Mentor spotlight: Muthumari Duraisamy

Mentor spotlight: Muthumari Duraisamy

Muthumari Duraisamy is a lovable mother and finance executive who worked in global roles in many countries so far. I hold high interest not only in finance but also in strategy, operations, and innovation. Since I worked in scale-up businesses within multi-billion international companies, I developed my skills to setup a new business. My life goal was to start a school for under privileged and I started mentoring students in 2009. Later, I realized that the classrooms are not enough to lift their life, and my goal turnout to be a school of entrepreneurs. I wanted to develop my entrepreneurial skills in different businesses through formal education and mentoring. This led me to do Executive MBA in Paris and started mentoring entrepreneurs in France and now in The Netherlands.

 

What is your story and what led you to your current job?

Passion towards business and people is the key driver for my career success. Helping others developed me as a problem solver and a solution provider. I always have the drive to push myself out of my comfort zone and failures are my highest motivation as it taught me lessons to succeed.

 

What is the biggest lesson you learned in your years of working?

I have learned to be curious, flexible, open, and honest towards whatever I did. Having a genuine interest in people and the business helped me. I also learned helping and empowering others not only inspired people but also unlocked many potential leaders and entrepreneurs around me.

 

What is one thing you still really want to do in the future?

Professionally, I want to reinvent the way finance team provide support in an organization, through entrepreneurial drive and by developing more finance leaders. Personally, I want to open a school for entrepreneurs as mentioned above.

 

Looking back, what is one thing you would do different?

I would have become an entrepreneur, created my own company and helped more people.

 

What would you advise women starting their journeys in the entrepreneurial space?

To think of innovative businesses and operating models rather than conventional ones. Provide solution for your customers rather than a product or service. Innovative and high customer centric companies have always been successful. Be up to date on the market trend by connecting with people, attend webinars and conferences. Never hesitate to reach out to people, out of 100, if 10 people respond, it is a success. Develop a “fail fast” mindset, do not be afraid of failures, learn from it and take calculative risks.

 

What is the reason you joined FEMpreneurhulp?

Mentoring female entrepreneurs and giving back to society provides me a sense of purpose, this also leads me to achieve my lifetime goal.

 

What are common challenges women face in the startup world and how can we tackle them?

1.Building trust with investors and customers is highly important. To tackle this, present your ideas with confidence, only 3 unique points of your product / service / solution to differentiate. Big stories never help. Make them understand how serious you are and do not feel shy to promote yourself.

  1. Funding, think beyond your country / industry and explore globally & beyond your network.
  2. Network, women lack network compared with men, so create an ecosystem of your supporters.
Mentor spotlight: Mascha Mooy

Mentor spotlight: Mascha Mooy

Mascha Mooy is a consultant, speaker and author. With a no-nonsense mentality she tackles problems at the core. Her specializations are burn-outs, leadership and successful entrepreneurship. All of these strengths come together in her business Bye Bye Burnout.

About Mascha

In earlier career Mascha experienced a burnout herself, when unfortunately no structured help was available to get back fast on track. She saw the topic of burnout was becoming a challenge for entrepreneurs, corporations and employees, and also an opportunity as an entrepreneur. With her research and new knowledge she created unique solutions for all parties; not just focusing on the structured recovery and integration, but also on prevention.

Bye Bye Burnout has grown under her leadership into a revolutionary and “controversial” burnout prevention organisation in the Netherlands, serving as key adviser for the “SME’s in the Netherlands” and helping organizations with 50-700 employees everywhere in the country. She is frequently invited as a speaker on the subject at events and in-company workshops.

Mascha is also a proud winner of the Piper Heidsieck Leading Ladies Award 2018, Top 40 under 40, Top 25 most creative Dutch entrepreneurs and known as a woman who knows her walk & talk. Her entrepreneurial vision is one of a kind combined with a daring & disruptive mindset, which she passionately loves sharing with other women. Besides that, the documentary that Mascha was featured in as an entrepreneur for the Dutch tv NPO/PowNed was a true achievement. In 2020 her first managementboek was a huge success. It explains burnout and work related stress and how employers can tackle this.

 

What have you learned in your entrepreneurial career?

Anything is possible. Don’t let anybody tell you that something isn’t possible!

 

What is one thing you still really want to do in your entrepreneurial career?

To become a teacher / lecturer in my field of expertise at Stanford University in the USA.

 

Looking back, what is one thing you would do different?

I would start with online courses and social media a little earlier. I missed the boat with online courses.

 

What would you advise women starting their journeys in the entrepreneurial space?

Be true to your own core values and quirkiness. I am loud, hysterical and out there in a market where everybody is enjoying yoga and mindfulness. I hate that, but I am the black sheep in the burnout community. Luckily, you don’t see the dirt on black sheep but on the white ones instead 😉 Because I do everything my way, I have the right fans and costumers.

 

What is the reason you joined FEMpreneurhulp?

Basically to share my knowledge, and I support Marian in her work.

 

What are common challenges women face in the startup world and how can we tackle them according to you?

Not being taken seriously. Prove them wrong! I experienced this myself and look at me now 🙂 I am still the only one that made it to Silicon Valley, no Dutch man in my field of expertise was able to!

Mentor Spotlight: Anna Molnár

Mentor Spotlight: Anna Molnár

Anna Molnár is a business coach for female entrepreneurs, with an immense passion for languages and literature, a special analytic eye for complex situations and a huge drive to get the best out of people and their companies. I help ambitious businesswomen to make themselves and their companies blossom by creating a solid and healthy business strategy, so they work smarter instead of harder. I also help them create real impact, high income and time with loved ones.

 

What is your story and what led you to join the entrepreneurial world?

When I turned 40, I felt a turning point in my life. I had it all: a nice job, a nice partner, a nice house, etc., but I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I felt the need to create something valuable with all my talents, experience, expertise and passion. I realized that I wanted to create my own company, so that I could help other women to live their best life. This is how Blossom Empowering Events was born.

 

What have you learned in your entrepreneurial career?

My entrepreneurial career has taught me so much about myself, my hopes and my fears. It has also taught me that we all need support, no matter on what level we are. It’s essential to surround yourself with a support system, where it’s safe to ask questions and be vulnerable. This way you can really overcome the hurdles on your way, instead of just ignoring them and making them worse.

 

What is one thing you still really want to do in your entrepreneurial career?

I would love to help Japanese female entrepreneurs to thrive. I love Japan and the Japanese culture. It would make me enormously proud if I could help Japanese women to be more independent, while respecting their traditions.

 

Looking back, what is one thing you would do different?

Asking for help a lot sooner. Every week that goes by unresolved is a week too much.

 

What would you advise women starting their journeys in the entrepreneurial space?

Surround yourself with people who believe in your capacities. Make a serious plan for your business and be flexible while executing it. Get into action, ask questions, fail, learn and get going again. And don’t forget to enjoy the ride! Be professional, but don’t be too serious. Enjoy the creativity and the freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur and inspire others to do the same!

 

What is the reason you joined FEMpreneurhulp?

I needed some support myself, and as a thank you I wanted to give back. There is always something you can do for someone else.

 

What are common challenges women face in the startup world and how can we tackle them according to you?

Common challenges are perfectionism, procrastination, wanting to please everyone, impostor syndrome, difficulty to talk about money and asking for the sale, being too humble, wanting to do and be everything for everyone, being overworked… to just name a few. Awareness is the first step to tackle them all. Understand what your most common pitfall is and work on overcoming it.

 

Anything else you would like to share?

If you have difficulty to keep focus, if your plans don’t tend to work, if you are out of ideas of what to do next, if you have too many ideas and don’t know where to start, if you always start but hardly ever finish, if you are always busy and don’t see the difference between weekdays and weekends anymore, if you could use some support to take some tough decisions … reach out to me. Together we can map out your situation, find your personal & professional goals and create a resilient plan. I’ll guide you through your commitment, so that you can enjoy both your private and professional life with impact and without feeling guilty.

Mentor spotlight: Gervaise Coebergh

Mentor spotlight: Gervaise Coebergh

Gervaise Coebergh is owner of several businesses in media, communications and leisure.

When I was young I had no clue what to do for a living. Just like my female ancestors, I wasn’t really supposed to go working – other than as a housewife. You can hardly understand that nowadays, but that was how it was. Nevertheless, the entrepreneurial spirit is in my DNA. And just like my male ancestors, I started my own business along the way. And I did it well.

I trust my skills and dedication;

I use my intuition and common sense;

I like to be surrounded by warm, smart and talented professionals;

I like to make my own choices;

I am eager to win;

I do not mind to work hard and – very important too – I like to make other people (read here: clients) happy.

My advice to women that start their entrepreneurial journey would be that they need to be able to think BIG. Don’t lose energy on details and dare to invest (also money) to grow. You need to be prepared to make choices that you didn’t expect to make. What choice will you make when your biggest client needs you, just on the day that your firstborn turns 1? Exactly! Be prepared. If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

FEMpreneurhulp is a good initiative because it advises women in a very realistic way. No pink glasses, but honest stories and advise, based on personal experience. Also, the listening ear of a peer can be very helpful and comforting. Next to this, the network of FEMpreneurhulp is of great value. For me, it feels good to share my knowledge and experience so that others can benefit from it. Because, yes, female entrepreneurs do lack advantages that men have. So let’s give each other some little extra support!

 

Mentor spotlight: Astrid van Leeuwen

Mentor spotlight: Astrid van Leeuwen

I am Astrid van Leeuwen – the owner of TekstAppeal, an agency for journalism, editing, and communication, and owner of coaching practice MovingMinds Coaching Amsterdam. Unraveling people’s dilemmas, drives, and (hidden) passions with warmth and commitment is second nature to me. After a challenging start of my career as a press officer at Het Nationale Ballet (Dutch National Ballet), I have developed into a versatile freelance journalist and communications consultant. Besides, after extensive training in this field, I started my coaching practice. I focus, among other things, on career guidance, guarding your limits, high sensitivity, and effective communication.

What is your story, and what led you to join the entrepreneurial world?

Autonomy is a high priority for me. I thoroughly enjoy the freedom and flexibility I have as an entrepreneur. I come from a family of entrepreneurs – father, brothers – and already knew at an early age that I wanted to be my own ‘boss.’

What have you learned in your entrepreneurial career?

It is a continuous learning process in which you keep growing and keep responding to changes and new developments. The most important lesson for me was: always follow my intuition.

What is one thing you still really want to do in your entrepreneurial career?

I want to inspire young people to be the best they can be and, above all, to believe in themselves.

Looking back, what is one thing you would do differently?

I would have paid more attention to my pension accrual. As a young entrepreneur, I was – foolishly – not concerned with that.

What is the reason you joined FEMpreneurhulp?

I have had many ‘mentors,’ people who believed in me and who helped me take a step forward in my career. I am now at a point in my life where I can and want to take on that role myself.

What are common challenges women face in the startup world, and how can we tackle them, according to you?

What you need is the focus, passion, capital, and belief in yourself. What you run into are prejudice, indifference, and gender inequality. How you can break through all of that is different for each situation.

What would you advise women to start their journeys in the entrepreneurial space?

As I said before, above all, follow your intuition and believe in yourself.