What are the things one should do to become a director at a firm? Been stuck at the individual contributor level

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Three options that I've seen so far:
1. Have a career sponsor and a great network, who can vouch for you. In this case, employers tend to be quite flexible in terms of education & experience requirements. Some even forgo the interview
2. Have post-graduate education and significant experience (10+ years) with proven results...so you can vouch for yourself. That's the toughest one, imho
3. All the above...but these are the very few lucky ones

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Wonderful, How does one identify a Career sponsor - coming from Asia these straight conversation are difficult to have

A career sponsor is usually a senior executive working in the same company as you, who's willing to advocate for you. You cannot choose your sponsor, the sponsor chooses you. You can, however, choose your career mentors - and mentors don't need to work in the same company. A mentor is usually someone who already has the position that you want - in your case, a Director. And you can request to be mentored by that person mentioning that you're looking to further your career and require guidance from someone who knows the way.

Check this article, as well:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/averyblank/2019/03/05/get-a-sponsor-not-a-mentor-3-steps-to-skyrocket-your-career/?sh=10e638912389

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Wonderful, how does one identify a Career sponsor. Coming from Asia the straight conversation is difficult

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