Sponsorship for Inclusion : a two-part online workshop

A two-part workshop hosted in real-time, online via Teams, which will help to equip all members of staff to take control of their networks and relationships with senior leaders, enhance their career progress and success by awaking them to the nature and power of inclusive sponsorship.

The programme is facilitated by The Reverse Mentoring Practice

The programme entails two 90-minute workshops, held online on:

Wednesday 24 April 2024, 12pm - 1.30pm & Monday 3 June 2024, 10.00am - 11.30am

Attendance at both workshops is required.

Who is it for?

It is ideal for anyone about to transition into a new role or who just transitioned into a new role. Or someone ready for their next career challenge.

The programme targets members of staff from all levels, especially those who consider themselves members of groups underrepresented in the leadership of the University and wider higher education sector.

Participants: Staff from groups under-represented in the leadership. We welcome staff from Academic, Professional, Administrative and Operational backgrounds/areas.


Despite staff and student population in Higher Education institutions becoming increasingly more diverse in terms of gender, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity and other protected characteristics, Universities’ senior leadership, top roles and professoriate continue to not sufficiently reflect the population it serves or their workforce.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that having a career sponsor is a critical component of professional advancement and career success. And while many organisations traditionally continue to place higher emphasis on mentoring programmes, research continues to prove that sponsorship is more effective when it comes to ensuring better career outcomes, and in the efforts to break barriers for career progression, in particular for staff from historically underrepresented groups.

The workshop follows a workshop conducted earlier this year with individuals in positions of influence at the University of Edinburgh. In the first part of the programme, leaders reflected on how they could approach sponsorship vis a vis equity in their effort to create a new infrastructure for equitably supporting a more diverse group of individuals. They also worked on an action plan towards more transparent practices for leadership opportunities.

What will be covered?

This second part of the programme lasts 4 weeks and will introduce participants to an intentional framework for more inclusive sponsorship. We’ll be combining two workshops, an introspection interlude and a series of activities aimed to support, challenge and equip members of staff to become active in the process of finding a sponsor and advocate for themselves as well as for democratising sponsorship in our higher education institutions.

Participants and future sponsees will have the opportunity to strategise about how they can apply the framework to:

  • Deconstruct their existing professional networks and circles of influence and consider the benefits of intentionally and strategically diversifying them.
  • Influence upwards and invoke sponsorship from their managers and other organisational influencers.
  • Actively work in getting the sponsorship they require who can vouch for their capacity and advocate for them in those spaces they cannot easily access.
  • Analyse how current rituals and patterns of traditional networking, mentorship and sponsorship perpetuate disadvantage and continue to replicate the monolithic leadership we currently see in higher education.
  • Strategise and generate a plan for personal action.  

What will the programme involve?

4 weeks split in two 90-minutes virtual sessions + reflection and activities

Workshop 1: Making Organisational Sponsorship Work for You

Duration: 90 minutes

Format: online interactive group workshop via Teams

Interlude: Independent Introspection, Analysis and Deconstruction

Duration: 4 weeks

Format: self-directed

Workshop 2: Reflection and Strategising

Duration: 90 minutes

Format: online interactive group workshop via Teams

How can I participate?

Visit MyED (EASE Log on required) / Training and Event Booking, search for 'Sponsorship for Inclusion' and choose the 'Book now' option.

Please note that you once you book, you will be sent two Outlook diary online Teams meeting requests.

Any queries: please contact equalitydiversity@ed.ac.uk

Infographic Sponsorship for Inclusion Workshop