Over the past few years, inclusivity or its lack thereof has become a major part of popular discourse. While the development is commendable, the crucial question that must be raised is how often does this discourse translate into action. Because, as history has proved time and again, words without actions are incapable of effecting change.
‘Unveiled: Bridging the Gap to Sponsorship’ was born out of this vision to tackle the question of inclusivity, and to create a more equitable place for women in top leadership. Since its inception in 2022, Unveiled has grown to become a global community that strives to create a more equitable space for historically underrepresented groups. Innovative thinking is a key element driving change, and Unveiled has proven this fact by exploring an avenue of success that is often overlooked; sponsorship. Unveiled works with the aim of operationalising sponsorship to help empower underrepresented groups.
Every radical vision reaches fruition with the relentless determination and guidance of a visionary who is not afraid to explore the unexplored and often neglected paths of change. Unveiled too is fuelled by the efforts of such a visionary whose wealth of experience and desire to shake the foundations of the existing power dynamic has created a community with the potential to change the stories of women struggling with the socialised discrimination and lack of equal opportunities. Sahana Mukherjee, the founder of Unveiled is a qualified engineer and a management graduate from Rutgers University. Sahana’s experience of running several multi-faceted human resource functions across industries in the United States for over a decade has been of great help in giving shape to Unveiled. What makes this global community unique and powerful is the fact that it was born out of personal experiences. After all, a first-hand experience is a powerful tool that will help analyse the situation from a well-balanced and critical perspective.
The Core Idea Behind Unveiled
For Sahana Mukherjee, Unveiled is not only a professional space to empower and transform, but also a deeply personal mission fuelled by insights gained through her years of experience and challenges faced as part of a minority community. Being overlooked despite possessing the same qualifications and skillset can be disheartening. For Ms Mukherjee, this was a problem looking to be solved till she discovered the transformative power of sponsorship. She experienced it first-hand not only personally but professionally, when she used her position of leading talent strategies to drive equitable access, elevating people across organizations and then witnessing how those platforms positioned them to shine. This realisition was the kick-off point of Unveiled. Mukherjee’s understanding of the significance of sponsorship, and its subsequent lack of presence in common discourse became the focal point of Unveiled that works with the aim of bridging the wide gap between hardwork and success.
What makes Unveiled different from the rest is the fact that it has a team that has the ability to align ideas with action. It places equal importance on creating awareness while also equipping people with the necessary tools and skillsets to transform the insights obtained from awareness to the actions that will lead to success and growth.
The Importance of Representation
A vision is often born out of a strong desire to change the existing status quo. In the case of Unveiled, the focus was on the gender disparity in technology that was and is stunting the growth potential of minorities, particularly women. While it is true that society has started its trot down the road of progress, the pace is still alarmingly slow. This is puzzling given the clear advantages that diversity can bring to the field of tech. According to data from Accenture, over the past 35 years, there has been a considerable decline in the ratio of women to men in tech roles. More often than not, the reason for this alarming drop in numbers is a clear lack of inclusivity and representation.
The aforementioned data might be quite jarring because of the contradictory shades inherent in the statement. A rough analysis of data from the past few years show a substantial rise in the number of women pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). While the fact remains that a growing number of women are graduating from educational institutions with degrees in STEM, and entering related industries, several of them are still hit by a wall of stagnancy that stops them from moving up the career ladder. For instance, in the Indian IT sector, over 51 percent of entry-level recruits are women, but the number of women in managerial roles drop to 25 percent, and a mere 1 percent in the C-Suite. The disproportionality in numbers directly points towards the lack of representation of women in the tech field. This is where the irreplaceable role played by sponsorship comes into the picture.
A good sponsor can boost an individual’s chances of success and smoothen their way to progress. Unlike a mentor, a sponsor ensures their protege’s growth by opening up new doors and opportunities through their connections. A sponsor acts like the fuel that will ensure that a rocket is airborne. You can build the perfect rocket, devoid of any design flaws, with the ability to conquer the vast expanse of space. But it won’t take off without fuel. Likewise, without a good sponsor, individuals will find it hard to navigate the corporate ladder.
How Does Unveiled Bridge the Gap
A thorough grasp of the problem is crucial in arriving at an effective solution. This is the key ingredient of Unveiled’s success. Ms. Mukherjee’s experience in the field and the insights from her years of work with various organizations helped her identify a core issue that was overlooked for a quite long time. Her own experience with sponsorship that helped her find her own voice became a strong foundation for Unveiled that works to create an equitable space where minorities, especially women can thrive and grow. Unveiled’s success partly lies in its understanding of the clear distinction between mentorship and sponsorship; a thin line that often gets blurred. It works with the awareness that “historically marginalised groups tend to be over-mentored and under-sponsored.” This allows the community to strike a sustainable balance and to ensure that the voices of the marginalised groups aren’t muffled because of the noises of the privileged.
Unveiled follows an efficient strategy that covers all avenues of growth. It makes sure to shine a torch on the questions related to sponsorship, thereby amplifying its mission, and bringing the communities under the umbrella of growth. Unveiled doesn’t stop there, instead it adds the much needed vein of practicality through its CareerGPS Framework. Through the CareerGPS Framework, Unveiled simultaneously addresses the problem and provides practical solutions. This unique tool designed by the founder of Unveiled ties together the various elements of Unveiled’s approach and ensures growth and success.
Unveiled goes an extra mile with its exclusive “Unwind with Unveiled,” an 8-month program that will empower and equip motivated and driven individuals with necessary skillset to navigate the haze of the corporate world.
The significance of inclusivity in the corporate world cannot be overemphasized. It is crucial to bridge the gap between potential and success by adopting effective and practical solutions. The gender disparity in the corporate world will not just stunt the career growth of women but it will also block the different avenues of success and growth that the tech world can achieve by embracing diversity and inclusivity. Hence, it is of paramount importance that communities like Unveiled get a global platform that will help spread their vision and mission, thereby facilitating empowerment and progress.