In her recent article for the American Bar Association, Carla Varriale, a lecturer in the M.S. in Sports Management program, draws a distinction between mentorship and sponsorship. “If mentorship is like the voice in the cockpit giving flying lessons,” she says, “sponsorship is the jet fuel that propels the plane to new heights.”
Writing for the ABA’s Woman Advocate online publication, Varriale, a partner at Havkins Rosenfeld Ritzert & Varriale, LLP, addresses the concern (noted in a recent Harvard Business Review article) that “women tend to be over-mentored and under-sponsored.” While mentoring colleagues with advice and encouragement is important and laudable, she suggests, actively promoting and advocating for them can have greater impact—particularly for women and others who are still underrepresented in many professions.
From recommending someone for a specific opportunity or simply “raising their name” to people with the power to help them advance, sponsorship comes down to creating greater connection among people, says Varriale: “being a person who links others to opportunities for growth and advancement naturally fosters your own sense of connectedness and commitment to your work and your profession.”
Watch Carla Varriale discuss the legal and ethical implications of NFL protests in the video below from the Talks@Columbia series.