Role models & mentors

Who are your role models and mentors? Who inspires and teaches you?

A few of mine are:

* Miriam Johnson from Hometime, the PBS home improvement show. In a world where there are still gender stereotypes regarding building and construction, Miriam smoothly educates us in decks, tiles, toilets and more. My favorite episodes are those in which she appears 7 months pregnant.

* Cindy Helsley, a District Manager for a large retailer who has a commanding presence and asks the tough questions. Nothing seems to phase her – from personnel issues to business changes.

* Olivia, the pig star of Ian Falconer’s picture books. Olivia is confident, artistic and is rigorous in expressing herself. There’s a great image where Olivia is lifting a couch to search for something – I keep it on my wall to remind myself, “If a pig can lift a sofa, surely I can (insert difficult task here)…”

* My mother, she’s tall and elegant. Now, she probably wouldn’t equate herself this way, but I’ve always thought so. Much more importantly, she’s compassionate. She’s always been a giver, as well as an organizer (she sees a need and does something about it). I’ve always admired my mom.

So, I’m pondering who we choose to admire and emulate, and why. The four I’ve listed here are linked by their characteristics as strong, smart women.


  1. What great role models - thank you for sharing!

    My role models tend to love without abandon and/or persevere despite obstacles. Walt Disney, Michelagelo, Mary Pickersgill, Tiger Woods, my husband...and Pete in the children's book Pete and Pickles.

  2. Excellent, April. I don't know Mary Pickersgill - what do you admire in her? (Delighted to hear your beloved makes your list also.)

  3. Mary Pickersgill was the woman who sewed the flag that withstood the battle that inspired the Star Spangled Banner. She was a widow and one of a few women who owned her own business in 1813. The flag she made was 30'x42' and, so well-made that, well, it inspired a song and we still admire it today at the Smithsonian.

  4. wow, April - what a great story. Thanks very much for sharing.


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