Advocate & Elevate: 6 Ways to Sponsor Women in Your Organisation

Many of the women in leadership that I coach want to elevate the voices of other women in their organisation and create opportunities for them to succeed.  

Sponsoring is a brilliant way to do this.  

Mentoring is common in the UK and is usually a supporter who will share advice and their experiences, and be a sounding board for you.  

A sponsor goes a step further than that. This is an individual within your organisation who will champion you, advocate for you, help you to raise your profile and get new opportunities.   

If you’re in the position to sponsor some of the women that work for you and champion them in your organisation, here’s 6 ways you can do that.

Special thanks to Mylene Sylvestre and Elizabeth Bachman who shared impactful ways to sponsor women and how to avoid the Glass Cliff on recent episodes of my podcast.


1: Raise Their Profile in the Organisation 

Make sure the women you’re sponsoring get the credit and visibility they deserve.  

Speak to your management colleagues or in leadership meetings about the great work they’re doing or the impact they’re making in your organisation.  

If there’s a project where their expertise would be valuable, highlight that and suggest they be part of the team (See #4 for an extra tip on this).  


2: Create a Seat at the Table 

Invite a woman in your team to attend management or project meetings where they have involvement, interest or expertise.  

Diversify the room and give them the opportunity to be in those spaces and raise their profile. 

This can give them the assurance that it’s a place they belong and the self-confidence that they’re as capable as others in the room.  


3: Assign Them Impactful Projects 

If there's a woman in your team with great skills and potential, assign them chunky projects that give them the opportunity to expand, develop and challenge themselves. 

Make sure you have regular conversations with them about these projects and how they’re progressing.  


4: Don’t Put Them on a Glass Cliff.  

A Glass Cliff is the research-backed phenomenon where a woman or a minority person is promoted into a position of greater visibility with very little chance of success. So when you’re giving a woman in your team more responsibility or a chunky project, make sure you also give them:  

Team Support 

Set them up for success by assigning a brilliant team around them to support their work and help to meet the project objectives.  

Training or Coaching 

Depending on the project, this might not always be necessary. If you’re encouraging a team member to step into more responsibility or do an unfamiliar skill, training or coaching will give them the tools and confidence to succeed.  

It could be a tutorial from a colleague, leadership tips from you or a more formal session with an external coach or organisation.  


5: Advocate 

Look at the policies in your organisation and whether they're supporting women. This could be a gender pay gap, maternity leave, flexi work or menopause support.  

Collaborate with other colleagues and advocate to Human Resources or senior management to make changes. 


6: Listen, Support and be Guided  

Have regular check-ins with the women you’re sponsoring. Create the space for honest conversations where they can share their progress, ask for guidance and tell you where they would like more exposure or to develop.  

Make sure the way you’re championing them is guided by them. 



 Listen to the episodes with Mylene and Elizabeth on the Influence & Impact podcast on Carla’s websiteAppleSpotify or Stitcher 

Find out about the various ways Carla works with women leaders and organisations on her website


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