This series shares personal accounts of trailblazing women on why it is so important to gather in sisterhood and what they did to create it for themselves. Meet Anastasiya Golovatenko, Director at Sherpa Communications.
What does sisterhood mean to you, and why is it important in empowering women?
To me, sisterhood represents a support network among women that emphasizes cooperation and respect. It plays a vital role in empowering women as it promotes solidarity and gives voice to their concerns. Sisterhood also offers a secure environment where women can uplift each other, exchange knowledge, and encourage personal development. By nurturing sisterhood, we establish an inclusive environment that motivates women to unlock their true capabilities. This collective effort paves the way towards a fairer society, benefiting everyone involved.
How have female mentors and role models influenced your personal and professional growth?
Throughout my journey, I have been fortunate to have fantastic female role models, like my mother and English teacher, who have consistently supported me, regardless of the challenges they faced in their own lives. They have demonstrated a patient and positive push that is contagious. It serves as a reminder of the incredible strength that lies within women and the transformative power of uplifting and empowering one another. They taught me to value people over money, to stay humble regardless of challenges, and be positive! Giving back is something that is in my veins as to be alone against your challenges is horrible and it can be a much friendlier journey when you are not alone.
In what ways can female mentors and role models inspire and support young women in pursuing their dreams and aspirations?
Young women often face self-doubt when pursuing their dreams and aspirations. The belief that they need to be uniquely talented can hinder their progress. However, when they witness someone like themselves achieving success, it becomes easier to believe in their own abilities. Additionally, positive encouragement plays a crucial role. Many young women struggle with low self-esteem due to past experiences, for instance - when we were told we are not good enough (at school or workplace). By nurturing their confidence and providing them with the tools to succeed, we can help young ladies defy their perceived limitations and achieve remarkable things.
What are some challenges faced by women in finding or accessing female mentors, and how can young women overcome these barriers?
When I began my career as a young specialist, the challenge wasn’t specifically finding a female mentor, but rather finding any mentor at all. Mentorship practices were not as actively established back then. However, I am glad to witness a positive shift today, where mentorship programs are integrated into various platforms such as incubators, business hubs, and universities. To overcome challenges in finding or accessing mentors, it is crucial to continue creating opportunities and have meaningful discussions through platforms like this conference hosted by Communicate. Moreover, raising awareness online can effectively help reach and engage the new generation.
How can we encourage more women to take on mentorship roles and actively support other women?
I truly believe that each of us is already a mentor in our daily lives, we may not just realize it. I witnessed colleagues who took on mentoring roles without any formal training or request. One of them finds great joy in supporting and guiding team members, and another regularly reaches out to new or junior colleagues to offer encouragement and advice. It’s truly beautiful to see these acts of kindness and support. To encourage more women to actively support other women, we can promote a culture of appreciation for these actions. Recognizing and celebrating the positive impact of mentoring can inspire others to embrace similar roles.
Share a personal experience where a female mentor made a significant impact on your life. How did it shape your perspective?
I have been fortunate to have strong women in my family who have served as powerful examples in my life, from my grandmother to my mother. I witnessed their leadership and resilience firsthand. My mother, in particular, raised two children alone, navigating financial struggles and numerous challenges, yet always wearing a smile. They taught me the value of hard work, patience, positivity, and the ability to create a protective environment for my family or team. While I continue to learn, their guidance has shaped my values and beliefs, which in turn help me create a more supportive environment. I strongly believe in the power of teamwork and firmly oppose bullying. Moreover, I hold the belief that everyone possesses unique strengths that make them special. Although there is still a long way to go, striving to become a better version of oneself is a fulfilling challenge that I embrace every day.
What are some key qualities and attributes that make an effective female mentor or role model?
An effective mentor should possess qualities such as being supportive rather than self-centered. They need to have a genuine passion for teaching and imparting knowledge, rather than seeking personal fame or recognition. A mentor should be patient, compassionate, and willing to invest time and effort into guiding others. They should be capable of actively listening and providing constructive but encouraging feedback.
In what ways can sisterhood and mentorship help break down gender stereotypes and foster a more inclusive society?
They foster a sense of belonging, challenge biases, and promote equality. By empowering women and amplifying their voices - sisterhood and mentorship contribute to building a more inclusive and equitable society.
Are there any industries or fields where the presence of female mentors and role models is lacking? How can we address the issue and promote diversity in those areas?
I can’t highlight any specific industry as it truly depends on a case-by-case basis. To address this, we need proactive measures such as mentorship programs, networking events, and targeted outreach to encourage more women to enter and thrive across different sectors. Companies can also promote diversity by highlighting and celebrating the achievements of existing female leaders. This can inspire future generations and contribute to greater diversity in underrepresented industries.
How can we create a supportive network of sisterhood that transcends age, race, and background to empower women from all walks of life?
This can be achieved by organizing events, workshops, and online platforms that encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing. Promoting mentorship programs, providing resources for personal and professional development, and actively engaging women from different age groups, races, and backgrounds can help build a strong and empowering sisterhood that uplifts women from all walks of life.
This piece was first published in Communicate's Women to Watch Issue 2023.