On Self-Empowerment and Self-Awareness: A Conversation with Elaine Welteroth

Elaine Welteroth is the former Editor in Chief of Teen Vogue, an award winning storyteller, and a New York Times bestselling author. Thanks to Book People Austin, we were able to sit in on the local leg of Welteroth’s More Than Enough, book tour. Below are some of the gems we took away from her chat with the crowd on creative entrepreneurship and finding your niche.

This blog post was written and compiled by A’nysha Fortenberry.

Pictured: Tyler Haney (CEO of Outdoor Voices)

Pictured: Tyler Haney (CEO of Outdoor Voices)

On Being the First Person of Color In Her position at Teen vogue:

“I think there’s this notion that we’re solving the diversity and inclusion crisis by hiring one token brown person, or one token queer person and we need to move away from that idea.”

“The other responsibility that comes with being first is opening the door for other people who might not have that kind of access otherwise.”

On Starting Her career Young:

“Ageism for women strikes in both directions—you’re either not old enough to be respected or then you’re too old to be relevant and we dance on this tight rope.”

“My coping mechanism became just never to tell anyone my age, ever, and I learned that I have to do that almost as a survival tactic.”

On Finding Her Own Forms of Self-Empowerment:

“When I’m feeling isolated, alone, disempowered, less powerful than I want to before going into a meeting where I know judgement will be on the other side… I try to tell myself before I go into those meetings that, although I may feel like I am the only one that looks like me in that room, I am coming in with all of my ancestors.”

“When we find ourselves in spaces where those systems weren’t built for us, sometimes just being authentically who you are is a form of activism.”

“Whenever we start to tell ourselves these messages that we’re not enough, we need a counter-narrative on our mind to kind of push back against all of that.”

"We talk about being fearless as strong women, and honestly that’s bullsh*t. You’re going to feel fear. The goal should be to make friends with fear. To look in the face of fear, and say ‘I’m going to do it anyway.’”

On Her Hopes for More Than Enough:

“The goal of this book is just to remind all of us to reclaim who we were born to be.”

Curious about Elaine Welteroth and her work? Learn more about More Than Enough here.

Want to stay in the loop on #BBATX’s programs exploring identity and creative entrepreneurship? Check out what we have coming up at bossbabes.org/comethrough.