As outlined in my last blog, “The Sponsorship Series: An Introduction,” sponsorship can be key to workplace advancement, especially for women. Realizing the value in acquiring sponsorship is the first step to reaping the benefits.

Why You Need a Sponsor

Whether you’re an entrepreneur or work for a larger company, sponsorship can impact the trajectory of your career. Research on sponsorship’s effectiveness is still emerging, but current studies are showing promise.

Since 2010, the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) has tracked the “sponsor effect” via four comprehensive U.S.-based and global studies. The results clearly indicate that sponsorship — not mentorship — is the means of power transfer in the workplace. A Catalyst analysis also found that sponsorship is the key to advancing high performers.

When a leader in your workplace believes in your talent and potential, they can essentially open doors for you. When push comes to shove, you need someone to advocate for you when you’re not in the room. A good sponsor takes on this role, which can provide opportunities for advancement.

Even several corporations are realizing the overall value of sponsorship. For example, Intel, Cisco, Morgan Stanley and Deloitte all recently launched programs that connect senior leaders with high-potential employees. The sponsorship program at American Express has had incredible success, with 10/20 female participants earning a higher role within a year.

To stay ahead in your field, sponsorship is one trend you should not ignore.

Consequences of Lacking Sponsorship

If you lack a sponsor in your workplace, it could negatively impact the progression of your career. It’s no secret that women aren’t equally represented in leadership positions. This is partially because of exclusion form the most influential networks of an organization. Sponsorship is an important factor in breaking through that glass ceiling.

Part of CTI’s research indicated that 70% or men and 68% of women with sponsorship felt they were progressing through the ranks at a satisfactory pace, while only 57% of their unsponsored peers felt the same way. The results are even more impressive from the perspective of working moms, 85% of whom felt sponsorship was positively impacting their career trajectory. These numbers indicate that those without sponsorship are having greater difficulty advancing in their careers.


Now that you know the value of sponsorship for your career, you’re probably curious about steps you should take to attract an executive sponsor.

The next blog in the my Sponsorship Series will focus on earning sponsorship, including the behaviors and skills you should develop throughout the course of your career. Stay tuned!