Reflections on the mentorship

Before being selected into the IWMF Gwen Ifill Mentorship I was undergoing a change in my personal photojournalism career. I had moved to a new city and the immense adjustment left me paralyzed with fear and unable to do what I love—connect with people and share their stories.

It was on my first meeting with my mentor, the wonderful and kind Ami Vitale, that I began to get the courage to pick up my camera after many months.

She asked me what I was afraid of, to which I responded with tears in my eyes, “that I’d never share stories again.”

She listened intently and gently told me that I would before she shared a personal story with me that helped me realize that even the most successful of people can have periods like these. We then talked about “baby steps” to begin working on personal projects again.

I felt empowered and was determined to continue doing what I love. I picked up the camera, and now, am so honored to be working on two projects that I feel so passionately about in my new community.

And it’s because of my mentor and this journey that I was able to work through these difficult feelings and gain the courage to take the next steps.

It is like Oprah Winfrey once said, “a mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”

I couldn’t be more grateful to Ami and the IWMF for creating such a wonderful, empowering space for so many of us even in the midst of a heartbreaking global pandemic. It has been so comforting to be able to walk and grow on this journey together.