My name is Anniken, and I am a business analyst in Oslo. In 2014, I participated in Next Generation Women Leaders (NGWL). Those three days were probably the most inspiring of my life. I heard new perspectives on women’s leadership that became important for my personal development.
One of the most powerful topics at NGWL was the difference between sponsorship and mentorship. Sponsors and mentors have the same goal: supporting you in achieving yours. They use different approaches to do so.
A mentor is a guide who offers you advice, helps you solve problems and make difficult decisions, and shares her or his experience with you to help you learn and grow.
A sponsor advocates for you when you need visibility, new opportunities, different contacts and connections, or a champion for your advancement.
At McKinsey, there is a strong culture for supporting and investing in each other’s development. I found my first mentor when I interned almost three years ago. We were team mates and she gave me countless time-saving PowerPoint and Excel tips. Later, I went back to her when I needed advice on my career journey. Our relationship grew stronger when I returned to a full-time position at McKinsey, and she supported me during a rough project. I had taken on too much responsibility and was working around the clock to deliver to the client. I was frustrated and felt totally unsuccessful. It was extremely helpful to talk to someone who could see everything from outside the situation. My mentor shared her experiences from a similar situation. Together, we figured out a plan for how I could better manage expectations to turn the situation into a fun learning experience. Over time, my mentor is becoming my sponsor. She is one of my biggest supporters and we are both seeking opportunities to work with each other again.
At NGWL, we discussed the fact that fewer business women than men have sponsors. I wanted to make a difference in this matter, so I joined the organizing team for this year’s event. I hope you will apply and find the event as important and inspiring as I did. I hope you will meet people who can guide you on your journey. Look for me there – perhaps we will be the next great team.
Interested in joining NGWL? Apply here.