Mentors Making History: Carrie Chapman Catt’s Mentor

Ever wonder what’s behind the successful women and men who have actively changed the course of history? For starters, they didn’t do it alone. Many famous game-changers have one thing in common: a mentor.

The Mentor

Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was an orator and leader of the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. A vocal abolitionist, Stone assisted in establishing the Woman’s National Loyal League to help pass the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery. She founded and contributed regularly to the weekly periodical Woman’s Journal and helped form the American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), which laid the foundation for women’s right to vote nationally with victories at the state and local levels.

The Protégée

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) was also a women’s suffrage leader in the U.S. She served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), founded the League of Women Voters and the International Alliance of Women. She led the group of women in 1919 to pressure Congress to pass the Nineteenth Amendment that gave women the right to vote in 1920.

Following the merge of AWSA and the National Woman Suffrage Association that created the unified NAWSA, Catt made frequent visits to Stone,. Stone had been impressed by Catt’s ambition and presence when they met at a previous convention and agreed to mentor her. She opened her wealth of experience to Catt over the course of one winter, sharing strategies and techniques for political organizing, lobbying and fundraising.

Why it Worked

In order to drive progress forward for their shared vision of women’s right to vote, both women recognized the need to build future strategies on past knowledge.

Catt had ambition but Stone had experience. Together, they ensured that the movement didn’t lose momentum with the next generation. Catt used and built on Stone’s strategies over the next 30 years and, as a result, saw the ultimate victory.

Mentors can give us a personal link to the wealth of wisdom from pioneers in our particular industry. WXNWisdom Top 100 Mentoring helps make those connections, pairing you with a woman at the top of her field from our community of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winners and boosting your potential to change the course of history—for the better.