Sylvia Mathews Burwell
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Sylvia Mathews Burwell

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (2014–2017); Director, Office of Management and Budget (2013–2014)

A visionary leader in both the public and private sectors, Sylvia Mathews Burwell provides powerful insights on health care, leadership, and a wide range of pivotal issues that impact the lives of individuals in the U.S. and around the globe.

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Health-Care Reform: Rhetoric vs. Reality

As the leader of the Department of Health and Human Services during the height of the debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Sylvia Mathews Burwell provides a deep understanding and analysis of the pressing health-care issues that affect every American. In this crucial discussion, Burwell cuts through the rhetoric to share with audiences:

  • How coverage and costs may be affected by current plans to repeal and/or replace the ACA
  • What businesses and organizations of every size need to know to prepare for the future of health care, particularly regarding delivery system reform and the potential for increased affordability
  • How the U.S. and global economy may react to disruptions caused by the health-care reform process

Budget and Leadership

As director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Obama and deputy OMB director under President Clinton, Sylvia Mathews Burwell was a widely respected bipartisan leader. She worked closely with a divided Congress to negotiate a two-year budget deal following the government shutdown of 2013 and navigate the complexities of a process that has real-world impacts for Americans. In this informative presentation, she shares with audiences:

  • An in-depth view into the federal budgeting process, and how the decisions made in Washington affect the lives—and budgets—of everyday businesses and individuals
  • An analysis of the role of the executive branch in creating and executing the federal budget, and how this process may play out under the current Administration and Congress

Moderated Q&A: A Leadership Conversation with Sylvia Mathews Burwell

With a distinguished career both in federal government and at globally recognized nonprofits, Sylvia Mathews Burwell understands what organizations need to do to thrive at every level, and how to cultivate the right talent to ensure accountability and progress. In this customizable conversation, she will share: 

  • Her personal leadership philosophy, focusing on measurable outcomes, prioritization, and relationships
  • How to effectively nurture the leaders of tomorrow
  • Insights from her own experiences in running a federal agency and leading international organizations

Meet Sylvia Mathews Burwell

A visionary leader in both the public and private sectors, Sylvia Mathews Burwell provides powerful insights on health care, leadership, and a wide range of pivotal issues that impact the lives of individuals in the U.S. and around the globe.

A proven leader with a record of cultivating innovation and delivering results, Sylvia Mathews Burwell has led government departments in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations as well as powerful international nonprofit organizations. As president of the Walmart Foundation and president of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she focused on issues ranging from global health and hunger to agricultural expansion in developing nations. When President Obama nominated Burwell as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 2013, she was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. In this role, she worked closely with a divided Congress to negotiate a two-year budget deal following the government shutdown of 2013, deftly navigating the complexities of a process that has real-world impacts for Americans.

In 2014, the Senate confirmed Burwell by a wide margin as Secretary of Health and Human Services, proving, according to Republican Senator Richard Burr, if you “put talented people into nomination, it doesn’t matter whether you’re Republican or Democrat. People acknowledge the talent.” Entering office during the height of the debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), she confronted the political, technical, and bureaucratic challenges of the ACA while leading the strategy to circumvent the dual global health crises of the Ebola and Zika virus outbreaks.

In 2017, Burwell was named the first female president of American University. With three decades of strong leadership directing programs that have had significant impact on the lives of individuals, she provides audiences with informed expertise and compelling analysis of issues ranging from health care and the federal budget to global development and philanthropy.

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U.S. Secretary of Defense (2013–2015); U.S. Senator (1997–2009); Former Chairman, Atlantic Council; President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (2009–2012); Former Member, The Systemic Risk Council; Distinguished Professor, Georgetown University; and Co-founder, Vanguard Cellular Systems, Inc.

Secretary of Defense (2006-2011); Author, New York Times Best Seller, DUTY: Memoirs of a Secretary at War and A Passion for Leadership