4 Questions with Joy Broils on the What’s and Why’s of Mentorship Today

Joy Broils, Slcket Director of Community Relations

Have you heard about our latest partnership with Slcket?! We’re teaming up with this rising tech company in Kansas City to connect High School Girl Scouts with exceptional professionals from our community. But why is this important? What will girls gain out of this? We caught up with Slcket’s Joy Broils, Director of Community Relations, to help you get a better idea of what mentorship is, and why it’s so important as you anticipate and prepare for your next steps in life!

1.   What does it mean to have a mentor and what can our mentees expect from this experience?  Having a mentor gives each girl a point of contact within a field of expertise in which they have interest; someone available for questions, guidance, advice, or hands-on experience to help the girls make more informed decisions regarding their future. 

2.   What advice do you have for girls and their parents / caregivers today to best prepare for their future? 

My number one piece of advice for every girl growing up in today’s world is to find your voice and use your voice.  When I was a teenager, I was really shy outside of the classroom.  I liked raising my hand in class and answering questions, but that changed when kids started to bully me about always having the answer.  So I let those kids and their mean comments affect my behavior in class and my shyness completely took over every part of my life.  I lost the little bit of confidence that I had and lost my desire to share my thoughts and ideas – I lost my voice.  It took me a long time to find it again and realize that my thoughts and ideas were just as important as everyone else’s.  Fast forward to today, I make sure that if I’m in a meeting or at a networking event that I’m sharing my thoughts and ideas.  Sometimes that takes persistence, especially if I am in a big group, but I have found that confidence and persistence are keys to being heard.  I don’t have to be the loudest person in the room, but through confidence and persistence, my thoughts and ideas (my voice) will be heard.    

3.  What does networking with professionals mean and why is it important? 

Networking is a large part of what I do in my role at Slcket.  Networking is meeting new people, building relationships, having a one-on-one conversation to get to know each other better.  It is very important to make connections in whatever industry you are in.  The friendships I have developed through networking are vital and those friends are among the first people I go to for advice, referrals, and opportunities.  Those friends are champions for me and I am in turn champions for them.  So many times, a person will walk into a networking group for the first time and be discouraged that they didn’t come out of that event with multiple sales and/or referrals.  That person didn’t take time to build relationships with other people at the event.  They were just looking for the quick sale.  In the business world, most people feel more comfortable doing business with someone that they have built a relationship with rather than someone who is a complete stranger.  People feel good about making a referral to a friend if the person they are referring has done work for them before or is a friend.  Imagine if you referred a complete stranger to your friend who needed help with painting their house.  That referral could work out great or be a complete disaster.  If you had referred someone who had painted your house or you had built a relationship with through networking, you know that your friend will have a much better experience.     

4.    What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

I have a bracelet with the inscription “Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own.”  I think this actually goes beyond beauty.  Admire someone else’s sports skills…  Admire someone else’s character traits….  The list could go on and on.  We spend so much time looking at what other people around us are doing and comparing ourselves to other people.  Instead I think we should admire someone else’s ________ (you can fill in the blank) and at the same time admire our own.  Having that confidence is hard, really at any age, but especially when you are a teenager.  Remember you have your individual, unique qualities and embrace those qualities as uniquely YOU!  

Are you ready to embrace your own qualities and start building connections with those in fields you aspire to join one day?  Register for this mentorship program that kicks off with a casual pre-meeting on Sept. 11 where we’ll get you prepped and ready for the kick-off event at Slcket on Sept. 18 where you’ll meet perspective mentors!

Firsts with FIRST LEGO League and KC STEM Alliance

Last year, Girl Scout Brownie Troop 4070 participated in the FIRST LEGO League Jr. (FLL) program thanks to support from KC STEM Alliance and IBM! These go-getters split their bi-weekly meetings up, alternating between traditional Girl Scout meetings and working on the FLL Jr. curriculum which is designed to introduce kids to STEM concepts. From September through March Troop 4070 worked in three sub teams to build and program their WEDO 2.0 robots and design an outer space city. The program culminated with the FLL Jr. EXPO where they showcased all they learned and what their robot could do with a little friendly competition!

Troop leader Alanna Beare was instrumental in facilitating the program in collaboration with KC STEM Alliance and additional material funds provided through IBM, where she works. Through FLL Jr., Girl Scouts earned badges in both Think Like a Programmer and Think Like an Engineer journeys.

“The FLL program is directly aligned to the new STEM programs developed by Girl Scouts of the USA. Overall the skills they learn by working in small teams lends itself to Girl Scout Mission,” Alanna said. 

Troop 4070 enjoyed their experience so much, they are going to do a second year with the program with new challenges and more LEGO robot programming next year!

“The KC STEM Alliance is pleased to partner with GSKSMO by embarking on a new strategy to engage girls in creative problem solving through the development of STEM skills. The core values of FIRST LEGO League are directly aligned with the mission of Girl Scouts. The KC STEM Alliance partnership with GSKSMO provides an opportunity to reach more girls helping them create their own future and building a talent pipeline for Kansas City,” Martha McCabe, Executive Director of KC STEM Alliance said.

Is your troop interested in participating in the FLL program? The KC STEM Alliance will be sponsoring additional teams this year and your troop could be one of them! For more information, contact our STEM Community Program Manager, Kate Pankey at kpankey@gsksmo.org. There will be an informational meeting on Aug. 24 for those interested in learning more!