Mentorship and Sponsorships — Richelle Webb Dixon

Talking Trends
3 min readApr 8, 2024
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In professional advancement, mentorship and sponsorship emerge as key elements that significantly influence career trajectories. While mentors actively provide guidance and share their knowledge, sponsors work behind the scenes, advocating for individuals when opportunities arise.

Richelle Webb Dixon, a leader in healthcare and an advocate for positive change, highlights the importance of recognizing and fostering these relationships. Her insights shed light on how both mentorship and sponsorship can be instrumental in overcoming barriers, particularly for those in underrepresented groups, leading to a more inclusive and successful professional environment.

I would not be where I am today without mentorship and sponsorship. A sponsor is an individual in your organization who uses their position to ensure opportunities ahead of you and support you in your journey. In contrast, a mentor is a person (within or outside your organization) who will lend you their expertise and assist your personal development.

The special thing about sponsors is that you may not know when you have one (while you definitely know when someone is mentoring you). A sponsor knows that you do excellent work and speaks your name in rooms you aren’t in, leading to opportunities that you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Without sponsorship, you may not have the right opportunities to advance in your career as quickly, especially for women or people of color in male- or white-dominated fields.

Mentorship is just as important — I continue to be mentored, and I mentor others. There are situations you won’t understand until somebody teaches you and helps you navigate. Mentors can stretch you, providing you advice and feedback, to help you understand your capabilities and progress in your professional journey.

My advice is: if you do the work and let it speak for itself, sponsors and mentors will follow. Trust that you will get where you need to be, and others will help you along the way.

About Richelle Webb Dixon: Committed to diversity and equality in healthcare and the workplace, Richelle Webb Dixon is a healthcare equality champion and compassionate leader. As a proven executive in the healthcare industry, Richelle has worked in a variety of settings- hospital operations, ambulatory care, community advocate, and medical education. All of her professional experiences, coupled with her will to bring about a positive change, allow Richelle to create a lasting impact in organizations she works with. She continues to work towards bringing healthcare diversity and equality for all, on the operational side and via serving on boards.

Connect with Richelle on LinkedIn.



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