People often ask about the difference between a sponsor and a mentor. This female entrepreneur and mentor offers her perspective on that question as well as what she thinks you should look for in a mentor.
“A mentor gives you day to day advice on how to navigate the corporate landscape; the sponsor gets you there. In a start-up environment it’s very important that your mentor is not the same person as your sponsor.
I had great sponsorship but I needed a mentor. I needed to understand the mechanics and have this laid out for me. The people who were laying it out for me were the people who were going to profit from me. Some mentors help guide you through your life in general. I think that’s typically what people pick. They provide balance and can show you how to advance in your career. But make sure you have someone on your team who knows the hard stuff, whether it’s finance or equity if you are in a start-up. If you’re an architect, find someone who can tell you something that you would never learn from anybody else. I would tell someone in their twenties to seek out someone who can actually help you with those hard things and help you lay out a plan.” – 40-something entrepreneur