person helping another climb a ladder

If you’re looking to advance in your career, securing a sponsor—an influential senior-level leader in your organization—is a smart move. Women, in particular, benefit from having a sponsor because according to this report from advocacy group Catalyst, women are often perceived negatively when they use assertive career-building approaches. “There is no ‘silver bullet’ for attracting the attention of a high-level sponsor” states the report. This is good news: you have the latitude to map out a plan that works best for your unique career circumstance.

When I was interviewed for an article on the differences between mentorship and sponsorship, I realized that most organizations—and by extension the people who work there—place an emphasis on formal mentoring programs. As my own experience suggests from this article, securing a sponsor was an informal process, one left up to individuals to navigate.

If you want to contribute more influentially to your company, either to gain a promotion or take on a higher visibility project, here are five resources to help you attract a sponsor:

Free e-book

From my colleague Dana Theus at InPower Women, you can download her free ebook, 7 Strategies to Attract an Executive Sponsor: 21 Action Items to Help You Go Higher, Faster!

Research Database

Peruse Catalyst’s Knowledge Center, which contains extensive data based on decades of research into women and the workplace.

Books on Advancing Your Career

Read the book, Getting Ahead by Joel Garfinkle. Read my book review here.

Check out Chapter 5 of Bonnie Marcus’ book The Politics of Promotion, which provides excellent tips and stories on sponsorship. Read my book review here.

Further Reading

Review my suggestions in the Smartblog on Leadership post, “3 ways leaders can help employees attract a sponsor .”

Nurturing a sponsor relationship takes a lot of patience, but it will pay dividends if you put the effort forth to showcase your talents. Let me know in the comments section: have you ever had a sponsor? If so, how did you go about building that relationship?


Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you click the link and make a purchase, I may receive compensation. This doesn’t increase the price of your item and I only review books that I believe my readers will benefit from.


Image credit: Michael Brown


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