Enterprise mentors help young women thrive at school
Over the past five years, Enterprise has supported Girls Out Loud, a charity based in the North West of England that provides mentoring to young females who fall into what they term as the ‘middle’ category at school.
These girls are neither high nor low achievers. They are ‘average’ and can often feel lost and receive less attention.
By providing mentors, speakers and financial support through Girls Out Loud, Enterprise has helped teenage girls to be their authentic selves and channel their potential.
We spoke to Jane Kenyon, founder of Girls Out Loud, as well as colleagues who have been involved to find out how it works and what it has meant to them.
"it gives all women the opportunity to self-reflect"
Jane Kenyon – Founder of Girls out Loud
“Enterprise’s involvement has empowered many young girls to make better life choices and make their voices heard. Enterprise has provided 17 Big Sisters since 2015. Being a Big Sister is far more than giving back. Mentors are on the same personal development journey as their Little Sister. When asking Little Sisters about their feelings and challenges, it gives all women the opportunity to self-reflect and take on lessons learnt. In helping the Little Sisters find their voice, Big Sisters voices often become elevated.”
Gary Palmer – General Manager and Girls Out Loud board member
“Every year a number of Enterprise women employees mentor a female ‘Little Sister’ in one of the partner schools for 12 months in a programme called ‘Big Sisters’. These are girls aged between 13 and 16 years old. They meet monthly and use the sessions to talk about home life, school or anything else on their minds. Our role is to provide the girls with consistent contact with strong women who can inspire and give guidance to their little sisters. We have received feedback that our Big Sisters are great listeners and that they exude confidence.
“We sponsor the Girls Out Loud ‘Shining Stars Ball’ which celebrates the stories and achievements of those involved with the programme, and we were delighted to pick up the Corporate Brand Ambassador Award at the 2017 event.”
"It is a fantastic scheme where both you and your little sister can personally develop"
Roya Soleimanifar – Strategic Account Manager
“It is interesting mentoring someone from a different background of a younger age. I have already seen an impact on my Little Sister, which has been amazing. We have worked together to remove her from a toxic friendship group and help her grow us a person.
“I have also seen a positive impact on me. We work together on reducing our screen times and compare them every week. She doesn’t filter, so she asks me things I wouldn’t normally talk about. I then ask myself the same questions I ask her, which has allowed me to grow in a way that I wouldn’t have just in the corporate world.
“Jane Kenyon puts on workshops for Big Sisters, for example on gas lighting and imposter syndrome. These have given me a chance to develop my knowledge, and skills such as networking and communication.
“Don’t be scared to join the programme! I went through training, and was taught skills like how to build a rapport. I look forward to our sessions and it is really rewarding.”
Jane Williams – Business Rental Sales Executive
“My Little Sister is from an affluent background, showing how children from many different backgrounds are part of this programme. We were matched up carefully based on our background and interests. I was a very young mum like her parents and that has helped us connect with each other.
“We talk about things which she doesn’t feel comfortable speaking about with her family. I have been able to provide her with a different perspective from others in her life and I know that I have positively impacted her wellbeing.
“I have personally learned a lot from our conversations. She has given me a different perspective on certain situations.
“I would advise anybody to put themselves forward. It is a fantastic scheme where both you and your little sister can personally develop."