Expand Yourself

“Do not shrink. Your voice matters.” 

I was in the back room at a journalism conference 6-ish years ago and Dori Maynard was giving me a pep talk. I don’t remember why but my morale was low and I felt lost (not too dissimilar from now, actually!) Dori listened before using that moment to issue a call to action for me to see that I’d start feeling less lost as soon as I got to work on making my own path. “Everything is changing, nothing is guaranteed… create, invent, show up. Do not shrink. Your voice matters.

Tonight I attended the DC memorial service for Dori and it was beautiful and sweet, painful and real. I still cannot believe she is gone because I see her everywhere: in my work, on mastheads around the world, honoring good journalism, pushing where we can do better, asking hard questions, pushing us, pushing me. Do not shrink.

“The country’s greatest achievements came about because somebody believed in something, whether it was in a steam engine, an airplane or a space shuttle. Only when we lose hope in great possibilities are we really doomed. Reversals and tough times inspire some people to work harder for what they believe in.” — Dori’s father, Robert C. Maynard wrote.

Dori was our relentless champion. Not just a champion for diversity in journalism, for media we all deserve. She saw an inclusive world most people in media could not even begin to imagine, one where diverse voices can shape our media and drive the future. At the Maynard Institute her heart and soul was committed to making this future come alive: create, invent, show up.

“She spoke truth to power even when addressing the most formidable audience. Her voice can now only be heard by those willing to carry on her work.

Geneva Overholser said tonight “Being around Dori was like being called to expand yourself.” That is the essence of Dori I always try to hold with me. I work in industries which usually render women that look like me invisible. Yet with Dori I always felt seen and that gave me faith to expand myself and work hard for a future I believe in, for a better world we all deserve. I will always, always cherish her for that. She made me brave.

Do not shrink. Your voice matters.

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