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Entrepreneur and mentor, a winning duo

Third installment of the diaries of women entrepreneurs to the Canadian Danièle Henkel. Where we see that to share with peers his doubts and his challenges is a

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Entrepreneur and mentor, a winning duo

Third installment of the diaries of women entrepreneurs to the Canadian Danièle Henkel. Where we see that to share with peers his doubts and his challenges is a lever for success.What do you want to do ?New mailCopy

When I started in business, we did not have access to structured mentoring as we know it today. At the time, contractors will be asked not to their peers about their challenges or their fears. Still less than the women, who were already judged in terms of their emotionality, or their sensitivity in a world of men. So we had to find the only ways to move forward and succeed. Times have changed and mentoring has become a tool and an accelerator for the entrepreneur(e)s.

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The model most memorable for me, in life as in business, has been my mother, Éliane Zenati. After a poor environment and not knowing how to read or write, she has climbed into the highest levels of the moroccan society by becoming a business woman admired and respected. It has been my reference so that I forgeais as an entrepreneur and, although she was no longer with me, she guides me still today.

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outside the figure of the mother, so I haven't had a mentor since this was not common at the time. However, I found my inspiration through public figures or personalities, which I ate in their respective field, such as Lise Watier, Oprah Winfrey, Angela Merkel or Michelle Obama.

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Having had the privilege to succeed, I promised myself to always find time to share my journey, my challenges, my successes, my ways and my contacts to help a person who, in turn, will have the same generosity.

When the master becomes the apprentice

I was surprised to discover that in my position as an entrepreneur-experienced I get as much if not more of these exchanges with mentee, (e)s. The mentor is the one who, by her listening and questions, helps the entrepreneur to reflect, do some homework of introspection, allowing him to move forward or get out of a difficult situation, for example. These meetings then become a pause, a stopping time which provides the opportunity to share our experiences.

The mentor is not acting as a financial advisor or legal, its role is rather to appease, listen, refocus the contractor : it focuses on being and not on the business, how to be, and not only on the know-how. By his thoughts, his hearing and his questions are directed, the mentor engages or requires the introspection of the protégé(e). Because often, these are the emotions that obscure the path to take. The mentor is a bit like an anchor that requires the contractor to turn to him-even, to ask the right questions in order to reposition itself.

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I met, in the course of the last twenty years, the contractor(s)from different industries, cultures and generations that, very often, have led me to thinking about my own ways of solving a problem, resolving a conflict, negotiating a contract, to address a market or to let go. I find myself so much in a position to master as an apprentice. What a richness !


Mentor is a privilege and a responsibility I never took lightly. I remember having accompanied the CEO of a company employing a hundred people who have been in a dilemma relative to its associates. The company was thriving, but the discord and lack of communication were beginning to affect the general ambiance as well as the productivity. He told me to have appealed to several experts, had conducted internal and external assessments, to have met with its associates and its employees, in vain. The situation continued to deteriorate. He was in an impasse and decided to sell his shares. Yet, he embodied the heart of the business and was the great visionary.

through our discussion, he became aware that the start-up of the company and the association were based mainly on friendship, trust and fun. With time, routine and success, the real conversations between partners become rarer and more superficial. I asked him the question : where is the actual communication ? Before you throw in the towel, why not have a discussion certainly difficult, but real, where the fun and friendship would be brought to the foreground ?

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Three months later, the CEO informed me that the rest of the events... After their meeting, one of the partners chose to leave. Their friendship had survived and the company had resumed its natural rhythm. How to describe this feeling of accomplishment ? Through discussion and simple, "between friends", where the figures and the financial forecasts were not their place, we managed to break the impasse. This story has led me to rébend on the importance of the human at the heart of any project. It is also came to confirm to me the importance of balance between our personal well-being and that of our businesses.

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over The past twenty years, I have a mentee several contractor(s)who were asking existential questions. After building their company, they were many to clearly understand their market, their customers, but there comes a time where they over-analyze and where they are paralyzing. It is then that an outside perspective is just the thing.

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"The courage to say, is an asset in business" Entrepreneurs, if they stop to say : "I'm not doing this for the money," "fear, an ally for the entrepreneur"

to Identify this need pushed me to innovate. Cannot humanly respond to all the requests of mentoring that were all the rage, I decided to create media solutions to share tips or tools experts, and to give voice to the entrepreneurs who do not have a voice. I was hoping that they would inspire each other, but also that the company discovers, loves and supports them. Because we each have a responsibility towards the development of socio-economic of our country.

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