Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor

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“Having a sponsor can make a big difference in your career. The fact that women on the whole have less access to sponsorship is a fundamental problem. In The Sponsor Effect, Sylvia Ann Hewlett makes the smart practical case for why all leaders should be sponsors: because it helps the next generation and it’s rewarding in its own right.”

Sheryl Sandberg,
COO of Facebook and founder of Leanin.Org and OptionB.Org



How to be a Better Leader by Investing in Others

Who's delivering for you? Who has your back? Who’s burnishing your brand and expanding what you can get done in this world?

Sponsorship is a two-way alliance where a leader partners with junior talent to build their skills and advocate for their promotion--all while receiving stellar performance and loyalty in return. Many know the benefit of finding a sponsor: men and women with sponsors are much more likely to progress to the next rung in their careers than those without. But according to author Sylvia Ann Hewlett, being a sponsor is just as important to career growth as finding one. Senior executives who proactively sponsor others are 53 percent more likely to receive a promotion--and middle-level managers who have proteges are 60 percent more likely to receive a stretch assignment--than those who don't.

But how do you find potential proteges, let alone develop your picks so that they’re able to come through for you and the organization?

You'll find the answers in The Sponsor Effect. Combining powerful new data and vivid narrative drawn from in-depth interviews with leaders from companies such as Google, Blizzard, American Express, and EY, this book provides a seven-step playbook for how leaders can become stand-out sponsors. You'll learn to:

  • Identify the right proteges, including those who offer differing perspectives
  • Develop your proteges' skills and ignite their ambition
  • Inspect your picks, so you know they’re delivering for you
  • Make the ask and spell out the terms of your relationship
  • Publicly endorse and advocate for your proteges
  • Leverage that talent to expand your influence and grow your capabilities

Along the way, Hewlett maps out and measures the enormous benefits for managers and executives who invest in this valuable relationship.

Named Financial Times "Best Book of the Month", June 2018, and cover of European Business Review, July 2018.

Purchase at your favorite bookseller or at:

Amazon link            Barnes & Noble

Advance Praise

Sponsorship is not all about the protégé.  Sponsors benefit from sponsorship as well.  Sylvia Ann Hewlett provides convincing evidence that it pays off to be generous and supportive of young leaders.  While you rise, they rise, and while they rise, you rise too.

Katherine Phillips, Reuben Mark Professor of Organizational Character at Columbia Business School

Sylvia Ann Hewlett shows us, in no uncertain terms, what sponsorship is and how to make it work.  The Sponsor Effect is a powerful tool, not only for executives trying to build their own careers, but for anyone hoping to make the workplace better, fairer and more productive.

Debora Spar, Baker Foundation Professor, Harvard Business School

Data driven and studded with vivid stories, this remarkable book demonstrates the enormous payoff that accrues to leaders and companies when sponsorship is done well. It also shows why senior executives should cast their net wide when they construct their talent portfolio.

Vinay Kapoor, Americas Head of Diversity & Inclusion, BNP Paribas

Embedding sponsorship into a company’s culture is key to accelerating a pipeline of leaders spanning the full spectrum of diversity.  The Sponsor Effect provides a seven-step playbook for how leaders can become stand-out sponsors.  This book is a blue print for action.

Shari Slate, Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Officer, Cisco

At the heart of this pragmatic yet inspiring book is a simple truth, great leaders don’t just inspire followers – they actively invest time and effort in identifying, developing and supporting junior talent across the divides of gender and culture.

Dominic Barton, Worldwide Managing Director, Mckinsey & Company

"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,


"The Sponsor Effect demonstrates that investing in subordinates not only benefits the organization, it pays off for the sponsor. In fact, being an effective and prolific sponsor may well be a prerequisite to great success for leaders."

Peter Cappelli
George W Taylor Professor of Management, The Wharton School


The Sponsor Effect is powerful. Hewlett does not offer a philanthropic approach to cultivating tomorrow’s leaders, rather she centers this book on the value of people in the work place and the importance of leaders investing time and resources in actualizing their talents and gifts.”

Eddie Glaude
Distinguished Professor, Chair, Department of African American Studies, Princeton University