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Nadine began her journey with Mowgli as an Entrepreneur in early 2010 and was selected for the first Mowgli Mentoring Experience (MME) program in Lebanon. Nadine was already a successful businesswoman, but her challenge was to develop a more fulfilling career and find her true calling. Today, Nadine is an entrepreneur and one of the founding partners of the management consultancy Beyond Reform and Development Irada. She is also a Mowgli Mentor for another Lebanese entrepreneur, Antoine, and a lead facilitator of Mowgli’s mentoring programs.
Nadine was the first Mowgli Entrepreneur to officially ‘graduate’ to become a Mowgli Mentor since our launch in 2008. Here, Nadine talks to Mowgli about why she believes in mentoring and how it worked for her.
So how did you come to join a Mowgli MME?
I didn’t really know what to expect, I was in my second month at Berytech incubator [in Beirut] when I received the brief about the Mowgli vision of mentoring entrepreneurs. I got selected for a programme, along with 6 others, and went to the MME really open about the help I wanted to get – maybe that made me a particular case, because I was already totally open to getting guidance. I really loved the whole 4-day experience and I threw myself into it!
What kind of conversations did you have with your mentor in the first few weeks?
From the beginning, we laid out a month-by-month plan for the year- of targets and what I would like to accomplish on a personal and professional level. The value in the support for me was mostly our conversations; it helped me reflect on my achievements, objectives and ideas, like a soundboard. The value in the support for me was mostly our conversations, being able to be friendly, rather than focusing on business only- we spoke quite often.
What do you think was the most important thing you learned over the year?
Well, I’m still working on my goals and I’m still learning all the time. I think though, that I have learned to accept things more as they unfold- I am learning to just go with the flow of life! I think of my mentor as a mirror for myself. Even if you’re just talking your thoughts out to the mentor, it helps you express and understand yourself more- having someone outside your environment to talk to is so important. One thing I have to say to all potential mentors, is that now that I’ve become a mentee, mentor or and facilitator, I want to emphasize on the importance of respecting the confidentiality of your discussions in order to maintain the trust and safe environment to each others. it would be easy to begin pushing your personal agenda or opinions on your mentee, but that could really break the relationship down and limit possibilities to the mentee.
Now you’re mentoring another young Lebanese entrepreneur, Antoine, and you also co-facilitate Mowgli programmes for other entrepreneurs and mentors. What has kept you committed to this cause?
The impact it has on every participant from the first moment they meet a perfect stranger who is willing to assist or be assisted, to guide and be guided- as well as sharing different experiences and life stories- is huge. It is really a magical and unique moment. Speaking of Antoine:. It’s been an honour getting to know him, trying to help out and seeing the evolution, it is so gratifying and humbling. It is a journey of self discovery for both Mentor and Mentee ( Ian and I, Antoine and I)!
What would you say to someone who wasn’t sure that mentoring was for them? Why should they get a mentor?
I would say ‘Why not?’ [she laughs]. Well here [in Lebanon], we’re not always used to sharing information about the state of our business. And not everyone can admit that they need help- so I understand why people are hesitant. But really, to talk to someone and make a plan to grow your business- to review your strategy- is always worth doing, and it’s so much better not to be alone in your path. I’ve found it’s great to have a ‘sounding board’- that’s all mentoring is really. A mentor is not a magician; they’re just someone outside of your business to talk to. Of course the mentor has additional skills, but the value is in that conversation and having the sounding board! My advice though: It’s free, but the value is there for you- as much as mentor and mentees commit themselves too, you will get the value back that you put in