Part of the power of mentorship comes from accessing the wisdom of women who have both defined and found success on their own terms.
Elaine Welteroth’s book, More than Enough, is a seminal memoir that recounts her extraordinary rise from the first college graduate from her family to the youngest Editor-in-Chief at Teen Vogue. She went from experiencing a lack of representation of people who resembled her in mass media to changing the conversation in those very arenas. She amplified diverse, marginalised, and different voices while telling stories that created dialogue and community around race, gender, politics, and identity.
Externally, Elaine was living a life of enviable success. Yet, she initially struggled to reconcile identity and worthiness as a young, Black, female leader negotiating power in the midst of outdated hierarchical structures. She discusses her experience with co-dependency, misogyny, tokenism, racism and burnout. Her vulnerability in these passages and willingness to share candid moments is an important reminder that each of our trajectories are uniquely personal and challenging. It reminds us to not compare our behind-the-scenes struggles to the glossy facade of social media.
Ultimately, armed with clear ambitions, unwavering faith, and a powerful drive to find purpose in her being, Elaine broke glass ceilings when she recognised and stepped into authenticity. She found her voice and learned to live wholeheartedly. She stressed this wouldn’t have been possible without the trust and support from her family, group of mentors, and other female leaders who took chances on her. As Elaine rose, she made sure to uplift others in the same way, creating a ripple effect on her workplace and community. It inspired many, including myself, to do the same when given the chance.
This book is full of wisdom and realism. Elaine encourages all women to celebrate diversity by creating opportunities for others to join the table. To not only acknowledge privilege and inequality, but to also take steps on educating yourself by listening and practising allyship. To seize opportunities, live bravely, and practise self-care along the way. She muses, “I realised if we aren’t vigilant, we can move through our entire lives feeling smaller than we actually are—by playing it safe, by unconsciously giving away our power, by dimming our radiance, by recognising there is always so much more waiting for us on the other side of fear.“
As someone who is navigating the Fast Forward 15 program and is in the process of defining my own personal and professional ambitions, I am grateful for inspirational women like Elaine who demonstrate what can happen when you dream big, create meaningful relationships, and live in alignment with your purpose.