Sponsors demonstrate courage, tenacity to help women advance in business: Ernst & Young
(Toronto, 28 November 2011) It’s broadly acknowledged that sponsorship is critically important in getting more women into senior roles; but what makes a good sponsor and why should the corporate sponsor be hailed a hero? Ernst & Young interviewed some of Canada’s most successful women to learn about the sponsors who made a difference in their careers.
In The corporate sponsor as hero, Ernst & Young writes that sponsors need courage, tenacity, self-confidence and an eagerness to learn what it takes to help advance women leaders they believe in.
“It often takes heroic effort,” says Fiona Macfarlane, Ernst & Young’s Chief Inclusiveness Officer and Western Canada Managing Partner. “Heroic, simply because it requires a lot of courage to, in many cases, do something to change the status quo.”
Unlike mentors, who offer career coaching and advice, sponsors are hands-on advocates, who fight for and create advancement opportunities for high-potential individuals. “They put some skin in the game,” says Macfarlane.
In addition to having the requisite organizational clout and power, sponsors need to have the following qualities to be able to make a difference. Sponsors must:
- Spot talent
- Show courage
- Plan — change doesn’t happen by accident
- Demonstrate commitment — for the long haul
“Businesses need to ensure sponsors in their organizations demonstrate these behaviours if they want to get results,” says Macfarlane. “Once we’ve defined sponsorship, we need to communicate it, and really build it into the lifeblood of our organizations. Sponsorship is not something we say, it’s something we do — and actions speak louder than words.”
The corporate sponsor as hero shares stories from women across North America who have benefited personally from having sponsors advocate for them. They provide insight and best practices for bringing the idea to life in any organization.
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