Lara Hogan on the difference between sponsorship and mentorship 💬

When privileged people begin to see the systems of bias and privilege, their first instinct typically is to mentor those who haven’t benefited from the same privilege. This is understandable—they want to help those who are marginalized grow, get promoted, or become better engineers, to help balance out the inequity that pervades our industry.

But at its core, this instinct to mentor plays into the idea that those who are marginalized aren’t already skilled enough, smart enough, or ready for more responsibility or leadership.

What members of underrepresented groups in tech often need most is opportunity and visibility, not advice. They have to work extremely hard and be extremely good at what they do to combat the systemic privilege and unconscious bias at play in our work environments. They are consistently under-promoted and under-compensated for this work, even though it’s excellent work.