Entrepreneur Middle East's Achieving Women 2017: Mona Tavassoli
"Creating a stronger community of female entrepreneurs will only make it easier for more women to join the fold." That's how Mompreneurs Middle East founder and CEO Mona Tavassoli explains her passion for mentoring businesswomen in the region, and as the women entrepreneurship platform's mission statement reads, Tavassoli feels strongly about empowering women (especially those juggling business with motherhood) "to find balance and success in their personal and professional lives."
A look at some of the initiatives she's involved with will convince you of her determination towards this cause. Among other things, as founder of the Mompreneurs network, Tavassoli helps organize a two-month entrepreneurship course called "Mompreneur Rising," which takes women through a business set up and scaling process. She's also involved with the Global Mentoring Walk in Dubai, a global initiative by Vital Voices, where they match mentors and mentees to walk together, and discuss challenges and opportunities. Additionally, through Mompreneurs, she enables the network's businesswomen to leverage the group's social media platforms to gain exposure for their ventures.
Ask Tavassoli why she believes strongly in the need to create a close-knit fraternity for women, and she draws attention to the challenging life entrepreneurs lead, and how it's tougher out there for the lady bosses. Not surprisingly, Tavassoli is a strong advocate of utilizing mentorship to change the scenario, and offers a few pointers on how you, as an aspiring women entrepreneur, can get the best out of such a relationship: "Both parties [mentor and mentee] need to make their expectations clear right from the beginning: how much time they intend to dedicate to the mentorship, how often they will meet, and what the outcomes of the mentoring relationship will be." She urges mentees to understand that a mentor is neither a coach nor a problem solver. "You need to do a lot of homework before you approach them, you need to know your questions, be able to explain your situation, and how you intend to go forward, then allow the mentor to guide you based on their experience."
As for Tavassoli's personal mentoring style, true to her advice, she prefers to be a guide for her mentees, "letting them figure out their own solutions, and offering advice" whenever they need it. "In my opinion, a mentor needs to encourage their mentee, and celebrate their victories, but still be tough and objective when there is a decision to be made," she says. "I also make sure to have a mentor, and be a part of a mastermind group every year. It makes a huge difference to our growth when we surround ourselves with like-minded women entrepreneurs, executives and mentors."