Tell a Story, Make a Difference
When I was eight years old, I had my entire life planned out: I was going to be an actress/chemist, who would discover a cure for cancer while headlining Broadway’s next hit musical. After achieving those goals, I would go on to become America’s first female president. No biggie. I was certain that this career trajectory was not only possible, but also inevitable. I even illustrated a book about all of this for a second-grade class project; as they flipped through my drawings and misspelled captions, my incredibly supportive parents told me that I could achieve anything if I worked hard enough. The only caveat? My mom explained that they hoped—and as a girl, I should hope too—that a woman would be elected president long before I reached the 35-year-old age requirement necessary to run for America’s highest office.
Twenty-three years later, and we finally have a woman of color as vice president, but still no estrogen permeating the Oval Office. I, for one, have since learned that chemistry, acting and politics are not the right fields for me, but that conversation with my mom about a female presidency and the need for representation has stuck with me. Even though I was able to see myself in a role that has only been held by men at such a young age, that is not the case for most; the intrepid dreams of my youth were the result of white, upper-middle-class privilege. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve worked hard to translate the skills that I do have into ways of uplifting and honoring women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and all underrepresented voices who are helping create a more inclusive and equitable society.
One of my favorite projects that I’ve ever had the pleasure of undertaking throughout my career is, without a doubt, Worth’s annual Groundbreakers List. Each year, we recognize and celebrate 50+ women who’ve broken barriers and created impact the year prior, and getting to share their stories and acknowledge their accomplishments is liberating. It feels like, in a very small way, we can at least do our part to drive diversity, equity and inclusion forward.
But there’s still a lot of work to be done. Over the past two years, we’ve had to grapple with a global pandemic, racial reckonings, widening income inequality and the climate crisis, to name just a few stressors. In addition to telling the stories of incredible women, in this issue, we’re looking at how businesses can measure meaningful and sustainable DEI progress, the exciting and increasingly expanding world of femtech and how founders/investors are helping equalize access to crypto. There are so many areas and industries where women and people of color are not just underrepresented but completely overlooked. There are so many global issues competing to be front and center right now. There are so many systemic injustices that affect all types of people every single day. Thankfully, the world is full of smart, innovative and eager leaders looking to do their part. Working together to make equality a priority for all would be a great start.