Sponsorship and Mentoring in the MSC
Posted by: Aaron Subich, Class of 2012
One of the more intriguing concepts I picked up last quarter came from my Managing Workplace Diversity and Inclusion class with Prof. Kathleen Galvin. We spoke in class about minority mentoring (both traditional and reverse), and also evaluated their effectiveness in affecting workplace mobility. The conclusion – Not very effective, but generally a good opportunity anyway.
What was found very effective is workplace sponsorship; that being where a senior leader in a company or industry essentially adopts someone and puts the weight of their career and experience behind the individual with the intention of helping them to be successful and attain to higher stations. Sounds a bit like mentor-ship right? It is somewhat, only with the added and significant weight of the senior individual being “vested” in the career and progress of the person sponsored. In some cases, the reputation of the benefactor may even be at stake!
Clearly, everyone would love a benefactor and someone to sponsor them… some of us would even settle for an excellent mentor. But the question must be asked, where does one find such a person? Perhaps in your own workplace now?
In my experience, I’ve identified two such people that I firmly intend to pursue as long as they are willing to engage… One for mentor-ship due to her amazing ability to inspire “more” and her championing of values that I appreciate and hope to increase my growth in, and the other – I’ve recently rather boldly approached to inquire into the possibility of becoming a sponsor of sorts. This amazing individual has nearly achieved ever objective I hope to in my career.
Nearly finished with the program, I am not surprised that I found both these individuals through the MSC, however, prior to starting the program I never would have considered that a possible outcome of my engagement with the program. If you’re like me, you may not have either, and my encouragement is to add it to a list of things to consider as you take steps forward. Both are very valuable to careers (young, stalled, or even promising), and the MSC is a fantastic community that may perhaps provide you with both!