On my flight to the west coast, as I was writing this letter, the woman seated next to me began asking pointed questions about ELYSIAN. Imagine if you will, my laptop perched over select oversized layout pages scattered across my makeshift desk (wildly small airplane trays). And though I was immersed in thought, I appreciated her interest and search for answers.
I described ELYSIAN’s dual purpose: uncovering the mysteries of our Inspiring Women and discovering all facets of Graceful Living. To that end, our Summer issue’s focus on Women in Art & Finance spotlights women who are finally being recognized for their exceptional gifts and talents.
I also explained that philanthropy is a foundational concept for ELYSIAN, underpinning a heartfelt commitment to giving back and connecting our readers with stories of women who share this passion.
Inspiring Women. (Anecdotal stories)
My airplane companion was interested in how and why the Inspiring Women were selected. We do not “chase” celebrity, I noted, but seek the “story that inspires.” As we plan each issue of the magazine, our editorial board nominates four women whose unique journey stirs within us a desire to do and be more.
Our Inspiring Women this issue come from the worlds of art and finance. With an increasing international outlook, along with ELYSIAN’s continued commitment to elevating the next generation, our interviews represent self-awareness that only comes from taking the road less traveled.
Susan Taylor, who served for decades as Editor-in-Chief for Essence, describes her transition into the non-for-profit sector with National CARES Mentoring Movement, an initiative focused on elevating children from poverty through education and mentorship. Lou Kennedy, a pioneer in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, speaks to the theme of perseverance. With an international footprint, her business acumen serves as a benchmark for women globally. Jane Holderness-Roddam, the first British woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Equestrian competition, spotlights the Brooke Foundation. With a platform stemming from her service as lady-in-waiting for Princess Anne, coupled with her equestrian notoriety, Holderness-Roddam now focuses largely on philanthropy.
As in each issue of ELYSIAN, we connect the perspectives of accomplished women to the aspirations of young women taking their own course. Attorney Jennifer Justice, well-known as the personal lawyer for Jay-Z, dedicates her professional focus to forging opportunities for younger women. Her client Call Me Margot—entertainer, vocalist and violinist—graces this issue’s cover, increasing the ever-expanding ELYSIAN Circle.
Graceful Living. (Deliberate, spirited and bold)
ELYSIAN is dedicated to women who have been carrying the torch. And with our focus on Women in Art & Finance, we add to that a place in art history. Women in these sectors have gained critical momentum, and we are proud to offer richly deserved recognition.
From a collections standpoint, female artists have been critically overlooked for years, and their role in major art movements has been obscured. In these pages, we delve into the increasing interest (and value) in investing in female artists, from the old masters to the contemporary. The art world celebrates the irreverent. We honor that spirit with our spotlight on Young Creator Stephanie Baptist, an innovative curator who has developed a nontraditional approach to exhibiting and nurturing emerging talent.
We move from the nontraditional to a review of the art establishment, with three leading female gallerists sharing their insights on Art Basel as they prepare to show at the international art fair in Switzerland this June. From Basel we travel to Gstaad, where interior designer Michelle Nussbaumer shows us inside her artfully styled country chalet and shares her favorite things to see and do in this Swiss Alpine village.
Women empowering women is a cornerstone for ELYSIAN, and we find an example of this at the intersection of art and finance with Lensational, a global social enterprise whose mission is to empower women in the developing world through photography.
As we further our mission to inspire and connect women globally, we continue to champion our roots in the southern United States, and this is no less true when it comes to the arts. We are pleased to announce our partnership with the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism as we feature female-led art institutions that are fueling a vibrant arts scene across the Palmetto State.
Philanthropy. (Creating legacy)
Philanthropy connects women. Under the umbrella of ELYSIAN Impact, we are able to engage our Circle of Women and amplify their self-identified philanthropic causes. We are proud to announce ELYSIAN Impact’s first effort in conjunction with Silent Tears, a South Carolina based philanthropy that addresses the complex issues associated with child sexual abuse and violence against women. Through this partnership, Silent Tears announced plans to donate $5 million to fund the capital needs of frontline organizations across the state. More importantly, this effort creates a template that will be replicated across mission-driven and charitable organizations nationwide.
Challenging ourselves through the examples of others, searching the unknown and always seeking knowledge is our purpose.