How to Move Toward a Vision

Transformation never happens overnight.

Summary
Transcript

In this backstage interview from Leadercast Women 2019, Elaine Welteroth, award-winning journalist and former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, describes what it’s like to be a visionary. 

“The idea of being a visionary sounds so sexy, but the reality is that being a visionary means that you're in a lonely place because you're driving toward something that often only you can see,” she shares. “You won't have buy-in from everyone, and that's OK, because they don't see it. It's your vision and your job is to galvanize people and help them see the invisible and sometimes the impossible.”

Watch the video to learn more about setting a vision and pursuing transformation.

The idea of being a visionary sounds so sexy, but the reality is that being a visionary means that you're in a lonely place because you're driving toward something that often only you can see. And you won't have buy-in from everyone, and that's OK, because they don't see it. It's your vision and your job is to galvanize people and help them see the invisible and sometimes the impossible.

I think in terms of, you know, my time at Teen Vogue, I was able, I had the great fortune and the privilege of being surrounded by or surrounding myself with people who believed in the vision that we all shared for the future of what Teen Vogue could become. And so we saw the white space. We wanted to make sure that we created this really inclusive, celebratory platform that allowed every one of our readers to feel like they belonged there and to feel like every aspect of their identity was being celebrated and seen.

If you find yourself in a place where you have such a clear vision, but you don't necessarily see the path to getting there and you definitely don't have a community of folks who see the vision with you and are willing to go on that journey with you, I think you have to just stay focused on just that next step in front of you. Don't get overwhelmed and bogged down by thinking about the end result and getting lost in the middle. Just think about what is the next thing you need to do.

We did it in baby steps and we were strategic about it, and there were certain stories that were high-stakes stories that we put our weight behind and we tested them. And when they did well, it gave us a sense of confirmation that we were moving in the right direction. It allowed us to build an audience, a community, around this new mission, and we took them along on the journey. It was story by story. It was hire by hire. It did not happen overnight, and it never does. Transformation never happens overnight.

Elaine Welteroth

Elaine Welteroth is an award-winning journalist, author and the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue. Throughout her magazine career, Elaine broke new ground as the youngest person and the second African-American to hold this title in...

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