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Category: Mentorship

“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!

 

 

“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.”

How to build an all-star LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is a great place to start building your personal brand. It’s an online network where you can make connections, gain access to opportunities, and research career paths! But the only way you can use LinkedIn to its fullest potential is to build a great profile! Here are some tips on how to create a great LinkedIn Profile:

HEADSHOT: Make sure your profile has a professional headshot. It’s a given fact the recruiters will most likely view your profile if it has a picture. Don’t use selfies and remember to smile!

HEADLINE: Along with your headshot, your headline is one of the first things people see. You can use your headline to tell people what you’re interested in or what you’re doing now. For example: “Aspiring Engineer,” “Business | Marketing | Operations,” or “Leading Communications and Digital Marketing Strategies.”

SUMMARY: Your summary is your chance to tell your story. It’s also known as your elevator pitch. Make sure to include:
1. Who you are (education and experience)
2. What you have done (skills and achievements)
3. Where you want to go next
4. Your career goals

To stay consistent with your personal brand, it’s recommended to have a professional email such as firstname.lastname@gmail.com.

EDUCATION: Where do you go to school? Be sure to include your extra-curricular activities, additional courses or other programs.

EXPERIENCE: Add all relevant experience to your profile! This will show recruiters what skills you already have and will also give them an insight of what types of jobs you are interested in. Think outside the box –What experiences are part of your professional brand?

RECOMMENDATIONS: Back up what you highlighted in your profile with endorsements and recommendations! Add at least 5 skills, and if you endorse other people, they will most likely endorse you back. This also gives you extra credibility. Ask your managers, teachers, mentors, and classmates to write you a recommendation to strengthen your profile.

LinkedIn is a great way to maintain contact with people and stay in touch. You never know where your network will take you! The best way to meet people is through the people you already know. Send invitations to your friends, teachers, mentors, family members, organization leaders. Always send a personalized note so they know who you are and why you want to connect with them.

Lastly, keep your profile up to date! Similar to Facebook and Instagram, you can post updates on LinkedIn too. You can showcase what you have been doing professionally, share articles and communicate with your network. There’s also a mobile app you can download so you can check LinkedIn on the go!

Photo Credits: TopResume

Roz McLean and her secrets to success

Roz McLean is an Associate at Burgundy Asset Management and was the talented speaker at our GEMinar Three. GEM interviewed her to find out her secrets to success. Here she talks about her motivations, time-management skills, and passions

-Did you always know that you wanted to work in finance when you were in high school?
-I knew that I was interested in business and economics. The difference between what I do now and what I thought it was going to be like is that the field of business and economics has a lot inside of it. People stereotype that in finance it’s just about crunching a bunch of numbers. At Burgundy, we all work in finance, theoretically. However, there are lots of different jobs you can do here. You can be in relationship management, marketing, IT, or the systems and technology department that works on finding the latest innovations and helping us achieve our goals in technology. There’s a lot more diversity in finance that I think people expect.

-At GEMinar Three, you talked about time-management to achieve our goals. How do you spend your time, balancing work and your personal lifestyle?
-Time-management came home for me when I first started studying for my CFA exam because I didn’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I wanted to do.
I had to stop doing certain things –like spend a less time with social media and with friends. It was hard not going out for dinner with my friends on Friday or Saturday night, but I got through it.
I’m most productive in the morning, so first thing when I get to the office I focus on all the thinking work I need to do, all the decisions I have to make, and all the strategy. I usually work out in the morning because my head’s clear, and I can get all that done. Then in the afternoon, I do more mechanical “I just need to get it done” tasks. I also make sure that I go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time every day. Typically, during the week, I go to bed pretty early. You feel more refreshed when you sleep for the same amount of time every night. And I spend Sunday reading. So any reading I want to do during the week, rather than letting it take up my day, I just do it on Sunday morning.
Another part of it is a little bit of multi-tasking. I stopped running as much, and I started working out on the bike, and if I’m working out on a stationary bike at the gym, I can read at the same time as biking. So I’m working out and reading the news at the same time, which normally would take up two different chunks of time.

-How can you work smarter?
-Learning to work smarter is important in order to maximize your hours. One important part of this, and I don’t want to suggest anyone to be lazy, is you have to know when to take a break to keep your mind fresh. Let’s say I’m studying for my CFA exam, or I’m working on one project. I’m not productive if I have been working on it for more than seven hours. It would be more productive if I did it for less time, but focused on maximizing the good time. You need to know when to stand up and go for a walk. You need to know when to grab a healthy snack. You need to know when you need to take a break. And make sure you take them. It’s also important not to be distracted; I always make sure to use my phone less frequently.

-How was your university experience? How do you make the most of it?
-Western is such a great school. There are lots of interesting programs. Student life is really good. There is a lot of diversity, and there are a lot of very interesting people. No matter what program you’re in, consider these two important tips. Don’t overwhelm yourself by joining too many clubs. Join a few clubs that you really want to engage with. Make sure that the club is a good fit, with a mission that matches your values, and is filled with committed people. It’s best to work with people you like and are working towards a common goal. Secondly, make the most of your professors. Go to their offices and pick their brains. My economics professor was the thesis advisor for the guy who now works as the governor of the Bank of Canada, and I’m receiving a similar education!

-How do you motivate yourself to finish tedious tasks?
-My biggest motivator is the people around me. I’ve been really fortunate at work, because I think that I’m inspired at least once a day. When I see people around me do really cool things, I try to see how the tasks I need to do fit into the bigger picture. I imagine how those small tasks will achieve the bigger goals of the firm. So when I’m working on an entire communication, I ask myself: how does that contribute to our bigger corporate goal of treating our clients really well? You have to connect all the tiny things you have to do with the bigger things. Why do I have to do my homework right now? Well, if I do my homework, I’ll achieve high marks and get into the program of my choice. Connect it back to the bigger picture! Essentially, think of your short-term goals/tasks as baby steps to achieving your long-term goal. It also helps to have inspiring people around you. If you want to connect it to the bigger task, but you also see someone else working towards a goal in a different way, it helps.

Sadia Khan: Why become a GEMgirl?

Sadia Khan was one of the amazing GEMgirls in 2015-16. Her mentor was Tara Breckenridge. We interviewed her about her experience in The GEM Program.

 -What did you love about the GEM program?
-I loved the GEMinars. It was very insightful to hear about the different possibilities I had for my future.

-What did you get out of your mentorship relationship?
-I learned a lot from my mentor, especially about professionalism and the pharmaceutical business. I also learned about time management and the importance of working hard. Something that really stuck with me was learning that women are capable of so much. If you don’t give up and try hard, you will succeed.

-How did GEM impact your life?
-GEM was a big part of my grade 11 life. Attending the GEMinars and meeting with successful women really inspired and opened up my eyes to all the things I can do as a young woman. GEM made the idea of being successful more attainable even though the process may be hard. GEM made the impossible seem possible. It also helped me to be more confident. I thank GEM for inspiring younger women and making the world a better place.

-What are you doing now?
-I’m a grade 12 student at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute. I’m on the prom committee, the external affairs committee and I’m also part of the school’s Business Social Action (BSAP) program.

-What would you say to someone who may be interested in joining GEM program?
-DO IT! Apply as fast as you can!  GEM will not only teach you different skills you can use in your everyday life but they will also explain the importance of these skills and how they will benefit you in your future. The GEM staff and participants are friendly. You can be your genuine self at GEM. GEM opens doors for young women who may not have access to these opportunities and it’s important to take part in that.