Successful mentoring relationships in She Entrepreneurs

For five years, Fiona Hazell  has been one of the much-appreciated mentors in our leadership programme She Entrepreneurs. We met her to talk about her key takeaways as a mentor in the programme and what message she shares with her mentees.
Picture of Fiona Hazel giving a lecture.

Fiona Hazell is the founder of a consultancy firm and an NGO called MAD – Make A Difference. Firmly believing that social challenges can be tackled through sustainable business solutions, Fiona has worked with corporates, accelerators and social entrepreneurs in Africa, Middle East, Asia and Europe to develop profitable and scalable business models that have a positive impact on society.  We meet her to talk about her key takeaways as a mentor in She Entrepreneurs and what message she shares with her mentees.

What are some of your takeaways from your experience as a She Entrepreneurs mentor?

What I love about being a mentor in the She Entrepreneurs programme is the opportunity to connect with brilliant entrepreneurial minds across the Middle East and North Africa. With every new mentee I work with I learn: about their country, their market, their business model and their leadership style. Each entrepreneur may be in a different market or sector, facing different challenges but they share an entrepreneurial drive and passion to make an impact – and knowing that these leaders in different parts of the world are paving the way for future generations, gives me great hope and optimism for the future.

What is your most important message to your mentees?

Running and growing a business is far from easy, and just because you are leading your organisation, it doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. The beauty of running a purpose-driven business is that there are SO many people who want to support your work and see you succeed. So work closely with the people and organisations that your work really resonates with and let them know how they can be a part of your impact journey – it could be through beta-testing or pre-sales for new products, an introduction to a key distributor or simply just re-sharing your posts. I think there is a saying that goes “no one can do everything, but everyone can do something” so create the opportunity for others to do something to help you realise your impact ambitions.

From your experience, what are the key factors for a successful mentoring relationship?

Hmm… I am not sure I have figured that out yet! Like all relationships I think communication, trust and honesty are key. It is very difficult to really reflect and work on the tough challenges if those fundamental components aren’t in place. I think it also helps to be able to zoom in and out. Sometimes it is good to be able to strategize about the long term vision and other times it is about addressing the operational issue that needs to be resolved within the next 24 hours! So, flexibility, communication, trust, honesty, and a growth mindset for both the mentee and mentor!

She Entrepreneurs is a leadership programme for highly motivated women entrepreneurs in the Middle East, North Africa and Türkiye who are building successful and sustainable businesses. The programme provides tangible tools, insights and connections for participants who want to grow their businesses and develop as entrepreneurs, as well as leaders. Find more information here: She Entrepreneurs