Awesome Symposium participants have stressed the importance of developing young women through programs at their companies. Representatives of organizations with well established leadership development initiatives advised that gaining the support of top management is critical to success. Two other key elements of effective initiatives are mentoring programs and sponsor relationships.
The mentor’s role is seen as providing honest discussion and counsel related to the protégé’s career questions and issues. The sponsor’s role is to proactively advocate for the young leader, identifying and facilitating experiences that expand skills and put the young leader in a position to demonstrate and strengthen hercompetence and confidence. It was noted that having a male mentor and/or sponsor provides the benefit of connecting with a seasoned leader who is most likely to have credibility and connections, whereas having a female mentor and/or sponsor means also having close ties with a role model.