Jul 5 2020

Female Contemporary Mentors of Mine

In response to my post, Contemporary Mentors, a female reader of this blog who often sends me notes when I fall into a pattern of highlighting cis-het-white men, responded directly to the post with:

I hope that you add more women and more diversity to your contemporary mentors. Otherwise you are in the same fucking echo chamber.

I responded with:

I have many women mentors. Here’s some: Lucy Sanders, Heidi Roizen, Madeleine Albright, Amy Batchelor, Wendy Lea, Nicole Glaros, Arlan Hamilton, Freada Kapor Klein, Lesa Mitchell, Jean Case … And many women who I learn a ton from that I wish I had a mentee relationship (or contemporary mentor relationship with) – (e.g. Melinda Gates, Susan Cain, Brené Brown). 

I forgot a few in my quick response, including Joanne Wilson, Robin Hauser, and my mom (Cecelia Feld.) And even as I write this, the list continues to unfold in my brain, which makes me smile. But I also realize that most of these women are white, so I have work to do to find some non-white female mentors.

The reader is not a fan of Tim’s and went after my affection for him with the following:

I can’t listen to Tim’s podcasts because it’s the white bro-show…the very thing that led me to start my podcast in 2017.  After he released the episode a few years ago on bitcoin and blockchain (which was brilliant) I tried to listen to him but his world is truly a distorted echo chamber. I don’t understand people’s fascination with him. Then again I don’t understand folks’ fascination with Gary V or Jack Dorsey…the list goes on and on.  

I struggled with her view on Tim, but I don’t want to try to convince her otherwise. Instead, I’m more interested in listening and learning, which led to this comment of her’s.

True allies  / accomplices see these things and call them out.  It’s exhausting when we have to call it out for you cis-het-white bros.  And yes, I have this convo with my husband on a regular basis.

Embedded earlier was the comment:

If you really are into helping out with diversity, calling this stuff out would be really helpful.  Otherwise you perpetuate it. 

I’ve been learning about how to be an ally / accomplish since 2005 when I was first introduced to the concept by Lucy Sanders at NCWIT. I’ve learned a lot about this from Robin Hauser through her film Bias (Amy and I are executive directors of Bias, Code, and Robin’s upcoming film $avvy) and have been going even deeper with some of my work recently around racial inequity.

But there’s almost more to learn.