Why I Love “Reverse Mentoring”

Some people have hobbies like baking or building those little ships in bottles (do people still do that?)


I’d say my main hobby is mentoring.


Yep. I collect mentees like some people collected Tiger Beat posters of Rob Lowe back in the day. (Anyone? No? Just me?)


Many people might think of a mentor/mentee relationship as a one-way street, but if you are lucky, you get what I call “reverse mentoring.” The collective wisdom, insight, and inspiration you receive by helping someone on their journey.


I get such an incredible gift from having mentees in my life.


Here are 6 women I’ve mentored and what they’ve taught me in return.




Emily-Anne Rigal, We Stop Hate


I’ve known Emily-Anne since she was 15! She has now created a media empire through her anti-bullying organization We Stop Hate and her new book, Flawd. I’m inspired by her commitment to creating a community that inspires individual change.


She’s also taught me the joys of selfie-taking, social media and when to use the right emoticons. 🙂




Cammy Nelson, Brave Like Me


I met Cammy when she was in 6th grade and knew she was destined to be a force in the confidence community. She works with girls across the country to redefine bravery as taking risks and taking action – no matter how big or small.


Cammy has taught me about the tenderness of forgiving oneself and the glory of speaking about your dreams while in swimming pools.




Kara Norman, Empower Her, Inc.


Kara thinks I’m mentoring her, but truly she has helped me through her devout faith, passion, and generous heart. She provides events, resources, and programs that help women and girls live fulfilled lives in her community of Atlanta, Georgia. Even when faced with difficult challenges, she rises to the occasion and models grace in action.




Megan Grassell, Yellowberry


So truth is, I cold-called Megan and her Mom after I read about Yellowberry and I’m pretty sure they both thought I was a crazy creepster offering my help and mentorship. But I truly knew that Megan was on to something HUGE. Her ambition and drive led her to create a business that helps young girls feel confident about wearing a bra for the first time. I’m grateful that Megan ended up trusting me and didn’t hang up the phone!




Molly Thompson & Lauren Paul, Kind Campaign


My world got better when these two filmmakers and activists stepped into it. After appearing in their groundbreaking documentary on bullying, “Finding Kind”, we ended up mentoring each other over the years. They are so wholly dedicated to spreading kindness and positivity to women and girls worldwide. I’ll forever be indebted to them for the kindness they showed me on the floor of a movie theatre in Somewhere, USA – crying over broken hearts and big life changes.




Tammy Tibbetts, She’s The First


I first met Tammy during my Seventeen magazine days, and now she’s the Founder and President of an amazing organization that provides scholarships to educate girls in developing countries. Watching her grow professionally over the years inspires me to remember that growth and success take time – but are ultimately worth the wait.


Confidence Is Fashionable

What a fabulous day!


I never thought I’d find myself strutting my stuff down a runway at New York Fashion Week – yet, here we are!


Today I walked in designer Carrie Hammer’s “Role Models, Not Runway Models” fashion show! The vision of this show is to create a “runway revolution” by featuring a variety of bad ass professional women – from all different backgrounds, sizes, shapes, abilities and nationalities.




Woke up bright and early—bare faced and full-hearted—feeling excited and inspired and overjoyed. Watch my morning pep talk here!




First stop: Hair and make-up! That’s Tiffany and she did an excellent job glamming me up.


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Luckily, I had the opportunity to rehearse my fierce walk before the real thing and totally didn’t fall! (Which was my biggest fear)


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Showtime!! (At this point I’m thinking “Is this really happening?” and “Please don’t let me fall!”)


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AND BAM! There I am!! Today I wasn’t just talking about confidence; I was literally walking the talk in what one lovely Tweeter described as “Jess Weiner serving up some sass!” Yes, indeed.


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I was also joined by some incredible role models including CEOs, entrepreneurs, editors, and more – all celebrating inner and outer diversity and confidence. (Left to right: Michelle Herrera of Cosmo Latina, Melissa Miranda of PepsiCo, and Tolu Olubunmi of DREAM Act)


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After the show: Camera flashes! Press photos! Meet-n-greets! Just like that, my fabulous runway adventure had come to an end. Of course, a celebration wouldn’t be complete without my sweet husband there to root me on and the influx of love and support I received in person and on social media.


I love mentoring and role modeling because it also leaves me feeling inspired and supported and reminded that we’re not alone as we travel through this life.


So wherever you are in life – let’s all just take our place on the runway and WORK IT!!