Can You Afford to Be a Sponsor?

Man pointing at computer screen while woman works, both smilingThe cost is in political capital.

By Ida O. Abbott
Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

Most sponsorship occurs informally, without any structured or programmatic context. Informal sponsor-protégée relationships usually start in one of three ways.

The most common way is when a senior manager or partner

  • identifies someone as a star performer,
  • believes that she has what it takes to succeed and
  • wants to make that success happen.

MORE ON SPONSORING WOMEN FOR LEADERSHIP: How Protégées Can Help Sponsors | Beware Misunderstandings About Work Relationships | Women Must See Politics As Leadership | Bias Persists Against Women with Children | 5 Ways Women Get Shoved Aside | Why Men Don’t See Women as Leaders | Thanks for the Advice, But I’d Really Prefer a Promotion | 18 Ways to Boost Your Protégée | Why CPA Firms Need More Women | Protect Your Protégée from Flextime Saboteurs | Use Others to Promote Your Protégée | 8 Ways Sponsors Can Highlight Opportunities

The sponsor recognizes her talent and potential while they work together or when he observes her at work and is impressed by her ability. As the two work together their relationship grows.

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Ida O. Abbott



About the Author

Ida O. Abbott has long been recognized as a leader in the fields of mentoring, leadership development and professional development.

Abbott is the author of Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know

For many years, Ida has been at the forefront of efforts to promote women in the professions. She is co-founder of the Hastings Leadership Academy for Women at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, where she is also a Faculty Fellow.

She is on the Advisory Board of the New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation and operates the Roundtable for Women Leaders. Ida is a member of the Executive Committee for the National Legal Mentoring Consortium, Advisor to the Institute of Mentoring and Special Advisor to the International Bar Association Law Firm Mentoring Program.

She is a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. Before starting her consulting firm, Ida practiced law for 20 years. She specialized in complex litigation at Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, where she also ran the firm’s professional development and pro bono programs. Ida received her J.D. from Hastings College of the Law, M.A. from the University of Miami, and A.B. from Smith College. Ida is the author of several books and publications, including Women on Top: The Woman’s Guide to Leadership and Power in Law Firms and The Lawyer’s Guide to Mentoring.

Click here for more by Ida O. Abbott