I almost gave up.

It was 1971, and I was a divorced single mom who had just summoned the courage to move from a teaching college in Virginia to New York City for a job at LOOK magazine. 

Nine months into the job, LOOK stopped publishing.

Watch me tell this story about almost giving up as part of the Makers series on PBS

Out of work and nearly penniless, I almost packed my bags, and with them, any hope of a career in media. 

Then fate intervened, and a friend loaned me just enough money for one more month of rent. I went downtown in a pouring rainstorm to pick up this generous loan, and when I got back to my apartment, I realized I'd left my purse, with all of the money in it, in a cab. 

This was rock bottom.

Then, fate intervened again. The phone rang. "Is this Patricia Mitchell?" a voice asked.

"Yes," I replied, cautiously.

"This is Rabbi Goldberg, and I have your purse." 

I was so grateful that I nearly weptAs I told him how much his act of kindness meant to me, he said, "Patricia, at some point, everyone needs a rabbi, and tonight, you got yours."

That experience taught me to never give up, and instilled in me a commitment to be other people's "rabbi," something I've tried to do as a mentor, as a friend, and through the causes and projects to which I devote myself.

We all find inspiration and courage by hearing how others have overcome barriers or gotten through tough times. I know I do. That's why I'm sharing my "rabbi story," and why I'll share other stories from time to time here on this site, as well as in the book I'm writing — a memoir with the purpose of mentoring. More on that to come.

I have been encouraged to write this book by so many of the young women I’ve been privileged to know, to work with, and, yes, to mentor.

Women like Courtney Martin, a remarkable writer and innovator (listen to our StoryCorps conversation).  

We need to share our stories as women, as a way of offering roadmaps to each other — roadmaps to finding our power, and to using it in meaningful ways.

That's why I'm sharing my story. I hope you'll share yours.