Sylvia Ann Hewlett
Sylvia Ann Hewlett is an economist, entrepreneur, and acclaimed author. She is CEO of Hewlett Consulting Partners and the founder of Coqual, a global nonprofit think-tank and advisory group that addresses bias and uncovers barriers to advancement for underrepresented populations in the workplace. Through her signature research style that combines hard data with in-depth interviews, Dr. Hewlett proves that a diverse talent pool unlocks innovation, boosts results, and drives competitive strength. She advises organizations large and small to embrace the “power of difference” and leverage new ideas across gender, age, sexual orientation, race, and culture to lead in an age of inclusion.
Her current work revisits the concept of executive presence — the research-backed guidance that provides the missing link between merit and success for high performers. Her 2014 book Executive Presence was translated into seven languages and became a classic in the field, defining the qualities that convince others of your leadership potential — gravitas, communication, and appearance. In 2023, she released Executive Presence 2.0, an updated edition with over 80 pages of new data and new stories that address the changes in EP wrought by Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and a global pandemic. Hewlett’s most potent message, ten years ago and now, is that EP is eminently learnable. To exude the aura of a leader, you merely have to arm yourself with the tools and tactics discovered in her research.
Her 18 critically acclaimed books include When the Bough Breaks (winner of the RFK Book Prize), Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor (an Audible bestseller), and #MeToo in the Corporate World (a Financial Times business book of the month). She is the author of 21 Harvard Business Review articles and the most published author in the magazine’s history. She has been recognized as the Most Influential International Thinker by HR Magazine and honored by Google with its Global Diversity Award.
Hewlett is a frequent speaker on the international stage. She has presented at Davos, keynoted the Financial Times conference on “Women at the Top,” and spoken at The Economist’s “Innovation Summit.” She has also been interviewed on 60 Minutes, Panorama, Oprah, Morning Joe, and PBS Newshour—and has been lampooned on Saturday Night Live. Her writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Financial Times, and Vogue, and she was named a Glamour magazine Woman of the Year.
A Kennedy Scholar and a graduate of Cambridge University, Hewlett earned her Ph.D. in economics at London University. She has taught at Cambridge, Columbia, and Princeton universities. She has held fellowships at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London and Harvard’s Center for the Study of Values in Public Life. Hewlett grew up in a Welsh coal-mining village in a family of six girls. She currently lives in New York City with her husband and youngest daughter.
The New Rules of Executive Presence: How Managers and Executives Should Act Now
As the world changes, so too do the expectations about what an ideal leader looks like. Executive presence, defined by leadership coach Sylvia Ann Hewlett, is a combination of gravitas, communication, and appearance that work to convince others of your leadership potential. This is as true today as it was in 2012 when Hewlett published her seminal text “Executive Presence.” However, since then, the top desired traits in each category have shifted. Whereas a “blue-chip pedigree” used to be important for gravitas, inclusiveness and respect for others have risen in the ranks. Forcefulness in communication has been replaced by a listen-to-learn orientation. Authenticity now outweighs physical attractiveness by a mile when it comes to appearance. In this presentation based on her book “Executive Presence 2.0,” Sylvia guides audiences through the new rules of executive presence to help them become leaders who inspire their employees to achieve greatness and help their organizations truly flourish.
Sponsorship: The Key to Fast-Tracking Your Career
We all understand the value of a mentor. But have you considered the impact of a sponsor? A sponsor is a senior-level champion who believes in your potential and is willing to advocate for your growing success. The critical relationship between the sponsee and sponsor provides high-potential talent with advocacy that accelerates their career trajectory and propels them into senior leadership—especially for diverse employees. Data and case studies show that sponsorship also boosts talent retention, reduces the perception of bias, and accounts for innovation and growth within the company. In this talk based on her critically acclaimed book, Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor, Sylvia Ann Hewlett addresses the benefits of sponsorship from the angles of the sponsee, the sponsor, and the business as a whole. For those interested in implementing sponsorship programs at their organizations, Hewlett also offers customized curricula full of actionable steps, ensuring lasting impact beyond the initial presentation.
Preventing Talent Drain: Keeping Talented Women on the Road to Success
During the pandemic, we saw women leave the workforce in droves as many were forced to become the primary caregiver for children learning remotely. Years into our return to normal, we’ve yet to see the numbers stabilize. Not only does women’s departure from the workforce affect their earning power for the rest of their working lives, but in countries like the US where women represent the most educated segment of the professional workforce, there is also an emptiness where their immeasurable contributions once lived that can be felt in all corners of every industry. The pandemic is not the first time we’ve experienced this female brain drain, but with the help of Sylvia Ann Hewlett, we can work to make it the last. Based on her book Off-Ramps and On-Ramps, this talk is a data-backed roadmap for keeping talented women on the road to success and reintegrating those who have taken a detour.
Leveraging and Maintaining Diverse Talent
You’ve heeded the calls to action to diversify your workforce at all levels. No further action needed, right? Wrong. Hiring diverse employees to simply check off a box and say you’ve done it will never move the needle in ways you need or expect. More than just changing the faces in the room, hiring with intention will introduce a diversity of perspective and deliver wide-ranging, innovative contributions in ways that could never happen in a homogenous echo chamber. But that can only happen when employees feel seen, supported, and valued by the culture around them. In this talk, Sylvia Ann Hewlett provides the tools to keep diverse talent motivated, engaged, and valued so their unique perspective and differentiated experiences advances your company’s objectives rather than those of your competitors.
Leadership in the Age of Inclusion
The last few years have been a time of reckoning. Many of the longtime social ills that plague our world erupted in ways that could no longer be ignored. With powerful segments of society newly galvanized, corporations and nonprofits stepped up, leading to an increase in diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in workplaces across the country. While progress has been uneven, many companies now recognize the value of inclusion and have deepened their commitment to diversity. Leaders now recognize that not only is inclusion the right thing to do, but also the key to attracting top talent and maintaining a competitive edge. In addition to laying out a playbook for inclusion, Sylvia Ann Hewlett offers 10 action steps backed by vivid stories and bespoke data that demonstrate how to lead with authenticity, confidence, and credibility, as well as how to engage and inspire employees virtually and in person. As the world changes and progresses, leadership competencies must encompass new skill sets and priorities. Ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are not just buzzwords for your company but rather ingrained into the culture. True, lasting, and sustainable change begins at the top.
Executive Presence: Cracking the Code
Ever wonder why some people seem to rocket to the top of their career ladders while others with similar experience and qualifications are constantly overlooked? Dr. Sylvia Ann Hewlett makes a compelling case that the missing link between merit and success is Executive Presence (EP): a dynamic mix of gravitas (how you behave), communication (how you speak), and appearance (how you look). If you knock these qualities out of the park you will convince others that you are a leader-in-the making. In this presentation backed by bespoke data and enlivened by vivid storytelling the cross-sector research found in her seminal book Executive Presence and the updated Executive Presence 2.0, Dr. Hewlett dives deep into the original tenets of EP and the newer qualities necessary to lead in our modern era created by a global pandemic and seismic social movements. Designed with professionals of all genders, races, ages, and cultures in mind, audiences will walk away armed with tools and tactics that will empower them to take a seat at the top table—to go from working like an executive, to feeling like an executive, to being an executive.