“One kind of ally is a sponsor. I speak a lot about how sponsors are critical to help push your career forward. I’m the Founder of #GoSponsorHer, a campaign for leaders to play an active and intentional role in the success of high-potential women. I’ve personally been inspired and supported by many strong sponsors — both men and women — I’ve had in my career at McKinsey and at integrate.ai.
Today I want to focus less on my sponsors and more on a different kind of ally in my life, in fact the most important ally in my life who supports every step of the work I do – my fiancée, Mike. We had the benefit of starting our relationship together, on equal footing, at university. We were both highly ambitious students, majoring in business and supporting each other through interviews. He went into investment banking, I went into consulting; first as interns and then full-time.
Early in our relationship we experienced the extremes of one partner having significant demands at work. We first went through it as Mike worked his job in investment banking; though the hours I put in at my consulting firm were high they were not as crazy as his so I did more of ‘the lift’ in our personal lives — making sure our lives together ran smoothly in every other element besides career.
Then we experienced a shift: Mike made a career change that gave him more time and flexibility and I got promoted at McKinsey making me busier than ever. Accordingly, Mike started taking on the role of doing more of the lift at home. It has just always worked that way with us; we are very clear on where we both are in a given week, month or year in terms of demands on our time and energy in order to make the rest of our lives work. We take turns.
We’re both good at knowing what the other needs, whether it’s a pep talk, and/or sympathy. Hopefully that is what a good sponsor or mentor also does for you: they know when you need a kick in the pants, or, a little bit of sympathy… I think a relationship should do the same… though we humans tend to be less good at doing that for people we love: we tend to over-index toward sympathy or tough love.
Mike and I together maintain two killer careers, a network of family and friends and a house. All of those things contribute to a huge pie. Sharing the pie 50/50 is tricky given that the proportions are always shifting and someone always ends up needing to do more of the grunt work at any given time. Mike and I are explicit about those shifts and explicit about who is taking the lead on the Homefront at any given time. It’s been amazing to have a partner who is, quite frankly, willing to do that, because you look at the research and it always says that no matter who has the successful career, the woman is doing more at home. If we are going to make real change, we have to allow men to change too — they needn’t carry the traditional pressures being the sole partner with a career.
If we are going to level the playing field, our efforts in the corporate environment must extend to home life. I am so grateful to have found a partner like Mike who cares just as much about supporting my career and my passions as I do his.”
– Megan Anderson, Business Development Director, integrate.ai
Megan Anderson is the co-founder of #GoSponsorHer. a social campaign to accelerate the sponsorship of high-potential women in Canada and beyond. She created the project out of a deep desire to empower the next generation of Female CEOs and break the glass ceiling for good. #GoSponsorHer has enlisted an expansive network of both male and female allies who are sponsoring women at their organizations. If your your or organization would like to participate, please check out www.gosponsorher.com!