MCRC@ADVIS DEI Conference: 10/11/19
Sponsoring Women and People of Color to Senior Leadership
Intermediate: Assumes some familiarity with or exposure to core content
Organizational Development & Institutional Change for Equity and Inclusion
Session repeats - Round 1 & 2
Thu-Nga Morris, Assistant Head of School and Director of Academics, St. Edmund's Academy
Independent schools have sought to expand senior leadership positions to women and people of color. Despite these efforts, the percentage of women and people of color in headships has remained relatively constant for the past two decades. Now more than ever schools have a responsibility to create and sustain leadership that closely mirrors the diverse composition of their student populations. Sponsorship, broadly defined as the act of advocating for and promoting a high performer in a professional network, is one strategy that could help aspiring leaders overcome gender and racial barriers in the workplace. This session will present perspectives on the sponsorship experiences of heads of school and explore how it has influenced the advancement of women and people of color to senior leadership positions. The workshop will also help to build participants' understanding of career sponsorship and the opportunities it can create for aspiring school leaders.
Research on the career mobility of school leaders has often focused on identifying barriers that women, people of color, and/or people of difference experience in the workplace. This session seeks to unearth and demystify one strategy that could help aspiring school leaders to overcome these barriers. The workshop will draw from groundbreaking research on the influence of career sponsorship on the advancement of independent school heads and, importantly, offer a framework for sponsorship and how it affects our relationships in a network.
Participants will learn how sponsorship is defined and how it is distinguished from mentorship. Additionally, participants will leave with a better understanding of the social and political dynamics of sponsorship and the ways in which they can position themselves to be successfully sponsored by people in positions of power or to be effective sponsors of aspiring school leaders.
is a longtime educator who has worked as a science teacher, dean, and administrator in independent schools on the east coast. An advocate for diversifying the many faces of leadership, Thu-Nga is committed to creating equitable school communities in which underrepresented people can thrive and lead effectively. She is completing a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and is the Assistant Head of School and Director of Academics at St. Edmund's Academy in Pittsburgh, PA.
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