Move over Mentorship Programs

Move over Mentorship Programs: Why Sponsorship Results in More Success for Female Employees

As companies continue to combat gender disparity among top leadership positions, some firms are adopting new programs to support female employees who wish to rise to such roles. In lieu of a more traditional mentorship program, the global professional-service firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has adopted a sponsorship program that pairs (primarily) male senior partners with female executives on the leadership track. Research has found that in the 21st century women in the workforce are “over-mentored and under-sponsored;” that is, they receive plenty of advice (mostly from senior females in their fields) but little on the ground advocacy on their behalf. PwC’s program disrupts this cycle.


Their Breakthrough Leadership (BTL) program, launched in 2012, may be an ideal program for other companies to model after – especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement when males in leadership roles report less confidence in mentoring female colleagues. This program specifically addresses such issues, aims to foster gender intelligence, and trains top male partners on career and life circumstances that can derail a woman’s professional mobility, ultimately allowing them to help female colleagues navigate these roadblocks more efficiently. PwC has a three-year partner-candidate pipeline that finds female candidates participating in the BTL program in year one. Sponsors work with protégés in common business areas, they attend training together, and the sponsors thereafter play the role of “table pounders,” actively working to secure opportunities and recognition for their junior colleague. Click here for more information on this program.


At Adam Bryce, a female owned and operated business, certified by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, we take diversity seriously and placing diverse candidates into executive technology roles is our priority.