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Women's Powerful Weapon: Sponsors

What do Elizabeth Taylor, Oprah Winfrey, Chita Rivera, Abigail Adams, and Susan B. Anthony have in common? They all received a crucial career boost from another woman.

Throughout history, it's always been true that connections count. Today, as women around the world increasingly move into positions of power in politics and in the workplace, they are learning that one connection in particular is the springboard to success: sponsorship.

As I explain in my book, Forget A Mentor, Find A Sponsor, sponsors are powerful leaders who are willing to advocate for their protgs, and propel and protect them through the perilous straits of upper management.

It's easy to conflate mentors and sponsors, but there are important differences between the two. While both may offer advice and encouragement, mentors are essentially sideline cheerleaders, while sponsors are center-ring champions. Sponsors deliver: They make you visible to leaders within your professional circle--and to top people outside as well. They connect you to career opportunities and provide air cover when you encounter trouble. When it comes to opening doors, they don't stop with one promotion: They'll see you to the threshold of power...

To read the full article by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, visit Inc.

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