Home - About Us

Who We Are

Girls E-Mentorship (GEM) is a registered charitable organization that offers an innovative mentorship program for high school girls facing multiple barriers. We equip girls with the necessary skills to achieve their grown-up aspirations, building a diverse network of talented, vibrant women and girls to inspire and support one another.

Since GEM’s launch in 2012, we have served over 150 girls in Toronto, seeing them through to post-secondary pursuits, including university entry. We have seen mentorship relationships deepen and girls transformed into confident, empowered young women.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide an innovation mentorship experience for motivated high school girls facing multiple barriers.  

Our Vision

Our vision is for girls to reach their full potential, and emerge as empowered young women and future female leaders.   

The Issue

Research shows, girls who grow up facing multiple barriers are more likely to experience disadvantages later in life.  Most GEM mentees and their families live in priority neighbourhoods and face multiple layers of discrimination. 

We work with girls who exhibit leadership qualities but because of their circumstances have faced undue hardship.  The girls that we select for our program may face the following obstacles which may impede their professional success:  

  • gender inequality  
  • financial insecurity  
  • lack of support from parents or guardians 
  • newcomers to Canada  
  • living with chronic stress  which makes them more susceptible to anxiety, depression, insomnia, fatigue, substance abuse, and memory loss 
  • limited access to specialized programs that would broaden their academic opportunities after high school  

By providing these girls with the guidance and resources they need, GEM empowers girls to own their futures long after high school graduation.   

 

The GEM Program

Mentorship: GEM individually matches high school girls with mentors for a 9-month program. GEM mentors are carefully chosen for their professional success, their ability to connect, and their commitment to improving the lives of GEMgirls. Participants are matched with mentors on the basis of career aspirations, interests, and personality.  

GEMinars: GEM hosts five experiential seminars throughout the year. These half-day sessions are hosted by professional women in their corporate offices and give participants an opportunity to learn about various industries.  

Internships: GEM mentees can apply for paid internship opportunities at GEM. Internships are skill and resume building opportunities.

Scholarships: GEM offers annual awards for GEMgirls that have made the most progress and embody the spirit of the program.   

Through one-on-one mentorship, we help girls to reach their full potential, own their future, develop new skills and engage in meaningful relationships.  

The Impact

In 2015, GEM received a grant to work with University of Toronto’s Department of Social Work to evaluate the effectiveness of the GEM program. Since then, we have been studying the impact that mentorship has on the lives of  GEMgirls based on measurements made at the beginning and end of the program. 

The 2016-15 UofT research shows that the quality of the mentor/mentee relationship has a statistically significant positive effect on goal orientation, preparedness for the job market, and stress level reduction. The study also indicated significant differences in the program participants’ level of confidence and self-perceptions.  

  •  100% of respondents had a positive experience with GEM 
  • 96% of GEM respondents are able to set goals and achieve them  
  • 100% of GEM respondents know how to present themselves for a job interview  
  • 92% of GEM respondents feel good about themselves 

 

The Team

angelina pun

Executive Director
angelina@girlsementorship.com

Angelina brings significant experience in the not-for-profit sector in both Canada and the United Kingdom, with organizations such as East London Advanced Technology Training (ELATT), Richmond University, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation. She has also worked in a volunteer fundraising capacity for numerous organizations, such as Project Sunshine Canada and Mooredale Community Centre, as well as in marketing and operations with LVMH. Along with her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Western Ontario, Angelina holds a Graduate Diploma of Education from Griffith University, Australia and a Masters of Business Administration from Richmond University, UK. 

tara norohna

Program Manager
tara@girlsementorship.com

Tara has over six years of experience in client care, program development and team management. With a degree in Industrial Design and Project Management, Tara considers herself “process-obsessed” and user-focused.  Tara understands the need to equip girls with the necessary tools to support and achieve their dreams. She is enthusiastic and committed to providing GEM participants with interactive and purposeful programming.

kirsten desabrais

Communications and Events Manager
kirsten@girlsementorship.com

Kirsten is a creative thinker, who is passionate about clearly communicating organizational objectives through meaningful storytelling. Kirsten has held positions at Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Canada, Girls Inc. Head Office in New York City and has volunteered extensively at other non-profit organizations both nationally and internationally.  Kirsten has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto, and recently graduated from the professional writing and communications program at Humber College.

The Board

Rochelle de Goias

Founder | Co-Chair
rochelle@girlsementorship.com

Rochelle is an experienced political analyst and consultant focusing on program development, design and evaluation.  She spent several years in France, the United Kingdom and Japan researching and studying international relations, political violence and risk.  She has also worked for the United Nations evaluating child labour reduction programs in South East Asia.
Most recently she was a Senior Policy Advisor for the Ministry of the Environment and a Senior Business Consultant with the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment. She holds a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of London and a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University.

Mary Lee

Co-Chair

Mary brings over 30 years of diverse management experience in a variety of industry segments; notably financial services, management consulting, packaged goods, media, technology and most recently telecommunications.  Her career has included engagement at Citibank, TD Bank, IBM, Colgate Palmolive, KPMG just to name a few.  Over the last few years, Mary has focused her efforts in founding, building and the ultimate sale of an international payment company.  She is currently responsible for the strategic management and leadership of CMC + Co, a technology based Telecom Expense Management company.  She also has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Manitoba and an MBA from the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto.

Jenny Seto

Treasurer

Jenny has over 20 years of experience in the areas of corporate taxation, finance and audit in the financial services industry.  She is currently the Director of Taxation at Intact Financial Corporation which is the largest property casualty insurer in Canada. Jenny is also co-owner of Toronto based Goneshopping.ca, an online lifestyle webstore that she manages in addition to her role at Intact. Jenny graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1991 and obtained her Certified General Accountants designation in 2000.

laura nourse

Secretary

Laura is a corporate and commercial lawyer who works in the financial services industry for one of the largest insurers in Canada. She previously worked at a major national law firm and for a large natural resources company based in Colombia. She holds a BSc in genetics and biochemistry from Western University and a J.D. from Western University.

Anne-Marie Sorrenti

Board Member

Anne-Marie supports the promotion of women into leadership positions through her consulting and coaching business, Sorrenti Leadership Consulting. She holds a law degree (JD) from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and a PhD in Renaissance Italian Studies from the University of Toronto. She has also studied in Montreal (McGill) and conducted research in Italy (Florence, Siena, Rome and Milan). She previously practised corporate and entertainment law at a major national law firm (Heenan Blaikie, LLP) and has taught at the University of Toronto. She is passionate about the value of education, training, and mentoring, especially for young women. Anne-Marie is a licensed practitioner of The Birkman Method® assessment and is pursuing advanced corporate coach credentials with the International Coaching Federatio.

maria vilshanski

Board Member

Maria brings over 10 years of experience in Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding across a diverse range of industries. Maria currently serves as a Manager, Employer Branding & Talent Acquisition at EllisDon, where she and her team of four manage and direct both national and international strategic talent initiates. She was most recently presented with the Rising Star Award (HR’s next generation) for her critical contributions to a major billion dollar project. Maria is a York University graduate, with a Bachelors of Honors in Human Resources.

naomi zener

Board Member

Naomi is an entertainment, media, technology, business affairs and legal executive management professional licensed to practice law in both California and Ontario. She holds a B.A. in political science from McGill University, a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School, and an LL.M. from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. Last, She is a published fiction author–her debut novel, Deathbed Dimes, was released in the summer of 2014.

Pamela borges

Board Member

Pamela is a marketing and external affairs strategist who has worked in the biopharmaceutical industry both in Canada and internationally for over 17 years. In her career she has engaged a broad spectrum of private and public stakeholders locally and abroad to improve patient access to innovative medicines. She has been based in Toronto, Montreal and at a global headquarters in Paris where she collaborated closely with the US, Europe and Asia Pacific markets.  She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto.

susan humphrey

Board Member

Susan is an experienced educator and has worked for the past two decades as an Art and English teacher with the York Region District Board of Education. Susan has taught a wide range of adolescents and has mentored dozens of student teachers in B.Ed programmes.  Prior to her career in secondary education, Susan was the Exhibitions Co-ordinator at  the McMichael Gallery.  She has an Honors Bachelor of Arts from Western, a Bachelor of Education  from OISE/U of T and a Master of Arts degree in Art History from Queen’s University.