Global Girls Give is Expanding the Power of Mentorship
Lorena Soriano is the co-founder and COO of Global Girls Give, a non-profit dedicated to empowering women through mentorship. The Mexican-American Forbes Under 30 Fellow and “STEM-peneur,” as she proudly calls herself, spoke to Mindful Feminism about the serendipitous path she’s traveled. Read on for this fascinating conversation.
"When I talk about Global Girls Give I like to say that it's an accidental non-profit," Lorena said laughing. "This all started when I was completing my biochemistry degree and turned to social media for support. I was taking Quantum Chemistry, which is probably the hardest class I've ever taken, and I was complaining on social media, saying 'I'm close to failing this class, I don't know what's going on, this is so hard, damn you, Einstein!' I posted that out there and received so much support," she told Mindful Feminism.
Authenticity on social media connected Lorena to women from all over the world who were willing to get on the phone to explain the problems, or even gift her with copies of notebooks with their entries on the subject. And although at the time Lorena had no idea, the seed planted in that moment of female solidarity would soon grow into something much bigger.
Two weeks into the corporate job she had landed right out of college, Lorena casually shared another post on social media. This time it read: "starting a girl gang of women aggressively supporting other women so hands up if you want in because if I get enough people, we're totally getting jackets." "I re-posted that online and simply wrote, 'who's in? Local girl gang goes global girl gang,' she recalled.
"I put my phone down, went to go have dinner with my husband, and thought maybe I was going to get like ten women from across the globe that reached out, and that it was going to be a small group of women supporting and cheering each other on." When she checked her phone, Lorena was beyond surprised to find hundreds of likes and comments expressing interest. "I thought, 'holy crap!' I guess I have to build something and see how we can do this."
Out of curiosity, Lorena decided to take the conversation further and send out a survey to the women who'd replied. "Mainly, I wanted to know what people wanted to see more of and mentorship was by far the thing that stood out the most."
Very soon, all the pieces began falling into place. "People reached out to me saying, 'hey I'm great with tech, let me help you with your website,' or 'hey I'm great with marketing, let me run the marketing for you.' People just started reaching out, and all of a sudden, we were having meetings to decide how to set this thing up. We cared about giving back to the community, so we decided to go the non-profit route."
All of this happened in May of 2018, and just a bit over a year later, Global Girls Give is a registered non-profit with 25 members from numerous countries. Shortly, they'll be meeting with their board to approve a scholarship program; one Lorena hopes to grow massively in the coming years. They've launched programs focused on giving back to the community, highlighting astounding women, and of course, mentorship, the thing that started it all.
Lorena spoke more about the importance that mentorship has had in her personal life: "as Marian Grey Edelman says, 'you can't be what you can't see,' and mentorship allows you to change that." She recalled how growing up she never saw a Latina scientist and went on to explain that this lack of guidance is precisely what Global Girls Give wants to change for the forthcoming generation.
To alter this reality, they've launched a program that currently offers young girls the opportunity to connect with mentors in the fields of STEM, health and wellness, and student life and career, with the intention to expand into new areas soon. "We're at the process of matching up mentors and mentees, and we're going into the whole psychology of it, truly considering where people are at and where they're trying to go. We're also working to create an algorithm that will match people up automatically, and we're very excited about that."
Within Global Girls Give's team embracing the power of mentorship has also played out exceptionally. "We're 100% volunteer-run, so being able to mentor each other in our different areas of expertise has been wonderful. It's been amazing to see our internal team grow through mentorship," Lorena explained.
As if volunteering their time to advance the organization's mission wasn't enough, three months ago Global Girls Give launched a giveback campaign within the organization, where team members contribute two hours of volunteer work a month. "In these last three months since the launch, as an organization we've volunteered more than 150 hours towards our community, doing beach cleanups, park cleanups, working at food shelters, and giving back to women and girls from across the globe," Lorena shared proudly.
There are many things you can do to get involved with Global Girls Give. Reach out via their website for exciting volunteering opportunities, consider offering your time as a mentor, explore the chance to become a mentee, and if you don't have any time to give, share this story, and contribute to the mission of expanding the power of mentorship!
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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