How Did They Get There? What Perspectives From the Top Tell Us About Developing Women Leaders in Academic Anesthesiology

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This editorial focuses on the concept of sponsorship in academic medicine as raised in the above study [Basile et al, 2023] and reflects on how effective sponsorship can be promulgated at personal, institutional and professional society levels.

Trainees and early career faculty:

  • Recognise the importance of sponsorship in career progression
  • Recognise that not all mentors can be sponsors
  • Be prepared for spontaneous self-promotion opportunities
  • Adhere to terms of sponsorship agreements
  • Seek opportunities to sponsor junior colleagues and mentees

Sponsors and potential sponsors:

  • Consider sponsorship a fundamental leadership action
  • Identify departmental, institutional or professional society needs as opportunities for sponsorship
  • Intentionally pair protégés with specific opportunities
  • Set clear expectations for sponsorship
  • Commit funding to support sponsorship
  • Understand that sponsored opportunities may require ongoing support of longitudinal mentorship
  • Share successful sponsorship opportunities with colleagues

Professional societies:

  • Offer specific opportunities for early career participation in society and conference activities
  • Use society platforms to sponsor early career members and to highlight the work of effective mentors and sponsors
  • Develop speakers bureaus or other platforms to endorse and facilitate self-promotion by early career members
  • Set policies to ensure representation in underrepresented groups in society activities
  • Accept self-nominations as an avenue for advancement for members without access to effective sponsors
  • Ensure that organisational structures provide opportunities for career advancement

Reviewed by Susan Hale