This Canadian Powerhouse Is Making Waves & It's So Inspiring
It's no secret that workplace inequality still exists. But did you know the divide is so big that there are more CEOs in Canada named Michael than female CEOs in total?
According to Equileap’s Gender Equality Global Report & Ranking (2022), only 9% of companies in Canada have a female chairperson on their board of directors. Less than a quarter have a gender-balanced board, and only three rank in the global top 100 companies for gender equality.
The glass ceiling is still very much present, and John Frieda Haircare believes that women can change that by speaking up. This is why they decided to support demanding women, one of them being Rochelle de Goias-Jackman.
Changing these statistics starts with supporting future generations, and Rochelle founded Girls E-Mentorship (GEM) in 2012 to do just that.
GEM offers a mentorship program, pairing high school girls with women who are seasoned professionals. The mentors guide their mentees to build skills that’ll allow them to attain their academic and career goals despite socioeconomic barriers.
The organization also helps the girls boost their self-confidence and learn how to advocate for themselves — something that's not as intuitive as you'd think.
Young girls are subject to a lot of judgement, and many might be further marginalized based on race, class, sexual orientation or physical ability. GEM shows these girls that their voice is important and that they can achieve their ambitions.
The program's already making waves across the GTA and the country, and Rochelle's vision caught the attention of John Frieda Haircare for their "Fund the Demanding" initiative.
While "demanding" may be historically used to describe powerful women in a negative light, John Frieda Haircare is celebrating it. The brand pledges to elevate driven women in the community by supporting a "demanding woman" and donating $10,000 to her cause.
John Frieda Haircare selected Rochelle as their "Fund the Demanding" ambassador for 2022. She plans to use the donation to expand GEM, calling the financial support "a key piece with a lasting impact."
To her, "Fund the Demanding means to demand change for women in the workforce, to demand inclusivity in the workforce and in C-suite, to demand more from your life, from yourself, and your future."
Rochelle hopes to inspire GEM girls to "do more and be more" and says that the program is demanding more of the organization itself, with plans to help even more girls across Ontario.
Since 2013, GEM has accepted over 500 mentees, which continues to grow every year. These girls go on to get into great schools and land their dream jobs. Plus, the mentorship is research-based to ensure that it’s effective and will make a real difference.
One alumna, Ameera, said, "GEM allowed me to let the confidence I knew I had all along shine through. Mentorship provided me with the tools I needed to succeed." The program also helped her manage her anxiety and gain a clear vision of her goals.
GEM also has a scholarship plan to support girls facing socioeconomic barriers, helps mentees find internships, and hosts special events and workshops.
These quotes have been condensed and edited for clarity.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.