Home - Blog

Category: Blog

Sadia Khan: Why become a GEMgirl?

Sadia Khan was one of our 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.

Ameera Seiyad: Why become a GEMgirl?

Ameera Seiyad was one of our amazing GEMgirls in 2014-15. Her mentor was Leslie Fullerton. We interviewed her about her experience in The GEM Program.

-What did you love about the GEM program?
-GEM allowed me to have my own ideas. I gained confidence and skills that I use every day. It has impacted me so much and it has also humbled me. GEM also gave me a job! I got hired as a community outreach intern. It was exciting to see and be part of all the planning that goes into the program.”

What did you get out of your mentorship relationship?
-I was looking to gain support from someone who wasn’t a friend or teacher. I found that support in my mentor, Leslie Fullerton. Having an open communication with her gave me confidence, not only in school but also when applying for summer jobs. Sometimes I still ask myself ‘what would Leslie think/do?’ when making decisions.”

-What are you doing now?
-I’m a second-year student at Wilfred Lauirer University. I’m studying Environment and Business Management.

-What would you say to someone who may be interested in GEM?
-Shut up, join it! GEM will give you opportunities that you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere. Girls need support and the GEM program is a great space to gain that support and start with a clean slate. It might seem overwhelming at first, but just take it day by day.”

Nabela Alam: Why become a GEMgirl?

Nabela Alam was one of our amazing GEMgirls in 2014-15. Her mentor was Verity Sylvester. We interviewed her about her experience in The GEM Program.

-What did you love about the GEM program?
-My favourite part of The GEM Program was being able to attend the GEMinars. My favorite one was one called Beat the Busy Brain. It was about stress management and about self-peace. I was really blown away by this seminar because it was designed to talk about self-care, a life skill that is important that you don’t learn in school.

-What did you get out of your mentorship relationship?
-My mentor, Verity Sylvester, had a big impact on me. She taught me about self-motivation and the importance of being your own support system. She taught me to rely on myself. Verity firmly gave me advice about the importance of communication and the vocabulary we use. The strict mentality that I gained from our relationship helped prepare for University. Verity helped me gain the confidence and independence I needed to be successful in university and in my professional career.

-How did GEM impact your life?
-GEM creates a strong support system for the mentees. A support system that was not only there to offer me lifelong advice but also to motivate me so I could get the best experience from the program. They taught me how to make connections and properly network with people within my field. GEM also connected me and helped me get prepared for her an internship at RBC.

-What are you doing now?
-I’m a second-year student at York University in the Schulich School of Business program. I also take part in her school’s Corporate Social Responsibility Society (CSRS). In September 2016, I finished a five-month internship with RBC.

-What would you say to someone who may be interested in joining GEM program?
-Make sure you are serious about taking advantage of this opportunity, don’t just join because it looks good on your resume. Even though you may not come from a wealthy background you can still strive for more to make your life better. Join! Just join. You don’t have to pay and if you take it seriously you will have countless positive experiences.

How to Give and Receive Feedback

Feedback is necessary to grow, improve and reach your potential. Whether it be a second opinion on your English essay or a perspective on your company’s outreach event, being open to receiving feedback, listening to perspectives, building self-awareness and acting upon suggestions is essential for your personal development.

Here are some recommendations from the talented professionals at PwC on how to give and receive feedback to set yourself up for success:

  1. Ask for feedback. Asking someone like your employer for feedback demonstrates that you have a commitment to your growth.
  1. Watch emotions. When giving feedback to others, it’s always best to sandwich and interchange your positive and negative responses. Watch how you feel, listen carefully and make an action plan to set yourself up for success.
  1. Ask questions to clarify. Be curious, open-minded, and ask questions to clarify. Turn this year’s weaknesses into next year’s strengths. Asking questions to clarify can provide you more insight on what you can improve and further information on the person’s perspectives.
  1. Expand the conversation. Expanding the conversation can turn critiques into constructive feedback. A good way to give constructive feedback is to suggest ideas that can help opposed to stating their setbacks.
  1. Reach out to networks. Hearing different perspectives can help you establish common themes in your performance.
  1. Say thank you! Show appreciation to the person who has given you feedback.
  1. Engage. If you’re giving feedback to someone else, ask to follow up with them on their progress to show that you really care!

Hira Durvesh: Why become a GEMgirl?

Hira Durvesh was one of our amazing GEMgirls in 2015-16. Her mentors were Alison Simpson and Alexis Wolski. We interviewed her about her experience in The GEM Program.

-What did you love about the GEM program?
-My favourite part of The GEM Program was being able to connect with professional women who came from a wide range of fields. It gave me an opportunity to explore both the marketing field and the accounting field. I also liked the GEMinars because they were informative and helped me develop skills that would benefit me in the future.

-What did you get out of your mentorship relationship?
-The relationship I built with my mentors allowed me to gain connections in the business world. They offered me help with editing essays and were willing to serve as references. I’m grateful for the open communication I experienced from my mentors and for all the recommendations they offered me.

-How did GEM impact your life?
-The GEM program offered a positive atmosphere where young women could connect with each other. GEM gave me knowledge through the GEMinars and the interactions with my mentors. I learned skills that I was unable to get from high school. You learn so much! GEM gave me the chance to have a first-hand look at some of the careers choices I was interested in. I was also one of the winners of GEM’s Scholarship because of my commitment to the program. I won a MAC laptop which is an item I would have had difficulty attaining by my own. GEM also provided me the opportunity to be an outreach intern, which gave me the opportunity to experience the GEM program from a different view.

-What are you doing now?
-I’m a grade 12 student at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute. I habe been the Treasurer of the Student Council for three years. I’m also a part of her school’s Social Justice Committee and Equity Committee.

-What would you say to someone who may be interested in joining GEM program?
-APPLY! APPLY! APPLY! It’s such a worthwhile program to be a part of. GEM can open many doors for you and help you get connected to the right people that can help you now and in the future. All girls should take this opportunity! Opportunities like these don’t happen often so when they do, grab it!