“A role model talks by example, a coach talks to you, a mentor talks with you, and a sponsor talks about you.”*

Sponsors, mentors, coaches, and role models can all make a difference in how Greater Missouri women advance through organizations but there are key differences between each. Role models exemplify successful behaviors and, while the way they perform may be very visible to you, you may have never met or spoken to them. Coaches provide guidance on development and often help with soft skills, such as active listening. Mentors help their mentees navigate their careers choices through formal or informal mentoring relationships. Sponsors use their influence or leadership status to advocate for the advancement of an individual. They are often senior leaders or other people of power appropriately placed within an organization who help protégés obtain high-visibility projects or jobs. When women have sponsors, it can narrow the advancement gap between women and men. This support can also ensure that workplaces WORK for women.

When we applied for the $10 million dollar 5-year grant through the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge we included the establishment of a formal mentorship program in our plans. Without the resources to ramp it to the level we want it to be for our current class challengers and all alumnae, we do think this is the year to tip our toes in the water. We will be partnering our Challenge Class 2020 members with the Challenge Class of 2021 as their “mentors”. This partnership is intended to assist as each navigate the twists and turns of changing session plans as we develop live experiences in post COVID-19 sessions while we adhere to more stringent hygiene standards. We will also be focusing on cultivating resilience in times of crisis as we offer mentoring support about what it means to be Greater Missouri woman, and how to take full advantage of the opportunities that we create. We are excited about the possibilities and welcome your thoughts and ideas as we proceed!

*Catalyst website