It’s about time we start embracing pivots.

Every corner of history is filled with adaptable, resilient, and trailblazing women. But it’s not just the women in history books. Women in our everyday lives have taught us that ‘mistakes’ are lessons, ‘failure’ is progress, and ‘pivots’ are possibilities.

Over the course of the pandemic women everywhere have been impacted by job loss, the demand of caregiving, and burnout. Rather than be set back by a need for change, women adapted and came out stronger time and time again. They redefined their purpose and explored uncharted paths.

This Women’s History Month, Skillshare and Society6 are partnering to champion the freedom to pivot when a path no longer fulfills you. We teamed up with five incredible female artists and Skillshare teachers to create a collection that celebrates discovering new paths and aligning purpose with action. Here, we hear from them what inspired their pieces and how they’ve pivoted in their careers.

Alicia Souza

Bangalore, India

“I think falling into freelancing was never a part of my plans. I honestly always thought it sounded terrible. I fell into it when plans didn’t work out and it was so sudden that I didn’t have alternate plans (I’m a planner!). I just had to put my head down and work. Do a lot of things I never wanted to do and things I was afraid of. Over time it worked out for the best. I can’t be more grateful!

Women have an extraordinary ability to grow, adapt and maneuver around even the most challenging times. I couldn’t think of anything more beautiful and perfectly comparable than plants and flowers—ever changing, growing, and blooming!”

Charly Clements

Chiang Mai, Thailand

“The pandemic put a lot of things into perspective for me. It affected so many of us, not only physically but also mentally so it gave me the motivation to spread more happiness and positivity through my work. My Instagram became SO much more than just sharing my art, it became a place for telling stories, making deeper connections and helping others grow into thriving artists. This shift made me realise just how important following my passion is, and how much joy I get from helping others achieve the same.

As women there are so many different hats we have to wear on a daily basis, from being a business owner, a colleague, a friend, a mother to being a role model for others, it can sometimes be a lot to juggle. This illustration represents the constant changes we’ve had to adapt to throughout the pandemic. I wanted this piece to show how we’re constantly evolving and how beautiful those changes can be. It’s about looking at all the challenges we’ve had to face, and being grateful for how they’ve shaped us.”

Gia Graham

Atlanta, Georgia

“I’ve had a couple major pivots in my creative career over the past 20 years. Two years after launching a successful stationery line, my second son was born prematurely (11 weeks early!). The business needed 100% of my time and so did my son – I chose my son and decided to close the business. While in my new role as a stay-at-home mom, I bought an iPad and decided to learn hand lettering and brush up on my illustration skills. What started out as a creative pastime quickly became a passion then evolved into a new career path. I’m forever grateful for those pivots for leading me to where I am today.

This piece is all about resilience and “making a way out of no way”. For many of us, the path is not always clear or straightforward (whether in life, in love, in business or any other scenario). I’m always inspired by our strength as women. We sometimes meander, change directions, pivot, or we may even need to create a path of our own. Even when all seems lost, we usually find our way.”

Katty Huertas

Washington DC

“The pandemic made me realize and change certain work patterns that probably weren’t the healthiest. During the first months I found myself constantly working as a coping mechanism. Since like most people, I barely left the house, I felt the guilt of not being productive. I felt like there were no clear boundaries between work time and personal time. All of this eventually led to burn out, which made me adjust how I approached my work.

I wanted to represent how powerful as individuals we can all be. I also drew inspiration from nature since it’s so resilient and adaptable. It can be beautiful and delicate as well as strong and rough, just like we are. Creativity puts the power back in our hands to imagine the world we want to live in and art allows us to dream beyond reality. Since many of us are dreamers, I wanted to incorporate that as well.”

Sophia Yeshi

Brooklyn, NY

“When I first moved to New York, I searched high and low for a full-time job in graphic design. I reached out to everyone I knew living in the city, applied to jobs daily, made connections through LinkedIn, but still only had one interview that didn’t end up with an offer. I ended up moving and decided to just try my hand at freelancing, without knowing if it would work out. If I wasn’t rejected, who knows where I would be now, but what I learned is that sometimes being told “no” or being rejected can open up a whole new path you weren’t able to see for yourself. 

When thinking about this piece, I thought of the ability of women to shift and pivot, ever adapting to changing circumstances. The word “shape-shifter” came to mind and I thought of how I could bring that idea to life with my artwork.”

Ali Peugh

Director, Artist Community