Career advancement barriers have become increasingly prominent in corporate manufacturing compared to other industries for Black female professionals. Based on extant literature, the crux of race and gender stereotyping in the corporate environment may be due to a lack of mentorship, formal and informal leadership development networks, and senior-level management's diversity support. Therefore, additional research is required to understand how occupational mentorship may contribute to the career success of Black females working in corporate manufacturing in the Midsouth region of the United States. Open-ended and in-depth interview questions were presented to 15 Black female participants to understand their lived experiences related to the contribution of occupational mentorship on their professional development and career advancement opportunities in corporate manufacturing. Additionally, the transcendental phenomenological design was employed to unveil thematic commonalities and philosophical meaning related to the lived experiences of Black females, having participated in either formal or informal mentorship in corporate manufacturing. Colaizzi’s seven steps of analysis were leveraged, facilitating the emergence of 6 significant themes regarding lived experiences pertaining to occupational mentorship. The more prevalent themes include: 1) Mentorship aids in career advancement when supported by sponsorship and assimilation to corporate norms and organizational behaviors and 2) Occupational mentorship improves self-efficacy, competency, skillset, and professional readiness for promotion. This study will assist in providing Black females with strategies as to how occupational mentorship may be leveraged for professional development and career advancement. Regarding business application, corporations will gain in-depth knowledge regarding the function, value proposition, diversity and inclusion, and design and implementation of structurally organized mentoring programs.
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