Cultivating a Network of Advocacy For Women in the World after Covid with Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Founder and CEO of Hewlett Consulting Partners

The Leading Edge

Dec 1 2021 • 37 mins

Sylvia Ann Hewlett is a world-renowned author, economist, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder and CEO of Hewlett Consulting Partners, a boutique consultancy focused on helping organizations leverage talents and bridge the divides of culture, gender, and generation. Dr. Hewlett is also the Founder and Chair Emeritus of the Center for Talent Innovation (formerly Center for Work-Life Policy), a non-profit leader in diversity and talent management that promotes diversity, equality, and inclusion. She is an advocate for the sponsorship of highly qualified women, people of color, and LGBTQ employees attempting to gain traction in their careers.

As a celebrated speaker, Dr. Hewlett has spoken at MWC Barcelona (formerly the Mobile World Congress), the “Women at the Top” conference, and the White House. She is the most published author in the Harvard Business Review with 17 articles and has written 16 books, including When the Bough Breaks, Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor, and #MeToo in the Corporate World.

In this episode:

What can be done in the workplace for people of color and women? How has the pandemic affected the ways and means by which women progress in their careers? To discover the key to navigating this new world of work, Thomas A. Stewart joins Sylvia Ann Hewlett — whose pioneering work on the importance of sponsorship and the effects of “on-ramps and off-ramps” on women’s careers has impacted a new generation of women and work.

Dr. Hewlett has long been an expert on the ways in which women's careers are interrupted or stymied. She is a Cambridge-educated economist and expert on gender in the workplace who has worked with leading organizations including Cisco, Goldman Sachs, Cartier, and the State Department. Throughout her career, Dr. Hewlett has focused on promoting progress for professionals despite their gender, age, sexual orientation, race, and culture in the office and beyond — and now she’s focused her attention on the ways the pandemic has disrupted the female workforce. Over the past year and a half, women, especially women of color, have left their places of work to take on the role of primary caregiver. Dr. Hewlett has studied the data: when a highly qualified woman steps off the career ladder to care for her family, she decreases her compensation by 18% upon her return to work. Further, Dr. Hewlett explains that only 90% of women who leave the workforce eventually return. How can women come back to work in their respective fields without a decrease in status or compensation?

Dr. Hewlett believes that the answer can be found in sponsorship: when a higher-level executive invests their political capital in a protegee’s advancement. As she says, women can cultivate a more inclusive culture that promotes their advancement when advocating for one another. However, the value of a more flexible workplace comes at a cost, and remote and hybrid work structures have made sponsorship harder. As they continue to juggle home and work roles, women must take active steps to find and shape the sponsoring relationships so important to their career progression.

In this episode of The Leading Edge, Thomas A. Stewart talks with Sylvia Ann Hewlett, world-renowned author, economist, entrepreneur, and Founder and CEO of Hewlett Consulting Partners, to discuss the disadvantages women experience in the workplace and how to overcome them. Dr. Hewlett talks about the displacement of women’s roles in the workforce due to the pandemic, how to bring value to your business, and why sponsorship and advocacy are essential for building your career in the current climate.