I've been lucky in my life to have a handful of sponsors who've really made things happen for me. More than mentors, these folks have created opportunities for me that moved me up the professional food chain. By putting me on high-profile projects or giving me access to high-level people, these sponsors made things happen, and influenced my career progression.
I've participated in mentor programs to help develop the next generation, but I have to admit that I'm far more jacked up about sponsoring than mentoring. I'm a doer, a producer, so a more direct and action-oriented approach is more satisfying to me.
So it's no surprise that I was excited to write the following story on sponsors for Monster.com. I hope it gives you some insight on the importance of sponsors, and that it motivates you to sponsor someone -- or find a sponsor yourself!
Why Women Need a Sponsor for Career Development
Think you’re all set because you get great career guidance from a mentor? Think again. A recent Catalyst survey found that women who have mentors are less likely to be promoted than women with sponsors. That’s because sponsors help you identify and take advantage of career opportunities.
After reviewing several data sets and interviewing high-potential men and women, researchers found that men are more likely to have sponsors -- mentors who advise and advocate, using their sway to help protégés land high-level assignments and positions. Because women typically don’t have mentors, they don’t advance as far or as fast.
“Everyone’s heard of the importance of having a mentor who gives advice and how to develop, but a sponsor helps you get ahead,” says Christine Silva, director of research at Catalyst and the study’s co-author. “He or she is someone who’s senior in your organization who will advocate on your behalf for development and promotion opportunities.” Continue reading here.