A Mentor’s Guide to In-Person GLAM Events
Guest blog written by Nisha Shenoy
Are you preparing for your first time mentoring with Girls Leadership Academy Meetup (GLAM)? I know the feeling! My name is Nisha, and I’ve just completed my first year serving as a Global Ambassador and Mentor for GLAM. In this “Mentor’s Guide to In-Person GLAM Events”, I’ll provide insights into the framework of their two-day, in-person programs, exploring key topics within the schedule such as registration, speakers, breakout sessions, and most importantly, snack time! Join me as I share details on the most recent in-person GLAM program sponsored by eBay and iTalent Digital at eBay headquarters in November 2023.
As you take those first steps into the event space, a warm welcome awaits you, with numerous smiling faces ready to offer support and assistance. Team GLAM ensures a supportive, interactive environment from the very start. Staff and volunteers guide you through the registration process and answer any questions you may have. Once they provide you with your official name tag and table number, you enter the event space and meet with the other mentors for a brief check-in and rally.
Once I’m sitting at my team table, I take this time to introduce myself to each girl, learn a little bit about them, and give them a brief rundown of the day’s schedule (without spoiling any of the surprises ahead). As a team mentor, my role is to keep the girls engaged, focused, and excited about the GLAM program. This is easy to do with such an interactive, lineup of sessions!
Arrival time is also when girls tend to check out the wide variety of snacks on offer and scope out their favorites. Throughout the program, snack breaks are scheduled, and the girls are encouraged to grab tasty, nutritious snacks and drinks (the applesauce is my favorite). During breaks, I can confidently say that the snack area is the girls’ favorite place to hang out, chat, and recharge!
Each GLAM STEM education and leadership program includes a variety of Keynote Speakers aimed at inspiring the girls to dream big and to believe in themselves! The latest GLAM event held at eBay featured amazing presentations and live Q&A with the following C-suite women:
● Stephanie Jay, eBay Chief Business and Strategy Officer, and daughter Chloe
● Apoorva Panidapu, Founder of Apoorva Panidapu’s Art Gallery
● Priya Rajraram Suri, Vice President of People at eBay
● Lorena Delgado Martinez, Director of the Program Management Office at eBay
● Avritti Khandurie Mittal, Vice President and Head of Global Payments at eBay
● Renée La Londe, CEO and Founder of iTalent Digital and Girls Leadership
● Shabana Siraj, MBE and WBE, CEO and Founder of Trident Consulting Inc.
● Chelsey Baker, CEO and Founder of National Mentoring Day
● Tracy Adams, CEO and Founder of Greetr
● Heidi L Rhodes, Head of Global Customer Success and Sales at Meta
● Lauren Wilcox, PhD, Senior Director and Distinguished Applied Scientist at eBay
● Marisusan Trout, Certified HeartMath Trainer and Partner at WINNAR Group
● Julie Loeger, Senior Vice President and Chief Growth Officer at eBay
● Julia Loeger, Marketing and Communications Intern and Student Ambassador
at Santa Clara University
Inspired by the presentations and responses of these female speakers, my team is significantly engaged and feels empowered! These incredible, women leaders expose the girls to diverse careers and varied aspects of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math), business, and leadership roles they could pursue. In addition, they share their journeys to where they are now, demonstrating that no two paths are alike or easy. Perhaps most importantly, these incredible "shero" executives encourage the girls to learn more about their superpowers and to tap into those strengths.
Between these engaging presentations, Marisusan Trout serves as the Master of Ceremonies. She guides the girls through the process of notetaking and providing Speaker feedback for each presentation. She also ensures that we all stay on time and on task throughout the event!
It’s not only speaker presentations and live Q&A that empower these girls. There are also interactive sessions to practice and develop self-confidence, creativity, and public speaking. On the first day of the event, attendees participate in two breakout sessions, beginning with either vision boarding or computer coding, and then switching in the afternoon.
Apoorva Panidapu, Founder and CEO of Apoorva Panidapu’s Art Gallery, led cohorts of girls through vision boarding. Each girl expresses their hopes, dreams, and goals through art - writing positive affirmations, drawing, incorporating their Superpower avatars . This creative exercise not only encourages self-reflection, but also serves as a valuable opportunity for enhancing self-confidence and building interpersonal communication skills.
Vinothini Pandurangan, Senior MTS Information Security Engineer at eBay, and Beejal Kamdar, Senior Software Engineering Manager at eBay, co-lead the other cohort of girls through a computer coding curriculum authored by GLAM. Using the Scratch coding language, each girl designs a garden and cares for it, while ensuring compliance with the United Nations Social Development Goals. Through this activity, the girls develop their problem-solving abilities, expand their creativity, and reinforce their self-belief that they can pursue any careers they choose.
Breakout sessions like these offer the girls a chance to have fun and support each other. I love watching the girls explore these tools and empower one another as they complete the activities! Whether they’re bedazzling their names with glimmering stickers or experimenting with a variety of sounds for their sprites using Scratch, girls are laughing, chatting, and supporting one another.
Even though these activities may be unfamiliar to some, it’s amazing to see girls encourage each other and challenge themselves to try new things. The girls love using these activities to create the world that they want to see. While sitting with them, I listened to their ideas on how they want to create tech-integrated trash bins that sort recycling, trash, and compost, on how they want to build robots that can play music, on how they want to help the people around them. By working through these activities together, girls create such a supportive, uplifting environment to share and create their dreams!
With mentoring from Marisusan Trout, various speakers, and team mentors, girls are expertly guided through the process of creating, planning, and pitching their team business ideas. Each team starts by brainstorming, collaborating, and creating a business plan template. Once this framework is complete, each team receives one-to-one mentoring with globally recognized and award-winning public speaking and business pitching expert, Chelsey Baker. Chelsey shares her tips and tricks to successful business pitching with enthusiasm and passion.
With invaluable suggestions such as confidence shifts in body language, projecting one’s voice, and creating powerful openings and endings, the positive impact of this time with Chelsey is significant! The girls truly admire Chelsey and see her as a role model who they aspire to be like. And because of this, my team’s demeanor changes drastically between entering and leaving the practice room. Through the combined support of Chelsey's positive energy and expert suggestions, my team leaves bursting with excitement, completely free of nerves, and ready to pitch!
All these presentations and sessions lay the groundwork and preparation for the team business pitch presentations. Each team pitches their business plan on stage to an audience of parents, a professional panel of judges, and fellow attendees. While this prospect initially intimidates many girls, they soon gain new confidence and skills to step out of their comfort zones and challenge themselves in new ways!
Teams are judged based on inclusion of all business plan elements, the creativity of their business idea, and their presentation skills. Three teams are recognized as the winners, but all teams receive awards. I can confidently say that GLAM, eBay, iTalent Digital, speakers, judges, volunteers, and mentors see all teams as winners!
● 2nd Runner Up: Team 7 with Mentors Nicole Wagenbrenner and Ishi Chopra
The 'Peace Maker' is a conflict resolution app that detects an argument and
provides intervention techniques.
● 1st Runner Up: Team 3 with Mentors Saniya Pazhyannur and Nikita Kanike
The 'AI Buddy' is an AI-powered robot that helps students review course
material and study for exams.
● Overall Winners: Team 1 with Mentors Andrea Lopez and Kavya Gupta
'ESSP Speaks' is a microphone that has your speech pre-programmed into it
and corrects your mistakes during a live presentation.
● The Chelsey Award: Gisselle
Gisselle has demonstrated the most growth and courage in public speaking.
Over the course of this GLAM event, I had the privilege of learning and growing alongside my team. Each presentation and activity left my girls in awe of the speaker's presence and voice. And with the support and mentoring of these speakers, my team was always inspired and encouraged to test their limits and try something new. I especially love how GLAM’s curriculum allows girls to practice collaboration, empower one another, and have fun, while also reminding them of their individual strengths and superpowers through speakers and activities. GLAM offers so many fun and engaging opportunities for each girl, and I love watching my team grow! Participation in this STEM education and leadership program provides girls with a truly memorable and enriching experience with a learning environment like no other. 💗
Nisha Shenoy is currently a high school student in California. She is an Iowa Young Writers' Studio alumni and Founder of the Paperback Club, an after-school creative writing program for middle school students. Her writing has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and has been published by Just Poetry!!!, Paper Crane Journal, and 'Turning the Page Anthology' from Writopia Lab. Outside of writing, Nisha enjoys playing piano, singing with her grandmother, and trips to Costco with her family.
To find out how you can become involved with Girls Leadership Academy Meetup in helping bridge the gender gap and reduce gender bias in STEM, business, and leadership, engage with us! Watch some program content on GLAMtv, read some recent blog posts, encourage your business partners to sponsor a GLAM program, follow @GLAMReadyToLead on socials, donate, or email us for more information.