How Mentorship, Sponsorship & Allyship Drive Workplace DEI

Posted On May 4, 2021

Research shows that when individuals who identify as men are deliberately engaged in gender inclusion programs, 96% of individuals who identify as women in those organizations perceive real progress in gender equality, compared with only 30% of those in organizations without this engagement.

Camber is committed to instilling an equitable and inclusive culture of mentoring and sponsorship across the Outdoor Recreation Economy. Our signature Ann Krcik Professional Mentoring Program has evolved to better equip participants to be workplace DEI leaders in today’s corporate environment. However, the mentoring landscape is unequal.

In May and June of 2021, Camber will launch the Men as Allies Mentor Ally pilot program for a select number of senior leaders at our partner companies who identify as men.  This innovative, multi-faceted program will serve as another model for senior leader engagement in mentoring informed by diversity, equity, and inclusion.  The program will launch with a two-session / three-hour curriculum with certification, for a select 25 executives representing a variety of organizations. 

Although strong mentoring relationships have the capacity to transform individuals and entire organizations, evidence consistently shows that individuals who identify as women face more barriers in securing mentorships than those who identify as men, and when they do find a mentor, they may reap a narrower range of both career and psychological benefits. When individuals who identify as men lean into the roles of ally and mentor, demonstrating awareness, commitment, and humility, they are positioned to help level the playing field for others at work, encouraging colleagues to achieve their highest potential. 

Our trainers will consist of Dr. W. Brad Johnson, Ph.D. – Department of Leadership, Ethics & Law, United States Naval Academy and Dr. David G. Smith, Ph.D. – College of Leadership & Ethics, United States Naval War College 

Dr. Brad Johnson and Dr. David G. Smith’s training will provide practical, research-based strategies for how to be a male ally to women in the workplace. Employing firsthand accounts from both men and women, as well as tips for getting started, they show how men can partner with their female colleagues to advance women’s leadership and equality by breaking ingrained gender stereotypes, overcoming unconscious biases, developing and supporting talented women around them, and creating productive and respectful working relationships with women – especially in a post #MeToo world.

In their work with government agencies, and private corporations, whether the focus is on developing allyship and inclusive mentoring cultures, or addressing specific workplace issues, Brad and David find common themes when working with senior male leaders: Some senior leaders are threatened by gender diversity and see the workplace as a zero-sum game. Some are just not aware or don’t take seriously the challenges women face in the workplace. Others believe that gender equality has been achieved and don’t understand why this conversation is important. And still, others are aware of the challenges, understand the importance, yet don’t see that it is their place to take action or speak up.

The objectives of the Camber Men as Allies Mentor Ally pilot program are as follows:

  • Build mentoring fluency, intelligence, and awareness
  • Sharpen practical skills around mentoring, sponsoring, and collaborating effectively with individuals who identify as women
  • Equip individuals who identify as men to make allyship part of their individual leader brand, deliberately sponsoring talented individuals who identify as women for promotion and creating policies and procedures around hiring, pay, flexible work arrangements, promotion, and pay equity.
  • Focus on how the ally, mentor, and sponsor skills around gender also apply to other groups such as racial and ethnic minorities – particularly individuals with intersectional identities.

About the Ann Krcik Professional Mentoring Program
The program was founded in 2014 in order to create professional development support systems for women. In our current times of national reckoning with systemic racism and other forms of inequality and injustice, we have evolved our program to have a deeper emphasis on all facets of workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).  As a result of this shift, we received an unprecedented number of applications for 2021, a 400% increase from our historical average figure of 100. After a long judging process, your 2021 class stands 104  mentoring pairs strong (208 participants). We can only imagine Ann’s pride! 

In these incredibly challenging COVID times, mentoring is a crucial support as our participants navigate a variety of workplace changes. For our 2020 class, mentoring served as a professional anchor in the midst of particularly challenging times. Input from this class has informed the ways we have restructured the mentoring journey for this year. 

New goals include:

  • Placing deeper emphasis on workplace DEI in order to empower our program participants with the best tools and resources to support their professional growth and become a DEI champion equipped to foster inclusive, equitable, and diverse workplaces.
  • Addressing member needs that are uniquely tailored to navigate the pressing challenges of this point in time. Examples include tools to support:
    • The impact of the pandemic on professional development, including resources focused on “Creating an Inclusive and Productive Virtual Workplace.” 
    • The need for education on systemic racism and values-led workplaces, including resources focused on “Allyship Literacy.”
  • Building a strong mentor-mentee relationship more quickly through the Insights Discovery Survey tool and workshops that will kick-start the mentoring relationship and trust with a shared language and valuable insights.  
  • Nurturing the social cohesive fabric among mentees and across all mentees and all mentors. 

Click HERE to learn more about how mentoring, sponsorship, and allyship. Also, take a look at our Workplace Mentoring Must-Read List.

Olivia Omega

About Olivia Omega