Women Sponsoring Women
Fairness, best practices & Commitment to Racial Diversity
I can’t remember a time while in the corporate world when I was not identified as “the Mexican women” who ran this department or that project. Working in the corporate world as a minority and a Mexican American woman was not easy but it was possible only through “Sponsorship”.
During my time in the corporate world, first, as an account executive for a prestigious marketing firm in the Silicon Valley and then in the telecommunications industry as a sales professional, I was promoted because women sponsored me.
If you’ve been in the corporate world long enough, you find out that unless you have someone within the upper chain of command that sponsors you it is impossible for you to get ahead. It’s just the name of the game. No sponsor no promotion.
According to the latest research from LeanIn and McKinsey & Company (HR Leaders Say) “47% of women don’t receive as much sponsorship”, 19% Women are less likely to be promoted to first-level manager roles”. This means that because women don’t get promoted to first-level manager roles there is fewer women in the pipeline for C-level roles later down the road.
Contrary to popular belief it is not about hiring more C-Level women but about assuring we sponsor more entry-level managers. This is key according to the research.
When I first arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada from Puerto Rico, I entered the telecommunications industry. It was a woman that hired me to join her management team. I found out later after becoming friends with her that she hired me because she did not want to be the only woman leading with the rest of the men and the bonus was that I was also bilingual.
Soon after working for that company I was recruited by a competitor and I was hired again because the woman in charge wanted to see more women in the upper levels of management.
I’ve always been grateful for the women that sponsored me. Had it not been for them I would have not achieved my success.
I did find there was a disconnect among women and men in the corporate world. When I finally arrived at a regional director position, I thought that I had earned my way through hard work and dedication. However, I was hired for different reasons.
In this company, it was a man that promoted me and gave me the opportunity to lead hundreds of sales professionals. His reasons for hiring me were completely different than why women had hired me in the past, but that is a whole different article and blog.
Nevertheless, I was grateful for the opportunity and discovered that women do need more sponsorship. According to this research “Women say, 40% women are judged by different standards” and I can say this was true for me.
“Women in the Workplace”  are less likely to be hired and promoted to manager: For every 100 men promoted and hired to a manager, only 72 women are promoted and hired.”
I can speak from personal experience and there are not enough women being promoted to entry-level managers. “21% of men say, there are too few women qualified in the pipeline”
I would say yes, and that is because men hire people “like them”, other men. It’s human nature and therefore we must be intentional about hiring more women, even if they don’t behave like the people who are typically in charge (men).
“Everyone benefits from opportunity and fairness. Diversity efforts are about ensuring employees of all genders, races, and backgrounds have access to the same opportunities.”
As a corporate employee, I never worried about fairness because it was clear to me as a young child that all odds were against me. I am Mexican/American, I am a woman and I am super confident, yet I knew I had to work twice as hard and be twice as good as any other Anglo Saxon. This reality was evident to me, therefore, I never questioned it. It was just how life was.
As an adult, I realized that not everyone works their little hearts out to prove they are just as good as everyone else. Because of this reality, I was always better and faster than most and therefore women promoted me and gave me a chance. I can’t emphasize enough that women were the reason for my success and some men also cared a whole lot.
I understand that not everyone can be as lucky as I was to have strong women sponsor them into management but if we as women and men can be intentional about understanding the facts, we can help shift corporate environments to more diverse and fair ideals.
“When companies ask, ‘What’s the one thing we can do systemically?’ we say, ‘It’s not quotas, it’s not targets,’” says Mr. Nalbantian. “It’s about how do you position women and minorities to succeed in the roles that are likely to lead to higher-level positions.”
Thanks to other women I was positioned to be a candidate in the pipeline but only because women understood my struggle. The key here would be to get men to jump on the wagon and start hiring women into entry-level management. I believe it’s’ time and I believe men have the heart to do it. ~
Adriana Rosales, Author, Speaker, & HeartMath® Coach, President of Adriana & Company™, Forbes Coaches Council
 Source: LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. Women in the Workplace 2019 study of more than 68,500 employees and 329 companies, including Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal