Diversity Woman Magazine

FALL 2013

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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> Sponsors are willing to take a bet on you and to advocate for that next stretch opportunity. As a result, many women and people of color who aspire to leadership positions fnd themselves navigating their careers without an advocate. Tey might work hard and smart, but without having someone in the C-suite to sing their praises in those closed-door meetings, they're much less likely to get the sexy projects and important promotions. Many who do have a sponsor can feel the benefts. A study by the Center for Talent Innovation titled Vaulting the Color Bar: How Sponsorship Levers Multicultural Professionals into Leadership found that 53 percent of African Americans who have a sponsor are satisfed with their rate of advancement, compared with just 35 percent of those who don't have someone of infuence going to bat for them. And 55 percent of sponsored Asian American employees are happy with how they're advancing, compared with just 30 percent of their nonsponsored counterparts. "If we want to get more women and people of color into positions of power, they have to learn how to access these relationships," Hewlett says. "And we need to make sponsorship more accessible for all the new kids on the block." Diverse Leadership is Good Business Some of the most successful organizations are striving to diversify their pool of protégés—whom they view as future leaders—for practical business reasons. "If you're leading a global company and 70 percent of your revenues are coming from female consumers or 80 percent of your revenues are coming from Asia, you're not going to do a great job if all of your leaders are 55-year-old white men," Hewlett says. So companies like AT&T, Credit Suisse, Genentech, Intel, and Morgan Stanley are creating paths to sponsorship for promising employees, particularly those who have historically been overlooked. 32 DIV ERS ITY WOMAN Fall 2013 A few years ago, Deloitte's then CEO, Barry Salzberg, asked the frm's partners, principals, and directors to fnd at least one woman to sponsor—and more than 600 pledged to do just that. To support them, Deloitte provided senior leaders and their protégés with a career development template and other planning tools. American Express—where only 18 percent of executives are women—takes a diferent tack. Rather than playing matchmaker, the company has opted to let sponsor–protégé relationships develop naturally. But its Pathways to Sponsorship program ofers women information about sponsorship, coaching, and personal branding. According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, women underestimate the role that sponsorship plays in their advancement. And those who do understand its importance fail to properly nurture the relationship, mainly out of a belief that they should get ahead on their own rather than using connections. At KPMG, where bright, talented employees like Kelly Watson are making their way up the ranks, sponsorship has become integral. "I am pretty passionate at this point about the importance of having a culture around sponsorship, not just mentorship," says John Veihmeyer, Chairman and CEO of KPMG, who works closely with the frm's Women's Advisory Board. "If we're going to be the best professional services frm in the world, we've got to have the best talent. We are not going to have the best talent if we have not created an environment where every single one of our people—I don't care what gender you are, or what race you are, or any other personal characteristic you might have—doesn't believe that they can have a tremendous career at KPMG. All of us who've been around for a while understand the importance of bringing diverse teams together to help our clients solve their most challenging needs." Veihmeyer knows frsthand how important sponsorship can be. "I had sponsors put me forward for opportunities that otherwise wouldn't have happened," he says. "Tat clearly helped accelerate my career. We've been more intentional, in the last few years, in transforming the frm from a diversity standpoint. I've asked every member of my management committee and my board to have at least two high-potential diverse individuals that they will not just mentor, but sponsor. We now have four women partners on our board of directors, compared to three or four years ago, when it was just one. I'm really proud of the progress we've made, but I'm also really impatient." With senior leaders like Tom Dufy who are willing to step up, however, change is happening. As Dufy says, "When there are people you truly believe have great talent, you have to be willing to go out there and put yourself on the line to give them that opportunity that they so rightfully deserve." DW Kimberly Olson is the managing editor of Diversity Woman. d i v e r s i ty w oma n.com THINKSTOCKPHOTOS.COM We Mean Business

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