It’s almost lunchtime as I write this post, and a lot of people are going to leave their desk and grab a sandwich and a drink for a quick bite before they get back to work. They are probably going to spend anywhere between $10 and $18 on that meal – and by the time they are done, they aren’t even going to think about it again. But here is something that can put that meal into perspective for you:
The $15 you just spent on lunch… it’s enough to send a young child to school for an entire month in Indonesia.
Hoshizora is a non-profit set up by Reky Martha and her co-founders while she was a student herself. She got her friends together and they would set aside a portion of the money they made doing little part-time student jobs to create an organization that would use those donations to help underprivileged kids in Indonesia go to school.
Today, she is a consultant, working in the field of strategic planning and change management. And I sat down with her to talk about the foundation she created; a self-sustaining nonprofit entity that is changing the lives of over two thousand children in Indonesia.
Listen to my interview with Reky and you will be just as moved and motivated by her stories as I was.
I can tell you from personal experience that the joy of being able to help a child, is incomparable to anything else.
This week we are going to shift gears a bit and hear once again from another one of the incredible ladies from my “Vital Voices: Women on a Mission” series.
I had the opportunity to interview Courtney Savie Lawrence in Mumbai when we were together as part of VVLEAD by Vital Voices. Courtney is the Head of Exploration UNDP’s Regional Innovation Centre, and the co-founder of DSIL Global, a social innovation company.
She is an entrepreneur, educator and connector by nature who thrives by working with others to bring innovative sustainable development projects to life.
I wanted to talk to her about the role that “Change” has played in her life, and how motherhood has changed how she looks at business.
Embracing change is crucial to being able to function in a world that is constantly moving, where the demands on us are different from one minute to the next, and it is especially important to be able to reevaluate our priorities when they are constantly evolving.
Courtney and I talked about the changes that she faced in her work life after having Baby JJ, and how she has integrated him into her work life in order to ensure that she stays on top of her priorities.
I am sure that this episode will be as inspiring for you as it was for me to record. I would love to hear about how you deal with change in the different areas of your life and business.
In part 1, we looked at the folks and groups who can lend individual support to entrepreneurs, here in part 2, we will look at organizations that take on that task, we will look at places that entrepreneurs can work, places they can learn and places where they can meet like-minded entrepreneurs.
There are many organizations for whom supporting entrepreneurship is their main focus, and finding these groups can really help an entrepreneur. So have a listen to this list and be sure to let us know if there is anyone you would add. Is there a specific group that you are part of? Leave a note in the comments below and let us know.
The one thing we know for sure is that Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. Not a lot of people can relate to the trials and challenges that entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. And there are even fewer people who can give good advice that relates to your situation.
You can’t really talk to friends or family members, because they just don’t have the same frame of reference, so unless you go out an actively seek people who are aligned with you, it’s going to stay very lonely.
Thankfully, there are a lot more entrepreneurs around the world than you would imagine, and as such, there are a lot of people just like you, with similar stories and similar challenges. When your friend just doesn’t get why you would rather stay at your computer at 9:30 pm working on a proposal instead of going out and blowing off some steam, a fellow entrepreneur would not only understand, but they would also encourage you to get that proposal done before going to bed tonight!
So thinking about this, I started putting together a small list of different types of support that entrepreneurs can find out there. And the list kept getting bigger and bigger – so big in fact that I decided to split it into two separate podcast episodes.
In this first section, we will talk about the different types of individual support you can find out there as an entrepreneur, and in the second episode, we will talk about all the different organizations that are out there supporting entrepreneurs.
So if you haven’t heard much about masterminds, if you don’t know the difference between a coach and a mentor, and if you thought that the only type of membership you can get was at a gym…. listen up, cause I’ve got a whole lot of good news for you!
Have a listen to this week’s podcast and let me know what kind of support is your favorite and which one you are currently using.
Let’s face it, calling yourself “an entrepreneur” is pretty vague, and I think that most of us need a little more structure to know exactly where we are along the journey. I’ve spent some time reflecting on this recently, and I came up with our Mompreneur’s Business Success Journey. I’ve outlined the success path that most of us fall on, from the very first time we consider starting our own business till the point that we consider ourselves a winner at the game.
I’ve divided this journey into 6 steps, and we go through them in detail in this episode of the podcast. In short, we have:
Explorer: considering becoming an entrepreneur. Researcher: collecting all the information about the business you want to start. Solopreneur: just started a business and working on it by yourself. Entrepreneur: A little while has passed, the business is a bit larger now and not all the decisions rest on your lone shoulders. Business Manager: You have a team now who handles various aspects of the business Business Owner: You are no longer overseeing the general running of the business
I’ve put together a quiz that can tell you exactly where along the success path you are, and according to your position, offer some milestones and action steps to help you reach the next level.
Take the quiz and let me know the results! I’d love to know where in the journey you are at …
Cash is King… so they say. One of the most important things to keep an eye on in your business is your Cash-O-meter. You could have a very profitable business, but without managing your cashflows, you could be in trouble – a large percentage of businesses that don’t make in the first 3 years are actually profitable on paper, but suffer from lack of cash.
There are many different methods of bringing cash into your business, here we will discuss 7 of those including crowdfunding, angel investors and VCs.
If you have any that you would like to add, by all means, add a comment to this page!
If you would like to be the first to know about our new membership, which we will be launching in the next few weeks, click over to monatavassoli.com/member
It has been exactly one year since we got on a plane and said goodbye to Dubai. It’s been a year full of firsts, adventure, self-discovery. I will not say it was the easiest thing I ever did… but I sure am glad we did it, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
It wasn’t a decision we made lightly. It was years in the planning… but then when my visa arrived, with a 6-month window in which I had to land in Canada…. everything suddenly became real. The life we had built for over 20 years in Dubai, our business, our contacts… the fact that we were finally finding our groove – we were going to have to give that all up to start over.
It was a scary decision, but once we had decided, there was no looking back. And here we are, exactly one year later, and I couldn’t be happier!
There are a number of key takeaways from this episode, but I guess one of the most important ones is: once you make a decision, commit to it 100%. Don’t let cold feet get in your way… or think about the “what ifs”. Go at it with your full effort and see it through to the end.
All in all, this last year, we rebranded our business, pivoted our business model and started life from scratch here. In this episode, I share with you some of the learnings in the past year of migrating to a new country with two young kids and as an entrepreneur.
As International Women’s month draws to a close, I look back at all the incredible women I have had the pleasure of knowing in my life. Starting from the women around me, my mom and my sister who (it goes without saying) had an immeasurable impact on my life, choices and how I choose to serve the world, to women who are having an impact on a global scale – every woman deserves to be celebrated.
So it is truly an honor to be able to share with you this series of interviews with exceptional women throughout this month. I have had such an incredible time talking to my Women on a Mission, and I am grateful to be able to share their stories with you.
And today, on this last day of International Women’s month, I want to share with you my last interview of the Woman on a Mission series that I created with Vital Voices.
The story of Sheeba Sen, an Oxford graduate who left the glitz of the city behind to live in the Himalayas, helping a rural community recreate a forest that has been lost.
Sheeba is a lawyer by education and training, she studied International Relations at the London School of Economics followed by the Legal Practice course at the University of Oxford. She practiced at an International law firm in London for three years before returning to India in 2011, driven by a strong need to devote her life in service of the underprivileged in her country. Setting up base in Mumbai, for a year she worked with small independent coffee farmers in Southern India helping them promote their products and demand fairer prices. While splitting her time between Mumbai and the coffee farms, Sheeba began to feel an even stronger pull towards the rural environment.
Pulled towards the Himalayas, she visited a remote village in the rural Himalayas in 2012. It took just one visit to Satoli and Sheeba knew that this was where she wanted to set-up her life, living amongst and working for rural communities. For the next 3 years, she worked with a rural development organization in the region called Aarohi. As the CEO of the organization, she expanded Aarohi’s funder and volunteer base and initiated youth outreach initiatives. She left Aarohi in December 2016 and founded Alaap.
Alaap is a social enterprise working at the intersection of climate change and poverty alleviation.
Its mission is to empower communities in the most fragile ecosystems in the world to restore their degraded habitats by growing natural forests. It does so through a triple bottom line model that invests in communities by providing leadership training to create eco-champions and generating employment through restoration activities. Currently, it is working in the central Himalayan region in India.
The Incredible women that I have met and interviewed for this Woman on a Mission Series do not cease to amaze me. Every time I listen to a new story, I am blown away by what incredbilelenghts women go to make this world a better place.
So is the case with Saskia Niño De Rivera. This incredible woman started an organization at the age of 24 to help the women (and particularly mothers) in Mexico’s prisons. This unassuming young woman spends her time working with some of the most vulnerable people in Mexico’s prison system as well as some of the most notorious criminals in the same institutions.
Mexican-American with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the Universidad Iberoamericana, she is currently the President of Reinserta A.C., which she decided to create at the age of 24 in order to fight for a safer Mexico working with the penitentiary system.
She worked in the National Anti-Kidnapping Coordination, where one of her main projects was the creation of the profile of kidnappers at a national level and the coordination of the new design of specialized detention of kidnappers in prisons with high security cells. She was Deputy Director of Vulnerable Groups in the Delegación Coyoacán in Mexico City, intern in the Carstens Mexico City Institute in the area of negotiation of kidnappings, and volunteer in Education and Development Service to the IAP Community (SEDAC), working on projects for the benefit of women in vulnerability.
In 2015, she promoted the creation of the Motherhood in Prison clause in the National Criminal Enforcement Law and was invited to work on and create the 2015-2016 Social Responsibility Agenda with various companies in the world in the Mexico Global Compact. In 2014, she participated in several working groups for the reform of the Mexican criminal justice system.
She conducted a profile study of more than 800 kidnappers in order to create a project aimed at crime prevention. Also headed the motherhood in prison study, where more than 11 prisons were analyzed, interviewing 2,500 incarcerated women.
Saskia has given numerous lectures on social reintegration, security issues, human rights of juvenile offenders, and psychological aspects for the mental health of incarcerated people.
She was chosen as the Mexican leader of the first generation of women by Raising Talent Women’s Forum and is one of the 3,000 fellows internationally chosen by Ashoka Global for being a social entrepreneur. She was also nominated for the Nelson Mandela-Graça Machel 2016 Award and named “Next Generation Leader” by Time Magazine. She is winner of the UBS Visionaries 2016 Award, has been recognized by Global Shapers and Women’s Forum Rising Talent Mexico, is an Ambassador of Vital Voices since 2016 and in 2017, received the Iberoamerica Medal from the Honoris Causa Foundation for her work defending human rights.
Saskia was named by Women Forum 2018, as one of the 16 women who are transforming the country. She received the award “Defense of Human Rights of people deprived of liberty” by the Legal Forum in 2018. She was invited by Vital Voices to the Global group of 75 women leaders changemakers in Mumbai, India.
As March is International Women’s month, I have decided to go with the theme “Women on a Mission” and as with the other episodes this month this episode is also an interview with a member of the Vital Voices family.
In this episode, I interview Kiran, who is an incredible woman. When she realized that the curriculum at her young sons school wasnt up to the standard that she wanted it to be, she started a journey to creating one that was, and now, that curriculum is being shared with 2.2 million children around the world.
Kiran is a Designer who became a Teacher, a Principal who grew into an Education Reformer and subsequently morphed into a Social Entrepreneur. A trained Graphic Designer, she comfortably uses the language of Design – iteration, prototype, design specs – to develop not only curriculum innovation, but also community-based Social Programmes.
After graduating from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad (India) in 1989, Kiran successfully ran her own Graphic Design Firm for over a decade. She moved into Education when she founded The Riverside School in Ahmedabad, India in 2001, which is now viewed as a Laboratory to prototype “design processes” that enables “transformative” student learning experiences.
Kiran is also the founder of ‘aProCh’—an initiative to make our cities more child friendly, for which she was awarded the Ashoka Fellow in 2008. In 2009, she received the “Call to Conscience Award” by the King Centre at Stanford.
In 2009, Kiran launched “Design for Change” which uses a simple 4 step design framework – FIDS (Feel, Imagine, Do, Share) to cultivate the I CAN mind-set in all children. Today, DFC is the world’s largest movement of change – of and by children, and is in 60+ countries — impacting over 2.2 million children and 65,000 Teachers.
Over the years, Kiran, Riverside and Design for Change have won several accolades and Awards, and some of the most recent ones are:
In 2017, Kiran met the Pope in the Vatican to sign an Agreement whereby DFC is being introduced in over 460,000 Catholic Schools across the Globe.
In 2017, DFC has been recognised as one of the 100 most innovative educational programmes in the world by HundRED.org (based in Finland).
In 2018, Kiran has been awarded the “Light of Freedom” Award, at the Vital Voices, U.S.A., Global Leadership Awards.
In 2018 Edutopia covered The Riverside School for best practices.
In January 2019, she has been honoured with the Lexus Design Award for 2019, in Pune, India
Kiran currently resides in Ahmedabad with her Husband – Geet Sethi and two wonderful children – their son, Raag and daughter, Jazz. She loves listening to music, watching movies, singing, dancing and has an insane love for fruit-filled Dark Chocolates!!!