A Key to Making Women Successful in the Workplace

In an article in the Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution attorney Lori Killberg made a very interesting observation. She felt it was a key to making women successful in the workplace. The key is “sponsorship” by a senior executive. Since most senior executives in most organizations are men, Killberg says it is important for more men to sponsor younger female executives in their career advancement.
Killberg quotes a study by the CREW Network, an organization that promotes the advancement of women in the real estate segment. The study says that women seem to be stuck in what they call the “marzipan layer” which is that “very rich, talented layer of professionals just below the C-suite level.” The study shows that if these women are not recognized and promoted many of them opt out of corporate life. Subsequently the women alter careers and companies are losing very valuable assets. Killberg suggests that one of the best ways to break out of the “marzipan layer” is for them to have some sponsorship by a male executive.
Male executives, to be successful sponsors, are going to have to realize that up-and-coming female executives may be dealing with more concerns outside the workplace than their male counterparts. They are more likely to face the challenges of balancing careers with their roles as mothers, caregivers and heads of households than do men. Thus there will be different considerations in career development and sponsorship. But, as Killberg says “…companies who want to retain women pushing for the C-suite must make accommodations to enable these women to reach their potential.”
So if you are a male C-suite executive are you sponsoring any of the very capable women you have in your organization?
After writing this I came across this video. Very interesting.

4 thoughts on “A Key to Making Women Successful in the Workplace”

  1. Mike,
    I agree with what you have written here. It is so much harder for women in this business world. We are navigating uncharted waters and in my experience other women executives are not very giving sometimes. They go into survival mode in these situations. Having a man to show me the ropes, make suggestions, give introductions, and help me understand how my boss thinks and sees the world is welcome.
    I find in my own role as an entrepreneur that woman are held to a different standard. Because I am self-assured and direct, it means that I am a bitch and others do not like me. Personally, I think it is because my POV and style is different for the females in my business but not so different from the men I work with and those that mentor me on a regular basis.
    Thank you for this great post.

  2. I think the real problem is that lots of executives not only don’t offer sponsorship to women in their companies, but they subconsciously try to put a male candidate in a higher position. Don’t get at me just for now – I’m going to explain: it all starts at the beginning, when crafting a job ad for a position. The wording chosen in most cases presupposes that male candidates are required and women don’t associate themselves with those jobs. So, I think if executives really want to help women become more successfulin the workplace, they should start with female-oriented job-ads.

    • Cathy:
      Research has shown that women if given permission to negotiate on a job, based on the language in the ad, will do a better job than men. So it stands to reason that companies definitely need to take a look at the language they use in ads.

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