Illana Raia Interview (Part 4)

Apr 26, 2021 | podcast

In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt interviews Illana Raia, the founder and CEO of Être – a mentorship platform for girls, and they discuss mentorship, empowerment, and creating opportunities during COVID-19.


VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 

AL: So in terms of-I know you have your holds on the industry because you’ve been taking girls and you have a great network. So I’m curious, what opportunities are you seeing for students in education and or workforce that they can take advantage of during these COVID times? 

IR: One thing that surprised me, but it happened really quickly and I love seeing it, were these virtual internships. A lot of kids who were thinking last summer about, “Oh, I just lost my internship. What am I going to do?” And a lot of the same companies that were canceling in person internships were very open to virtual internships. Most of them were unpaid, but it did mean that kids could take on 2 or 3 of them at once because you’re not going into work. You didn’t have any commuting time. And so really distinct projects where kids in high school kids in college have real skills to offer, whether it was digital media, content creation or writing or book reviews or anything like that, things that these companies actually really needed. And they needed to hear from this younger generation, particularly companies that have brand affinity with that generation already. And they want that voice, and they want that narrative in their heads when they’re planning a campaign. Virtual internships were really great. And companies again and again surprised us with the generosity to put those out. I thought that was great. And then I think there were more mentorship opportunities because things were virtual. Everyone was tied to their laptop and their phone. It was a little bit easier for some of our girls to reach out on LinkedIn or a DM on Instagram and say, “Hey, I just read this article that you put out, and it really made me think. Would you be willing for me to email you one question?” That’s not a lifelong mentorship by any stretch, but it’s a conversation that they might not otherwise have had, but for the fact that everyone was on Zoom all the time. And so answering a question by email, being on more virtual conferences where the world could see, you know, Worth Media, let 11 of our girls become Worth correspondents and covered a three-day summit where they were able to recap then of author pages on Worth. They wrote articles about it, but they were in touch with the panelists and these sorts of luminary women. I don’t know that that would have happened if that summit had been live. So there were some advantages where companies were just saying, we’re doing this all online and we’re throwing the doors open. Come on in. And here’s the access. And that was really great. 

AL: That’s amazing. So some of your girls have been published and Worth magazine now that’s second year in a row because it was the second time that summit happened this way. And it was great. And it was a really fresh take. As a Worth reader, it was a very fresh take to read what this generation took away from that panel. So if there’s a young woman out there that’s listening to this episode, what’s a great way for them to get connected with you and your organization. 

IR: The website is etregirls.com. It’s etregirls.com. We are @etregirls everywhere on social media Instagram is probably the easiest way is you can email or DM us, and we’re constantly putting up what our latest event is, what we’re doing. We have a Monday weekly update called The Edit in stories. So we get a really good sense of what we’re doing and you can reach out. We’re great with the email. We turn right around and get back to you. And if you want to get involved on a deeper level, You are the first to know everything, and your voice really does drive what this company does. We have Ted Ed clubs. We just started doing Ted Ed. We’re in our first season. Now we have after school clubs you can found in the club extra chapter at your high school. That, to me, is really special because you’re bringing something new to your campus and you’re leaving your school different than the way you found it. And we bring mentors in whether it’s virtual or live. And those are really great empowerment clubs. So there are lots of ways to get on the website and see what works for you. But we’re young and we’re very flexible. So the best part of being such a new company is you can make your school club whatever you think your school needs. If it’s an entrepreneurship club. If it’s a sports mentorship club, a lot of them are really tailored to what that student body wants. 

AL: That’s amazing. What great opportunities to be able to provide at any point, especially now when people are looking for connection and community. It sounds like such a great outlet for young ladies. And I really appreciate you sharing all of that with us so that we can share it with everybody else. Is there anything else that you want to share about anything we’ve discussed or anything else you think would be important to emphasize for the audience out there? 

IR: Again, this is a company I did not think would grow the way to grew, and it did. So because of the girls who are being drawn to us and because of their word of mouth, their networks, someone tagging someone else and saying, “Oh, you should see this” or, “Oh, we just interviewed this person, and she made me think of you”. Or, “Oh, I know that someone who’s mom has a great job like this, and we should meet her”. It’s been a little bit of a whisper campaign, and that’s been great. So to anyone who’s listening still at these early stages and we would love to have you involved, and we love it when our friends are friends so come see us.

VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.