Mentee to ambassador - meet Rea The Ambassador Community is a collective of inspiring young women who have all been mentored through The Girls’ Network. As a community, they have access to work experience, workshops, and events; all designed to equip them with the skills and networks they need to thrive. But how has mentoring helped lay the foundation for this community of young women? Previous mentee and current ambassador based in Merseyside, Rea Torniai, says: “My mentor supported me by helping me make informed decisions about my future, she gave me a safe space with lots of encouragement to help me decide what I wanted to do next.” …………… Different for everyone: why mentoring matters In 2019 Aurea Torniai, known to her friends and our network as Rea, became a mentee. Four years prior, she moved from Brazil to Merseyside with her family and now, after navigating school and college in a new landscape, Rea is preparing to attend university while managing the launch of her very own small business. When Rea was first introduced to The Girls’ Network she wasn’t quite sure what it entailed, but she decided to take part and, in her own words, “Hasn’t regretted it”. For Rea, mentoring has meant learning more about what feminism is, and how it plays a part in her life: “I feel like the program itself has changed my mindset. Up until being part of the charity I had this weird idea in my head that I was not a feminist (although I was and just did not feel comfortable with the labeling at the time due to what I had been told previously). “Being part of the charity was an amazing opportunity to see what feminism is actually all about; women supporting women, creating a safe space to support disadvantaged people and minority groups. This has completely opened up my mind to a world that, up until then, was unknown to me.” Mentoring benefits everyone differently and for Rea, it’s been about understanding her goals for the future, and the opportunities around her, that bit better. “I feel mentoring was invaluable to me in two ways. One of them was having someone well-connected in the areas that I was interested in, who had more information than I was able to access on my own, and knowledge to inform me and guide me in the right path. The second was getting an amazing best friend!” You can’t be what you can’t see: the impact Alongside the benefit of having a mentor who could provide insight into her future career path, Rea valued having access to a support network of women to whom she could relate - something that will continue as the Ambassador Community grows. “I feel the fact that we are part of a minority group is already a challenge on its own. Feeling like you have little space in a male dominated world, with very few opportunities in certain areas. So it is important to get support from other women who have already done it all, and who you see yourself in. “I felt safe being part of a group whose main focus was supporting women and making sure we have the same opportunities as any other person would have. It made me want to focus on working with projects related to doing the same for women in the future.” And what does Rea want to see change for young women who, like her, are about to enter higher education and the world of work? More gender equity in working environments: “I am confident that by being mentored by women who have done it before, against all odds, gives young women the confidence that they can also do it.” …………… Find out more about The Girls’ Network’s Ambassador Community here.