effectively implemented and align with the mission of HERS.