VP and chief knowledge officer for research company Catalyst Jan Combopiano discussed results of an August study about mentoring and career advancement as it relates to salary discrepancies between men and women. Men with mentors, the study found, were 93% more likely to be in a managerial role than a contributor role. Yet women with mentors were just 56% more likely to land a managerial job. Further, men got approximately a 21% bump in pay with every promotion, while women got just a 2% raise. So what does this say about the way mentoring influences womens’ careers?
One revelation of the study, said Combopiano, is that men tend to have sponsors—i.e., people who talk about them, rather than just with them—while women have mentors. Ways to take a mentor relationship to the sponsorship level, she said, include developing trust, having open communication, ensuring commitment between both parties and gaining multiple sponsors, so that “not just one voice has your back.”

Managing director, Chartwell Advisors, Inc., Rabia de Lande Long added that to advance in your career it’s important to not only do your job well, but also look for connections within the company. “Work the company, don’t just work your desk,” she said. Other tips: act confident and “work in your personal prime time,” meaning the time of day that you’re most productive. Most importantly, said pres, Distribution Sales and Marketing, Univision Communications, Inc. Tonia O’Connor, “Do what you love. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s important to find out what gets the fire in your belly—even if that means going beyond department lines.” 

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