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Month: September 2017

“GEM gave me the confidence to go after the things I want”

Mathurah Ravigulan was one of the amazing GEMgirls in 2016-17 and one of the GEM Scholarship recipients. We interviewed her about her experience in The GEM Program.

Mentorship really makes a difference in a person’s life. I loved how GEM gave me the confidence to go after the things I want.

My favourite part of GEM were the GEMinars because they were at different companies in downtown Toronto and we learned essential skills such as interviewing, personal branding, and goal setting. I love how all the mentors involved in GEM are so fun, easy to approach and will do anything to help their mentees to reach their goals.

I have set and achieved goals I never thought would have been possible without the encouragement of my GEM mentor. She taught me to be bold, and take challenges head on, no matter my age or experience. Being in grade 10, I never would have thought I would get my first internship, or even win a GEM scholarship.

Last year I was feeling discouraged because I wanted to pursue a career in computer science. However, there aren’t that many girls in that industry. GEM has inspired me to break that glass ceiling. I learned how to code, and now I’m volunteering with an organization to encourage girls in technology.

I also got hired as an Outreach Intern at GEM, and that experience has allowed me to be a great candidate for positions in several industries. Now, I am not afraid to reach out to larger companies about internships because GEM taught me that I am capable of doing great things.

GEM helped me to accomplish so many things this year! I started my own company in the Junior Achievement Company Program where I was the Chief Technology Officer. I learned first-hand what it took to run a business, and I felt that I grew as a leader this year. I achieved top ten in my DECA Case study at the provincial competition.

When I learned that I was one of the GEM Scholarships Winners, I couldn’t believe it! I would have never imagined at grade 10 that I would be winning a scholarship. GEM is not only helping me achieve my goals through mentorship, but this award is helping me finance my aspirations. This scholarship is not only an investment in myself, but it’s an investment in the community as well!

I’m currently in the International Baccalaureate Program at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute and I’m going into grade 11 next year. In the summer I’ll be attending a STEAM-based program called SHAD, and I’ll be staying in the University of Waterloo for a month. In August, I’m doing an internship at RBC for their digital communications department for RBC Connect. I know my journey will not stop here, and I’m so excited to see what’s in store in the future!



GEM’s Founder shared her career advice with BTNH

GEM’s Founder, Rochelle de Goias, was featured in Be The Next Her, a career blog for women. She was interviewed about her carrer path, why she founded GEM and what challenges women face when following their passion.

Here’s the full interview by Amanda Dipasquale:

-What is your morning routine?
-I’m pretty busy in the morning because I have two young kids. I’m up around 7:00 am to get my nine-month old changed and ready for breakfast. Then I get my two and a half year old ready. We all have breakfast together before things get too busy. Once my eldest is on his way to his programs I get ready for my day.

-Tell us about your career path
-I am the founder of Girls E-Mentorship (GEM), a charity that provides mentorship to girls facing multiple barriers. I studied International Relations and started my career researching international human rights violations, evaluating child labour reduction strategies, and terrorism. I later worked for a government relations firm in Toronto and then transitioned into the provincial government. I knew I wanted to help the youth in our city and give those with limited opportunities the best chance to succeed. So eventually, when the timing was right, I started GEM.

-What challenges do you or women face in your industry?
-I think women and mothers struggle with balancing a family and having a career. I don’t think it’s industry specific. Running an organization takes a lot of time and effort, as does taking care of a family and having a social life. I am constantly learning and trying new ways to make it all work!

-What advice would you give to young girls who want to be the NEXT you?
Follow your passion. When you do something you love it’s not work.
Find a mentor. Mentors are so important and can be helpful at different stages in your career.
Be patient. The path to your dream job can take time but stick with it. You will get there.
Show initiative. Be the person who works harder than everyone else. It’s a fast way to get promoted.
Be positive. Everyone wants to work with someone who is happy and easy to be around.
Never ever burn bridges.

-How do you separate work life from your personal life?
-I work at it every day and my friends and my husband tell me when I’m spending too much time at work or getting too stressed out. That’s when I know I have to take a step back.
I now try and disconnect from my phone and computer in the evenings. Sometimes that’s not possible but I do the best I can.

-What inspires you?
-Seeing GEM and the girls in GEM succeed brings me a huge amount of joy and inspires me to do more. Being a part of a community of women that is passionate about empowering girls is also an incredible source of inspiration.

-When you’re off the clock, what are your indulgences?
-I love spending time with my family. We drive up to the farm on weekends and spend a lot of time in nature. I also enjoy being active so yoga, tennis, and Pilates are all on my list of indulgences.

Photo by Stefania Sgambelluri

Source: Be The Next Her
Photo by: Stefania Sgambelluri

“Thanks to GEM I’m not afraid to think big”

Khalida Elsadati was one of the amazing GEMgirls in 2016-17 and one of the GEM Scholarship recipients. We interviewed her about her experience in The GEM Program.

“GEM has been such a rewarding experience, and I’m so glad to have been a part of it. I’ve had the opportunity to network with young women from all over Toronto who are working in all types of fields.

The most important lesson that I’ve learned from GEM is to be flexible! Your career will lead you to different paths, and that’s ok. Seize every opportunity that comes your way!

My mentor has been a friend and major influence in my life the past year. Her support has been a factor in many my accomplishments the past year. We constantly check up on each other, chat about our lives, and encourage each other pursuits. My mentor taught me the importance of prioritizing in my academic and personal life. These important lessons have been incredibly powerful.

Before entering GEM, I had a very clear-cut idea of the next 20 years of my life. I’ve always been a huge planner, but GEM taught me to see future more fluidly. I learned to see my failures as lessons and opportunities to further prove myself. This realization made me more aware of my personal goals and allowed me to cherish the present.

Through GEM, I’ve become a more confident and determined individual. I’ve learned to embrace challenges with an open mind and to visualize every opportunity as a step towards a larger goal. Now entering post-secondary, these lessons will allow me to elevate myself and accomplish my goals.

I will be graduating this school year, and I’m extremely excited to be attending Western University to pursue my passion for business. When I learned that I was one of the GEM Scholarships Winners I was extremely excited! I was in the midst of writing an in-class essay and had to contain my joy. I hope to invest the GEM Scholarship into my university education. It would definitely help ease the financial burden.

As an aspiring social entrepreneur, I hope to pursue my masters in economics after I graduate. Having lived in Sudan until I was four, I’ve often pondered on what creates strong economies and how we can stimulate economic growth in developing nations. Despite being rich in the resource, third-world nations struggle to harness the resources they have available and thus, continue to struggle in competing in the global economy. If given the opportunity, I would choose to work with the World Bank to encourage global prosperity.

After pursuing my masters, I hope to them attend law school. Through attending pursuing this degree, I can develop my knowledge on judicial systems and work in family and refugee law. I hope to them transition from the private sector, to the public sector and work with global non-profits Through this, I hope to give back to society and bring opportunities to low-income neighbourhoods.”