As a child, I dreamed of a “career.” My mother had one. It required she wear suits (the most memorable of which she sewed herself), work long days in the city, and occasionally fly to Paris for meetings. Picture me, curled up on the couch, pyjama-clad, drifting off to sleep in the glow of a PowerPoint presentation and the sound of my mother practicing her speech on global tax laws. A strange bedtime story, perhaps, but it didn’t matter—in my eyes, she was a power-suit-wearing superhero.

In retrospect, I realize how very lucky I was. Some people, both men and women, go their whole careers without meeting that person who would inspire them to set and follow through on goals, but I had a professional mentor before I even knew what that meant.

Today, as ever, the world desperately needs mentors, especially women, especially in film. This issue is filled with the stories of female trailblazers who, like my mother did with her career in the ’80s and ’90s, are putting in the late nights to make a difference in their fields and, in doing so, are inspiring the next generation. The Toronto International Film Festival itself is a major contributor to the cause. This year, TIFF announced the Share Her Journey initiative, a five-year commitment to encourage women and minorities to join the arts community.

This support, this framework for success for women in the arts and beyond, is vital. My family had it—Mom was definitely not the only feminist living under our roof. My father, who stayed home to raise my brother and me, taught me to be healthy, competitive, and persistent. In grade school, he became my running coach, similarly helping me to set and achieve my goals, and correct a wobbly stride (it still wobbles a bit). There’s no doubt in my mind that my mother and, in turn, my brother and I, wouldn’t have been able to realize the success we enjoy today without his support. Because feminism is more than women boosting up other women: it’s about people supporting each other as equals. Hillary Clinton said it perfectly: “Human rights are women’s right and women’s rights are human rights, once and for all.”

After 42 years of suits, rush-hour commutes, and global tax law presentations, my mother is entering the last leg of her career. She and my father have been shopping for their next home in Niagara’s wine country, a goal they’ve moved toward as a team. To them, and to all those who work to make the career dreams of little girls everywhere come true, thank you. We will continue.

Lisa Felepchuk