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  • Writer's pictureDr. Juhanna Rogers, PH.D

The Power of Mentorship to Advance Women in Leadership

Updated: Apr 18, 2022

According to the Pew Research Center, 2019 marked the year that women became the majority of the college-educated labor force. Indeed, women are filling more executive roles, but to date, only 6% of Fortune 500 companies have a woman as CEO. There is a commonality among those women who made it to the executive level: they all had mentors. Mentorship is the key to moving up the leadership ladder and is vital for business growth.

Research by DDI, a global leadership consulting firm focused on helping organizations hire, promote, and develop exceptional leaders surveyed more than 318 businesswomen from 19 countries and 30 industries and found:

  • 63% of women have never had a formal mentor.

  • 56% of organizations have a formal program for mentoring.

  • 3 out of 4 women who work for a company with a formal mentoring program reported they always accept mentoring opportunities.

There have been strides in the advancement of women, but women still battle inequities in the workplace like pay gaps, advancement barriers and family-life imbalance that encompass political, socio-economic, and cultural domains systemically embedded in our society. Mentorship can play an integral role in helping women overcome these challenges. Think about your company and how it enables and supports mentoring women in the workplace. If you have yet to develop a mentoring program within your organizations, consider the reasons why it’s time to do so. Mentorship is not only valuable for women in leadership, but for all professionals. Mentors provide guidance on career navigation, skill development and support, which ultimately improves an employee’s sense of self, determination and capabilities to succeed in their roles.

In my role as Vice President of Racial Equity and Social Impact (RESI), I know how critical it is to serve as a mentor from the array of mentors I’ve had throughout my life and career. Within the RESI division, we’ve created programs that focus on mentorship, like our Generation Next initiative that is designed to empower, support and showcase the talented younger and underrepresented professionals in Upstate New York. One initiative that I’m very proud of is the Tech and Culture Speaker Series, which we started in 2021, to place more emphasis on the representation of professionals of color and women in the tech industry.

Our upcoming Racial Equity and Social Impact Leadership Session panel on March 17, Advancing Female Leaders: The Power of Mentorship, sponsored by Berkshire Bank, highlights dynamic women professionals in leadership that advanced through support efforts like mentorship. Please tune in to continue this conversation on the importance of mentorship for women leaders.

-Dr. J.

Dr. Juhanna Rogers is vice president of Racial Equity and Social Impact at CenterState CEO. Contact Dr. Rogers at to learn more about racial equity and social impact initiatives, DEI training courses and consultation services available through CenterState CEO.

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