1. Program

Designed by Girls, for Girls

GEM’s mentorship program was developed with educators, social workers and policy experts in conjunction with high-school girls. Using collaborative design-thinking, they created a program for girls, by girls, to overcome barriers as they transition into adulthood.

We individually match each GEM girl with a qualified and trained GEM mentor for a nine-month period running concurrently with the academic year. In collaboration with community, corporate partners and a dynamic body of committed and passionate volunteers, GEM delivers one-on-one mentorship, leadership and professional skills development, enrichment opportunities, scholarships and paid internships, and networking that offers a transformative experience that empowers girls to reach their goals and aspirations.

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The GEM Effect

To achieve our vision, the GEM’s holistic mentorship program is guided by six goals; all of them interconnected and mutually reinforcing.

  • Reduced systemic barriers

    Barriers based on socio-economic status can impact youth, leading to lessened academic and career opportunities. Reducing these barriers takes working outside of systems that hinder equality by design.

  • Improved academic opportunities

    By demonstrating what they have achieved through education, and how they’ve done it, mentors can support mentee’s aspirations. Moreover, scholarships can help make post-secondary education more accessible.

  • Improved career guidance

    Mentees can discover their own path by connecting to mentors in similar career fields, and with similar work passions.

  • Improved self-confidence

    Curated activities and resources paired with mentorship can help mentees learn their strengths, hone their abilities, and build their self-confidence.

  • Enriched social capital

    Broadened horizons through exposure to new people and experiences.

  • Improved financial opportunities

    Through scholarship awards and paid-internship opportunities.

How we make this happen

Recognizing that breaking down systemic barriers girls face in their pursuit of academic and career success requires a multi-pronged approach, GEM’s program goals are carried out through six program pillars. These pillars have been designed to work synergistically – complementing one another to facilitate the delivery of a holistic program model that can both help girls navigate, and break down, barriers, propel their upward social mobility, and set them up for long-term success.


Participants are screened, and carefully matched based on career experience and aspirations, shared interests, personality and geographic proximity. Mentees and mentors commit to regular meetings and touch points over a nine-month period that runs concurrently with the academic school year. Mentors support mentees in their personal and professional growth and development while helping them navigate key areas including goal setting, time-management, confidence building and stress management. At the end of the program year, program participants join the Mentor and Alumnae networks to continue their connection with the GEM community.


Each program year, we conduct five GEMinars. These are experiential masterclasses designed to expose mentees to various industries and corporations. During the masterclass, mentees are able to participate in round table discussions, connect with their peers and mentors, and develop professional skills – all the while learning about the job market directly from female leaders from across industries and sectors. GEMinar partners include LinkedIn, Sephora, Deloitte, Google Canada, HP, and more.

GEM Enrichments

GEM Enrichments are opportunities for mentees to enrich their personal and professional experiences through a range of special events and knowledge sharing masterclasses. GEM Enrichments are curated and hosted by community and corporate partners and are held throughout the year. Past opportunities have included a job shadow day at RBC, a pitching masterclass at Relay Ventures, tickets for lunch with President Obama from PWC, a day at Twitter, among others.


GEM offers annual scholarships to GEM mentees who have displayed exceptional initiative and need. The scholarships offered have been generously sponsored by individuals and organizations and aims to assist mentees in their educational goals and endeavours. Over $500,000 has been awarded to over 200 mentees since 2019.


GEM works with our partners to facilitate paid summer internships for GEMgirls. These internship opportunities provide GEM girls with an opportunity to gain tangible employment skills and real-life work experience within an office environment. Each year, GEM also hosts over a dozen interns and student placements from universities and colleges. We provide these young women with a hands-on working experience of what it’s like to be a professional in a social non-profit organization.


GEM Interns


Dream Unlimited

In the summer of 2022, Katsa (2021-22 Cohort), is working as an intern with Dream Unlimited, one of Canada’s leading real estate companies.

E-L Financial Corporation Limited 

In the summer of 2022, Daniela (2019-20 Cohort), is working as an intern with E-L Financial, an investment and insurance holding company for Empire Life Insurance Company.


GEM Lab is a Canadian centre for evidence-based mentorship solutions to dismantle barriers and contribute to the academic and professional success of marginalized girls and women. Report topics include effective mentorship practices and understanding the mental health of adolescent girls in Canada.


GEM Lab Publications and Reports


Greater Toronto Area Priority Neighbourhoods Report (2023)

GEM Alumni Needs Assessment (2023)

Youth Mentorship for Different Personality Types (2022)

Best Mentorship Practices (2022)

Measuring Success: Evaluating Labour Market Skills in Self-Identified Adolescent Girls (2022)

Customized Mentorship Approach: The GEM Mentorship Scale Project (2021)

Mentorship in a Virtual World (2021)

Effective Mentorship Practices (2020)

Understanding the Mental Health of Adolescent Girls in Canada (2020)

The Impact of COVID-19 on Adolescent Girls in Canada (2020)

Women in the Workforce: The Peer-to-Peer Mentorship Model (2020)

The Pursuit of Social Capital Among Adolescent High School Aged Girls (2018)

The GEM Alumni

Close to 1,000 girls have graduated from GEM’s mentorship program. Most have moved ahead to post-secondary schools in Ontario and beyond. With uncertainties of the labour market in a post-pandemic world, GEM continues supporting our graduates through the GEM Alumnae network by providing a continuum of support for GEM girls as they embark on their journeys towards gainful employment.