Off-Ramps and On-Ramps

Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Elizabeth Vargas

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Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett (top image, left) and news anchor and correspondent Elizabeth Vargas (second image, left) will engage in a discussion on the specific challenges facing professional women as they juggle work and family commitments. In her recent book, Off-Ramps and On-Ramps, Sylvia Ann Hewlett takes a critical look at how companies can attract and retain professional women while providing greater “arc-of-career” flexibility. Hewlett will share her expertise in advising companies on how to make their workplaces and career tracks more accessible to talented women at all stages in their lives, and will be joined in conversation by Elizabeth Vargas of ABC News, who will share her experiences as a professional woman balancing the demands of work and family.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett is an economist and the founding president of the Center for Work-Life Policy (a nonprofit think tank) where she leads the “Hidden Brain Drain” Task Force, a group of 47 global companies and institutions committed to fully realizing female and multicultural talent. She also directs the Gender and Policy Program at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. She is the author of seven critically acclaimed books and has taught at Barnard College, Columbia, Cambridge and Princeton Universities and held fellowships at the Institute for Public Policy Research in London and the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life at Harvard. In the 1980s she become the first woman to head the Economic Policy Council, a think tank composed of 125 business and labor leaders. A Kennedy Scholar and graduate of Cambridge University, she earned her Ph.D. degree in economics at London University.

Elizabeth Vargas is co-anchor of ABC News’ “20/20.” As an award-winning anchor and correspondent, Vargas has traveled the world covering breaking news stories, reporting in-depth investigations and conducting newsmaker interviews. During the historic Iraqi elections in December 2005, she anchored “World News Tonight” from Baghdad. She anchored for both “World News Tonight” and “20/20” from the U.S. Gulf Coast, covering Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Vargas was credited by the New York Times in November 2004 as reinvigorating the newsmagazine format with her “intellectually brave” reporting of an examination of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a young man whose murder gained national attention as an anti-gay crime. In July 2003, she hosted “In the Shadow of Laci Peterson,” an ABC News special that examined the disappearances of several young women in northern California and why their stories failed to attract significant media attention. Vargas graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., where she began her broadcasting career as a reporter/anchor for KOMU-TV.