For International Women's Day, These Celebs Discussed the Importance of Mentorship

Gabby Douglas, Bethany Hamilton, and more revealed how having mentors played a role in their success.

Pass the Torch IWD , Brandi Chastain, Gabby Douglas , Alexandra Breckenridge
Photo: Getty Images

Since today is International Women's Day, women's careers are a popular topic of discussion RN. (As they should be — that gender pay gap isn't going to close itself.) In an effort to add to the conversation, several famous women have teamed up with the Pass The Torch for Women Foundation to speak to the importance of mentorship.

The Pass The Torch for Women Foundation, a non-profit that aims to provide mentorship, networking, and professional development opportunities to marginalized communities, recruited actress Alexandra Breckenridge, professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, Olympic soccer player Brandi Chastain, and Paralympic track and field athlete Noelle Lambert for the project. Each woman created a video in which they discuss the role mentorship played in helping them achieve their own professional growth. (

In her clip, Douglas explained how mentors have been an important part of her support system. "For me, a mentor is that person who is always going to root for your success and never for your failures," she says in the video. "And honestly, I've been so fortunate, so grateful to have my mom, my family, my two sisters, my brother, and many more who have been with me through thick and thin, who have really uplifted me in awful, horrible times."

For her video, Hamilton described how mentors helped her shift her perspective. "One big thing for me has been to adapt in this life," she said. "Ever since I was a young girl, losing my arm to a shark, that was the start of adapting in my life. And one way I did that was through mentorship and continually approaching life with a teachable attitude."

Leaders often recognize how their mentors played a part in their own successes, says Deb Hallberg, CEO of the Pass The Torch for Women Foundation. "Women especially benefit from mentorship because having a mentor who shares their wisdom and knowledge will help them overcome challenges within their own careers," she shares. (

In previous years, adds Hallberg, men seemed to have an easier time finding mentors than women, though that seems to be changing. "We have seen the tide change with more women stepping into leadership roles and using their voice to share their story," she says. "Every story is shaped by mentors who have impacted them along the way. With movements such as Me Too and more formalized opportunities to have critical conversations on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at companies, there [is now] more space for women to ask for guidance and support and, what I have become so inspired by — a culture of women supporting women."

In their videos, each of the celebrities who participated in Pass The Torch's project expressed how invaluable that support from mentors was in shaping their lives. Maybe their words will inspire you to thank the mentors in your own life — or reflect on how you could offer support to someone on their career journey.

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