Vaishali Kasture: ‘Sponsor or Mentor – What’s Better?’


Vaishali Kasture is an Investment Banker by profession, and has had a long, illustrious career in the corporate world in various leadership positions, including the most recent one as Managing Director and Board Member at Goldman Sachs Services, India. Her many accolades include being recognized as one of the Hottest Young Executives in Business Today, a Top 5 Woman Achiever in the Deccan Chronicle, and a Leading Women COO Award. She is seen as a great role model for women in the financial industry and beyond. She takes a keen and personal interest in supporting and mentoring other women. To top it all, she’s equally skilled on the running track as she is in the Board Room, and has run multiple marathons, including the Boston Marathon and the Comrades Ultra Marathon.

What You’ll Learn In This Mentor Chat

“There is a difference between a worker bee and a queen bee. A worker bee will keep her head down, work hard, and hope and pray that she gets recognized. A queen bee will network, negotiate, and insert herself into the right contexts in a meaningful manner.”

– Vaishali Kasture, Former- Managing Director, Goldman Sachs Services, India.

It’s been long believed that what women really need to advance within organizations is mentors. Scores of companies have set up a combination of formal and informal mentoring programs for women. But have all these efforts really translated into building a more robust pipeline for senior positions for women? Not necessarily.

The research suggests while women are being over-mentored compared to their male counterparts, they are not necessarily advancing in their organizations at the same rate as their male counterparts. One of the big reasons for that is because women’s mentors have less clout within the organizations when it comes to decision-making around selecting people for the top roles.

While women are getting valuable career advice from their mentors, what they really need is a special kind of relationship—called sponsorship—in which the mentor goes above and beyond giving feedback and advice to the mentee, and also uses his or her influence with senior executives to advocate for the mentee, especially at the time of deciding promotions. Without sponsorship, women will have less support to reach for and ultimately get the top roles.

What are some of the ways in which sponsorship differs from mentorship? How can women go about finding a sponsor? And, how can women build a relationship with a sponsor in a way that benefits her, the sponsor, and the organization? These are just a few of the questions that our Guest Mentor, Vaishali Kasture, former MD at Goldman Sachs, answers for us in this Shenomics’ Mentor Chat.

Key Ideas: 

At 2:05 – What is the difference between sponsorship and mentorship?

At 5:15 – What are the benefits of sponsorship over mentorship? For women, as well as organizations?

At 8:05 – Many women believe the key to success is hard work and long hours. What do you say to women who find any other ways of advancing awkward or inauthentic? 

At 12:45: What should women look for in a sponsor?

At 15:40: If there is no formal sponsorship program in a company, what are some effective strategies women can use for attracting/building a relationship with a sponsor?

At 18:50: Most sponsors or influencers in an organization tend to be men. How can women overcome or manage the potential negative perceptions around building a relationship with a male colleague? 

At 24:10 Examples of how sponsorship has helped women. 

The Mentor Chat

Additional Resources


For more inspirational insights from Vaishali, check out her TEDx Talk on “Discovering Your Third Dimension.”





Aparna Vedapuri Singh on ‘The Power of Networking’

Aparna Vedapuri Singh is the Founder & Editor of Women’s Web. Women’s Web is an online magazine and community for the thinking woman. It revolves around interesting and useful information for women on career development, managing work and family, successful women, entrepreneurship, women’s health and personal finances.

Women’s Web is also now starting various initiatives offline to allow women to network and support one another through peer mentorship.

What You’ll Learn In This Mentor Chat

“Just like the value of real estate depends on three main things – location, location, location – a woman’s ability to succeed in business hinges on three main things – relationships, relationships, relationships.”

–Jane P. Newton, Partner and Wealth Advisor at Regent Atlantic Capital.

Networking isn’t just about going to events and collecting business cards or opportunistically trying to meet your short-term goals, but about building mutually beneficial relationships for the long-term that help you grow personally and professionally. Networking has become absolutely essential for the aspiring woman – whether you are figuring out how to climb the corporate ladder, or getting more clients for your business.

Here’s a look at the power of networking for women – why is it so important for women? Do women do it differently than men? How can we network more effectively? These are just a few of the questions our Guest Mentor, Aparna Vedapuri Singh, delves into in this insightful Mentor Chat. Aparna even has some useful tips for those of us who might be shy or hesitant to network!

At 1:16 – What is networking? 

At 2:30 – What are the benefits of networking for women?

At 6:40 – What are the most effective ways to network to advance your career/business goals? 

At 8:50 – What are some of the key differences between the way men and women network, and how can women leverage that to network more effectively? 

At 12:00 – What are some of the ways in which women can break into deeply entrenched men’s networks and feel more comfortable networking with men in these networks? 

At 16:05 – How do we identify the best networks for us?  What criteria do we use to evaluate the various networks? 

At 18:25 – What is the easiest way women can begin networking today, especially if you are hesitant or shy to do so? 

At 19:45 – All about the Women’s Web Network


The Mentor Chat

Additional Resources

Women’s Web is also now starting various initiatives offline to allow women to network and support one another through peer mentorship.

To learn more about how you can attend any of the Women’s Web events, or to join the Women’s Web network, go to: