Earlier this year, we conducted a survey to get a better sense of our WOI community — who you are, what you’re interested in, and what challenges you face as professional women.
We were ecstatic to receive so much candid feedback from our intelligent, successful, and engaged community of women. Thank you to all who responded!
One of the questions we posed was: “What would you say are the top obstacles in your career advancement?”
42% of respondents said that a “lack of mentor or sponsor” is the #1 obstacle preventing them from making gains in their careers. Other top obstacles included maintaining a sense of work/life balance, and having a limited professional network.
It is not surprising to hear that what women feel they lack the most are meaningful connections with senior leaders who can not only help guide their careers with advice, but also advocate on their behalf, opening up opportunities for advancement. In a study Women of Influence conducted in partnership with American Express Canada, over 1200 women from both the corporate and entrepreneurial world were asked about mentorship and sponsorship. Only 27% of respondents had a mentor, and just 8% had a sponsor. And gender certainly has an impact; according to Harvard Business Review research, women are 54% less likely than men to have a sponsor.
What’s the solution? One tactic is simply communicating the need to potential mentors and sponsors, and creating opportunities to bridge the gap between these successful leaders and ambitious entry- and middle-level women. Initiatives such as #GoSponsorHer are aiming to do just that, using social media to encourage both male and female senior executives to identify and put their support behind high potentials in their organization.
“What women feel they lack the most are meaningful connections with senior leaders who can not only help guide their careers with advice, but also advocate on their behalf.”
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of sponsorship, as well as how to find (or become) a sponsor, join us at our upcoming Luncheon on June 21st at Toronto’s Arcadian Court. The panel discussion will be entirely focused on the subject, with a variety of perspectives ― from research that supports the impact of sponsorship, to personal stories of creating and developing these crucial relationships.
Inviting a junior team member to an event like this one as a guest is a great way for them to meet women they otherwise wouldn’t, and demonstrate a sincere investment in their professional growth. Do you have a sponsee? Buy your tickets today.