Employee Voices

Sowing the Seeds of Success Through Sponsorship

The sponsorship program Monica Chakraborty envisioned now helps women connect and thrive.



Read time: 4 minutes

When Monica Chakraborty joined McKesson in 2017, she didn’t join just one employee resource group (ERG).

She joined them all.

“I feel like everyone should join every ERG,” Monica says. “When I started working here, my new peers made sure I was aware of all the ERG events and activities. Through Emerging Professionals, ABILITY and other ERGs, I have found a lot of value in getting connected, learning to navigate the company and hearing the perspectives of others. I've enjoyed all of them.”

She became especially interested in WE (Women Empowered) after hearing an external executive speak at an International Women’s Day event the ERG hosted in 2018. During the event, the speaker shared a message about the power of coaches, mentors and sponsors.

A mentor, Monica explains, is someone with whom you share your everyday work challenges and talk about your goals for growth. In contrast, a sponsor is someone in a leadership position with whom you present your best, most polished and professional self, with a clear vision for where you want to go next in your career.

“You aspire to have that person keep you in mind when those opportunities come up,” she says.

It’s the kind of meaningful business relationship Monica wanted to foster, both for herself and for her colleagues at McKesson, so in 2019 she joined the Las Colinas, Texas, WE board as communications chair before later becoming district chair where, still energized by the message the International Women’s Day speaker, she threw herself into launching a sponsorship program at McKesson.

“Joining WE and thinking about the sponsorship program helped refine my own brand image as I considered how to align this group of women with my idea of creating a career development program that could empower women to show they’re ready for more,” she recalls. “Luckily, these amazing board members were equally passionate about driving engagement and helping the women at McKesson, and they supported my idea and helped me bring it to life.”

She teamed up with two national WE board members, spending hours after work brainstorming, planning, setting goals and finalizing the sponsorship program structure. It includes an initial session helping women solidify their personal brand, interviews to understand participants’ background and interests, solicitation of the potential sponsors and a thorough matching process.

In its first year, the program, which was in its pilot phase, matched five women in Los Colinas with sponsors. One was subsequently promoted, and another was offered a position in her sponsor’s department.

“I was so happy they were getting the recognition they deserved,” she says. “All the women who expressed interest wanted to learn more about McKesson and how they can get connected and grow.”

Now in its second year, the sponsorship program has expanded to additional WE chapters across the country, with plans to add more soon. Monica’s passion for the program is only getting stronger as she envisions a WE career development initiative encompassing coaching and mentoring as well as sponsoring.

Working on the sponsorship program and with many talented women across McKesson also opened her eyes to other opportunities within the company. In 2021, she moved from a role as a vaccine business manager in McKesson’s Strategic Pricing and Manufacturing Relations business into one as a senior manager of business development and commercialization at NorthStar, McKesson’s private-label supplier of high-quality generic drugs. In her current role, she works to find new ways for retail pharmacies, doctor’s offices, health systems and other healthcare customers to bring commercialized NorthStar medications to patients. It was a move strategically designed to broaden her horizons.

“I’d been in the vaccine realm for a long time,” she says. “Through participating in ERGs and having conversations with other folks, I realized that McKesson has many departments and many opportunities, and I took a big leap to learn about a new industry and a new part of McKesson.”

In another big change, Monica’s two-year term chairing the local WE board ends in March 2022. While she is still fully committed to WE and expanding the sponsorship program, she’s looking forward to opportunities to make an impact within additional ERGs. With all the benefits she has seen, she encourages other McKesson employees to also get involved with as many ERGs as they can.

“I’ve never had a sponsor, but engaging with these board members within WE and across our ERGs, I’ve felt like I've had coaches, mentors and sponsors throughout my time at McKesson,” she says. “These are phenomenal people – I think they’re McKesson’s shining stars. They're passionate and inspiring people who care and want to create change and make a positive impact.”