Support| Prepare | Empower
Find Out Who Made the
2018 - 2019 Speaker Series!
A Tribute to Shagufta Shaikh - How a Young Girl Led an Inspirational Life
"The five of us developed a friendship that will surely be cherished. Though we came from different backgrounds and cultures, we came together to prove that we are more than just immigrant girls."
A trip of a lifetime
Empower a Girl. Empower the World.
Find out who received our highest awards!
Our First Graduate - Where Is
Read mentee takeaways, and learn more about each of our amazing graduates! We are so proud of these young women!
Speak Team and Senior Advisory Board
Read more about Shagufta, and how she changed the world in her short life. Consider donating to the Shagufta Scholarship to help others overcome poverty and access opportunities.
Hello again and happy 2019! We're excited about our third issue of our SPEAK Mag for many reasons. This issue is the first issue put together by student editor, Cristal Davidson, our 2018 Ambassador of the Year! You may recognize her from the cover of our second SPEAK Mag! She has come a long way since the beginning, and we're so excited to have her voice present in the SPEAK Mag. Cristal is just one of the success stories of 2018, and I welcome you to read about all of our success stories of students and speakers in this third issue.
During 2018, we were busy with ensuring our cohort of girls graduated successfully, with lots of opportunities available to them as they moved further into their academic careers. We took the time to learn about their needs and those of their schools and families. This led to presenting a student workshop at Harvard, visiting colleges with students and families, hosting our first SPEAK Summit, and moving conversations forward with district leadership to integrate our program into even more schools so we can extend our impact. We're humbled with what we've learned over 2018 and are excited about what's to come in 2019! That is why this third issue focuses on relationships and the support we all need to empower ourselves and those around us. I'm so incredibly overwhelmed by the SPEAK network that continues to grow every day and wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day -- may you share love with all those who lift you up each and every day!
A friendship created that transcends all differences and distances, and values the unique experiences shared among them of being immigrant girls.
A Message from our Founder
I'm so incredibly overwhelmed by the speak network that continues to grow every day and wish you all a happy valentine's day -- may you share love with all those who lift you up each and every day!
"Instead of inheriting a broken system, we have the power to change it.' Yara Shahidi
In honor of black history month and upcoming women's history month, we wanted to highlight the power of yara shahidi.~Cristal
Our first SPEAK Summit was a success! Stay tuned for more details on our second SPEAK Summit coming this Spring.
Celebrating Black History Month and Womens History Month with Yara Shahidi
2018 - 2019
Meets Our Graduates
Who Are Our Mentors?
MESSAGE FROM CRISTAL DAVIDSON STUDENT EDITOR
Hello, everyone! I am excited to have had the opportunity to work on this magazine along with Ms. Hetal. I hope to be an editor in the future so this is a great experience!
I hope you enjoy reading this issue about relationships. I have already learned so much and am excited to see what you all think of the issue!
To send content for the next issue email: email@example.com
Read some mentee takeaways about their experiences
Meet our graduates
Astha meets with mentee Cristal to talk about journalism and other possible careers related. to publishing.
Shainu meets with her mentor, Susan, an ER Surgeon, to talk about careers in medicine.
“I have a feeling that SPEAK Mentorship will create friendships that will last a very long time!"
“I really enjoyed the sessions with my mentor, because she was always smiling. That gave me confidence at the moment to speak. Thank you.” – ELL student; greatly improved confidence to speak up in English
“Thank you so much for having such an amazing program for immigrant girls.”
"Your mentors are great and I was happy I was matched with those I was matched with because I had such a great experience with them, which caused a tremendous change in my life, and I'll happily continue with you until the end. SPEAK YOU ROCK!”
“SPEAK is wonderful and should continue to teach girls to be career-wanting, powerful women.”
“Keep up the great work and thanks for all your help. This program inspires me to do my best at all cost.”
"This program is the best for girls like me and girls that have different cultures and backgrounds as me. This should be in more schools.”
“I am glad that I joined this program because I’ve learned more facts about colleges than before and how to communicate better with people who I just met and how to formally talk to people.”
You guys are amazing, the experience that I had should be given to much more young girls like me."
Nisha, an Executive Director at Estee Lauder, meets with her mentee, Anastasiia to talk about careers in lifestyle and Entertainment.
one valuable take away
2017 - 2018 Academic Year
'...pushed me to pursue my dreams and really helped me integrate into my school culture while also still teaching me to be proud of my Algerian culture. '
"Joining SPEAK Mentorship was the best decision that I ever made."
I came to the United States of America in August of 2014, and I was really afraid because it was a new beginning. I didn't know anybody and one of my struggles was that I didn’t speak English. No one in my school spoke French. So, in order to learn English, I began listening to music, watching movies in English with French subtitles, and talking with the students in my class. By the time I got to high school, I was less frustrated with the language and English wasn’t a struggle for me anymore.
In my second year of high school I decided to transfer to George Washington high school. There, my teacher introduced me to a program that helps immigrants girls like me. Joining SPEAK Mentorship was the best decision that I ever made. I felt like I belonged there. I met many immigrants girls not only in my school but also in other cities. I started to become less shy and made friends who I now consider my sisters
Speak Mentorship helped me pursue so many opportunities for myself. Since joining SPEAK, I increased my school average and feel more engaged during school, developed social emotional skills that help me make more friends, and feel confident in myself. It’s incredible how far I’ve come in just a few short years, and I realize how important social support is for a girl like me to become a confident woman who can reach all her goals.
I also had the opportunity to be the president for the SPEAK Chapter Club and the Ambassador for the 10th grade girls in SPEAK. It was amazing because it helped me become more confident and bold; I became more responsible, self-aware, and comfortable with who I was. Through SPEAK, I also had the chance to go to Harvard and collaborate on a presentation with two amazing peers. The presentation was titled ‘Reconstruct the World with Equity and Justice’.
The best part about Speak Mentorship is that they match you with mentors who help you with your future career. I worked with 3 amazing mentors who all pushed me to pursue my dreams and really helped me integrate into my school culture while also still teaching me to be proud of my Algerian culture.
"Together, girls in the program and I have learned skills of responsibility, communication, time management, networking and those specific to a chosen career."
I am the youngest of three children. I was raised in a very challenging neighborhood where trouble and hardships are very common. My parents did their best to keep my siblings and I away from our city’s temptation of drug abuse and violence. Though I never had the yearning for those factors in life, I had a struggle within my life internally at a young age that, without the help and support of my family, could have deterred me away from passion of wanting to educate others.
At the tender age of 3 I was diagnosed with lead poisoning. My parents were distraught over the results when I was tested positive. The doctor informed them that it was imperative for them to take the necessary precautions to lower my lead level so that it wouldn’t cause severe problems with my learning ability.
I struggled with behavior issues, and the ability to learn at my age. Finally, the lead was gone and I worked very hard to be the best me I could be.
Here it is the year of 2018 , I am a 10th grader and I’ve reached amazing heights in my my life academically with the support of my family. They continue to push me and stay supportive of my goals for the future.
I used to always think I had to be independent, and rarely asked for help. But, SPEAK has taught me that women can have help and it’s all about lifting each other to make our future brighter.
Continued on next page
"in my mind three was no such thing as someone having a life or passion similar to mine.'
Being a part of the SPEAK community has helped me develop many skills that I never knew I needed to become successful in my chosen career path of becoming a teacher. Through the SPEAK community, I have received the opportunity to meet young women like myself who aspire to have careers they feel are worth chasing and we have met career professionals who have mentored us on how we can reach our goals. Developing this community of peers and career professionals has led me to develop my confidence, and I know that I can set and reach both personal and professional goals.
Together, girls in the program and I have learned skills of responsibility, communication, time management, networking and those specific to a chosen career. As a community, we met with different mentors, women who have already reached success and are pursuing goals that I want to pursue in my life. They have taught me skills I will need to become a teacher in the future and gave me advice relevant to me today so I can chase the career of my dreams and reach all of my aspirations.
Girls should be involved in SPEAK because it puts girls on the right track towards the future, feeling more prepared with so much community support. Forming bonds with successful women who will help us become victorious in our life goals gives us a reason to succeed and give back to the community by lifting others up along the way. Not only does SPEAK help you pursue the career of your dreams,but also introduces you to positions you may have never even thought of pursuing, which opens your mind to so many possibilities.
Through the community we develop at the school, we talk about topics affecting women and how we can solve these problems as a community to ensure all women achieve and succeed. SPEAK’s impact of developing a community throughout their programs gives us the safe space to learn and grow into our whole selves, and motivates us to work as a community to lift everyone up. I have always been used to the idea that women do not get the green light when it comes to doing what they want to be successful; we have always gotten the yellow light for chasing a dream that is bigger than what we usually go for. Then it changes to a red light when it becomes too challenging for us, causing us to trivialize or downgrade for something “easier”. What I like about SPEAK is that they take this idea and exploit it to make us more determined, strong-willed, skilled and effective to pursue both personal and professional goals that set us on the right path for years to come, impacting what is possible for future generations as we begin to change what women of color are able to achieve.
I have gained a lot from the SPEAK community. The community has invested in me and my future, making it possible for me to understand how to successfully become a future teacher, and giving me the support I need to pursue all of my aspirations confidently. Without community, finding a path can be isolating and challenging. But, as a community, the girls of SPEAK and our mentors can support each other to make sure we reach our goals more easily. The SPEAK program does not just empower young ladies of today but for the future.”
I've gotten the opportunity to meet other ambassadors and members who I've had the privilege to present with at Harvard University, one of the top universities in the world! From then to now, because of this program, I have the confidence and boldness to speak openly, to keep educating myself about my career because I know I've got a shot. Most importantly, I learned to pursue my career because it doesn't matter where I grew up or where I came from; if you're an immigrant, like I am, moving to a place like this, you may question your career choice. But, just know that you can be as qualified as others who are born Americans and get an outstanding career if you work hard for it.
You are entitled just as much as they are!
"because of this program i now have confidence and boldness to speak openly."
One year ago, i was appointed the ambassador of the SPEAK Mentorship program at my high school, joining a great and determined team where I've gotten great opportunities and learnt so many great things about myself, my career and my mentors. Migrating to the United States of America was a big change for me. It was really difficult to adjust to this society. I've started high school, I've met new people from various places with different backgrounds, some with similar. But, I still didn't feel like I belonged here. I was afraid to speak because I thought that my English was bad and people would make fun of me. But the very day Miss Hetal Jani (founder of the SPEAK) came to introduce the program, it really caught my attention! I knew this program would help me from the moment I met my first mentor, who I shared stories with and who gave me great solutions to deal with my cultural conflicts, even educated me on the life of a social worker, my dream career.
"I was afraid to speak because I thought that my English was bad and people would make fun of me."
Gabriella Bella, of Millenium High School in Manhattan, NY was the 11th grade recipient
Jessica Castillo, of American History High School in Newark, NJ was the 10th grade recipient
Lylia Belbegra, of George Washington High School in Philadelphia, PA, proved that she can overcome any barrier tin her way towards self-growth and leadership.
Cristal Davidson, of American History High School in Newark, New Jersey, proved her leadership abilities and achieved the highest award of 2018.
Boston Trip: A Trip of a lifetime
A panel hosted by our very own Ms.Hetal Jani, revolved around women of color breaking the glass ceiling in the corporate world. There we got to ask women questions who experienced barriers because of being women. We left with knowing we might encounter the same challenges but, as long as we hold our heads high and keep focused on our goals, we’ll be fine.
Cristal Davidson and Monique Lawrence
A panel on breaking glass ceilings and becoming successful in male dominated industries.
Hetal Jani, Shirley Vargas,
Monique Anderson, Asha Nair
Ayoko Kessouagni, of American History High School in Newark, New Jersey, honed her leadership skills and continued to thrive in both leadership and self-development.
Ambassador of The Year
Mentee of The Year
Monique Lawrence, of High School for Global Citizenship in Brooklyn, NY, did not let anything stop her from completing the program and learning how to be a leader.
"Getting the chance to present and visit Ivy league colleges was not something we ever expected to happen."
Anastasiia Smetaniuk, of George Washington High School in Philadelphia, PA was a 9th grade recipient
Ecstacy Holland, of American History High School in Newark, NJ was a 9th grade recipient
"As long as we hold our head s high and keep focus on our goals we'll be fine."
Begayim Makenova, of George Washington High School in Philadelphia, PA, proved her dedication to self-development and received the highest Mentee award of 2018
Our trip to Boston with our fellow ambassadors was filled with new accomplishments, new bonds and cherished memories. Five girls who had never met in person and came from different places joined together and experienced a world outside of their own. Getting the chance to present and visit Ivy league Colleges is not something we ever expected in our lives to happen. Though, by the end of our trip, our minds changed.
While on the campus of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, we were fortunate enough to attend three days of the annual Alumni Color of Conference. The 2018 theme was “Radicalize, Re-image and Reconstruct.” Throughout the panels we discussed equality and what needed to be changed in society.
Having a look around Harvard College campus was a another wave of amazement. The feel of the campus was traditional and the buildings looked so preserved. It was exciting to learn about the life at Harvard, the monuments and history behind each building from a Harvard freshman. Actually being on campus and getting that experience helped us to understand that girls like us can be a part of something like Harvard. It may have seemed out of reach before but now, with some hard work, it may be possible.
Throughout the tours and panels, we developed a friendship that will surely be cherished. Though we came from different backgrounds and cultures we came together to prove that we are more than just immigrant girls. Our identity and status is not going to hold us back from achieving our goals and SPEAK Mentorship presented us with a voice to do that.
Harvard Tour 2018
MIT Tour 2018
Harvard Graduate Campus 2018
Under the theme “Radicalize, Reimagine and Reconstruct”, three of our Ambassadors, Lylia, Ayoko and Monique were honored to present a workshop at the annual Alumni Color of Conference 2018 with support from SPEAK Mentorship. It was a great opportunity for all of us to challenge ourselves and to be the best we can be, to face our fears, to share our opinions and to let our voices be heard. The presentation was also very emotional because our stories were factual and our presenters, then, really understood the lives of their families who worked very hard and deserve appreciation. But the emotions made us stronger and, because we were a team, we got successfully presented our stories. Now we know that if we are capable of successfully creating an entire presentation through virtual meetings, presenting at one of the top universities in the world, we are capable of pursuing goals and dreams. We are all very honored to have had the opportunity and thank SPEAK and Harvard Graduate School of Education Alumni of Color Conference.
During our tour at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is best known for its program in engineering, different types of sciences and philosophy, we were astonished by the scenery of certain areas on campus. There were incredible monuments and had such significance; the campus has so much to offer! Before the tour even concluded, each of us began considering Massachusetts Institute of Technology in our future.
How a Young Girl Led an Inspirational Life
The answer in Shagufta's case is ‘yes’. She really made me feel like her Hetal didi (sister), and I was looking forward to meeting her in person. She was only 16 when she passed, and to think that I won't have her there in sessions, excited to talk about her life, share her hopes and dreams, and help boost the confidence of the other students is difficult to comprehend. We let a young girl's life pass away because she lived in poverty; we can educate them all we want, but if don't address the issue of poverty, then it's all for naught. I know she took away a lot from the short time she was with SPEAK, but it seems pointless now to have focused on leadership when we should have been focusing on poverty and health care.
Tragically she passed away, in November, 2018. She had been dealing with tuberculosis for a while, and her body finally gave up. All the while, I had known Shagufta, I had not known she was ill -- she had never let on in any way that she was suffering. Rather, she was always hopeful of the future and working to make her dreams come true. What’s remarkable is that in her young life, despite all that she endured stemming from poverty, she cherished the opportunities she had to learn and grow, like through Akanksha and being involved with SPEAK.
Shagufta had a great deal of promise and dreamed about coming to America to study at a university. She would Whatsapp me to ask questions about what she could do to pursue her dream, and she would also help all the other students in the course with their English, their confidence, their goals.One of her last emails to me asked "DOES MONEY REALLY RESTRICT SOMEONE FROM DREAMING HIGH??"Just like that, in all capital letters.
Since September of 2017, we began working with the senior students of Akanksha Foundation. A vivacious yet shy bunch because of their level of comfort speaking English, they needed a leader to motivate and encourage them to see what’s possible. That leader was Shagufta. At the young age of 15, it was evident that Shagufta had ‘it’-- everything you would look for in a leader. She understood the needs of others first and created a platform for them to speak. She never shied away from voicing her own opinions, especially if her stories of struggle, resilience, and success empowered others to speak up on difficult topics. Shagufta had been an essential part of launching SPEAK's Leadership Empowerment course in India through her willingness to partake in focus groups and provide suggestions.
A Tribute to shagufta shaikh
Shagufta’s full email dated March, 2018:
“Hii didi, I am actually writing this letter to you to share a confusion or problem that is eating up my head.....I am actually stressed....Okay I completely don't know how you are going to react on this but I need to get it out of my chest.I WANT TO APPLY FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDIES IN THE UNITED STATES.I went through all the process that is required to apply in any university in the states. I have quite a few universities in my list too. I tried talking about this with my parents, they are all okay. But I really can't expect any financial help from my family. I had a talk regarding Undergraduate studies with one of Akanksha's didi and they don't have any tie up but they can help me with the application process.The subject choices and the whole teaching process is all amazing there and for me I want to study while exploring. This ambition of mine seems really funny to some of my friends, but I try my best to ignore them. I already had lots of negativity around me that forced me to question myself that DOES MONEY REALLY RESTRICT SOMEONE FROM DREAMING HIGH?? I don't know whether I am even right...But giving it a try won't harm anybody....Help me please in whatever ways you can, I am really in a need of true guidance....
I think of Shagufta often, and how her short journey impacted so many. In large part, because of Shagufta, we will be able to help so many other students through Akanksha and other partnerships with our Leadership and Empowerment course. While she may not have had her dream come true to study abroad, she will be a reason that others get to study abroad. We are working on opportunities that will expand the number of opportunities that students like Shagufta have, and I am making a commitment to start a scholarship in the name of Shagufta that can help others who have dreams of studying abroad but are limited by poverty.
There are very few people in the world who can inspire others over such a short amount of time and never having met in person. Shagufta was able to do this at such a young age, giving my life more meaning, and proving she was a blessing in the lives of everyone she encountered. I am so honored to have known her, and thank God that I have had the opportunity to meet so many lovely students of Akanksha. Please know that you all inspire others around you, just as Shagufta had. I will miss Shagufta dearly and will always remember her light.
To donate to the Shagufta Scholarship, please visit bit.ly/SUPPORTSPEAK
"SPEAK Mentorship is doing an amazing job helping immigrants girls like me develop confidence and networks, and I look forward to other opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals in my own city and other cities. "
"SPEAK Summit has opened my eyes to new possibilities because of the stories of the empowering women."
On March 31st, 2018, I and two other friends from George Washington High School went to Newark, New Jersey to attend the first SPEAK Summit. There, I and the two Ambassadors who had presented together at the Harvard Alumni of Color Conference had the chance to present our workshop titled 'Reconstruct the World with Equality and Justice'. It was an amazing moment because I was actually less shy to present the workshop this time since I had experience presenting it before and I felt more confident because the faces were familiar. I received an award and a book that made me want to keep setting goals and achieving them.
I had the chance to meet wonderful people at the Summit and I re-connected with my friends from SPEAK who live in different cities. SPEAK Mentorship is doing an amazing job helping immigrants girls like me develop confidence and networks, and I look forward to other opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals in my own city and other cities.
"Its amazing to be connect with different people of different backgrounds. It really helps in building your social skills."
March 31st, 2018
Meaningful conversations were held between the mentees and panelists giving the girls the chance to learn about their life and to take away any lesson they could have gained from their stories. Honest, open, and transparent stories of how each woman achieved success, was important to provide next steps towards success.
It was an amazing experience of getting to meet the women of the panels and hearing their stories. They shared their struggles but also suggestions on how we can overcome barriers to any career we wanted to pursue. We also got to revisit the SPEAK girls who had presented at Harvard present their presentation again and they did an amazing job!
Friends were reunited again and able to reconnect with each other, while also making another memory with each other. These kinds of interactions will only strengthen our bond, and we've become great friends.
We had a blast at the first Summit!
"Jasmine Wahi is an inpiration to anyone with passion to create and showcase art. Her motivation to advocate for what she believes in, leaves you wanting to do the same. It was so great to have the Summit in her space, and we're so thankful she made it happen."
"Dr. Lauren Wells has such great experience in education, and it's incredible to meet someone who had a direct hand in the education of New Jersey students. She encouraged us to believe in yourself and to never let something hold you back from achieving your goals."
Stay tuned our second SPEAK Summit coming this Spring! We have even more speakers and activities planned to make sure we connect all individuals to expand their opportunities.
We're excited, and hope you are too!
"Dorcas Adekunle is really an inspiring woman to look up to. She shared her story with such transparency, talking about how she received a job from a chance meeting with her would-be boss. We need this kind of honesty to know what it takes to get ahead."
Professor, Mentor, Advocate
Event: March 2019
'What Colleges Look for In Candidates'
She attends Harvard University and has had her recommendation letter written by Michelle Obama. At Harvard the young woman has plans to double major in sociology and African-Americans Studies. Yara speak outs about the importance of education for girls and diversity in Hollywood. She created her own club called “Yara's Club”, which collaborates with The Young Women’s Leadership School. There they have meaningful conversations about social issues and the ways to solve them.
Yara has a strong passion for public speaking and her beliefs often drive her to speak up for others. When receiving the Girl Hero award from the Girl UP Campaign, she mentioned what it means to be a patriot and the importance of relationships that comes with it. She has gained motivation from others when speaking out and also motivated so many. She's a role model for young women everywhere and shows us every day how we can use the power of our voice to change the future.
Dr. edward Adjapong
celebrating black history month
and upcoming women's history month:
Social change maker
Event: November 2018
'Cultivating Your Passions Into a Career'
SPEAKER SERIES 2018 - 2019
Successful corporate leader and entrepreneur
Event: May 2019
'Interviewing Like a Pro'
Harvard Faculty and Psychiatrist
Event: June 2019
'How to Address Imposter Syndrome from the Effects of Social Media'
Entrepreneur, Success Coach
Event: September 2018
'Cultivating Confidence From Within'
Dr. rohit chandra
Managing Director, JP Morgan
Event: October 2018
'Leadership Starts With Your Voice'
Social entrepreneur, accounting guru, warrior
Event: February 2019
'From Refugee to Entrepreneur: Managing Your Wealth'
Catch all of our completed Speaker Series events on our YouTube channel!
In honor of Black History Month and Women's History month, it is important to highlight a young and empowering black woman. Yara Shahidi a 19-year old African American Actress, model and activist. She grew popular from the TV sitcom “Black-ish” and now stars on the spin off “Grown-ish”, in which she plays a young independent young woman trying to figure out her new life in college. Yara is the daughter of a mother of African descent and a father of Iranian descent. She is known to be outspoken, intelligent and self aware about what is going on around her.
Social entrepreneur, educator, Spanish teacher
Event: April 2019
'Getting Your Dreams Funded'
"Patriotism should not be defined by love of one's physical country and space but a love of the humans that surrounds us, a love of the people that makes our day brighter, a love of the people that constantly persevere."
Social entrepreneur, founder of Careacademy.com
Event: January 2019
'Becoming an Entrepreneur'
As a SPEAK ambassador, I ran clubs at Brooklyn Technical High School; I met up with my mentors every week and wrote journal entries documenting anything interesting that happened along the way. At the club meetings, we would talk about topics from SAT prep to how to network. With my mentors, not only would I learn about their occupations but I would also have the ability to ask them questions about their career path and visit their workplace. I was also able to ask them for advice on culture, since they were all South Asian.
This was especially helpful during the college applications and college decision process. I remember one of my mentors advising me to broaden my horizons and apply to liberal arts schools rather than all STEM schools. My mentors genuinely cared about what college I ended up attending and they were eager to help me get there, whether it be through letters or recommendation or checking my personal statement.
I feel like I didn’t just get any one single thing from one mentor. Yagna Pathak, a biomedical engineer at Columbia helped me find my interest in the brain. Spending a few days with Keyuri Patel, a pediatric physical therapist helped me realize that I loved working with kids. I also got paired with an ER physician, Susan, and it helped me realize that the quick –thinking hustle of the ER was most definitely not for me, a calm and mellow person, just as important to learn.
SPEAK helped me in other ways too. It helped me get into Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY is a highly selective college where New York, where most promising students receive the financial and academic support to realize their leadership potential and graduate debt-free.
Yagna Pathak, my mentor, wrote a recommendation letter for me into this school. Being able to say that I started a club focused on career readiness at Brooklyn technical high school definitely boosted my application.
Now I’m in college and everyone’s probably wondering, what did she decide and honestly, I still don’t know. It helped me narrow down my goals. I plan on doing a double major in business (with a health concentration) and psychology. People might be wondering why is she representing SPEAK when she doesn’t even know what she wants to do. But SPEAK helped me in so many more ways. Whether it be through teaching me how to network by building a LinkedIn profile or making me give a speech at the Chapter Club about a topic I had to research so I felt prepared and could answer my peers' questions. It taught me, not necessarily how to be confident always, but how to act confident so that I boldly step forward in any situation, and that’s definitely a skill that I will take with me throughout life.
My name is Shainu George and I was the first ambassador for SPEAK Mentorship. In 2013, of Forbes 50 most successful self made women 10%of the women were immigrants. In the 2015 the same list was created. This time, 30% of the women were born outside the US. “30% were born outside of the U.S. in countries like Germany, Japan, Israel, Morocco and China. One worked as a nanny before coming to America. Another was a PhD scientist. One played semi-professional basketball in Shanghai before immigrating to the United States and later founding a semiconductor firm in California. All found success and made the bulk of their fortunes in America.
There is growing evidence that
the positive economic contributions of immigrant women are vastly underestimated and that these contributions are often based on the entrepreneurial activities of immigrant women,” says Dr. James Witte, director of the Institute for Immigration Research.
A lot of girls, whether they are immigrants or first-generation Americans find it hard to reach their full potential. Parents still place emphasis on things such as finding the perfect husband for their daughter over her having a career. On the other hand, they might want their children to pursue the American dream and expect them to be nothing less than doctors or lawyers. That is why SPEAK Mentorship is so important.
Shainu George '16
'SPEAK helped me get into Macaulay honors college at brooklyn.'
'this was especially helpful during the college applications and college decision process. my mentors genuinely cared about what college i ended up attending and they were eager to help me get there...'
BECOME A SPEAK MENTOR
WHO ARE OUR MENTORS?
The mentors we select are folks who identify as women that are professionals with at least 2 years of experience in their career field. You can start the mentor screening process by filling out this online application! There are nine 45-min mentoring sessions in a typical mentoring round. Sessions happen virtually via a video conferencing platform, so mentors can be located anywhere they have internet access. Once mentors agree to a mentoring match, they are responsible for remaining consistent and punctual for each of the nine scheduled mentoring sessions. SPEAK Mentorship provides training and a 9-session mentoring curriculum for each mentor. Mentors will teach their mentee 3 skills to promote personal and professional development, and begin the college choice process.
One of the mentoring focus areas mentors are trained on is the “Career Ecosystem”. This is a concept mentors can use to educate their mentees about different types of positions in their career field. Mentors are also encouraged to use their Career Ecosystem to help the mentee develop her professional network.
Scotney Young - Mentor Experience Manger
Our mentors come from all over the world and come from all different fields. All backgrounds and experiences, our mentors are unique and we have a mentor that works for every mentee's needs. They work in tech, finance, art, education, medicine, research, social justice and more. We're so incredibly honored by all the mentors who give their time to our SPEAK mentees and developing the future generation of diverse leaders. Without them, we could not do the work that we do.
These are just a few faces from the hundreds of mentors. Thank you to each and every one of them!
Her ability to teach me about leadership
and persistence really made her not only an amazing mentor
but an amazing woman.
Her want to help me thrive and grow as a writer
has created a strong bond between us.
Creating an environment of self love,
and reliability really makes her one of a kind.
Jennifer Chowdhury is my inspiration.
-Ayoko Kessouagni, American History High School student, Newark, NJ
It was such a pleasure to work with the amazing girls of
Abraham Lincoln High School
The key to success is to start before you are ready.
Last year I had a great opportunity to be a member of Speak Mentorship Program! This program is a step to your dream life. It teaches you to be independent confident, effective, and gives you features of leadership. When I first joined SPEAK, I wasn’t expecting to be on a right path just through several months. After having meetings with my mentor I’ve gained a major experience of success. I had understood what am I best in, and what future job I want to tie up my life with! want to give an advice for students like I was before joining SPEAK, who aren’t sure what their tendency is. You don’t have to start over to be on a right path, just find what you love and do it a lot, because loving what you do is happiness.
Thank you Speak Mentorship Program for your effort, and the greatest experience! - Anastasiia Smetaniuk, George Washington HS, Philadelphia
Old Colony YMCA
Senior Advisory Board
Mentor Connector - New York
Dr. Sanjay Kumar Singh
COUNTRY DIRECTOR Mittal South Asia Institute
Through SPEAK I was able to meet many people such as Senator Cory Booker and gain new cherished relationships.
The core of SPEAK is appreciating the true bonds between people. Happy Valentine's Day. I hope you all enjoy this celebration of love with all your loved ones and also enjoyed reading this issue of our SPEAK Mag!
Mentor Relations Associate
Dr. Rohit Chandra
HARVARD FACULTY & MASS GEN PSYCHIATRIST
Tracie Denise Jones
HARVARD FACULTY & ADVENTURE GIRLZ
Dr. Josephine Kim
A Note From Cristal
Corporate and Marketing Communications
Mentor Experience Manager
OXFORD & STONE CASTLE PARTNERS
Second SPEAK Summit Spring 2019
New Cohort of Mentees for the 2019 - 2020 academic year
Speaker Series with Kim Le February 23! Don't forget to register!
See all of our upcoming and past Speaker Series events at https://www.speakmentorship.org/speaker-series.html
More #Cheers4Careers events -- small happy hour fundraisers to support the work of SPEAK Mentorship. Follow #Cheers4Careers to find out upcoming events!
Stay tuned and donate at bit.ly/SUPPORTSPEAK to help us continue our work.
What's Coming Up Next
Developing Tomorrow's Leaders