Can I have the Girl with the Brightest Smile please!

Jessica has just completed a year as a Big Sister at a Manchester school. This is the speech she made to her Little Sister & the rest of the room at their graduation event. Where do I start? When I first heard about this project to become a ‘Big Sister’ I looked in to what […]

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“I know what an engineer is Miss”

Through the wonderful organisation Girls Out Loud, I have just completed a year as a mentor to a 13 year old girl. This wasn’t part of the plan, when asked, my inner voice screamed “Noooo!”, but having done it, I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Not for the warm fuzzy feelings we associate with doing good for a youngster, but for the massive impact it had on me.

Mentoring a teenager came with the expected; “I can’t put my hand up in class, I’ll get laughed at”; “I can’t be the lead in the school show, all the good people will be in it”, and whilst its easy to write these off as “usual teenage angst”; are any of us really so different? How many of us must be persuaded (read “told”) to take to the stage and speak at the local roadshow or coerced to step up and take the lead in this initiative or that working group? Whilst we justify it as “being too busy”, or having “too much on”; can we honestly say our motives for seeking to avoid being in the limelight are fundamentally different?

Mentoring becomes a process of putting things into context (if you stick your hand up and ask, really what’s the worst that can happen?), identifying and challenging the persons own limiting beliefs (why are you not good enough, what makes you say that?); exploring issues to understand the bigger picture and context in which the mentee see’s it, versus what is actually going on. But in doing so, you form habits; habits that then reflect into your own thoughts and your own actions.

And so, in the year of mentoring I have broken down some of my own limiting beliefs; I know I can run a half marathon because I did (though never again!). I am acknowledging and accepting my skills and using them ‘putting my hand up in class’ as an Advisory Board member for Girls Out Loud and as part of the Industrial Panel for UCLAN’s Civil Engineering Dept. I have ‘taken the lead part in the show’; speaking in front of 80 ladies at a charity lunch about my experiences of being a female civil engineer and most recently, I have left the comfort zone of the Highways Sector and taken a leap into Natural Resources to continue to develop and grow, not afraid (well maybe a little bit!), but more excited to meet new people and experience new things.

Shiona MacDonald

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On eyebrows, sisterhood and taking your medicine.. A big sister shares her story incognito

I’m a 30 year-old-youngest-of-four, with parents the other side of 60…. And earlier this year, I became a big sister. There have been many plus points to taking on this new title; one of which was definitely the raised eyebrows I caused when telling people I’d just gained a little sis. In fact, your eyebrows […]

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How becoming a Big Sister has changed me for the better

Loretta Smith is Head of HR & Shared Services at Pladis Global (McVities to you and me). Here she shares her Big Sister experience. Becoming a Big Sister with Girls Out Loud is one of the best decisions that I’ve made, for lots of reasons. Knowing that I’ve made a difference to a teenage girl’s […]

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The Little Sisters of Middleton Tech get social with UKFast

As with every Big Sister programme, watching the Little Sisters begin to realise their potential is always an incredible feeling. Last month, the Little Sisters from our current programme at Middleton Technology school took part in a workshop, hosted by technology firm UKFast, exploring how they can use social media to express their creativity. Led […]

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Launching a Big Sister programme always fills the Girls Out Loud team with excitement. On the morning of the launch at Albion Academy, it’s safe to say everyone was filled with nerves. It’s a big deal for a teenage girl to agree to open up to someone, especially to a relative stranger. It wasn’t just […]

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Our Founder Jane shares her wish list for 2018 2018 is welcomed in by the media as the Year of the Woman? I thought that was a permanent state of affairs, however I have decided to embrace this with positivity and grace as opposed to feeling patronised and somewhat bemused! In my opinion, there is […]

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We Rocked at the Shining Stars Ball 2017!

WOW WE DID IT!  THE FIRST EVER SHINING STARS BALL AT THE HILTON ON FRIDAY 29 SEPTEMBER WAS A BLAST! We ate the most wonderful grub, we participated in some awesome prize raffles and auctions, we cried, we laughed, we shared some special moments.  We then threw glitter on our faces and danced the night […]

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BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD. Wise words but they require an incredible amount of self-awareness and self-discipline to live by. I spend my working week talking to and about the need to raise the aspirations of teenage girls in the UK. This inevitably leads to debates around self-esteem, body confidence, […]

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