According to a significant study from McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org called 2019 Women in the Workplace, more and more women are earning leadership positions around the country. But ultimately, women still face underrepresentation at all professional levels.
SKY, BKD’s firmwide diversity initiative, aims to create a fair and just workplace for all BKD employees regardless of gender, sex, race and all other demographics. In December 2014, BKD implemented the SKY Sponsor-Protégé Program to support SKY’s initial focus of attracting, retaining and developing women leaders. Through SKY, we aim to challenge biases and foster an inclusive culture in which all employees have a fair chance to develop and refine their talents and advance in their careers.
Sponsorship programs have proven successful in helping prepare women for management positions, thereby increasing representation of women in first-level management.
“If women are promoted and hired to first-level manager at the same rates as men, we will add one million more women to management in corporate America over the next five years.”1
The Sponsor-Protégé Program helps protégés do more than identify their goals. The program encourages the focus and clarity needed to identify goals and articulate the specific path toward goal achievement. Protégés benefit from opportunities to increase technical expertise, understand how to break down business development into actionable steps and learn from other niches and locations to incorporate a more comprehensive approach.
“The Sponsor-Protégé Program helped me take an honest look at myself and my career and put focused effort on reaching personal and professional achievements. My sponsor was a great coach and offered advice and guidance as we launched LeaseVision, a brand-new firm tool.” – Jessica Richter
“I gained insight into how a firm operates and learned more about firm financials and how to develop a strong personal brand. I was also promoted to managing director.” – Christie Clements
“It was really beneficial that my sponsor was a regional industry leader in my industry, but in another region of BKD. I was able to bounce ideas off of him, gain advice and see how the firm operates in other regions.” – Brandy Buckler
“The program helped strengthen my approach to growing and selling in my industry. My career track is more top of mind and something I work on each week.” – Jennifer Williams
Our path to equality starts with SKY. The collaboration of all employees—regardless of background and identity—helps us foster a culture that supports maximizing the potential of all.