Home - Archives for May 2015

Month: May 2015

Career Skills Workshop: Dress to Impress

GEMgirls attended a career skills workshop on Friday, May 22nd, 2015 at the Aga Khan Museum to learn how to dress your best for interviews. Marlo Sutton and Caroline Young, who are experts in the fashion industry, were our presenters. Sutton is a personal stylist who worked in the fashion industry in Paris for 13 years and Young owns OIZO Fashion and Wardrobe consulting. GEMgirls participated and had fun, discussing tips on “what to wear” and “what not to wear” to interviews.

Clothes – “Start with the basics.” No interviewee can ever go wrong with the simple black dress pants, white buttoned up shirt and a blazer. This outfit will make you look professional. However, do not be afraid to try something new too! Instead of wearing the wide dress pants, wearing the slim dress pants is always an option too. Moreover, pencil skirts are also cute and professional! Just make sure the skirt isn’t too short. Lastly, make sure everything fits well. “Comfort, portion and simplicity” are key when deciding on an outfit to wear for an interview.

Shoes – Black shoes are best. Black patent shoes are even better. You can easily wipe them off and go! If you’re going to wear heels, make sure they are comfortable and easy to walk in. If it is raining or snowing, it is best to bring your shoes with you so that you can change into them for the interview.

Hair – If you’re someone that plays with your hair, it can distract the interviewer. In this case, the best hairstyles would be a neat bun, a pony tail, or combed back away from your face. If you like your hair down, keep it down as you’ll want to be yourself and comfortable for the interview.

Make-Up – Lip gloss, mascara, and blush is perfect when going for an interview. Avoid bright and bold colours for the interview as this could distract the interviewer. You’ll want them to remember you for the amazing things you said not the bright colour of your lips.

Accessories – Pearls are a girl’s best friend too! Pearl earrings and a necklace will make you look classy. A small black purse will go with any outfit you choose. For nails, have them fully painted or clean. Not a visible accessory, but the amount of perfume you use should be minimal or none since a strong smell could upset the interviewer.

BE YOU! – The best piece of advice from Sutton and Young was to remember that, “it’s about your voice and who you are.” Besides looking great, it is also about being prepared for the interview and having confidence. “Let yourself shine through!”

This was a fun and practical workshop. Sutton and Young gave extremely helpful dressing tips for the interview. They wrapped the workshop up by also giving tips on how to make a great impression at Prom! We left with a brochure that displayed photo examples of outfits for a formal interview, a work event, and a casual meeting (see visual below). Without a doubt, GEMgirls will be more than ready for future interviews

Four Basic Looks for Interviewing
Four Basic Looks for Interviewing

Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort,  student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.

Business Etiquette for Youth

By: Lisa Orr, Etiquette & Protocol Consultant

When you’re first entering the workforce it can be really hard to make the transition. After years of being a student with a casual dress code and laid-back lifestyle the jump into the corporate world can be difficult.

It can feel like going from a leisurely stroll to jumping on a high-speed train.

But with a little practice and a few helpful tips the process can be much easier:

Always introduce yourself and shake hands

Shaking hands puts people at ease and gives you an opportunity to make a lasting connection plus the eye contact and physical contact of a handshake actually have a biochemical impact that will make the person you shake hands with like you more and look forward to seeing you.

When you meet – say your name clearly

There’s nothing worse than having to ask someone to repeat his or her name because it wasn’t clear. The whole point of saying your name in a greeting is so the other person can learn it – so make sure you say it slowly enough and make an association for them to make it easy to remember (E.G. My name is Lisa Orr, like Bobby Orr, but we’re not related).

Dress the part

Sneakers and jeans may have been the uniform in school but in the workplace it’s about looking professional and qualified. Each type of work will have its own dress code so make sure to know what it is and try to lean towards the most polished version of that wardrobe so that people see you as a polished person.

Make great conversation

Being a great conversationalist is about two things: being interesting and listening. To be interesting that means you need to ask questions and connect with the person you are talking to on things that are interesting to THEM. The next step is to be a great listener – that means in a conversation you want to make sure you are listening and hearing what is being said.


It’s so simple but SO powerful. Thank you notes are the best but emails and phone calls work too! The key is to express your gratitude for the time and energy your colleagues share with you to help you develop and further your career.

For more information please visit www.lisaorretiquette.com.


Lisa Orr is a life long Torontonian and currently resides in Toronto with her husband and 3 children. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University, has had corporate experience as an analyst in Investment Banking at National Bank Financial and currently works as a managing director in her family office Hallisey Capital Partners with a focus on wealth management and strategic investments. Lisa is certified in both International Protocol and Corporate Etiquette by The Protocol School of Washington based in Washington D.C. as well as Youth Etiquette and Social Dance from Etiquette and Leadership Institute of Athens, Georgia. 

Career Chat: Inside Medicine

GEMgirls and myself were invited for a coffee chat at the Thrive Medical Clinic. During the coffee chat, GEMgirls had an opportunity to visit a workplace where we could ask questions to the employees about their career and educational paths and get an inside look at what a medical career is like. GEMgirls saw that a medical career may seem prescribed, but it’s really anything but. As a medical professional, while helping others, you can still express your own individuality and unique character.

Your office, your look
Compared to the usual bland and boring look of many clinics in Toronto, Thrive is a very beautiful office. The walls were a sky blue colour and had magnificent paintings on the walls. This proved to us that a business, such as a medical clinic, can be aesthetically pleasing if you choose for it to be.

Women-run business
Thrive Medical Clinic was co-founded by Dr. Kristin Heins, Naturopath and Dr. Jennifer Wise, Chiropractor. The co-founders were joined by Dr. Chelsea Sherrington, Psychologist for the career chat. These women demonstrated to us that women can run their own clinical office successfully. We were definitely inspired by their drive and their focus to satisfy their clients.

You decide what to do for your undergraduate degree
For the girls who are interested in the medical field, the one question they all had was, “What should I study during my under grad?” The answer is that you actually do not need to study science or medicine during post-secondary. What counts is studying what you like and a subject that will help you to receive high marks. That’s because medical schools will be looking at your overall GPA, not just what courses you took.

Pursue your passion
Throughout high school and university, Dr. Kristin Heins Naturopath, was preparing to become a lawyer. It was when she was preparing for her LSAT that she realized how much she didn’t want to become a lawyer. She expressed to the GEMgirls that she was curious about naturopathy, as it was one of her greatest passions. That was a great message to us, “it is better to follow your passions than give in to what people around you think you should do”

The GEMgirls and myself enjoyed our time at Thrive as we listened to each woman speak, while drinking hot coffee and eating soft brownies. Thrive coffee chat was a great experience because of the new things we learned and the stories we will be able to share with other girls too.


Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort,  student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.

GEM Private Film Screening

Watermark screened at the TIFF theatre was a breathtaking documentary about the impact of water on our lives. GEMgirls had a very unique opportunity to attend a private screening and meet one of its co-directors, Jennifer Baichwal afterwards.

This documentary never told us what to think, where so many others do. Without a single mention of facts and figures, it presents situations with the intention of letting the audience decide for itself, ever so often guiding us with strong visual contrasts. The result was a stronger message about the way in which water shapes our lives.

The documentary presented the unique perspectives of locals. There was no obvious evidence of an interrogation, like in most documentaries; oftentimes the locals were filmed simply performing their everyday tasks, or having conversations. Sometimes the conversations had nothing to do with the water at all. We felt as if we were being shown a more honest representation of the situation. We, the audience, could make our own observations, and come to our own conclusions.

The movie left us feeling enlightened about global water issues and a keener self-awareness. We had been given the chance to observe the situation of water all around the world and we came away with a very strong conviction that something has to be done.

GEM Applications Open

Our application season has begun for next year’s mentorship program. Each year we look for ambitious, high-achieving, young women that are interested in realizing their true potential so they can design and achieve their dream life!

Last year the GEM program attracted an unprecedented number of applications. We selected 30 of the best and brightest young women and invited them to join our GEM program.

This year we are looking for 30 new GEMgirls that are entering Grade 11 or 12 for the 2015/2016 school year. Our new GEMgirls will have an extraordinary club experience where they will benefit from:

We are so proud of the GEM class of 2014/2015 – many are going on to attend post-secondary programs next year. Here’s a peak at some of the programs they have been accepted to:

  • University of Waterloo, Software Engineering
  • University of Toronto, Neuroscience
  • Seneca College, Collaborative Nursing
  • University of Windsor, Digital Journalism
  • Carlton University, Bio-Medical/Electrical Engineering
  • Ryerson University, Social Work

Are you a potential GEMgirl? Do you know someone that would make a great GEMgirl?

Here’s what we’re looking for:

Girls who are entering grades 11 or 12, academically high-achieving, ambitious and driven, from a diverse background and live in one of these neighbourhoods: Crescent Town, Flemingdon, Ionview, Oakridge, Thorncliffe, and Victoria Village.

Realize your Potential. Be a GEM girl.

Please click here to apply today.

Deadline: June 30, 2015.