Moana Journal

Alexandria Samuel
9 min readApr 16, 2020

Session One Sunday April 12, 2020 9 pm

  1. Identify the features of the mentorship relationship that Telemachus has with Athena-Mentes/Athena-Mentor in the Odyssey. How do the mentoring relationships Moana has with her father (Chief Tui) and her Grandmother (Gramma Tala) compare and contrast?

Athena encourages Telemachus to voyage out to find his father and stop the relentless suitors from trying to win his mother and become ruler of the land that is not theirs. Athena guides him to visit different foreign places and inquire about his father. On his journey he learns how to be brave and deal with foreign dignitaries.

When looking at all the things Athena does for Telemachus to help him prepare him to become head of his household and King of Ithaca, it is easy to use the IATEP method which employs a five part method that includes identification, analyzation, translation, evaluation, and practice. Identification involves identifying an example of leadership in a work of art or literature. Analyzation involves taking the example identified and analyzing that example as much as one can. The third part of the method, translation, involves using the analyzed example and translating it into modern terns. The fourth part, evaluation, involves evaluating the modern examples and asking the question “Would they make for good leadership?”. The fifth and final part in the method, practice, involves looking for ways to use the modern example in one’s own life. In Book One of Homer’s Odyssey, Athena helps Telemachus identify himself as the true son of Odysseus. In their first encounter Athena says to him “ But now, declare me this and plainly tell, if you indeed — so tall — are the true son of Odysseus. In head and beautiful eyes you surely are much like him. Soon often we were together before he embarked for Troy, where others too, the bravest of the Argives, went in their hollow ships.” In saying this, Athena identifies Telemachus as the son of Odysseus and makes sure to speak of him in very high regard, ensuring Telemachus that his father was “the bravest” and by likening him to his father, as the “true son of Odysseus,” implies that he too is brave. Knowing the story before even appearing to Telemachus, Athena had analyzed the example and knew exactly how to use it in order to get through to Telemachus. After identifying Telemachus as the son of the great Odysseus, Athena translates the story of brave Odysseus and modernizes it by revealing the potential that Telemachus has as the son of Odysseus. For example she says to him “Surely the gods meant that your house should not lack future fame, when to such son as you Penelope gave birth.” In doing this, Athene helps ignite pride in Telemachus, suggesting that the gods themselves meant greatness for him in the future. In practice, Athena uses aidos by telling Telemachus “You must not hold to childish ways, because you are no longer now the child you were”. She then compares Telemachus to the great heroes of the past, saying to him, “Have you not heard what fame royal Orestes gained with all mankind, because he slew the slayer, wily Aegisthus, who had slain his famous father? You too, my friend, — for certainly I find you fair and tall, — be strong, that men hereafter born may speak your praise.” “Athena uses this comparison to help Telemachus mentally prepare for his role as leader of his house. A young person looking for a mentor today, must, as Telemachus did, recognize that there is a problem he or she wants to solve, or perhaps a goal that he or she would like to attain. Athena could not have helped Telemachus if he had not already been tired of the suitors and desperately wishing for his father’s return. An example used in class was about a young person wanting to create a non profit. That person cannot simply go look for a mentor and say, “I say “would like to start a non profit.” They need to have a reason for starting the non profit or else the mentor cannot help them.

In the way Athena was a mentor to Telemachus, so was Gramma to Moana. She knew her granddaughters’ destiny to save the people. She saw the ocean choose Moana. She encouraged her to go out by using the example of the voyagers of the village. She showed Moana the boats and depicted a story of how the ancestors used to voyage out and why they stopped. Shortly after, she tells Moana that she must go, and she gives her specific instructions on what to tell Maui when she saw him. “I am Moana of Montanui, and you WILL board my boat” She repeatedly tells her, “Go”. In contrast, Moana’s father, Chief Tui warns her of the dangers of the ocean. Having experienced the perils of the sea himself and fearing losing his daughter like he lost his friend, he discourages Moana from endangering herself. He leads by example by taking Moana along his daily duties as chief and teaching her how to help her people. Moana feels conflicted because her father wants her to be there for the village instead of enjoying the sea but Moana feels like her calling to save her people lies out beyond the reef.

2. How does Moana’s gender factor into her development as a leader? Put another way, what is gendered about her development?

I don’t see anything gendered about her development in the beginning. For example, the beginning of the movie showed her learning about the story of TeFiti and Maui with boys and girls alike. In addition, her father guides her and tries to shape her into being a leader. She is destined to be chief by lineage, and no one mentions anything about it being different because she is a girl. EVERYONE is forbidden from going beyond the reef, not just her. Sometimes dads are more protective over their daughters so maybe that is part of the reason he is not as encouraging of her. I do see her development being slightly gendered in her relationship with Maui. She has to use her female charm to get him to agree to journey with her. Although firm, she smiles and shrugs about him being a hero etc etc. It is similar to the women we learned about in the multi layered stories about women to would do things like burn ships but then kiss their men to make it all better. Maui also calls her “just a princess” and not a wayfinder, which is definitely gendered. He says “enoying your beauty rest?”. I think part of the reason Maui resists teaching her at first is because she is a girl.

3. If you were to create a multi-year leadership training program for young women based on what Moana experiences in her adventure, what would it look like?

I would create unique challenges for the women. I would present a type of scavenger hunt where they were tasked with finding something and restoring it to its rightful place. I would make it so the hunt forced them to learn skills like Moana had to learn to sail. I would give each young woman a partner that I told them would be there to offer guidance and really help them on their journey. The partners would be like Maui, resisting and discouraging at first, and then eventually they would ease up and be of more assistance. Through this, the women would learn how to rely on themselves and learn to take people with a grain of salt, even people that they thought were sent to really help them. The challenges I would set up with force the women to be resourceful and brave. At the end of their journeys, I would tell them to reflect on what happened and what they learned. We would discuss what worked and what didn’t, how their relationship with their partner affected their journey and the lessons that lie within that about working with others as a leader.

Session Two Tuesday, April 14, 2020 7 pm

The PR industry needs more people of color. That is evident seeing that major companies are having problems with black face and other racist representations in the 21st century. A 2018 Harvard Business Review analysis found that the PR industry is only 8.3% black. There are several sectors that need PR professionals that are majority black and/or people of color. For example, the NBA is 80.7% people of color. Entertainment sectors like the NBA need PR professionals that have a similar background and can relate to the people they represent. Having a PR practitioner that relates to the client helps the client in the long term because they are more likely to conduct research that people of a different background might not do. It is imperative to have someone that understands how to properly defend and speak on behalf of a person or organization. One of my goals is to help young black students gain access to the PR world and to help them establish long term connections. I believe this can be achieved by establishing myself as a practitioner.

In order to become that, I need to get my undergraduate degree and then attend graduate school. I would also like to meet people in the PR field that have broken barriers and can help guide me. A key to becoming a leader is through mentorship. I would need to seek out people that have experienced challenges in the PR field and have also worked with students from the communities that I want to encourage. This might include taking courses in community development and education. I think that in order to be recognized, my work must speak for itself and I have to be unafraid to speak up and speak out. I have to attend conferences and showcase my talent. When I interned for NALIP, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, I noticed that the leaders called to speak at the panels were more than willing to share and collaborate with others. I think that is key in being recognized, by networking and showcasing one’s skills.

Leadership Groups Sunday, April 12, 2020 12 pm

Destiny: This quarantine has shut down a lot of things. So besides her job and home there is nothing insightful going on. She doesn’t have much contact with people so she does not even know what to do with herself.

Ella: She and her mom and have now updated the masks they were working on. She’s now made them like more durable with like an extra layer added. They have been trying to have family dinners but they usually end in some type of argument but the past few have been ok.

Me: I’ve still been working on being a leader in my family to take care of my grandmother. Sometimes family conflict gets in the way of doing things as a collective. I’ve been trying to lead by example and also giving out examples for my family to try and come together

I’m still working on finishing my 55 miles for the month of April. It has been difficult but I feel rewarded. It is serving as an escape from having to stay inside. I have been getting fresh air and I have been learning that challenging yourself really helps one as a leader. It provides a space for you to grow. By running these miles, I see and feel myself getting better everyday. I feel that by doing this, I can encourage others. When things seem rough, I can tell them about my experience and how a person will get better day by day if they just keep going at it. If I do not challenge myself how will I challenge others when it is time to step up as a leader? Part of the IATEP model is being able to identify and use an example to help someone. Drawing on personal experience is the ultimate example. I can translate my experience to help another person. I can spin my story (not in bad way) to make it applicable to someone else’s situation. For example, I told my mom and my aunt about the challenge and how they can use the Nike run app to do one for themselves. Now I am going to help them download the app and create a challenge for them so they can get exercise in and have fun with the leaderboard and other settings the app provides. They want to create a challenge for the rest of April to walk at least 25 miles. I am trying to encourage them to try and jog/run a little bit as they get better. I know they are capable of doing more than just walking. I am trying to encourage them to get better day by day and walking will not necessarily do that. By telling them about my experience building up to how many miles I can run at one time and how quickly I can do it, I think they might listen to me and try to challenge themselves to a little more than just walking!



Alexandria Samuel

Junior PR Major, African American Studies Minor