when it comes to career development, mentors are supremely important. good managers are even more important than that. however, the most important person you need in your professional life is a champion.

champions are someone inside the organization who is established, well-respected, and (preferably) highly influential. they are your voice at the tables you don’t get to pull up to. they fight to provide you opportunities for advancement and put you in the right positions to succeed. they are the first person to mention your name when it comes time to discuss that rare overseas project, adding you to the leadership development track, and that next promotion.

find a mentor to guide you through the ups and downs of your day-to-day life. work with your manager to develop a great relationship built on communication, trust, and alignment. they will help you immensely. but always be looking for a champion.