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Author: Selina McCallum

Design Your Life: How to beat laziness this summer!

Two months of no school means no homework to complete, no tests to study for, and no group projects to stress over. However, summer can also be the reason we become lazy. I was worried that I might slip into laziness this summer, so I made a great plan to live my summer to the fullest! Here are my tips to beat   summer laziness and make the most of summer!

Apply for a job – I applied for a job in the spring and I’m working with Toronto Youth Leadership at a Summer Camp for 3-5 year olds. I find that having a job helps improve my time-management, communication and leadership skills. It’s also encouraging me to be social.

Earn volunteer hours – Volunteering at small or big events helps you meet new people and learn new things. My fellow GEM intern Vanessa Mugoa is volunteering all over the city at local events like Luminato, The Fringe Festival and the PanAm Games, she’s learning and having new experiences that are contributing to a fabulous memory filled summer. So check for events happening around your neighbourhood to volunteer at. I’m volunteering with both GEM and FranqGirl as a Creative Writer, and it’s keeping me on my toes.

Make plans with friends – I have made lots of plans with my friends this summer to help get me outside and go to places without the worry of having to go to school the next day. There is so much happing in Toronto this summer, so making plans to go to events together that are happening around the city and in your neighbourhood is turning out to be one of the best parts of summer.

Take a trip –  Travelling opens your mind and gives you the opportunity to explore a new place with new people. Whether you go to Quebec City or Australia, there is always something to see.

Be Fearless! – I’m not going to let the next two months off go to waste by not learning something new about myself. Whether it’s through my job, my volunteer work or the travel I’m planning. The only way to grow is to put yourself out there, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.
I hope sharing my plan to beat laziness helps you to have an extraordinary summer of growth and happiness! Do you have any tips on how to get the most out of summer? All of us here at GEM would love to hear them!

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

It’s a wrap!

Although it was cloudy and raining heavily in the afternoon of June 5th, all GEMgirls were smiling brightly inside the Aga Khan Museum for GEM’s Wrap Up Party. Rain was not going to be the reason a fantastic picnic for mentees, mentors, GEM staff and supporters didn’t happen, and so it was moved inside. The tables were set with teal plastic plates, forks, napkins, and there were awesome centre pieces which included jars of jelly beans and candles. There were yummy sandwiches, vegetables as well as gourmet cupcakes and cookies.

As we waited for others to arrive, we sat and thought about, “My best memory of the GEM program is…” and wrote it down on small cards. Many of the girls also signed the 2014/2015 GEM yearbook. One GEMgirl mentioned how she was going to miss the tasty sandwiches that were provided at every workshop! Another GEMgirl mentioned how she’ll miss the informative coffee chats and spending time with the GEMgirls! My favourite part of the party was when we got to write anything we wanted to in a card that will be mailed to us next Spring. I wrote about some of my wishes that I hope to see come true within a year.

Before we said our farewells, we took a group photo inside one of the art rooms in the Aga Khan Museum. We also took small group photos using the Polaroid camera as we laughed and made silly faces. It was tough for all of us to say goodbye to eachother as the Wrap Up Party was ending. The GEM program has given each one of us an experience that we will remember for a lifetime. It is time for the next year’s group of GEMgirls to shine as brightly as we have throughout the program.

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

Impact of GEM on my life

The Girls e-Mentorship program has had an incredible impact on my life. From a very young age I knew I wanted to be a writer but I did not understand how to get there or how successful I could be. The GEM program gave me the opportunity, not once but twice, to meet successful women who are writers. My first mentor was Amoryn Engel who is a writer for the National Post newspaper. She taught me that the best way to go forward in life is to ask questions to get what you want. My second mentor was Sharlyn Carrington who works in communications in the government. She was previously a writer for Ottawa magazine. Sharlyn helped me with my self-confidence as she inspired me to not be afraid to stand out. Both of my mentors helped me immensely in learning about what it takes to be a writer.

The best opportunity that I feel GEM has given me is the position of Creative Writing Intern for the GEM website. Through this position, I have improved my writing skills by learning how to ask great questions to interviewees. The GEM program has given me more than just great opportunities but also long-lasting relationships with my mentors, the organizers of the program, and my friends. Due to my experiences the program has offered me, I know I will be prepared to enter University of Windsor for their Digital Journalism program in September. The program has truly helped me grow into a beautiful and radiant GEM.

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

Career Chat: Inside Finance

GEM girls visited a leading global investment office, Burgundy Asset Management, on Friday, May 1st, 2015. Burgundy Asset Management is located on the 45th floor of the Bay Wellington Tower. The GEMgirls were in awe as they looked out the tall, glass windows to see downtown from high above. Roz McLean, an Associate at Burgundy and recent graduate from the University of Western Ontario, gave an informative presentation about how she found her way from university student to financial services Associate at  Burgundy. She stressed that networking and gaining experience is very important during your time at university. One thing that stuck out to all of us was how   she emphasized that your friendships can help you more than distract you by enabling you to enhance communication and problem solving skills.

At the midway point of the presentation, the GEMgirls were asked to break into a groups of three to analyze a company like a real investment analyst. Each group was given a company: Apple, Nike, and Starbucks. We used the questions given to each group to determine if Apple is a company we would invest in and why. We answered questions like, “What is the cost to make their product?” and “What has the company done for the community?” This exercise gave us all insight into what makes a business profitable and popular.

At the end of the presentation, GEMgirls had a chance to ask a few questions.

Our major takeaways were:

  1. Make connections! – never underestimate the importance of networking and friendships. This is a great way to find opportunities.
  2. It’s YOU not the school! – GEMgirls wondered if employers were influenced to hire you based on the university you received your degree from. Roz answered, “No. You make the influence. What you bring to the table is all that matters.”
  3. Key factors for success – Roz said, “ask a lot of questions, set goals, and follow your own path”.
  4. Relevant experience matters – Some GEMgirls were surprised to know that you do not need a degree in business studies to work in the world of finance. Get relevant experience in the field, and a social sciences degree works just as well!

The GEM girls enjoyed the experience at Burgundy and were glad to get a peek at what the world of finance looks like!


Burgundy Coffee 2

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

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.