When the Belonging at HORNE Sponsor Program was introduced to me, I sincerely thought that it was a “nice” concept, but I was SURE I knew exactly where my career was heading. There was no doubt in my mind I was in the driver’s seat. Sure, early in my career I needed help and to this day am very appreciative of the individuals that guided me. Honestly, the thought that kept going over and over in my head was that this program would be great only for individuals who are just embarking on their career and navigating new waters.
C’mon, with over fifteen years managing and developing team members with whom I assisted in their professional growth (including direct impact to their career) surely I knew how to steer MY own career. Or so I thought…
More than nine months later I now have a litany of powerful epiphanies that easily would have taken me an undefined number of years to realize, or maybe would have never realized them, on my own. At the initiation of the program one of the personal challenges I quickly realized I would have to overcome was is to force myself to be personal and share my deepest concerns and weaknesses. Dealing with challenging situations and figuring out how to resolve complex problems has always been MY job, not something that I would hand off or ask for help on. Ask for help on how to focus my career?!? This was going to be difficult.
Gratefully, my sponsor is extremely supportive and reassuring which is allowing me to open up. She graciously shared some of her personal challenges and special moments that catapulted her career. Her honesty and sincere approach for wanting to help me was surprisingly refreshing and extremely helpful. Gradually, I started to understand the true intent and impact of our sponsor program. My sponsor has been very generous with her time, being patient and guiding me on issues I thought I understood and even controlled. Along the way she has also helped me better understand the firm, our direction, and where I belong.
As a new hire with the firm, I linked my career and length of employment to be directly tied with the project I was working on. With guidance from our senior leadership, including my sponsor, I slowly realized I was mistaken. The level of effort and time the sponsor program takes is just one component of how I gained appreciation that the firm and individuals really do care for my personal and career growth within the firm.
In fact, in the last couple of months as new opportunities were becoming available in other parts of the country in disaster recovery (where I focus), I received several enticing job offers from other firms. And I declined them all! In fact, when I said, “No,” perhaps the most surprised person was me.
I am still trying to figure it all out, but now I have huge amount of help! I definitely need a sponsor—and now I know it!
About the Author
John Osorio is a classic case—a team member whose active participation in a formal sponsorship program has forever changed his perspective. He is a father who is learning to navigate the unforeseen ways his children are impacting his career. He works on our government services team directing the construction and eligibility efforts of a state projects that will result in more than 700 homes for families.