In an article in the Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution attorney Lori Killberg made a very interesting observation. She felt it was a key to making women successful in the workplace. The key is “sponsorship” by a senior executive. Since most senior executives in most organizations are men, Killberg says it is important for more men to sponsor younger female executives in their career advancement.
Killberg quotes a study by the CREW Network, an organization that promotes the advancement of women in the real estate segment. The study says that women seem to be stuck in what they call the “marzipan layer” which is that “very rich, talented layer of professionals just below the C-suite level.” The study shows that if these women are not recognized and promoted many of them opt out of corporate life. Subsequently the women alter careers and companies are losing very valuable assets. Killberg suggests that one of the best ways to break out of the “marzipan layer” is for them to have some sponsorship by a male executive.
Male executives, to be successful sponsors, are going to have to realize that up-and-coming female executives may be dealing with more concerns outside the workplace than their male counterparts. They are more likely to face the challenges of balancing careers with their roles as mothers, caregivers and heads of households than do men. Thus there will be different considerations in career development and sponsorship. But, as Killberg says “…companies who want to retain women pushing for the C-suite must make accommodations to enable these women to reach their potential.”
So if you are a male C-suite executive are you sponsoring any of the very capable women you have in your organization?
After writing this I came across this video. Very interesting.
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