Woman smilingI can vividly recall playing with Barbie when I was a child and admiring everything about her. Her closet was filled with the most amazing clothes, she lived in a house so perfect it was actually called the Dream House, and can we take a moment to admire her hair!?

Barbie offered me a lot growing up. She was an outlet for my creativity when playing ‘house’, she let me dress her up and assign her different identities, and she always had a smile on her face. But as I grew up Barbie wasn’t the woman I looked up to anymore.

As I matured I began to recognize who I was, what I stood for, and identify my goals and aspirations for the future. I became a woman who stands for equality, is an ambitious academic, and strives be an active leader in society. It wasn’t until I entered the workforce that I realized the woman who possessed the qualities I admire was sitting in the office right beside me—my boss. My boss is a very intelligent, personable, and hard working woman. She not only tells me, but also shows me the importance of persistence, hard work, and respect.

It is very important for women to identify with real female role models and mentors. Finding a mentor who can offer career and life advice, guide you in the right direction, and present you with opportunities will become an extremely fulfilling relationship. Look for ways to build meaningful connections at school, work, and in your community by asking questions and getting involved. Find a female role model who inspires you, pushes you to reach your potential, and who you can learn from; find a female role model who isn’t plastic. 

Read more about leadership and mentorship in our magazine, SHE, and learn about our Leadership Institute.