- Lauren Antonoff – Senior Vice President, Presence & Commerce at GoDaddy
- Judy Mahan – Cal Poly SBDC & Incubator Director at Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
- Zoë Wood – Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
- Brittany McCrigler – Director of Education Services at iFixit
This is a particularly special event because we have partnered with several Cal Poly organizations to introduce these young women to our local technology community:
Mentorship vs. Sponsorship
Mentoring is a well-known concept, and thought by many to be the key to encouraging women to advance in their careers. However, recent research is pointing out that mentorship isn’t always offered without cost, and does not always pay off.
Many mentoring programs that companies are rushing to adopt require extra work on the part of the participant – introspective studies, planning and strategizing about potential career paths, and just time meeting with the mentor or mentoring group.
At the same time, research is showing that many mentoring relationships are missing a factor that has a lot of influence in the advancement of people in their careers: sponsorship. Sponsorship is a mentoring relationship where the mentor uses his or her influence to advocate for the mentee. Sponsors can be the manager and assign tasks that match their desired career trajectory; they can also introduce their mentee to others at high levels, and recommend them when opportunities open up. They should have a relationship that includes being aware of the mentee’s strengths and desired areas for growth. They can also do mentoring in the form of coaching and advice, but the difference is they can exert influence to advocate for their mentee.