Attracting, Developing, and Retaining Female Leaders Working Group | Hosted by BAE Systems | June 27, 2017 | London, UK (WAIT LISTED)

Tuesday | June 27, 2017


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LOCATION:  BAE Systems | Stirling Square, 6 Carlton Gardens | London SW1Y5AD UK


If your company is like most other large companies, it has probably been working hard to increase diversity in senior management for years. Although you may have had some success, you may also be looking for new solutions that can speed your progress. In recent years, companies have turned to sponsorship programs as a possible solution, and there is some emerging evidence about the potential effectiveness of these programs.  Research from the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), for example, shows that women who have sponsors make more requests for high-visibility projects, feel they are progressing in their careers, and are more likely to continue working after having children.  Additionally, a number of female executives have publicly attributed their success to opportunities created by their sponsors. Given the anecdotal support for its potential impact, it is not surprising that many companies continue to have questions about sponsorship.

Some of the topics we plan to cover in this session include:
  • Sponsors versus mentors: How are you distinguishing between mentors and sponsors?  (Advocacy?  Taking risks?  Accountability for outcomes?)
  • Formal versus informal sponsorship: What have been your experiences with formal versus informal sponsorship?  Is a formal program necessary for ensuring that all high-potential protégés receive sponsorship?  Are formally assigned sponsors equally effective as informal ones?  If you use formal sponsorship, how do you identify potential sponsors and protégés, and what factors do you consider in the matching process?
  • Program design: What strategies have been particularly effective, and how do you know? What are some of the unanticipated challenges that you have faced? If executives are assigned as sponsors to high-potential protégés, what are the expectations for what they will do as sponsors? What mechanisms are in place to optimize the effectiveness of sponsorship relationships?
  • Development Opportunities:  To complement sponsorship, how have companies been identifying key developmental opportunities to build critical capabilities and processes for matching high potential female leaders to those opportunities?
  • Best practices:  What other innovative practices have companies put in place to increase the acceleration of the development of female leaders?

The ideal attendees at this meeting would be HR leaders with responsibility for Diversity & Inclusion and/or Talent Management.  In preparation for the meeting, please reflect on the questions above, and also bring other questions that you may have and want to explore with the group. As with all of our working groups, the design of this session is an open discussion on these topics and other questions of interest moderated by Cornell Faculty experts.


This working group will run from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM with a continental breakfast and working lunch.  The session is free of charge to CAHRS partner firms, but participation is limited to no more than twenty attendees.


Cornell Discussion Leader:

Chris Collins
is Associate Director of Human Resource Studies and Director for the Cornell Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS), ILR School, Cornell University.


Hotel Recommendations:

Haymarket Hotel
, 1 Suffolk Place, London

Radisson Blue Edwardian Hampshire
, 31-36 Leicester Square, London

The Cavendish London
, SW181 Jermyn Street, London

Royal Horseguards and One Whitehall Place
, 2 Whitehall Court, London

St. James Court
, A Taj Hotel, Buckingham Gate 45-51, London





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