GirlzRTW Toronto Conference 2019
Maryam and Nivaal Rehman | Toronto, Canada This conference is proof that dreams and big ideas really do become a reality. We first started planning this conference over the summer, and immediately spoke to Nicol Perez, the co-founder of GirlzFTW about making it become a reality. Our goal was to provide girls with empowerment, training and mentorship to pursue the career of their dreams. From November 4th to 6th this year, we held the first ever conference of its kind in Toronto, Canada. We called it GirlzRTW (Run the World). For a complete background regarding this conference, visit this link. There were three components to the conference, a Summit, Field Trips and Mentorship. The summit and field trips featured five streams: Storytelling, Sports, Advocacy, STEM and Business. The summit was possible with the incredible support we had from the University of Toronto's Trinity College. The college administration members, including Cameron McBurney who is the Assistant Dean of Students - Student Life, Kristen Moore who is the Dean of Students, and Provost Mayo Moran all played significant roles in helping make this conference become a reality. We want to especially thank Cameron for spending so much time planning out the conference with us and for being so open to this idea when we first presented it to him. Trinity college was also the sponsor of the event, and hosted girls for the Summit at Seeley Hall. The Summit: The first part of the conference, the "Career Summit," ran with a group of over 60 girls. They had the opportunity to learn about careers in five different streams, participate in empowerment activities, hear from guest speakers, and connect with the other participants in the program. Some speakers included Jessica Lam, who is the senior coordinator of Adult Learning at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Sania Bhatti, who is a technology analyst at Accenture. The Field Trips: Following the Career Summit, "Career Field Trips" were held. These gave participants the opportunity to visit a workplace from the stream they were most interested in. They met with people working in the industry, while also participating in a hands-on activity that helped them experience the career. Our workplaces included the Facebook Canada Headquarters, the Toronto International Film Festival Bell Lightbox, and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Mentorship: The final part, Mentorship, will give girls the opportunity to apply to Girlz,FTW's existing mentorship platform, and get paired with a mentor for a six-month online mentorship program, which will guide them on how they can reach their career goals. Girls who participated in the conference are applying to the mentorship program at their own pace, and will be matched with a mentor as soon as they apply. We believe that it was an incredible experience organizing our first-ever GirlzRTW conference through our non-profit, and we were so lucky to have the support of Trinity College in this process, as well as the GirlzFTW team. Thank you to everyone who helped make this conference possible, and to those who attended!