Mentorship/Sponsorship and Leadership in Academic Surgery: Similarities and Differences
As is the case for any organizational entity or occupational discipline, mentorship and
sponsorship are essential in the establishment in sustained leadership in academic surgery.
While “mentorship” occurs when information and counsel are provided (with an expectation of
support and guidance), “sponsorship” denotes more active involvement and interface with the
person(s) being supported, which includes the sponsor taking on an active advocacy role. The
Communicative skills, generosity, administrative/organizational expertise, and implementation
abilities are the requisite operational components that facilitate strong leadership. Acquisition of
such operational components cannot be achieved without meaningful mentorship/sponsorship.