Before I ever knew the word "mentor," there was Ruth.
She was my great aunt on my mom's side—a woman who waited until after 30 to marry. She and my uncle couldn't have kids, so instead of pouring her life into raising her own family, she poured much of herself into me—and students at inner-city public colleges. Ruth got her bachelor's degree in English at an all-women's college, the same one I would go to years later (thankfully, after it had become co-ed). Like Ruth, I also majored in English. She, however, went on to earn her master's in education and devoted her life to teaching. Because she had been entrusted with a great education, she felt she owed it to God and herself to use her skills and passion where they were needed most.
Other than my own mother, Ruth was my first and most influential mentor. She taught me everything—how to polish silver, how to love God, and how to eradicate dangling participles (not necessarily in that order). Because of her, I have a deep affinity for mentoring young people, especially women.
In this issue, we're taking a look at the ways women lead women. Laura Leonard, one of my favorite media and culture commentators, takes a look at some of today's popular on-screen leading ladies. She explores this new breed of fictional female characters, and what they tell us about ourselves.
Julie Pierce, a leadership coach, shares her story of being mentored throughout her life, and why she now does the same for others. Wondering how to start a mentoring relationship with someone? Read Julie's story.1