Subscribe to D&I In Practice

Join business leaders and entrepreneurs who are working to make their businesses more diverse and inclusive.

Newsletter Week 27

August 14, 2019

White male sponsorship is associated with higher pay for black and Hispanic women, underscoring the importance of white male leaders committing to allyship. Larger size people at work are often undervalued and underpaid, even in today’s red-hot talent market. And the importance of getting a person’s name right, even if it’s unfamiliar to you (hint: the key is practice!)

From Our Archives

While we’re revamping the site over the summer, I’m sharing some of my favorite pieces from our archives. This week, I’m just focusing on one:

Making On-Campus Technology Recruiting Welcoming to Women

As on-campus recruiting season approaches for many companies, why not revisit our checklist for gender-inclusive recruiting? Checklists are a well-proven technique for dramatically improving outcomes in high-performance settings like surgery and space flight. Yet, because they are basic and low-tech (and free!), they are often under-valued and under-used.

Checklist creator and Stanford Ph.D. Alison Wynn, and I are interested in working with companies to test this particular checklist for improving on-campus recruiting. Get in touch with me at if your company is interested. 

This Week in News and Research

1. The White Male Mentorship Premium (Bloomberg)

New data from Payscale suggests that white male sponsorship is associated with higher pay, especially for black and Hispanic women (Yes, the article title says ‘mentor’, but the data is about sponsors. See here for a good description of the difference.)

This isn’t surprising: since white men are more likely to hold institutional power, they can be more effective advocates for their mentees. Having a white male sponsor can also help break through unconscious assumptions about a woman of color’s capabilities.Yet only 60% of black and Hispanic women with sponsors report that their sponsors are white, while about 90% of white men with sponsors report that their sponsors are white.

Formal workplace mentorship programs can help address this imbalance by being thoughtful and taking access to institutional power into account when matching mentors and mentees. While mentors are not equivalent to sponsors, mentorship can lead to sponsorship. So formal programs can play a role by helping people who might otherwise not connect build the type of trusted relationship that can lead to sponsorship.

Most importantly, white male leaders can actively seek out women and people of color—especially women of color—and get to know them. Maybe a sponsorship relationship will develop, maybe it won’t. But reaching out across difference is the first step to building the familiarity, trust, and confidence required to make a sponsorship relationship work.

2. Why ‘Inclusive’ Workplaces Still Make Fat People Feel Invisible (Fast Company)

This op-ed cites research on how people of larger sizes encounter discrimination in employment and pay. Some commonly cited stereotypes: larger people are lazy, unhealthy, even incompetent.

It’s an interesting thought experiment: does your workplace tolerate comments about people’s size that might not be tolerated about a person’s gender or race? Is size, or level of physical fitness, seen as an acceptable proxy for willpower, drive or client readiness? If so, perhaps it’s time to consider some education on how to decouple weight from performance.

3. Names That Are Unfamiliar to You Aren’t ‘Hard’, They’re ‘Unpracticed.” (Teen Vogue)

A smart reflection on the emotional power of names, and the importance of putting effort into learning and remembering names that might be unfamiliar to you.

We’re Also Reading...

These articles aren’t necessarily directly connected to the workplace, but have interesting insights about diversity and inclusion in society at large.

We want to hear from you!

D&I In Practice wants your feedback so we can deliver the content you need to move the needle forward on diversity and inclusion. Please send comments, questions and ideas for stories you’d love to see to