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Ida Abbott Consulting LLC

The purpose of a Breakfast for Champions, which derives from my book, Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know, is to get more men engaged in sponsoring women for partnership, leadership and career advancement. It is well established that sponsorship is critical for advancement in firms and organizations. Most powerful people who are positioned to be sponsors are men, and most men sponsor other men. While most male leaders genuinely support policies and programs for women, they often overlook or avoid women for sponsorship. The reasons for this include discomfort due to perceived complexities in opposite-sex relationships, unconscious gender bias, and concerns about jealous spouses, office gossip, and allegations of harassment. Women talk with each other about these issues through women's initiatives, conferences, and other activities, but men do not have the same forums, nor is the issue of women's advancement generally a top-of-mind topic for them. We need to bring men into the conversation, inform and encourage them, and get them involved on a personal level by sponsoring more women. 

A Breakfast for Champions is designed to do this. Invitations are sent to men and women, and women are encouraged to invite men who are, should be or want to be sponsors for women. The objectives of the Breakfast are to:

  • Honor men who have successfully sponsored women
  • Highlight the importance of sponsorship for women
  • Distinguish sponsorship from mentorship
  • Make men comfortable discussing any concerns they may have about sponsoring women
  • Educate men about how to manage and overcome those concerns 
  • Present examples and role models of successful male sponsors
  • Offer specific, concrete steps and strategies for sponsoring women

Here is a descriptive outline of a Breakfast for Champions:

8:00Registration and breakfast
8:30Introduction: What Sponsorship is and why it matters that men sponsor more women

Recognition of Champions - For 2-3 pairs of women and men (although the honored sponsors may be women):

  • A woman reads 2-3 paragraphs about how the man she wants to recognize helped advance her career 
  • I ask the man a few questions based on what the woman wrote about him
  • I summarize a few key learning points from my book based on what the woman and sponsor experienced together and said to the group
  • We move on to the next woman and sponsor
9:10Brainstorm at tables on ways to get more men personally engaged in sponsoring women, with quick reports back to the group 
9:25  Summarize 
9:30   Conclude

This outline is flexible and can be modified for particular audiences in any type of firm or organization.

If we have additional time, the program can also include a more structured presentation on sponsorship principles, best practices and pertinent topics such as unconscious bias.

A Breakfast for Champions is a fun and energetic way to get across important points and encourage men to step up for women. In addition, we offer workshops, seminars and webinars on sponsorship that contain more substantive content, including some that are designed specifically for men.

If your firm or organization would like to host a Breakfast for Champions or another event about sponsorship, please contact me. And feel free to pass this information along to any groups or professional associations that might be interested.