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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.

 

How Volunteering Has Helped Me in My Job Search

Currently, I am a GEM volunteer finishing a post-graduate degree in Public Relations. This entire semester has been spent focusing on finding a summer position. How do I find the time to be in school full time, work part-time and volunteer? The answer is simple: I make time. Volunteering has not only helped me on a personal level, but it has helped me to develop skills I have used in my job search, and here is why:
It allows me to feel apart of something larger than myself. Writing resumes and cover letters all the time you start to allow yourself to think as an “I”. Not to mention all of the job interviews where you explain your strengths, your accomplishments and how you will be an integral part of an organization. While this is great and warranted, sometimes we need to take a step back and think about the bigger picture.
Networking. Through GEM I can honestly say that I have made some incredible connections and have truly learnt the value of being a part of a team. Although I am not always in the office, in fact I am only there one day a week, I never feel left out and have forced myself to be engaged in my surroundings.
How to compartmentalize. Say that three times fast. Sometimes it’s hard to sit down and focus on something when it’s unpaid and you are busy with homework, social calendars and home life. Volunteering has allowed me to pick and choose what I need to focus on in that moment, be present and put my best foot forward. This is a critical skill not only in the job hunt but once you’re in a position as well.
Spend your time volunteering for a cause you believe in. Maybe your position as a volunteer will open the door to a new job opportunity, you never know until you try.
Blog by Jamie Crawford-Ritchie. Jamie is a student at Seneca College’s Public Relations program and volunteers at GEM using her social media prowess. When she’s not at school, volunteering with GEM or working at her part-time job, she’s on social media or dreaming about going back to Disneyland.
Photo: Jamie Crawford-Ritchie, Social Media Volunteer at GEM.

Carmen as a Connector

Blog written by Alexander Neef, General Director of the Canadian Opera Company

Saturday April 9th, 20 GEMgirls and their mentors are attending the final dress rehearsal of the Canadian Opera Company’s performance of Carmen, at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

Opera synthesizes many arts forms—music, drama, design, art— and, conceived over 400 years ago, has endured by constantly adapting to the ever-changing artistic landscape. Art is a great leveler—connecting people from all cultural, social, ethnic and historical backgrounds. Opera survived because it engages audience’s souls, using the power of the human voice to focus on human emotions. No matter the character or when they lived—monarchs or mermaids; gods or gentry; or, as in the love triangle at the heart of Carmen, a sexually liberated female cigarette factory worker, a duty-bound soldier, and charismatic bullfighter—the emotional highs and lows that sing through the music unfailingly connect operas to audiences.

Carmen was revolutionary. In 1875, Paris had never seen anything like it: an opera about “real” people living “real” lives. Uncompromising, sexually self-aware and societally marginalized, Carmen lives by her own rules which often do not match society’s expectations, unlike any character portrayed before. This, along with the plot’s unflinching realism, outraged audiences. But the scandal didn’t last long. Within a few months, Carmen was a triumph, and it continues to be one of the world’s most popular operas. (Carmen was first performed in Toronto, only four years after its premiere in Paris!).

George Bizet’s music is at once sensual, emotional and unforgettable. But under its irresistible appeal lays rich psychological interaction. These are real people with stories that could be ripped from today’s headlines. How much more relevant can you get?

How to help your mentee deal with job rejection

At GEM, we believe that young women should be ambitious and unafraid to go after their dream job. As many of us know, ambitious people often face a lot of rejection before they land in a place they want to be. Learning to deal with job rejection is an important part of a young woman’s professional development.

With summer fast approaching, our GEM girls have started searching for summer jobs. Mentors play an important role in all stages of their mentee’s job search, from helping to prepare for the search to dealing with job rejection to celebrating success. Here are some ways to help your mentee deal with job rejection.

Validate her feelings

Many high school students searching for their first summer job may have never faced job rejection before. Being rejected can really hurt, especially the first time it happens. It’s important to let your mentee know that it’s okay to feel down. Interviewing can be very tiring and it’s easy to feel like giving up after not getting the job you wanted. Remind your mentee that she’s not alone; a 2014 Times Higher Education poll found that students apply for 12 jobs on average before getting their first role. Almost everyone goes through job rejection a few times in their lives!

Help her put her rejection into perspective

A high school student may have difficulty seeing the bigger picture, especially if this is her first attempt at getting a job. Remind your mentee that job interview outcomes are not a measure of her success or her professional growth. Interview decisions are made based on all kinds of reasons that may have nothing to do with the interviewee. Tell your mentee that she should measure her success based on her own goals and accomplishments unrelated to the outcome of a job interview.

If you can, share your own story of job rejection with your mentee to help her put her situation in perspective. Emphasize the fact that you continued to learn and grow professionally after the rejection and eventually ended up where you wanted to be. It just takes a bit of resilience and patience!

Talk about next steps

The most important part of dealing with a job rejection is to learn from the experience and continue moving forward. Encourage your mentee to request feedback from the interviewer so she knows what she needs to work on. Although many interviewers will not provide detailed feedback, it’s worth a shot!

Start talking to your mentee about her plan B (or C or D or E!) and discuss how she is going to prepare for her next interview. It’s important to stay positive and energized during a job search. After all, when one door closes, another one opens!

Sarah McNeil is a volunteer with GEM, a recent graduate from Mount Alison University and is currently pursuing her diploma in Corporate Communications at Seneca. She is an avid traveller, photographer and writer. Sarah has seen the power of mentorship in her own life and is thrilled about the opportunity to give back at GEM. Follow her on Twitter: @sarahleamc

How to grow your network, when you’re only in high school!

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”

I was always (and still am) a shy person. Hearing these words was often discouraging for me. Networking was something I wasn’t exactly sure how to approach. Having immigrated to Canada as a teenager, my family knew nobody. There was tremendous stress to learn, adapt and compete. I saw first-hand the struggles my parents went through in securing employment with a lack of Canadian connections or networks. These barriers shed light on the importance of developing relationships to achieve goals. For better or for worse, it’s not always what you know or are capable of doing; it’s who you know and what they know about you. Your network can open doors for you that otherwise could not be opened.

So how can you start mastering and growing your network? Networking is a skill that you can learn even if you’re not a natural conversationalist. Building a sense of confidence is key to developing networking competence. If you have the right focus and determination, cultivating confidence is readily achievable.

  1. Be open to new people and experiences – I never liked moving beyond my comfort zone, but I have come to realize that’s really where the magic happen. Growing, learning and developing in a way that expands our horizons beyond what we thought was possible builds character and leadership. Start getting to know others outside your peer group. Join school clubs that broaden your exposure to other areas. In high school, I organized our first Career Day that allowed me to meet people from different spheres and build leadership skills.
  2. Practice makes perfect – I attended countless Career Fairs and Information Sessions as a student to get in front of others. No matter how much it forces you to step out of your comfort zone, take the first step and approach someone at an event and introduce yourself. The more you do this, the easier networking will become later on.
  3. Have an elevator speech – Perfect your hand shake and know your elevator speech (click here for tips & examples). These set first impressions, so make sure it’s strong and confident.
  4. Go the extra mile – Set yourself apart with sending follow-up thank you notes and questions related to your conversations. Even if you “don’t need to network”, you do. You never know when you’ll need someone to help connect you.

Remember, it’s never too early to network. Networking is an essential part of a job or internship search, and it is best to start practicing and refining this skill while in high school. With time, it will become an indispensable skill that you use for years to come. Starting to practice and build confidence now will enable you to become an expert at networking by the time you enter the working world.

Blog by Sharon S.  Sharon is a GEM Mentor who is a logistics professional with one of Canada’s top retailers.