Nurturing Female Leadership: When Mentorship Goes Wrong

“Perhaps this will be the book that heals me,” I told myself as I was writing my own. I’ve blogged for years, and two years ago published my first book but I’m still learning what it looks like to heal with scars – and how to be at peace with those scars.

I wrote this a year ago (in 2021):

“I have a tree tattoo on my right wrist. It’s as if I were a tree, and there were a wound in my trunk. I have generated layers upon layers of bark with which to protect my imperiled life so that I can live with this deep wounding from a mentorship that was poorly structured and tragically ambiguous, with a power differential that made the ambiguity’s consequences fall heaviest on me. There was still a degree of innocence and genuine esteem between myself and my mentor, which was at times obscured by his flirtations and wandering gaze, and so I have spent countless hours wondering what could have been done differently and how my past suffering might be redeemed.”

I think that nurturing female leadership is really, really crucial in every aspect of public life, and also in private life. This is because women leading leads to everyone’s flourishing. Women make society flourish, we nurture children if that’s our calling, and we tend to businesses and churches if that’s our calling.

Sadly, many women leave their path to leadership early due to sexual harassment or other aspects of patriarchy. While previously I would have been a leader as a woman in the field of literature, now I can be a leader in the field of recovery and resilience, in hopes that my challenges will empower others to secure the ability to thrive in their initial field of choice. I am particularly passionate about female leadership in the church and women of color leadership in schools.

Supporting women of color is particularly important, but that deserves its own post. In the coming days I will write a post about sections of Mentoring Diverse Leaders, specifically, sections of that excellent (relatively) recent book on the subject of diverse women leaders.

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