Mentoring and sponsoring can blend together to the untrained eye. Mentors provide advice and counsel while sponsors are senior executives with the clout and the desire to advance their protégés.
“A sponsor is someone who is pounding the table for you to get the raise, the promotion, or the chance to work on a high profile project,” says Susan Bulkeley Butler, author of “Women Count: A Guide to Changing the World.”
The sponsor and sponsored relationship is beneficial on both ends. The high level executive has the opportunity to create a reputation of being able to spot and nurture high potential talent. The junior employee has an ally that will offer individual guidance, give critical feedback inside the company and most importantly, stick their neck out and publicly support the individual. This symbiotic relationship has incentive for all involved.
A recent Diversity in the News article, Sponsorship, Making a Game Changing Move Part 1 and 2 shares tips for professionals of color and D&I practitioners for finding and working with sponsors. The following are corporate examples of executive sponsorship programs that can apply to women or any underrepresented employee group.