Who We Are

HerStory

GEM began in 2012 with just 22 girls from a single priority neighbourhood in Toronto. Today, GEM’s mentorship program has grown to become a robust and dynamic program across the GTA and beyond. Over the years, GEM has helped to transform the lives of hundreds of young women to become the next generation of future female leaders.

GEM is founded, led and made up of women who believe every girl deserves equal opportunity to develop professional skills, pursue higher education and build successful career paths.
We are a force of dedicated women committed to youth education, promoting gender-equity and working with diverse communities. In collaboration with our community, partners, and our formidable body of dynamic and passionate volunteers, the GEM community is passionate about building more inclusive societies and advancing inclusive economic growth.

Founder and Co-Chair

Rochelle de Goias-Jackman

“I founded GEM in 2012 from a vision where I truly believed all young women should have the opportunity to succeed despite where they’ve come from or what barrier they’ve faced. I have since dedicated my time and personal resources to see this become a reality.”

Rochelle is an experienced senior political advisor and consultant, and has private and public sector experience from France, the United Kingdom, Japan and Canada, working with organizations such as The United Nations, Bloomberg, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade.

Rochelle has co-authored a peer reviewed study on mentorship and regularly speaks on mentorship, social entrepreneurship and women in leadership. She is heavily involved in philanthropic work, recently co-chairing the National Ballet Gala. She currently sits on the McGill Women, Leadership and Philanthropy Board and donates her time to local and grassroots initiatives. Rochelle holds a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University and an MA in International Relations from the University of London, she is an active BSS Old Girl and London House Alumnus.

The GEM Team

Wendy Sung-Aad

Executive Director
wendy@girlsementorship.com
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I love meeting new people. I believe that our differences enriches us as individuals, and sparks creativity for society to flourish and prosper. But not everyone is thriving, so I spend my days promoting gender-equity, advancing justice, and creating more inclusive mindsets. I will travel great distances for an exceptional cup of coffee or tea, and can admit that I am likely Canada's worse baker. In addition to my family and friends, I am the mother of two turtles whom I adore, Tutu and Oogie.

Rebecca Hazell

Program Lead
rebecca@girlsementorship.com
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I am an education professional passionate about the design and delivery of experiential and transformative learning opportunities that inspire positive social change. My work experience has included career education and advising for the University' of Toronto's dynamic and diverse student population, and the coordination of a conflict management education program serving over 20,000 graduate students. I hold an M.Ed from the University of Toronto in Adult Education and Community Development and certification in Learning Design. I am a dedicated equity advocate intent on improving women's quality of life in Toronto, particularly those facing persistent and intersecting barriers to education and employment. I am thrilled to join the GEM team as Program Lead and am eager to support Mentees in pursuit of their academic and professional dreams!

Ambar Syed

Fundraising & Engagement Lead
ambar@girlsementorship.com
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I love connecting people with awesome causes – there’s nothing better than being a catalyst for people seeking positive change in their communities​ and creating their own legacy of giving to this world. My background degrees in Political Science and Social Work training and post-graduate specialization in Fundraising Management​, along with my experience in the Not-for-Profit sector ranging from local organizations to international development, have helped me along this rewarding career. My faith keeps me grounded, my family keeps me going​, and my ideals keep me soaring. My cat also reminds me that no matter how busy you are, now is the right time to show more love.

Emma Murray

Project & Policy Coordinator
emma@girlsementorship.com
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I am a firm believer in the value of uplifting individuals and communities so that everyone can find success. I have a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from Western University with an Honours Specialization in History and Major in Political Science. In the spring of 2021, I received my Master of Public Policy from the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. My academic and professional experience inspired my interest in using evidence-based policy measures to achieve great societal change. I am also a passionate sports fan and cat mom!

Rowena Wong

Finance Assistant
rowena@girlsementorship.com
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I graduated with a BSc in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Western Ontario. My passion for nutrition and healthy eating lead me the opportunity to connect with so many different people. I am happy to be part of the GEM team to empower and improve the academic and career opportunities for young girls.

Fatima Zaidi

Communications Associate
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I am the newest Communications Intern here at GEM! I am currently completing an Honours Bachelor of Arts in CCIT with a minor in Professional Writing & Communications and Ethics, Law and Society at the University of Toronto. Being raised in Toronto and coming from a background of first generation university going students, getting an education was always very important for me. Not only do I love learning, but my parents love educating me and helping me achieve my dreams. Going forward, I am very excited to be supporting the team with internal and external program planning and I hope to develop new skills and learning experiences that will allow me to succeed in this role!

Liliana Furlani

Program Placement Student
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I am the current Programs Placement Student at GEM and am finishing up my second year at George Brown College in the Social Service Worker Program. I truly believe by tackling the systemic barriers holding certain groups back, we can build a better world for everyone to live in. I want to deepen my knowledge of the social work field through a Masters with a focus on clinical social work and issues revolving around mental health. I would have benefited immensely from GEM’s Mentorship Program when I was younger, and I’m happy I get to contribute to it today.

Nathalia Marques

Summer Researcher
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I have recently graduated from U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy with a Master in Public Policy. I also have a Bachelors of Arts (Honours) from U of T with a Major in International Relations and Minors in History and Spanish. Along with my academic and professional qualifications, my life experiences have significantly shaped my interests and passion for social policy. As an immigrant and a mother, my values greatly align with GEM’s vision of empowering young women and promoting gender-equity in order to create a more inclusive society for our younger generations.

Naomi Nishimura

Summer Researcher
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I am an education professional with a keen interest in program evaluation, policy development, and knowledge mobilization. I am passionate about collective impact initiatives that work towards the development of socially just and equitable policies/practices. Through research and volunteer work, I have seen the positive impact of grassroots campaigns, and I believe in the process of building collective power to achieve social and economic justice for all. I love collaborating with others, and I am so excited to be part of the GEM team.

Joy Fan

Summer Researcher
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As the beneficiary of many great mentors in my life, I’m excited to be a researcher for GEM this summer! I am a recent Bachelor of Arts (Honours) graduate from the University of Toronto where I studied international relations, public policy, and political science. When I’m not working and doing research, you can find me with a cup of tea and a good news story. As the holder of an extremely punny name, I am always thrilled to hear a new pun, but will laugh even at one I’ve heard before!

Mandy Mayela

Graphic Design Student
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I am so thrilled to be a part of the GEM team as a design associate! I am in my final year at OCAD University in pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree in Design, majoring in Graphic Design. I believe that good design should be made with passion and purpose. I believe that GEM will give me new learning experiences and help me develop untapped skills that will help me grow as a professional! In my spare time, I like to read and jam out to Beyoncé whenever I can!

GEM's Board of Directors

Rochelle de goias-jackman

Board Co-Chair
"All young women should have the opportunity to succeed despite where they’ve come from."

Mary Lee

Board Co-Chair
“I would have benefitted from learning from someone I respected.”

Helen Liu

Secretary
"I want to bring our skills, time and funds to empower girls to succeed."

Jenny Seto

Treasurer
"I support GEM because mentorship positively changes lives”.

jennifer Lockwood

BOARD MEMBER, COMMUNICATIONS CHAIR
"GEM uniquely offers skills, experience and a network that lifts girls to reach their potential."

Melissa krishna

BOARD MEMBER, fundraising co-CHAIR
"GEM is creating a generation of emboldened and confident women to help them grow and succeed.”

Cameron bossert

BOARD MEMBER, fundraising co-CHAIR
"Focused mentorship works. GEMgirls are our future leaders in a world that needs equity and leadership."

Christine andrew

BOARD MEMBER, MENTEE CHAIR
“GEM significantly enhances young women’s lives through mentorship and opportunities to lead.“

Lucia Liscio

BOARD MEMBER, MENTOR CO-CHAIR
"I believe in the power of mentorship and its impact on my community."

Anne-Marie Sorrenti

BOARD MEMBER, MENTOR CO-CHAIR
“GEM sparkles with vitality and hope for a better future for our alumnae.”

Ayesha Singh

BOARD MEMBER, HR CHAIR
“Mentorship at the high school level can make all of the difference in the world.”

Committee Members

HR Committee
  • Maria Vilshanski
  • Salujah Gnanachandran
    Marisa Tuzi
communications and fundraising committee
  • Yoomi Astley
  • Alexandra Folkes
  • Claire Glossop Irani
  • Rebecca Hodge
  • Farah Ismail
  • Deanna Logan
  • Andrea MacDonald
  • Christina Persad
  • Shobana Thaya
  • Annette Warring
  • Susan Wellington
program Committee
  • Susan Humphrey
    Barbara Csenge
  • Gail Graham
    Jennifer Armstrong
  • Peggy Doe
  • Shilpa Joshi
  • Kristina Khanduja
  • Anne Maggisano
  • Patricia Thaine
Scholarship Committee
  • Roz McLean, Chair
  • Megan Mah
  • Robyn Ross
  • Rifa Tamanna
  • Kayla Theeuwen
    Alf Goodall
    Allison Rozman
    Elspeth Malcolm
    Colleen Reid
    Natasha Davy
    Christina Almeida
    Jeannette Wiltse
Mentor Network
  • Wendy Salisko, Co-Chair
  • Jessica Grace Chong
  • Melek De-Wint
  • Asha Gosein
  • Wanda Peteanu
  • Vivian Sadeh

GEM Ambassadors

Melissa Grelo

Host of 'The Social' and Late Morning Anchor of 'Your Morning'

Rana Florida

CEO of The Creative Class Group

Our Volunteers

GEM volunteers are women leaders representing a broad spectrum of industries, sectors and roles. GEM volunteers lend their skills, share their knowledge, donate their time and care in ensuring GEM continues to provide a meaningful experience for our GEMgirls.

This year, GEM is relying on over 150 women volunteers, including mentors, Board and committee members, advisors and donors to help us accomplish our goals.
GEM would not be able to do the work we do without our volunteers. If you are interested in making an impact, contact: ambar@girlsementorship.com

Contact Us

Questions or inquiries? Email us at info@girlsementorship.com or use the form below.

Centre for Social Innovation (Annex)
Girls E-Mentorship
720 Bathurst St., Suite 204,
Toronto ON, M5S 2R4
416-744-8137
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