Beyond mentors, and getting sponsors

I came across this video today while sifting through some management articles on my feed. Almost every career book out there will have a section about finding a mentor, a successful professional you have direct contact with who can teach you and hone your talents into a successful career. Joanna Barsh, a director at McKinsey & Company, goes beyond simple mentoring and introduces the idea of a “sponsor”– one who will throw you into the fire to challenge you and gives support when necessary to make sure you succeed. We should all find mentors and sponsors alike, no matter what industries we’re in, to give us advice and guidance as we navigate our careers and reshape the business world.


“A person in a very high high position, opening the door to an opportunity, then shoving a woman through before she personally thought she was ready. And then, not leaving her out there on a rock to die, but putting a safety net down, so that if she made a mistake (we all make mistakes), that person would be there to help and makes sure she gets up on her feet and gets going. So that she gets more learning opportunities, as well as more performance opportunities.

A lot of guys get that naturally. They don’t even get think about it, they just get it, because often the sponsors sponsor somebody who looks like their younger selves. A lot of men get chosen without even knowing it. But few women do. It’s great to have sponsors, it’s great to have two. I won’t even stop at two, I will get three.”

Blog posts by Joanna Barsh.
You can download the video here.


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