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How Sponsorship & Peer-Mentoring Programs are Transforming Business


Fortune 500s are turning to Chantal Pierrat’s new approach based on sponsorship and peer mentoring to fast-track gender diversity and advance more women into leadership roles

For at least 10 years, boards and CEOs have been asking, “Where are the women?” Executive Coach Chantal Pierrat, MBA (say SHAN tall pierr-AT) says, “At this rate, the World Economic Forum estimates it will take a discouraging 202 years to reach economic gender parity.”

After years of frustratingly slow progress, Pierrat’s models based on “The Power of We” offer the greatest potential yet to speed up the numbers of women achieving and becoming role models of leadership. By combining effective and highly shareable forms of peer mentoring with sponsorship support from executives higher up in organizations, women and others can partner to overcome the obstacles that deter the under-represented from seeking advancement. An empowered spirit can then cascade through an organization, carrying much larger numbers of women to the very top.

Pierrat has conducted research and worked with tens of thousands of humans to become more powerfully expressed and to lead with what matters most.

Professionals working in Human Resources (HR); Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI); and Talent Development trust Pierrat and her team to work with their top talent to increase connection and conscious leadership for a more engaged and inclusive company culture.

Pierrat consistently helps top corporate clients:

1) Reduce attrition (50%),

2) Increase employee engagement (30%), and

3) Impact career mobility and growth (70%).

“Advancing DEI corporate leadership is just not happening fast enough,” says Pierrat. “In the past four years, the US has seen only 2% growth in the numbers of women on executive boards of Fortune 500 companies, compared with 11% in Western Europe.”

Pierrat teaches there are two reasons some struggle to step into a greater position of power and leadership: limited self-concept and a culture of sameness. Pierrat says she created Emerging Women™ and Emerging Human™ to support leaders looking to influence cultural and systemic change through authentic leadership and connection.

Peer Mentoring and Sponsorship

Pierrat’s new approach is smartly founded on what research shows works for women. It differs radically from informal or traditional forms of women’s networking or leadership training by mixing women of different statuses in what Pierrat calls “Power Circles.” Middle management is engaged, power is leveled, and the organizational impact is accelerated. When connected across different functions and locations (via video conference or in-person), women feel more connected to each other, their sponsors, mentors, and ultimately, the company.

As the women proceed through a structured program, each participant is given the chance to learn to be both mentor and mentee. Guaranteed confidentiality allows for a vulnerability that forges lasting bonds.

The circles are complemented by a 1:1 sponsorship program led by senior management volunteers of both genders. Sponsors actively advocate and network on behalf of sponsored women and have a personal stake in their progress. Sponsors have their own facilitated circles where they meet for mutual support and best practice training and advocate on behalf of their progress.

The Issues

1) Slow progress on women’s advancement.

2) Low ROI on $8 billion diversity annual spend.

3) Many women need a leadership identity shift.

4) Popular existing methods are often rated ineffective by women.

5) Other methods are too costly to roll out to large employee numbers.

Why Solutions Are Needed Now

1) Proven financial benefits.

2) Talent shortages.

3) Succession planning concerns.

4) Innovation pressures.

5) Drive for greater impact and efficiency from diversity and development budgets.

Program Overview

Corporate courses teach how to:

1) Increase diversity in leadership and succession planning.

2) Retain top-level executives.

3) Leverage peer mentoring and sponsorship support to create an authentically connected culture.

HR and DEI courses teach employees how to:

1) Increase their leadership.

2) Empower their visibility.

3) Express their purpose.

Coaching teaches individuals how to:

1) Increase self-expression.

2) Hone clarity of purpose.

3) Lead radiantly.

Case Studies and Testimonials

Melody Manley, Hewlett Packard, Inc.’s Program Management Office for Talent and Learning describes the effect:

“The impact has been faster and broader than we could have hoped. Women who have gone through the program encourage their circle members — and other women in their departments —to persist, speak up, and go after promotions. Linking the participant training to training for sponsors whose main role is to actively ‘network up’ on behalf of individual women has also fast-tracked results and is shifting attitudes across the board.”

Download Chantal’s One Pager

Public Website: Emerging Human

Public Website: Emerging Women

Linktr.ee: Emerging Women

Upcoming Events: Emerging Women Events

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