The Role of Mentorship and Sponsorship in Advancing Women in Business

Women are increasingly achieving positions of power in business, yet their success is still limited by the barriers they face in the workplace. The good news is that women can work to overcome these challenges with mentorship and sponsorship.

Building networks.

Mentors can help their mentees gain access to new networks and opportunities that they might not have had otherwise. Mentors may also share their own experiences, which can be useful for mentees who are looking for advice about how to advance in their careers.

Mentorship is also a great way for mentors and mentees alike to network with other people who might be helpful in advancing the career of either party, such as venture capitalists or board members.

Gaining visibility.

Mentorship and sponsorship can help women gain visibility within their organizations, which is critical for advancing their careers. Mentors can also help their mentees gain visibility in the industry at large. Mentors who are leaders in their fields have access to networks that may not otherwise be available to you, so they can be a great resource for introducing you to people who can help advance your career and give feedback on projects or ideas that could lead to new opportunities.

Learning new skills.

Mentors can help you learn new skills and gain knowledge. Mentors can also help you gain experience, as well as confidence in yourself and your abilities.


Sponsorship is a form of mentoring that involves an individual being sponsored by someone, or a group of people, with whom they have a relationship.

This can be done in many ways:

  • the sponsor may help their sponsee get promoted within their organization and/or industry;
  • they may advocate for them by introducing them to other people who can further their career;
  • they might also provide advice and guidance on how best to progress professionally.

Mentorship and sponsorship are critical to advancing women in business

Mentorship and sponsorship are critical to advancing women in business. Mentorship is a relationship between a more experienced person and a less experienced person, while sponsorship is a relationship between two people of equal experience. Both mentoring and sponsoring help women advance in their careers by providing opportunities for them to learn new skills and build relationships with leaders in their field.

In conclusion, the role of mentorship and sponsorship is critical to advancing women in business. These relationships can provide women with opportunities and access to resources that they may not otherwise have access to. Mentors are important for providing guidance and support on career development, while sponsors can help them navigate organizational politics or other challenges that may come up along the way.

Personal Qualities of an Excellent CEO

Personal Qualities of an Excellent CEO

Great CEO’s and MD’s with exceptional track records of success and turnarounds find themselves failing to retain key employees that play a huge role in the build-up to success. Let us look at crucial leader personnel qualities that a great employer should obtain in this modern age of the Social Revolution.

Studying The Human Nature
: Every Leader in a business needs to understand that the most important product that they have in a business are the people around them. When a leader forsakes and plays a blind eye to this awareness and rather perceives the business has only evolving around him/her, that is when the moths start to eat away. Your employees make you and the business look good and therefore; it is important for you to take good care of them sincerely. When your care is not authentic but rather just professional your employees will see through it. Gone are the days where employees worked for just a salary and survival – employees in this Social Revolution care the most about their quality of life. It is crucial to pay attention and think about your employees’ dreams, goals and purpose. The attention to such detail sets a leader apart and results in higher retainability and loyalty from employees.

Managing an Ego
: It is a given and fair enough for one in such a high position with great accolades and splendor of compliments to have an Ego. The issue arises when a leader fails to control the ego they have acquired from success. A healthy Ego is necessary for a great leader. When you’re trying to accomplish anything challenging, it helps to have that voice in your brain telling you “You’re the one who can make this happen.” You need to have faith in yourself and your talents. However, an unrestrained ego can be a negative influence. It could prevent you from acknowledging that you need to learn anything or convince you not to think about your areas for improvement. It can prevent you from speaking up or seizing an opportunity when it manifests.

A touch of humility is necessary for a great leader to run a business; a touch of humility makes people and your employees want to work with you. A company is made up of different people with different personalities and cultures and therefore a touch of humility can be the gel that blends the differences apart towards a common goal and target. People will listen, trust and commit more through the influence of your humility. Humility promotes better listening, increased collaboration, and more compassionate leadership. It fosters greater authenticity and a constant desire to learn. These characteristics result in better outcomes for both leaders and their teams. Leaders who are humble are not afraid to make mistakes.

A CEO wields enormous power over any company that they control. If your reputation as a leader is tarnished, the company will almost certainly suffer. A strong, consistent approach from the CEO or Director, on the other hand, can have a positive effect on a company. As much as the employees represent the company, the leader’s reputation is crucial to the company. Workers and prospective clients may avoid working with a leader who has a bad reputation in the industry. Employees may begin to leave the company if the leader develops a bad reputation and negatively represents the company and its people. According to research, a CEO’s reputation is a fundamental driver of corporate reputation and has a consistent impact on market value; nearly half of a company’s value is attributable to its CEO. Simple soft skills such as honesty, integrity, and a positive personality all contribute significantly to a CEO’s reputation.

Social Media:
As a CEO, knowing how to use social media can be a great quality and an opportunity to present yourself and your company in a positive light. Sharing posts about the company, projects completed, new hires, and press or news. Social media usage by CEO’s is also a great way to humanize the company by putting a face and a name behind the brand. You can also communicate with your stakeholders through social media. You can use social media to engage not only with employees, but also with other stakeholders such as board members. The usage adds on a great reputation for a leader and the company they represent. Social Media builds a culture that respects the viewpoints of others, and promotes engagement. Social Media will not only promote business and sales, Social Media also promotes influence and a following towards your leadership beyond the industry.

Innovation and Strategy in the Healthcare Sector from a CX Perspective

In a world that cannot remember anything BCBefore COVID – it is critical that we don’t get left behind in the strategic development of our infrastructure and support from Business to Customer.

The truth is that businesses and employees have to become a lot more agile in thinking and execution on how business should be best conducted in this New World Thinking.

COVID has forced an accelerated performance in the IT sector of all business Capabilities – Healthcare is no exception.

No Touch – This is not just a recommendation or preference of Introverts – It has become Mandatory and Law in many instances.  It has also been a massive catalyst in Technology Growth and Development in Industry – Both Private and Public Sectors.

How have companies adapted to this? Can this be sustained? What is the future of CX and Technology for Strategic innovation?

Companies for many years refused to allow their people to work remotely in many business contexts that suited this requirement for fear of the negative impacts on the business – Employees have begged for this change for years but never saw the possibilities of this Dream ever coming to fruition – The more they hoped – they more they knew it may never happen.

Covid changed that – Today more and more people are begging for the opportunity to go back to the office – to interact with people but to also have a better work-life Balance – Between work from home and Work from Office.  Employers have come to the party also showing their dedication and support to the business requirements in many cases, indicating that they can be more productive in instances to sustain this changed thinking, forcing employers to better trust their employees.

Customers – Have in many cases seen the benefits of a more focussed and dedicated workforce but have also been a little more tolerant and patient toward companies going through this transition.  Sadly some companies have exploited customers trust by using it as an excuse to deliver Mediocre Service.  (Please note that many of our teams are currently working from home due to Covid Protocols) This too needs to adapt quicker.

Technology – For years we felt that IT infrastructure was not capable of supporting this work from home initiative and we felt that this may be too advanced for our ageing customer base or … – We had many excuses to not execute an innovative IT solution.

Today, we have all adapted – Customer, Employee and Companies.  The customer demanded that we interact with him in a manner that reduces his personal risk – More Virtual touchpoints have been introduced in a manner that is easy to interact – Not requiring the customer to have an IT Degree to interact with our on-line platforms or our Call centres etc.

Case Study – Healthcare – Philips Middle East, Turkey and Africa

We have implemented a No Touch but Customer First Solution across our region that has many touch points that focus on making virtual solutions easy to access and quick to resolve.

We currently resolve any system issue in our Healthcare portfolio with the First Access point of Virtual Touch points and Customer First mindsets to the extent that more than 45% of all issues are resolved for Hospitals Remotely – Without any visit, reducing exposure to Healthcare workers and Patients as part of our Customer First Strategy.  Using Key innovation criteria in supporting software to also proactively resolve something, using key Algorithms to fix a problem that the customer may not even be aware of.

COVID has been tough on everyone – Some of The only benefits we have seen is that there has been a larger Global concern for people’s lives.  Doing everything possible to protect people.  Creating innovative Customer, Patient, Employee and Employer solutions to ensure that life on this planet becomes more sustainable.

More Global Organizations will continue to look at this kind of Innovation that will keep them relevant in the Future.  Reducing Carbon Footprint and creating a more Circular Economy has also become the topic for Driving Innovative change to ensure that we have a future.  Hopefully, this becomes the generation that never forgets or never becomes complacent again – Taking for granted that life will evolve, someone else will be instrumental in developing our systems to support customers better.  This is now all of our responsibilities – We need to see that if we don’t own it – Someone else will own us.

Richard Chetty

Operations LeaderAfrica, Middle East & Turkey, Philips Healthcare
Keynote Speaker and Panelist

Disclaimer: The above represents the personal views and thoughts of Richard Chetty and is not necessary the views of Philips Healthcare.

Standing for Truth.

Leadership of astonishing courage and unquestionable integrity – fully committed to upholding, respecting and protecting our Constitutional principles of social justice, democratic values and fundamental human rights. Leadership that will deliver on the promise even though we are currently in a perilous state, civilisation is on a path to self destruction and where extreme poverty lives side by side with obscene affluence, bad outcomes live side by side with good outcomes, disease lives side by side with wellbeing and competition lives side by side with collaboration. It is self evident that the current economic model is hopelessly outdated where the system does not recognise the creation of any other value except economic value. What is needed now is deep structural transformation to deal decisively with most people’s lived experiences in order to better inform agreements to change outcomes. We must create a much better society where the workforce is treating as family members by companies that are socially minded and environmentally aware. Even though South Africa has been a one-party dominant state since the dawn of democracy in 1994, the share of the vote won by the African National Congress (ANC) has been gradually declining and it has been apparent for a while that it is dropping towards the all-important 50 percent mark. We now hold the world record for the most unequal society, with the highest unemployment, highest SME failure rate and worst educational outcomes.

Leadership presupposes followership – leadership can only occur if there is followership – without followers and following behaviours there would be no leadership!  Followership is the actions of someone in a subordinate role. It can also be considered as a specific set of skills that complement leadership – a role within a hierarchical organisation, a social construct that is integral to the leadership process, or the behaviors engaged in while interacting with leaders in an effort to meet organisational objectives. As such, followership is best defined as an intentional practice on the part of the subordinate to enhance the synergetic interchange between the follower and the leader. In organisations, “leadership is not just done by the leader, and followership is not just done by followers.” This perspective suggests that leadership and followership do not operate on one continuum, with one decreasing while the other increases. Rather, each dimension exists as a discrete dimension, albeit with some shared competencies.

The role of a follower is not a simple one. It doesn’t just mean following directions or blindly accepting everything a leader says. Good followership is characterized by active participation in the pursuit of organisational goals. In many cases, this means working independently, being accountable for your actions, and taking ownership of necessary tasks. The catch is that it’s common for followers to not be recognized for their accomplishments in these areas, even though they are essential to the success of the organization. Although it can feel like a thankless role, many followers take great satisfaction in the work they do and embrace followership. More recently, there has been increasing focus on how followers shape, define and co-create leadership and leaders’ actions and identity, recognising that all individuals, both in senior and more junior positions, move around the leadership ‘triad’ of using leadership, management and followership skills according to the situation, environment or position they find themselves in at any one time. The ‘dance of leadership and followership’ involves being able to step up to take leadership when needed (which may be ‘small “l” leadership’,8 such as leading on a task), to recognise how and when to follow a leader and to acknowledge that leadership may be distributed and rotating, not necessarily vested in one individual.

It is much more about energy which is infinite than power which is finite. Pretty much like a sailboat than a speed boat. It is about a cause that is much greater than oneself. It is not about self but the other-centred. Anybody that feels called upon to lead is a leader. It has nothing to do with one’s title nor corner office nor the C-Suite. Whilst management is about what happens when you are there, leadership is about what happens when you are not. It is when your colleagues choose to follow, not because they have to. When one gets it right, your colleagues will jump over the cliff for you. The link between leadership, management and enterprise performance is widely understood and accepted.  Improving leadership improves management and raises the probabilities of better performance.  That boards often change leaders when enterprises are slipping confirms the importance placed on leadership.

The flip side of leadership is followership.  It stands to reason that if leadership is important to performance, followership must have something to do with it too.  But curiously, followership gets only a small fraction of the airtime that leadership does.

Followership is a straightforward concept.  It is the ability to take direction well, to get in line behind a program, to be part of a team and to deliver on what is expected of you.  It gets a bit of a bad rap!  How well the followers follow is probably just as important to enterprise success as how well the leaders lead. The label “excellent follower” can be a backhanded compliment.  It is not a reputation you necessarily want if you are seeking higher corporate office.  There is something of a stigma to followership skills.  Pity because the practical reality is one does not reach progressively more responsible leadership positions without demonstrating an ability to follow and function effectively in a group.  The fact is that in organizations everybody is both a leader and a follower depending on the circumstances which just adds to the paradox of the followership stigma. Followership problems manifest themselves in a poor work ethic, bad morale, distraction from goals, unsatisfied customers, lost opportunities, high costs, product quality issues and weak competitiveness.  At the extreme, weak leadership and weak followership are two sides of the same coin and the consequence is always the same:  organizational confusion and poor performance.

Good followers, like great leaders have a number of qualities, namely, a  compelling vision, courage, integrity, judgement, work ethic, competence, discretion and an  extraordinary ability to manage their own ego.

Joy is not in things, it is in us!

Business Contigence & Continuance: More than an Academic Concept!

We always said that change is inevitable. The question remains; did we grow through the change?

The is no “new normal”, we are just in the next cycle of the business evolution, prompted by a pandemic.

HR assuming its rightful place

For as long as we can remember, the HR community, by its own failure bought into the notion that it should earn its place at the boardroom table. Nothing has ever been more inaccurate. HR always had a seat an equal voice at the table, just not exercised confidently.

The pandemic has moved HR from the periphery of the table to the centre of the table; now the right hand of the CEO.  How HR conducted itself during the pandemic and how its continues to exercise its role going forward will determine whether or not this prized place is maintained. Herein lies a great opportunity for any HR Professional.

It would be prudent for the HR community to align, to network, to dialogue and use the information gathered to chart the way into the future, holding firmly at the wheel with the CEO as organizations are steered into the space which we looking forward to calling “beyond the pandemic”

Linking to Digital

At the advent of 4IR, many organization continue to struggle to be at the forefront of technology which is having all kinds of effects on business. The ripples of this uneasy state is starting to intimidate processes such as attraction, retention, talent management and succession planning.

Technology and digital are topics that dominated leadership agendas as well at forums and conferences mainly driven by undertones of fear due to lack of focus and readiness.

As airports shut down and the FastTrack queues emptied, business found themselves forced into the FastTrack lane of engaging technology to ensure their survival.

18 months down the line and in review, business can pat themselves on the shoulder for embracing the challenge. This challenge not only mitigated the now, but also evoked creativity seeing the evolution of business models.

The mental state of employees

Sometimes we need to be careful what we wish for. With joyous expectation employees plunged into the longed for work from home privilege. Nobody paid attention to the extended timeframes of the pandemic and in some instances the joy was short-lived.

The novelty of working from the bed in “pjs”, soon left people feeling imprisoned in their own homes.  Balance is important and in a blink it was gone.

Human being are social creatures. Whether we claim to affiliate with being introverts or extroverts; the reality is that we thrive of the energy of other human beings, consciously or otherwise.  Work from home proved a feasible concept, but at a huge cost without striking the right balance and this is edified in the reports highlighting the increasing number of staff engaging the employee assistance programs for psychological intervention.

Human Resources has a huge task in ensuring that the “work from home” concept is properly regulated, including ensuring that employees have the right tools and space to function optimally at home, remaining cognizant that we exist on a developing content where access to basic services, adequate housing and high rates of unemployment which impact the economy; continue to plague us.  

This lends to the effectiveness of business continuance plans and determines what the future of work will look like. Will we hobble, because we unprepared and therefore have to regress to old ways or will we walk steadily into the modern era.

The burning topic of employee engagement and the shape it will take, given the shift in operating models, remains to be unpacked. Much opportunity for out-of-the-box creativity here!

A glimpse into the future

The world of work as we knew it 18 months ago is a bleak memory. EVERYTHING shifted.

Organisational hierarchies, remuneration philosophies, conditions of employment and contractual terms, job levels, job grades, employment categories, etc, all have shifted. Some obsolete now or in future, whilst others require to be reinvented.

Talent pools and the building of skill clusters will become the order of the day. The ability to effectively and efficiently flow skill to where it is required will become the order of the day. An increase in project type work is anticipated and location will become irrelevant. The traditional HR model is outdated and under threat to be extinct soon!

Dr. Zain Reddiar
HR Director Africa, SAMSUNG
Keynote Speaker & Panelist

Disclaimer: The above represents the personal views and thoughts of Dr Reddiar and is not necessary the thinking of SAMSUNG.

Submit your note of interest for our executive search services.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive updates, promotions, and sneak peaks of upcoming products. Plus 20% off your next order.

Promotion nulla vitae elit libero a pharetra augue