A room that is full of women is a place where the most amazing things happen. It’s a dimension where the magic happens.
When I attended the opening of a three-day workshop ‘All India Road Show on Women Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship’ (AIRSWEE), something similar was bound to occur. The workshop began today at Hotel Holiday Inn, 22 Godown Flyover, Jaipur.
While on one side of the panel sat many mentors that couldn’t wait to share their thoughts with the participants, on the other side were stirred participants with pens and notepads clutched tightly. They couldn’t wait to let the mentoring begin.
The panelists opened the workshop by talking about the importance of a mentor & their mentee in one another’s lives. The panelists included Siddharth Agarwal (President TiE Rajasthan), Archana Surana, Apra Kuchhal, Holly Flanagan (MD, Gabriel Investments), Trista Walker (President at Baldwin & Obenauf Inc.) The chief guest of the event was Suman Sharma (Chairperson Rajasthan State Commission for Women).
Apra Kuchhal threw the light on the types of different mentors in our lives.
A Challenger: This person is often your father. This kind of mentor will challenge your abilities, and push you to strive.
A Cheerleader: This one encourages you at every step and is there for you in every aspect of your endeavors. They will be your best friends when you need motivation. She is often your mother.
An Educator: These mentors are willing to sit for hours with you, because they care about your success, and they, are often, your teachers.
An Ideator: This person is your thought partner, and most of the time, your life partner.
A Connector: This person is your mentor. They open their own network to create a level of opportunities in your direction.
The three-day workshop on entrepreneurship is intended to help the participants understand the finer nuances of sales and marketing, go-to-market strategy, operations and processes, human resources and finance.
I caught up with Holly Flanagan during tea break to know more.
Me: Do you think that women entrepreneurs have the same struggles to face worldwide?
Holly: This is my second day in India, so I’m still exploring how it works in India. What I can say is that I spent a month last year in China, mentoring women over there. I’ve found that it’s a struggle Globally in many ways. Women have lots of roles aside from entrepreneurs, they are also mothers, and daughters and sisters. I’m delighted and very hopeful in the future. However, there is a continuous struggle for women to find funding as compared to men.
Me: It was about a year ago when you tweeted a very famous quote by Walt Disney “The way to get started is to quit talking and start doing.” How can mentors inspire mentees through actions rather than words?
Holly: That was kind of the last tweet that I ever did. You know, not all of us in the US are twitter addicts. Anyway, that’s exactly what I would say, getting out there and doing things is crucial, and so is encouraging other women. Telling them that it’s okay to fail, not judging ourselves, especially when it’s something that all of us do, we blame ourselves! I always tell my daughters this.
My favorite quote is from Eleanor Roosevelt, “Every day you should do something that scares you.”
Me: What is the one thing that mentees have and mentors don’t?
Holly: I would say they have a different kind of passion, which is unstructured that is a complete inspiration.
Me: How are your daughters the mentors in your life?
Holly: Their curiosity is what inspires me. Their questions have no constraints and barriers, at all. They don’t know good and bad. They think that they can do anything which is incredible.