Workplace diversity is high on the C-Suite agenda and for good reason, writes Christina Kosmowski, CEO at LogicMonitor.

Historically, the representation of women in business leadership positions has been shamefully low, and diverse hiring at companies across the board has left much to be desired. While we are making incremental progress towards change, there is still a long way to go. Representation is critical if we’re to achieve truly diverse boardrooms and businesses – if we can see it, we can believe it.

It’s often said that in business, it’s not what you know, but who you know, and while I don’t wholly buy into this, I do believe that those in leadership positions have a responsibility to lift those around them. Opening the door to new opportunities for future leaders doesn’t have to be done directly through in-house promotions, either. Senior leaders can share their expertise with individuals outside of their direct team through mentorship, which has proved invaluable for me in my own career.

Finding a mentor

Before you set out to find a mentor, you need to have a clear understanding of what you want from your career. What are your strongest skill sets? Where do you want to be in five years’ time? What does your dream role look like? Take a fresh look at your professional circle and take note of anyone who’s career journey or expertise stands out to you.

It’s worth mentioning that mentorship isn’t just for those starting out in their career. Smart leaders seek the advice of experts for peer advice, for specialty skills, to navigate a crisis, to make key decisions, and more. The mark of a smart leader is one who recognises when they are stepping beyond their own expertise and seeks guidance from specialists.

I spent several years working with Maria Martinez, Cisco’s current COO. She was a great teacher and mentor to me during my time at Salesforce. Maria helped me understand how to use data to make management decisions and strengthened my ability and passion to translate products into business value for customers. Since then, I’ve been able to move forward in my career by bringing customer centricity to organisations.

Being a mentor and a diversity advocate

Even now, in my role as CEO, I try to maintain a growth mindset. I’m constantly looking for ways the business can improve, evolve and adapt, especially in these periods of rapid change. Talent is critical to that evolution, across the industry as a whole, and I think being a mentor is a way of giving back and nurturing that talent.

To achieve equity in the workplace, we need to recognise that each individual is dealing with different personal and professional circumstances. Tech organisations need to ensure they’re allocating the right resources and opportunities needed for the next generation of female leaders to reach their full potential. There is no such thing as a level playing field, and if we don’t tailor opportunities to the individual, we risk losing talent.