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Sylvia Ann Hewlett
 Author, Top Talent
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Sylvia Ann Hewlett
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Economist and Columbia University professor Sylvia Ann Hewlett is one of the world's leading experts on talent management, workplace transformation, and diversity. Dr. Hewlett has been charting new ground for companies and employees with her bestselling books and cutting-edge research. In 2014 HR magazine ranked her #1 on its list of the "Most Influential International Thinkers."

Dr. Hewlett is the Chair and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation. The Center’s flagship project is the Task Force for Talent Innovation, helping corporations leverage their talent across gender, generation, race, and culture. More than 70 global companies constitute the Task Force. In 2015, she made her third appearance on Thinkers50, a listing of the world's top business gurus.

In her 2014 book, Executive Presence, Hewlett identifies the qualities that true leaders exude, a presence that telegraphs you're in charge or deserve to be. Mark Bertolini, CEO & President of Aetna said, “Authenticity is the new currency of leadership. In Sylvia Ann Hewlett's valuable book, she demonstrates how you can crack the code of executive presence by embracing what differentiates you from the pack." The book was named "best book of the month" in June 2014 by Amazon. 

2013's Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor describes how different corporate programs can create better jobs for women, generating greater innovation and stronger leadership. Working with Microsoft, NBCUniversal, American Express, Deloitte, and others, Dr. Hewlett has developed innovative models of best practice. 

She explains how companies can retain, re-engage, and re-energize their star performers in her book, Top Talent. Hewlett’s Off-Ramps and On-Ramps was named one of the top 10 business books of 2007 by Her other books include: Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets and When the Bough Breaks.

Dr. Hewlett has authored 11 Harvard Business Review articles on issues including leveraging talent and sustaining high performance. Shumeet Banerji of Booz & Company comments “Sylvia Hewlett makes a compelling case for the intangibles that genuinely help you engage your top talent and, ultimately, build the bottom line—during bear or bull markets.”  

Named Woman of the Year by the Financial Women's Association, Dr. Hewlett directs Columbia University's Gender and Policy Program in the School of International and Public Affairs. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum Council on Women’s Empowerment.

Full Bio >
  • Google talk: Cracking the code of Executive Presence (2014)
  • Hewlett on Today Show: Can Working Women Really Have It All? (2013)
  • Hewlett Interview with Thinkers50 (2011)
  • Hewlett on the rise of women in the global workforce (2011)
  • On Leadership: Hewlett on the power of sponsors (2013)
  • Hewlett on What It Takes to Get to the Top (2013)
  • Sponsorship: The Proven Link to Success (2013)
  • Big Think: How to Recruit the Best and Brightest (2009)
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Speaking Topics

Are you leadership material? Do you exude confidence and credibility? Can you command a room? Sylvia Ann Hewlett cracks the code of Executive Presence for men and women intent on winning the next plum assignment and doing something extraordinary with their lives.
Dr. Hewlett lays out the three key factors for success: gravitas, communication, and appearance. EP is an amalgam of qualities that true leaders exude, a presence that telegraphs you’re in charge or deserve to be. It is a dynamic mix of  confidence, poise, and authenticity.
The good news is that Executive Presence is teachable. In this speech, Hewlett shows you how to ace Executive Presence and fully realize your unique potential — no matter who you are, no matter where you work.

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Why do some qualified people lack the powerful backing necessary to inspire, propel and protect them through the perilous straits of upper management? They lack, in a word, sponsorship. Sponsors advocate and facilitate career moves; they push their protégés to achieve high-level visibility and forge crucial connections. Without sponsors, it is nearly impossible to climb the last and steepest rungs of the career ladder—where competition is at its most intense. 
“Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career” maps out the two-way street of this strategic alliance, one that results, for the protégé, in promotion and, for the sponsor, in protection. How does this mutually beneficial relationship form? What keeps it going? What makes it work for both parties? And how can everyone get in the game?
Join Sylvia Hewlett as she explores the dynamics of this vital relationship.

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There’s no stopping change, so why not be the one who makes it? Promoting a culture of innovation begins with cultivating a diverse talent pool to offer new perspectives, experiences, and ideas. Recent studies have shown that a diverse workforce throughout a company, from the boardroom to the sales floor, creates a stronger business model, counters groupthink, and sees increased profits. Put simply, a diverse staff breeds and fosters innovation. In “The Power of Difference: The Impact of the Bottom Line,” Hewlett spells out the vitality of variety and asks you to take charge of the future and focus on new ways of getting results.

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In difficult economic times it’s essential to hold onto your top performers. They’ve got the dedication and out-size smarts your company needs to survive flat-lined growth and emerge a winner. In Top Talent economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett presents new data detailing how star performers are at risk in a downturn—despite high rates of unemployment. She then presents eight pragmatic interventions for engaging and re-energizing your best people (women as well as men) so they can, in turn, drive productivity and profits.

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With new markets emerging all around the world, it is no surprise that the next generation of leaders have different cultural backgrounds, educations, and life experiences that will no doubt impact the way companies are run. Sylvia Ann Hewlett explains how to elevate up-and-coming talent by understanding what these global employees need from their job, and how to ensure they get it.

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After a hard knock or serious failure, how do you pick yourself up and garner the energy needed to reinvent your life and rediscover success? Hewlett provides inspiration from a life journey marked by stunning highs and wrenching lows. Born into a working class family in the Welsh mining valleys, she won scholarships to both Cambridge and Harvard and launched a high-profile career as an economist and best-selling author. But success is never a smooth ride. The death of twins and the vagaries of the marketplace knocked Hewlett off track three times but she dusted herself off and figured how to fiercely focus and thus survive and thrive—creating a hugely successful publishing and consulting venture in her fifties. Hewlett not only tells a compelling story, she lays out a road map guaranteed to help anyone in the business of self-reinvention.

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In an era of 70-hour workweeks, outsourcing, and endless to-do lists, finding work-life balance is crucial to keep your career on track without burning out. Sylvia Ann Hewlett draws on her research to offer cutting-edge insights showing how to make the most of your work and personal life without sacrificing one for the other. 

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Books & Other Works
  • Executive Presence
  • Growing Global Executives: The New Competencies
  • Women Want Five Things
  • Harnessing the Power of the Purse: Female Investors and Global Opportunities for Growth
  • Athena 2.0: Accelerating Female Talent in Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career
  • Top Talent: Keeping Performance Up When Business Is Down
  • Innovation, Diversity, and Market Growth
  • Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets: Why Women Are the Solution
  • Asians in America
  • The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology
  • Off-Ramps and On-Ramps: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success
  • Creating A Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children
  • Vaulting the Color Bar: How Sponsorship Levers Multicultural Professionals into Leadership
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“In today's business world, authenticity is the new currency of leadership. In Sylvia Ann Hewlett's valuable book, she demonstrates how you can crack the code of executive presence by embracing what differentiates you from the pack.”
Mark T. Bertolini, Chairman, CEO & President, Aetna
“We were all 'wowed' by Sylvia Ann Hewlett's scholarship, passion and willingness to share from her own amazing personal journey. There is no doubt that we will invite Dr. Hewlett to speak to us again. We believe her work is blazing a trail and impacting the way we all (women and men) work.”
Time Warner
“The event was very good. All the feedback I received about her discussion was excellent. She was also very generous with her time, as people stood in line to speak with her personally after the event.”
Association for Corporate Growth
“Sylvia Ann Hewlett is once again leading the way by examining a critical component of business success, Executive Presence. She is a master at making a vague topic clear. She demystifies the meaning of Executive Presence and provides tangible, practical advice that readers can easily use to lift their game.”
Anré Williams, President, Global Merchant Services, American Express
“Thank you for your outstanding presentation at the STRIDES, Advancing Women in Business event Tuesday evening. We could not have been more pleased. From the moment you began speaking, you captivated the room with your powerful, convincing presentation. The combination of well-researched facts and statistics and the context and insight you shared in such a dynamic way made your speech thoroughly compelling. The audience was moved (as so many participants told us afterwards) by your concluding with your dramatic personal story. As you immediately witnessed, your presentation generated numerous questions, thoughtful discussion, hope and inspiration.”
Lowenstein Sandler PC
“Before inviting speakers to our National Conference, I do my homework -- lots of it. Everyone I talked to about you had wonderful things to say. They all said that you would make us think, that you would challenge us, that you help us see things in new and different ways, that you would be a catalyst for change.”
Boys & Girls Clubs of America
“Everything went great! Sylvia did a wonderful job and everyone was extremely happy to be there.”
YWCA of Greater Cleveland
“Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s book is essential reading for anyone striving to minimize the gap between how others perceive you and how you want to be seen. It arms you with the skills to create, curate and manage your personal brand and convince people they are in the presence of someone going places. Executive Presence will transform careers and unleash a current of previously untapped potential on the world.”
Joanna Coles, Editor-in-Chief, Cosmopolitan
“I just wanted to congratulate you for the magnificent and masterful job you did at presenting the ideas and findings of your new book, Creating a Life, at the luncheon hosted by Tina Brown for women in the media. What made the lunch so special was the way you involved all 50+ women in the conversation. Notwithstanding all that these women experience and see in their line of work, you had the room vibrating with excitement and energy!”
Ernst & Young
“Sylvia Ann Hewlett's presence on the Authors Panel at the 100 Best Companies WorkLife Congress provided stimulating conversation on the contribution of corporate work life initiatives to women's lives. Her thought leadership in this arena was a must for the event.”
Working Mother Media's 100 Best Companies' WorkLife Congress
“On behalf of the Precollegiate Education Group and Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families, thank you so much for your enormously absorbing and motivating presentation. Our evaluations indicate your talk was a highlight of our meeting.”
Council On Foundations
“Thank you for the significant contribution you made to the success of the UFT Spring Conference. We have received rave reviews about this event.”
United Federation of Teachers
“Your engaging address was not only interesting, but as always, passionate. Your wisdom and your thoughts on the struggles of parents in today's society proved to be bold and awakened us to the need for change in our society. Over 600 participants attended the two-day conference. We were incredibly pleased by the enthusiasm you generated and hope to be able to work with you on some of your projects and goals.”
Child Development Policy Advisory Committee
“Dr. Hewlett's presentation was absolutely captivating. We had in attendance over 250 college-aged Congressional interns and Dr. Hewlett's message really struck a chord with this crowd. The number of young women who came up to Dr. Hewlett after the event to offer their heartfelt comments evidenced the impact of her speech.”
Independent Women's Forum
“I am writing to tell you how grateful I am for Sylvia Hewlett's visit to our campus. I know that the students who took part in the class and/or her lecture were greatly impacted by the information she shared and the effectiveness of her presentations. Sylvia was delightful, gracious and generous with her time in answering questions and engaging people in conversation both at the reception as well as the dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed our visits to and from the airport and hope that our paths will cross again.”
Luther College
“What a raconteur...provided a great service to us all.”
Michelle Conlin, Business week
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