minerva bc executive days 2020 happy diverse group of women

Minerva’s Executive Days program provides Learning to Lead alumni with an opportunity to connect with leaders in some of BC’s biggest companies. Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing stories from our Executive Days participants. We believe that mentorship is a two-way exchange, and through this blog series, we hope to impart some of the wisdom that has been shared through the program.

Meet Gail Oye. Gail is the Executive Director of Strategic Partner Engagement at E-Comm 9-1-1 and is a mother of two. Having grown up in a traditional, white-collar community where women stayed at home and weren’t in leadership roles, Gail is passionate about seeing women succeed at all levels.

Meet Sogand Golshahian. At only 17 years old, Sogand is a thoughtful and values-driven young woman. She is finishing up her final year of high school and has been busy with a rigorous IB curriculum. Sogand is passionate about STEM and is looking to study bioengineering in university.

How did you first learn about Minerva? 

Gail: I joined Minerva as a participant in Cohort 7 of Women Leading the Way ™. I had heard about Minerva before from my peers who talked to me about what the organization stands for, and what it does, and I was immediately engaged.

 Sogand: When I was in Grade 11, a Learning to Lead alumna told me how the program helped her with identifying her strengths, values and her own inner leader. Then, our school coordinators told the women in my grade about the 2020 program and I decided to participate — and what a wonderful opportunity it was.

Why did you decide to participate in Executive Days?

Gail: I don’t have all the answers, but I have my experiences. If I can share anything about what I’ve been through and what I’ve seen and it helps somebody else, then I want to do it. I also learn so much every time. Executive Days is not just about me sharing, but I learn and take away whenever I’m interacting with another female that’s part of this. It gives me that spark.

Sogand: I love to hear stories of people, especially successful and independent women. It is crucial to learn from and take away valuable lessons from experienced individuals. You have experts in math and science, but you also have experts in life that have figured out most of the bits and pieces of life, and there’s so much to learn from these mentors who have so openly and generously given their time to share their knowledge.

Tell me more about your Executive Days conversation…

Gail: Sogand, who I connected with, is such an amazing young lady and she already has these great qualities that are setting her up to be a great leader. I was so impressed with how passionate she was and how she is trying to make a difference. She inspired me with her core values, and how she stays true to them. She understands that she has learning and growth ahead of her but approaches that with strength.

Sogand: Gail was so wise and inspiring and I learned a lot. From our Executive Days conversation, I really understood the importance of staying true to yourself and your passions. To sum up our conversation, I learned that you are what governs yourself and diversity makes this world beautiful.

What does mentorship mean to you?

Gail: Growing up I had so many people that provided me with support whether they knew it or not. Mentorship supports people that are already in the workforce but also gives this lift-up to younger women.

Sogand: My biggest mentors are my parents because they always inspire me with what they know about the world and themselves, which is very motivating. Mentorship is about helping you understand that you can achieve what you want even if you don’t think you can.

Thank you, Gail and Sogand, for sharing your Executive Days experiences!

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