37H—The Essential Role of Sponsorship in Developing Diverse Leadership Talent

Tuesday, March 29th

About the Session

It is well documented that there is an opportunity to improve diversity and inclusion in formal leadership positions, particularly at the executive level in healthcare organizations. Active sponsorship can play an essential role in developing diverse leadership talent. Research and practice indicate that career advancement depends on sponsors who provide opportunities for diverse professionals to demonstrate and hone their leadership abilities. Based on their extensive work developing leaders, The Center for Creative Leadership offered the 70-20-10 rule, asserting that leaders learn most effectively if provided a development plan that includes 70% challenging assignments and experiences, 20% developmental relationships, and 10% coursework/training. Clearly, sponsors provide opportunities for challenging assignments and experiences as well as the nurturing relationships that can help to increase diverse leadership talent. The February 2021 McKinsey & Company report, Race in the Workplace: The Black Experience in the US Private Sector, indicated that a high percentage of Black (67%), Hispanic/Latino (65%), Asian (70%) and white employees (63%) did not have access to sponsorship. These results highlight the need for a thoughtful approach to identifying a diverse population of leaders from initial selection to emerging leader identification, and the importance of a strong executive sponsorship to develop this talent in a deliberate manner to help them (and the organization) achieve their full potential. This program will (a) define sponsorship, (b) explain the differences between sponsorship and mentorship, (c) describe what sponsors do, (d) show how sponsors can develop diverse leadership talent. The use of case examples, an assessment, and follow-up action plan will provide take-home tools for more inclusive sponsorship.

Learning Objectives:

  • Examine the sponsorship role and describe what sponsors do.
  • Demonstrate how sponsors can develop diverse leadership talent.


Presented By

Brett D. Lee, PhD, FACHE

Texas Health Hospital Frisco

Diane L. Dixon, EdD

Managing Principal
D. Dixon & Associates, LLC