Mentor 2.0 (Mentor + Sponsor)

Mentor 2.0 (Mentor + Sponsor)

By: Julie Kantor, Million Women Mentors

Edie and I were on cloud 9 last week at the Diversity Women’s Business Leadership Conference put on by Diversity Woman Magazine in Orlando, FL. Parents, if you want some magic and pixie dust in your lives, suggest you leave the kids at home and head to Disney’s Grand Floridian & Spa. The fireworks, steel drums playing while many of America’s top Diversity leaders congregated from Intel, Cisco, Express Scripts, EMC, Verizon, Walgreens, Ingersoll Rand, Sodexo, Xerox, Mastercard, Visa and many more.  Powerful speeches and standing ovations for Phylicia Rashad (aka the Iconic Mrs. Cosby), the 1:1 coaching offered, the heart that went into planning. Five stars!

At this amazing conference, a common theme was how to recruit and retain top STEM talent, especially women and minorities (for more information, check out our white paper with Tata Consultancy Services, Women in STEM: Realizing the Potential).  There was also a new recognition with many leaders that STEM in many ways is the new Diversity and we need more Diversity in STEM.

Most of the companies at the conference advocated heavily for formal and informal mentoring within their corporations.  One challenge in the informal space was an inability to put metrics and outcomes behind it. Remember, you get what you measure. Mentoring increases employee satisfaction and retention. The Business Case for Mentoring by our friends at Chronus shares a lot of good data points. For example, note the huge increase in mentor and mentee retention at Sun Microsystems (now owned by Oracle) 2006 case study as well as who got salary increases and promotions.

To take a step back

Mentor 1.0 over the past several decades was:

– How is your home life?

– Let’s discuss thoughts on career life balance

– College and application help

– Let’s work together on your resume

– Let’s go to a movie or shoot some hoops

There is much value in Mentoring 1.0 and the care and support behind it.

The difference is, Mentor 2.0 includes a distinct skills-based focus and sponsorship component* ie.:

– Here are the specific skills you will need to make it in the 21st century economy

– Let’s discuss job opportunities in various geographies and what they pay (women in STEM make 92 cents on a dollar for example of what men make vs. other careers that pay 77 cents on a dollar)

– Let’s discuss what type of education and experience you will need to get a good job or advance in your career

– Let’s connect you with opportunity (FIRST robotics competition, Python coding class, Sit down with CEO of a IT firm and create an opportunity to shadow her, Visit a laboratory …)

– Let’s have lunch with the SVP at XYZ company and focus on three things we want to learn about his/her professional path and work.

– Let’s see if we can get you a summer internship (Did you know according to Gallup only 4.5% of high school students were in Summer internships last year? )

– Have you set up a Linkedin page? Let’s take an online networking class, together

– Let’s discuss two key books for young women over Sushi and blue sparkly pedicures: The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman and Executive Presence by Sylvia Ann Hewlett.

*Put simply, Mentor 2.0 will have a key role in on-boarding and retaining a diverse workforce as we combine skills-based Mentoring and most ideally, Sponsorship.


A mentor talks to you, listens and guides you.

A sponsor talks about you. Your sponsor (who respects you highly and knows exactly what your capable of) champions you for opportunity (internships, jobs, promotions, university entrance).

Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s research showed us men are 46% more likely to have a sponsor.  Women in STEM often also share they have male sponsors that truly helped them in their careers and opened doors.

Many people will feel more comfortable starting as a mentor. Then with a growing good relationship and rapport, move it to a Mentor 2.0 relationship, and then to Sponsorship (or helping find a sponsor through advocacy of your mentee). This Mentor 2.0 strategy will dramatically expedite a diverse STEM workforce with both mentor and mentee high-fiving.

But don’t get overwhelmed with concerns. Start with just 2 hours a month, 20 hours a year with your mentee and request your mentee pay-it-forward too.

Julie Kantor is Chief Partnership Officer of STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors®.

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