The corporate programmer can most easily meet and mingle with potential powerful mentors within the company by working on and presenting high-visibility projects for top management.
The programmer can meet and cultivate potential mentors by goingto seminars , conferences, trade shows, and meetings outside his company, as well as through his network and by judiciously floating his rsum or availability to the best headhunters.
There are literally hundreds of potential mentors in large companies, and as an IT programmer, you can interface with many of them every day as they request support and new projects from IT. When you deliver for a manager, at any level, you will be considered and perhaps sought by him or her later.
If you are lucky, your manager will be your mentor. I know a programmer who worked for a boss who was so encouraging about her talent that he brought in a classified ad for a junior systems analyst at another company and urged her to try for the job. Now that was a mentor.