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How to Secure a Sponsor to Help Career Growth


How to Secure a Sponsor to Help Career Growth

In this article, Susan Drumm provides concrete steps on how to find, request, and secure a sponsor to help guide your career growth.

I recently led a powerful workshop for some of the top women CEOs in biotech who are building up the next generation of leaders. There’s one unmistakable method to advocate for women’s career development: sponsorship.

After I shared my podcast episode on the importance of sponsoring women in the workplace, I received an overwhelming response from women and men. Today, let’s continue the conversation.

Sponsorship is when a person of influence promotes the achievements, capabilities, and potential of another.   

Mentorship is private, but sponsorship is public. Sponsorship transcends advice and involves making connections, nurturing visibility, and advocating for promotions. Or, as Heather Foust-Cummings, a senior vice president at Catalyst shared with The Muse: “A mentor will talk with you, but a sponsor will talk about you.”

Now, let’s walk through how to ask for a career sponsor.



Before you choose your sponsor, you need to understand why you want to work with one. What are your career goals?  What assistance are you hoping a sponsor will provide?  Reflect on how you want your career to progress.


Look both within and outside your company. Who do you admire and who do you know well?

Be willing to look beyond your comfort zone. An AWIP Future of Women study found that most women and marginalized communities feel drawn to those who resemble themselves. But, as Nancy Wang shared with Forbes, “the right sponsor should also have the necessary clout to make something happen for you; therefore, selecting the right sponsor becomes less of an emotional connection but a professional identification.”

So, why do you want to work with this specific person? How can they benefit you? Who are they connected to? Do you have shared values? How does their career inspire you?

Key points include:

  • Simple action items
  • Support in exchange
  • Speaking up

Read the full article, HOW TO ASK FOR A CAREER SPONSOR, on