Session Details

09H - Sticky Floors and Glass Ceilings: Leveraging Sponsorship to Break Through Barriers to Leadership Diversity in Healthcare

Monday, March 20

2:00–3:00 p.m.

White men are disproportionately represented in healthcare leadership, holding over 80% of C-suite positions. Women now represent about 23% of C-suite positions; however, 96% of these women are white. Many Black women in healthcare are either stuck at lower levels of the organization or only advancing to a certain level before hitting a glass ceiling, denying them access to upper-level leadership roles.

If change is going to come, white executives must begin to use their power and position in service of patients and the community. One way they can do this is to show up as allies for Black women through sponsorship.

In June 2021, UChicago Medicine launched a formal sponsorship program to increase the number of Black women at the senior leadership level. Sponsorship programs are one way to create visibility for junior-level leaders because they foster meaningful, one-on-one relationships with executive leaders. Because sponsors are personally invested in their protégé’s success, they leverage their influence to advocate for their promotion and ensure they’re visible to key decision-makers. Many executives recognize how valuable sponsorship has been in their career advancement; however, these crucial relationships have historically not been accessible for people from underrepresented groups.

This session will share UChicago Medicine’s journey to launching a formal sponsorship program. It will introduce three key factors necessary for the successful implementation and execution of sponsorship initiatives; provide an innovative framework and approach to leveraging sponsorship to create a more inclusive workplace culture; and share insights and lessons learned.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize sponsorship as an accelerator for career advancement and workplace culture transformation.
  • Gain strategies for creating formal sponsorship programs for staff in historically underrepresented groups in your organization.

Presented By

Faith Eatman

Faith Eatman

Improvement Program Manager

UChicago Medicine
Jason Keeler

Jason Keeler

Executive Vice President/COO

University of Chicago Medical Center
Brenda Battle, RN

Brenda Battle, RN

Chief Diversity Officer, Senior Vice President

University of Chicago Medical Center