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An inclusive community challenging one another to #BeBoldForChange in Alberta's Workplaces
An annual report, ​​​
The Best and Worst Places to be a Woman in Canada 2016 
ranked Edmonton and Calgary
22nd and 23rd, respectively, 
out of the 25 largest cities in Canada.

​We know we can do better!

Will you accept this month's challenge? 
Thank you!​​​​​​​
Thank you to everyone who participated in the June Works for Women Alberta Challenge and celebrated organizations who are using the strategy of flexible work. We hope this challenge inspired you to continue to support and empower female leadership in Alberta. 
The month of June also saw Works for Women learning they were an award recipient for ​​​Canada 150in150; a project designed to showcase Albertans’ ideas, experiences and stories. Works for Women was honoured in the category of Community – Heritage & Culture and our commitment to the development of diverse cultural communities. Stories in this category explored, celebrated, and built upon as we express and build on collective aspirations for the diversity and inclusiveness of our cultural communities and Works for Women is truly honoured to have been an award recipient for their work to accelerate progress for women in the workplace. Now to share our summer challenge with you.

Works for Women Alberta – September Challenge

For the month of September, we are challenging the Works for Women networks to actively seek mentorship and sponsorship from either existing relationships, or build new ones. We know that the landscape is changing and while mentorship is important, the identification of a sponsor for your continued success is paramount. Relationships are an important aspect of any work culture. Cultivating a strong network and ensuring you have advocates are critical steps for advancement and development—especially for women, who are often left out of more informal activities. Nearly two-thirds of men say that the senior leaders who have helped them advance were mostly men, compared to just over one-third of women.

Catalyst  research has found that while mentoring is essential to leadership development, it is not enough, on its own, to help women advance. Their research points to a more influential professional relationship: sponsorship. Mentorship and sponsorship are not equal. The power of sponsorship, and the reason it is critical to career advancement, is that a sponsor uses strong influence to help his or her protégé access highly visible assignments and promotions. Sponsors take active risk to ensure their protégés’ success. Over time mentors can develop into sponsors who use their status and influence to create opportunities and make connections for you. Before your mentor will sponsor you, they need to trust that you are reliable and a bet worth making. To build trust, always follow through on what you say you’re going to do and always do your very best work. When you’re consistent over time, you build valuable trust with your mentor – and your coworkers. Mentorship relationships start with a mutual connection – and mentors often select protégés based on their performance and potential.

We can mentor other women at any stage in our careers, and it pays off when we do. Women who are mentored by women feel more supported and re often more satisfied with their career. If you’re farther along in your career, pay it forward by investing in a woman just starting out. And if you are early in your career, find a woman who’s coming up behind you or a student who’s interested in your field. Don’t underestimate the value of your input – you may have just been through what she’s experiencing. Mentoring is a two-way street, and value can be found by both individuals.

To join the challenge, simply:

  1. Identify someone you would you would like to either mentor/sponsor, or be a mentee/sponsoree of and start a conversation
  2. Share your new-found relationship on social media and broaden our reach using the hashtags: #WorksForWomenAB #BeBoldForChange
  3. Connect with others in your network and encourage them to join our community and identify a mentor/sponsor, or be a mentee/sponsoree of their own

Taking a page from  #GoSponsorHer , as you start to build your mentor/mentee, or sponsor/sponsoree relationship. Considerations for organizations also looking to develop their own internal programs include:

For Mentors and Sponsors 
  • Look broadly through your network, not just a those in your organization or your immediate professional circle
  • Pay attention to the full range of high-performing talent in your organization
  • Choose someone whose strengths and development goals you understand and whose career you have been following
  • Consider ways that you might be willing to ‘go the extra mile’ to support your Sponsoree’s career e.g., introducing them to your most respected peers – if this seems like a stretch, you might not be the right Sponsor for this person

For Mentees and Sponsorees 
  • Earn your sponsorship – work hard and seek visibility
  • Start with leaders in your networks whom you already consider a mentor
  • Prepare an ‘elevator pitch’ that outlines time commitment and what you bring to the table
  • Over time, build multiple sponsorship relationships to ensure you are being exposed to different points of view
  • Consider using #GoSponsorHer to break the ice – “I would to participate in this with you as my sponsor, what do you think”

For organizations
  • Set goals and targets – be specific on your goals for sponsorship and what you are trying to achieve (e.g., get more women to VP and C-suite roles; increase female retention)
  • Assign an owner/team – For example, an Executive sponsor to champion the effort and support from your communications team
  • Set the tone from the top and engage key influencers – Kick-off with C-suite level participation (ideally the CEO), and challenge company influencers to build momentum and act as role models
  • Develop a structure for continued success – For example, host a kick-off workshop and other events to help Sponsors and Sponsorees connect
  • Measure and track – Regularly track progress, and seek qualitative and quantitative feedback

Upcoming Community Events

You can also join Works for Women on Wednesday, September 27 at The Glass Cliff…Women, Leadership, Life and Flow. This event is geared towards organizations and individuals who understand the importance of having strong women leaders in our community and will continue the conversation that is being held in corporate boardrooms, throughout non-profit organizations, in political arenas and over coffee with coaches and mentors.

To find more information, check out:  http://globalwomanofvision.com/ .

We also encourage you to the Women’s Leadership Roadblocks webinar on September 19, where you will learn how to overcome common roadblocks for women in leadership, gain empowerment and confidence in your current role, build confidence in leading strategy, vision and risk, and build an executive personal brand.

Join the ​#WorksForWomenAB Community!
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Each month, we'll initiate a new workplace challenge to spark dialogue, build awareness, and inspire action!  ​​

Leverage resources, experts, and a supportive community to accelerate progress for women in your workplace.

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