Home - About Us

Our Story

Founded in 2012, Girls E-Mentorship (GEM) is a charitable organization that offers a mentorship program for high school girls facing multiple barriers in Toronto. We support the growth of female youth and create opportunities for girls to succeed.

Since its launch, GEM has served 100-plus high school girls in Toronto, seeing them through to post-secondary pursuits, including university entry.

The Issue

High school girls who face socio-economic barriers are more likely to experience disadvantages later in life. They experience increased levels of stress and anxiety, which make them more susceptible to mental health issues, including depression. Their ongoing suffering can also translate to school disengagement, substance abuse, and criminal activity. These ripple effects are felt not only by the girls themselves but by the entire community. It is critical that we create programs that can break the cycle between the socio-economic barriers and negative outcomes. We believe that GEM is one of these programs.

Our Vision

GEM helps high school girls overcome socio-economic barriers to realize their full potential and emerge as empowered young women.

Our Mission

GEM’s mission is to provide an innovative mentorship experience for motivated high school girls facing multiple barriers. We equip our girls with the necessary skills to achieve their grown-up aspirations and build a diverse network of talented, vibrant women and girls to inspire and support one another.

We Believe

  • Women mentoring women is essential to foster the future success of girls and create an equality of achievement in Canada.
  • Creating a network for girls is critical. Through our program we connect and foster relationships between mentees, mentors and the community. By creating a unique and important network, GEMgirls can access support now and in the future.
  • Promoting leadership among GEMgirls is key. We believe through education, mentorship and internship opportunities, GEMgirls can securely grow as individuals and leaders.

Through one-on-one mentorship, we mitigate the adverse effects of poverty and help girls to reach their full potential, own their future, develop new skills and engage in influential relationships.

The Team

TARA NORONHA

Project Manager
tara@girlsementorship.com

Tara has over 5 years of experience in client care, program development and team management. She is a Certified Associate in Project Management with a BD in Industrial Design. An immigrant from a single parent household, Tara understands the need to equip girls with the necessary tools to support and achieve their dreams. She has worked and volunteered with multiple non-profit organizations. Her strong sense of social responsibility has taken her to volunteer in Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Uganda.  

Debora Ilovaca

Communications Manager
debora@girlsementorship.com

Debora has more than ten years of experience in communications, journalism, marketing and project management, working in both the private sector and government. She has also worked as a communications specialist implementing digital marketing strategies and creating content for companies, brands, websites, blogs, and magazines. Debora holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, a Master’s Degree in Program Management, and a Digital Marketing Management Certificate from the University of Toronto. She also has knowledge in public policy, human development, women empowerment, and leadership.

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.