Leadership Academy reveals secrets of sponsorship
Monday, September 8, 2014
Posted by: Barbara Francella
than 250 NEW members learned the value of being a sponsor during the NEW
Leadership Academy webinar "Sponsoring Others," Sept. 5, 2014.
Granville, director of diversity and inclusion for Delhaize Group, and Judi
Kletz, associate director, industry reputation and influence for Procter &
Gamble, joined Leadership Academy facilitator Jo Miller, CEO of Women's
Leadership Coaching, to share insights
on sponsorship and advocating for emerging leaders.
opened the webinar comparing the merits mentors and sponsors. "A mentor
provides practical information and guidance," she said. "A sponsor is
an influential spokesperson for what you are capable of doing."
"Sponsors," added Kletz, "are advocates who give you exposure to
senior leaders and job opportunities when you're not there. Everyone needs a
Quoting software engineer Cate Huston, Miller said, "Mentors
give you perspective, sponsors give you opportunities." Miller added, "Mentors help you skill up, sponsors help you move up."
Sponsors have had significant roles in each of the guest panelists' careers,
they said. Kletz needed and found a supportive sponsor when motherhood took her
away from the office. "When I returned from maternity leave six months
later, I was successful in securing a new role in a new organization,” she
said, "and I have my sponsor to thank for that. It would not have happened
Granville was recommended by her sponsor for two influential leadership roles.
"My sponsor chose to make sure the right leaders knew the work I had done,
and the results I was able to accomplish while I was there.”
sponsoring for others has had a profound impact on the leaders' careers, too. A
peer-to-peer reporting relationship offered Kletz an opportunity to explore
both sides of sponsorship. "I actually served as his sponsor to take him
into his next role, which was actually my role,” she said. "I, in turn, had to
lean on my sponsor for my next role." This "cascading of events"
allowed Kletz and her sponsor to "leverage the right person at the right
For Granville, being asked to recommend a successor enhanced her leadership
skills. She found a candidate on her team who consistently stepped up, was
collaborative and demonstrated his own leadership ability. "I put my name
behind him and recommended him for the role," Granville said.
emphasized that "a sponsor does not have to be an executive, but they do
need to have influence," adding that "you never know who is watching
you, so be 'sponsor-ready' at all times."
Being an effective sponsor
Effective sponsors are "successful and respected, demonstrate business results
and are active listeners in the business and its surroundings," Kletz said,
noting that it's also important to understand the difference between leading
sponsor has accesses to the right people, is persuasive and carries a strong
reputation. Vitally important is the "willingness to serve as an advocate
Getting started as a sponsor requires self-awareness and self-promotion, Kletz
said. "Credential yourself. Deliver business results and demonstrate that
you have built the capability of others." Achieving that, "articulate
to management why you want to be considered" as a sponsor.
"Be willing to accept that you can be and sometimes will be wrong — and learn from it," Granville added. She advised NEW members
to "be wise about how and whom you sponsor."
may register for the next NEW Leadership Academy webinar, "Motivating Your
Team" on Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. ET for free and view previous NEW Leadership
Academy webinars in the NEW Study Hall.