In 2017, during their senior year in high school, 17 year-old twins Maeva and Mareva tragically lost their mother. At a crucial point in their lives, the girls were suddenly faced with grief and uncertainty. They had to put key choices on hold, miss weeks of classes and were unable to attend pre-university orientation events.
They were at a crossroads and risked missing out on the bright futures that they and their mother had been working so hard toward.
Thankfully, there were people in Maeva and Mareva’s lives looking out for them in their most vulnerable moment: teachers and sponsors at their school, but also Guilène from Deloitte France, a mentor for the girls through the Capital Filles program.
Capital Filles helps strengthen the autonomy and confidence of French high school girls with low socioeconomic backgrounds. The girls are mentored by women from Deloitte France and other companies to encourage them to broaden their horizons and explore traditionally male-dominated industries like technology and engineering. Supported by their schools and mentors, the students acquire skills that will allow them to continue their education and enter the job market confidently.
This year, 40 female professionals from Deloitte France are volunteering as Capital Filles mentors - providing soft skills workshops and one-to-one support in the girls’ last year at school. Students are also invited to visit Deloitte offices and take part in cultural outings. The bonds between mentors and mentees run deep, and often endure through university and past the girls’ first steps into the world of work.
The bond between Guilène, Maeva and Mareva made all the difference when they needed it the most. Just a few months after their mother’s passing, the girls graduated with honors and were subsequently accepted in a prestigious “classe préparatoire” course. Today, they are studying economics at Nanterre University.
Against the odds, Maeva and Mareva have taken the next steps on the paths their mother had wanted them to take.
“Our experience with Deloitte France allowed us to dream, to imagine that anything is possible and make us feel that we could accomplish our goals if only we were given the tools to do so. What we can learn from our hardship is perseverance. When we are tempted to give up, we go up on the top floor of our university and look at the Deloitte office building and think again about our story. Today, we have a desire to succeed and to lend a hand to others to pass on to them what was given to us.”
Of the girls taking part in Capital Filles in 2018-2019, 94% passed their baccalaureate, and 91% went on to higher education. Deloitte France professionals have mentored 135 girls since 2014, with more women volunteering to be mentors year after year.
This may be because the mentors gain just as much as their mentees from the experience, as Guilène did:
“The difference a program like Capital Filles can make to a young girl is staggering. By teaming up with her school to give her the support she doesn’t necessarily receive at home, and by showing her what’s possible, we can impact her whole outlook on life. Through that connection, we get to witness moments that will echo through her life for years to come.”