Opening doors: why mentorship matters

I’m thrilled that SITE is launching an official mentorship program, a collaboration with our Women in Leadership and Young Leaders Communities.

Many of us have benefitted from someone not only guiding us through our career, but even opening a door to a valuable opportunity for us — known as sponsorship. This new SITE mentorship program gives us an opportunity to pay it forward.

A June 2021 Harvard Business Review article explains the difference this way:

Mentorship involves direct support of a protégé, while sponsorship…uses connections to lift up those who might otherwise go unnoticed.

My friend and former MPI Chairwoman Bonnie Carlson did this for me at a recent industry event. A career DMO executive, she seemed to know every destination leader in the crowded reception and she took me around for hours, introducing me to anyone she could. That is sponsorship.

There is a powerful difference between lending advice when asked, and making an introduction, bringing someone into a meeting, or endorsing someone for an opportunity.

These intentional acts are what we need to help others get noticed, to give them access when it’s an insider’s game.

For any of us that have benefited from a mentor or sponsor, let’s pay it forward. How can we help someone else meet the right person or get positioned for that next role? 

Let’s move from just being available to being intentional, and let’s really help others rise.

Written by

Annette Gregg

Annette Gregg


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