I was with a friend of mine yesterday who is a senior woman among the tall towers of Canary Wharf. In telling me what she was observing at her company – was reminded she could have written the recent Harvard Business Review report on “Why Men Still Get More Promotions than Women.” She lamented that while she had received executive coaching and informal mentoring from senior people, the mentors didn’t do what was necessary – be her vocal advocate, even though they were very encouraging to her behind closed doors. According the report, she is not the only one – and indeed the HBR study of men and women at the same large multinational found that while both genders received mentoring (and women in some cases, even more!) it was the men who were more likely to get informal “sponsorship” as part of the mentoring – their mentor publicly going to bat for them to help them take advantage of new career opportunities. Indeed, very disappointingly a woman’s chance of finding a very senior position were heightened by going to a new employer – that the rate of promotion to top positions from within organisations for women is dire. Again, this was something she unsolicitedly mentioned to me, that she was stunned silent (not a charge that could be frequently levied against her!) when her Head of HR told her the “big plan” for increasingly female leadership at the company was to poach women from other org’s – particularly dismal when the company already has a wave of internal female talent that’s ripe for the advancement.