Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor

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Axiom Book Award

(Forget a Mentor)
Find a Sponsor

2014 Axiom Book Awards

Career Category
Gold Winner


“High-potential women need sponsors who will not only provide advice but also actively create opportunities to shine and advance. Hard work and merit are simply not enough.”

Anne-Marie Slaughter,
Author, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”


Read an excerpt of Sylvia Ann Hewlett's new book Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career here.



(Forget a Mentor)

Who’s pulling for you? Who’s got your back? Who’s putting your hat in the ring? Odds are this person is not a mentor but a sponsor. Mentors can build your self-esteem and provide a sounding board - but they’re not your ticket to the top.

If you’re interested in fast-tracking your career, what you need is a sponsor - a senior-level champion who believes in your potential and is willing to advocate for that next raise or promotion.

In this powerful yet practical book, economist and thought leader Sylvia Ann Hewlett - author of ten critically acclaimed books, including the groundbreaking Off-Ramps and On-Ramps - shows why sponsors are your proven link to success. Mixing solid data with vivid real-life narratives, Hewlett reveals the “two-way street” that makes sponsorship such a strong and mutually beneficial alliance. The seven-step map at the heart of this book allows you to fulfill your life goals.

Whether you’re looking to lead a company or drive a community campaign, Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor will help you forge the relationships that truly have the power to deliver you to your destination.

Amazon link            Barnes & Noble

Advance Praise

A mentor gives you advice about how to get ahead. A sponsor has power and uses it to get you a great assignment. Women are often overmentored and undersponsored. Sylvia Hewlett's book tells you all you need to know about how to make sponsorship work for you and for your company.

Herminia Ibarra, Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning, Insead

Sylvia Hewlett is enormously insightful and always one step ahead.  Reading this book makes it so obvious that having a sponsor—not a mentor—makes the critical difference and I recommend it to both those aspiring to leadership roles and those looking to encourage the next generation of female talent.

Helena Morrissey, CBE, Chief Executive Officer, Newton Investment Management Limited; Chairman, Opportunity Now; Founder, 30% Club

This is a breakthrough book. Sylvia Hewlett is challenging the entrenched orthodoxy that still prevents women and minority talent from scaling the heights. She argues convincingly that progress is more often a product of partnership than a solo success and tells us exactly how to make it happen. This study assembles hard evidence, compelling stories and persuasive analysis and is invaluable to anyone who wants to get beyond "do-gooding" to get the most out of their diverse talent.

Trevor Phillips, Former Chair, UK Equality and Human Rights Commission <or Deputy Chair, UK National Equality Standard Board>

This book takes executive development to a new place. By highlighting the key role sponsorship can play, Sylvia offers good career advice for individuals and provides a roadmap that companies can use to help ensure diversity at the top.

Randall Stephenson, Chairman & CEO, AT&T

"Hewlett's research and observations reveal the power of sponsorship and the critical role it plays in development, especially for women and people of color."

Ian Clark
Chief Executive Officer,


“A powerful urgent book. Sylvia Ann Hewlett shows how women and people of color can win sponsors and take their place at decision-making tables”

Cornel West
Professor of Philosophy and Christen Practice,
Union Theological Seminary


“We know the value of mentors to young professionals climbing the ladder, but Sylvia Ann Hewlett hits the mark in highlighting the tremendous power sponsors bring to that reach for the top. This is a significant work.”

James S. Turley
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ernst & Young