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Ask Sallie: Do I Need a Sponsor at Work? How Do I Find One? (Video)

By Sallie Krawcheck

Not-so-surprising fact: Having a professional mentor helps men more than it helps women (sigh). So people are starting to look toward sponsorship as a way to help women at work instead.

But … do you need a sponsor? And how do you find one if you want one? Here’s Sallie’s answer.


Sallie’s answer:

OK, quick, remedial mentor / sponsor definition: A mentor is someone who will answer your questions; a sponsor is someone who will fight for you. The research tells us that we women — vs men — are over-mentored, and we’re under-sponsored. We have many fewer sponsors than men do.

This is really important because the sponsor is the person when the door is closed. Carla Harris from Morgan Stanley has said: Every important decision about your career is made behind closed doors, when you’re not in the room. So if you don’t know who that person is in that room fighting for you, there’s likely no one in that room fighting for you.

How do you find one? Network, network, network, network. Get to know folks. Get to know what they’re working on. Let them know what you’re working on. You’ll gain lots of knowledge, and along the way, you’ll find yourself — yes — some additional mentors. But you may also find yourself those one or two or three or five sponsors who can really help your career.


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Sallie Krawcheck

Sallie Krawcheck is the Co-Founder & CEO of Ellevest. Her life’s mission is to help women to reach their financial and professional goals.