Mentoring and sponsorship are essential activities in the professional development of both men and women. These forms of relationships often form between individuals who have common interests, or when the junior member reminds the more senior member of themselves. In paramedicine, the number of men in leadership positions usually means that other men are the ones who end up mentored and sponsored. It can be the case that junior women find it difficult to find similar levels of personal and career support since there are fewer women in leadership positions. I proudly sponsor three women in paramedicine: Paige Mason and Chelsea Lanos, both paramedics in the Ottawa region, and Tyne Lunn, a paramedic in Alberta.
Paige is a Primary Care Paramedic with the Ottawa Paramedic Service, who is completing a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary studies, with a focus on organisational culture, change, and leadership.
Chelsea is an Advanced Care Paramedic with the County of Renfrew Paramedic Service, who is completing a Master of Science in Critical Care, with a focus on end-of-life care and organ donation.
Tyne is an Advanced Care/Community Care Paramedic with Alberta Health Services, who is interested in public health, palliative care, equity and justice, and a variety of other practice issues.
I also mentor several other women and men in their career development and success, and I provide the Women of Paramedicine group with support.
I am a member of MARC – Men Advocating Real Change – an organisation that is committed to achieving workplace gender equality through effective partnership with men. MARC is an initiative of Catalyst, the leading nonprofit organization expanding opportunities for women and business.
MARC members strive for gender equality not just because it makes good business sense, but because it transforms lives, strengthens families, benefits communities, and helps grow economies. We want to have important discussions about what can be done to further the cause of equality and to support one another as we advocate for change whenever we discover injustice.
I personally strongly believe in an equal playing field for men and women where success and advancement are truly based on merit rather than politics. Until that occurs however, we need to accept that women have less opportunity to advance than men – they are over-mentored, and under-sponsored. We’ve published and presented on this over the past number of years:
- Batt, A.M. Go Sponsor Her: supporting the next generation of women leaders in paramedicine. EMS Leadership Summit 2020, October 15-19, 2020.
- Mason, P., Lanos, C., Batt, A.M. Female leadership in paramedicine: the case for sponsorship (panel discussion). Paramedicine Across Canada conference 2019, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, September 20, 2019.
- Lanos, C., Mason, P., Batt, A.M. GoSponsor…Us. Going beyond mentoring for women in paramedicine. Canadian Paramedicine. 2019; 42(3): 34-36. Full-text
- Mason, P., Slack, M., Batt, A.M. Female leadership in paramedicine. Emergency Medical Services Show, London, UK, June 25, 2019.
- Mason, P., Delport, S., Batt, A.M. Let’s make this our “thing”: levelling the gender field for a brighter future in paramedicine. Canadian Paramedicine. 2018; 41(1). Full-text
- Batt, A.M., Mason P. Increasing female leadership in paramedicine. Indiana EMS Association Conference, West Lafayette, IN, USA, November 30, 2018.
- Mason, P., Slack, M., Batt, A.M. Female leadership in paramedicine: results from the FLIP study. Irish College of Paramedics Scientific Symposium, Cork, Ireland, September 15, 2018.
- Mason, P., Slack, M., Batt, A.M. Female leadership in paramedicine. Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs Spring Conference, Toronto, ON, Canada, May 9, 2018.
What’s the difference?
If you’re interested in sponsoring, I can highly recommend the following publications and resources to help you figure out where to start and how to create a successful sponsoring relationship.
- Abbott I. Sponsoring Women: What Men Need to Know. Golden, CO: Attorney at Work. 2014. (ISBN: 978-0-9895293-1-0)
- Abbott I. Sponsoring Women: What Women Need to Know. Available from: https://www.attorneyatwork.com/sponsoring-women-resources/. 2015.
- Catalyst Inc. Sponsoring Women To Success. Available from: https://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/sponsoring-women-success. 2011.
- Hewlett S, Peraino K, Sherbin L, Sumberg K. The Sponsor Effect: Breaking Through the Last Glass Ceiling. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing. 2010. (Available from: https://hbr.org/product/the-sponsor-effect-breaking-through-the-last-glass-ceiling/10428-PDF-ENG)
- Janjuha-Jivraj S. & Chisholm K. Championing Women Leaders: Beyond Sponsorship. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; 2016. (ISBN: 978-1-349-55554-3)