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GEM: A Real Gem of a Program

Imagine a room full of women with superpowers. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Well, you don’t need to look inside a comic book to see these superwomen, because you can see them in real life. They are the ambitious, intelligent and beautiful women that are part of Girl’s E-Mentorship (GEM).

I have had the pleasure of being a part of the GEM program this year. I truly believe that it has changed my perspective of the world around me in addition to teaching me valuable skills for the future. Not only did I learn things like time management techniques and how to ace an interview, I also learned that women are powerful and can achieve great things. I learned that being surrounded by positive, dedicated and determined people will truly change you as well: seeing these wonderful women made me feel motivated to strive to be the best person that I can be.

I also learned the value of having a mentor in your life. I started off as a self-conscious teenage girl, but with the encouragement of my mentor and all my loved ones, as well as the incredible experiences I have had this year, I have become something more. I am now a confident and independent individual that will continue to grow and become the best person that she can.

And I’m not the only one that enjoyed the program. The response to the program has been staggeringly positive: both mentors and mentees expressed how much they loved it. I interviewed both mentors and mentees to see what they had to say. Celine Do, one of the mentees this year says “There aren’t enough words I can use to describe how phenomenal my experience has been with GEM. If you talked to me a day before that first GEMinar, you would be appalled at how nervous, and shy I was. I have grown so much through this program and its valuable curriculum, and because of my mentor, Alison Simpson. We have established an amazing relationship that definitely will not end like my year at GEM.”

Another mentee, Aklil Noza, loved interacting with like-minded individuals and gaining wisdom from successful women. She says, “I feel so much more self-assured after GEM because I face the same hardships as these beautiful girls around me, yet they’ve overcome their obstacles and still managed to shine. So what’s stopping me from doing the same?”

Similarly, the response from mentors has been extremely positive. Siobhan Desroches, who is the Manager of Government Affairs & Stakeholder Relations of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, says that she became more motivated in her own career as a result of meeting such motivated and focused young women in the program. She also says, “It was incredibly fulfilling to participate in a program working to achieve these goals, and I have never been more hopeful in the future Canadian women after meeting these girls.”

GEM Mentor Liron Davis, who is the Manager of the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, also spoke about how this program has been one of the highlights of her year and how surprised she was that mentorship evolved into a “friend-like dynamic.”

So to anyone who is thinking of joining GEM as either a mentor or mentee: do it. You will have the most amazing experiences, meet the most talented, creative and awesome women, and grow immensely as a person. You won’t regret it, I promise!

We’re hiring: Fundraiser (part-time)

Role: Fundraiser (Part-time, contract, option to extend)

Girls E-Mentorship (GEM) is a charitable organization founded in 2012 that offers an innovative mentorship program for motivated high school girls in Toronto, facing socio-economic barriers. GEM’s mission is to equip 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 other.

GEM is searching for a creative, professional Fundraiser that thrives in a dynamic start-up environment and has a broad skillset to execute the organization’s fundraising goals.

The Fundraiser is responsible for securing new sponsors/donors, developing relationships, and growing GEM’s connections within the community.

Duties and Responsibilities
GEM aims to raise $250,000 annually. The Fundraiser reports to and shares responsibility for the achievement of this target with the Founder of GEM and the Fundraising Committee. The fundraiser has primary or secondary responsibilities in the following areas:

Grant Writing (45%)
The Fundraiser has primary responsibility for prospecting, evaluating and pursuing grant funding opportunities, as well as for documenting and reporting on progress at regular intervals. Applications are reviewed and approved by the founder and some are compiled in partnership with members of the GEM Fundraising Committee.

 Major Gifts (35%)
The fundraiser has responsibility for the pursuit of major gifts, defined as $5,000 or more in a single year. A kit and a prospect list has been developed to support this work.  The Fundraiser should be able to maintain existing donors and convert prospects into committed supporters through identification of shared goals and values.

 Admin & Strategy (20%)
The Fundraiser has secondary responsibility for informing GEM’s overall fundraising strategy. In addition, the Fundraiser will need to report on progress at regular intervals; keep detailed logs of all interactions and transactions; take and deliver payment information; communicate with office staff about replies; monitor GEM’s fundraising email account; and fulfil requests from the founder and other staff members.

Skills and Competencies

  • Experience and Interest in fundraising.
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication and presentation skills.
  • Proficiency in MS Word and MS Excel.
  • Working knowledge of relevant ethical codes and legislation including:
    Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) and general privacy principles
    The Donor’s Bill of Rights
    Imagine Canada Standards
  • Superior time management and digital organization skills.
  • Progress reporting capabilities.
  • Attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
  • Ability to work collaboratively within a small dynamic team.
  • Excellent interpersonal and networking skills.

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree and fundraising certificate preferred.
  • 2-3 years’ experience in fundraising.
  • Experience in project management with a proven track record of delivering on objectives.

 

Please send your resume and cover letter to Rochelle@girlsementorship.com by March 31, 2017

Ameera Seiyad: Why become a GEMgirl?

Ameera Seiyad was one of the 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.”

Congrats GEMerald Award Winners!

This year GEM started a scholarship fund called the GEMerald Awards. The intention is that every year the GEM community of mentors, supporters and donors will contribute to a fund that will benefit GEMgirls pursuing further education. This year we had a fantastic group of GEMgirls win 5 awards. Each GEMgirl was encouraged to apply and to highlight her contribution to GEM as well as address how the GEM program had positively impacted their life. Girls were chosen through an evaluation process lead by GEM Mentors that emphasized the written application and the strength of their reference.

The winners of the first ever GEMerald Scholarships were:

Zarah Ahmad – GEMerald Scholarship Winner, Apple MacBook

Hira Durvesh – GEMerald Scholarship Winner, Apple MacBook

Fatima Waheed – GEMerald Scholarship Winner, $1000

Aliza Fatima – GEMerald Scholarship Winner, $750

Hajar Seiyad – GEMerald Scholarship Winner, $500

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Career Spotlight: Thrive Natural Family Health

We all know about Family Doctors, and surgeons, and many of us pursue these careers, but how many of us know about complimentary health professionals? At our Thrive Medical coffee chat, GEM girls were able to sit down with a chiropractor Dr. Jennifer Wise, a Naturopath Dr. Kristen Heins, and a Psychologist Dr. Chelsea Sherrington to chat about their careers, and the path they took to get there.

It is an expectation, that by the time we get into high school, we have a career path planed out. As if we are supposed to know at 14, what we want to do for the next 50 years of our lives. Many of us choose obvious jobs in fields that interest us; if you are interested in medicine, you chose Doctor, if you are interested in the Arts, you chose painter, and if you are interested in Law, you chose lawyer. The Doctors at Thrive, thought us that the career you choose in high school does not necessarily have to be career you end up pursuing.

The three women, who seem to have everything planned out, and in order at their cozy midtown office, reveal that it was not always that way. In high school, Dr. Sherrington took advice on her major from a stranger on the phone, and ended up with many classes she did not like due to this Major in politics. Eventually she figured it out, and found a way to switch her majors and her classes to suit her interest in Psychology. Doctor Kristen, was on the path to become a lawyer, until she also eventually found her passion, and became a doctor.

The point is, being high school students it’s okay to not know, or to be unsure of what you are going to be doing for the rest of your life, and it’s okay to change your mind multiple times. That’s the point of University, you get to explore the different career options available in the field you’re interested in, or maybe even fields that you have never considered before.

Thank you to Dr. Wise, Dr. Heins, and Dr. Sherrington for hosting the GEM girls and for the insightful coffee chat.

Tabassum Lakhi is a Creative Writing Intern at GEM and also a GEMgirl.