NextAdvisor Servane Mouazan: Is Your Mentor Challenging You Enough?

Servane runs a business development organisation focused on women social entrepreneurs.Servane Mouazan is one of the NextAdvisors signed up to advise our community in our Business Advice Programme.

Most of Servane's work is about supporting women social intra/entrepreneurs, and professionals keen to be part of their teams, and help them become more effective, influential and better connected.

She founded Ogunte in 2001, an award-wining organisation focused on women impacting on people and planet, and Make a Wave, the first incubator for women social entrepreneurs, with a team of outstanding mentors, investors and coaches.

Servane is ready to start advising you on your business. For more details on The Business Advice Programme and to sign up, click here

All their programmes support sustainable development and positive social impact through a woman’s perspective. Ogunte's global network counts over 6000 individuals and changemakers.

To stay stimulated and share her networks, Servane also consult on Social and Conscious Innovation, Futures Thinking and facilitate leadership programmes for commercial organisations and NGO's.

She provides key-note speaking, facilitation, executive coaching, advice, and programme management, globally, around women social innovators, gender focused angel investment, and conscious innovation.

Servane has influenced policy makers, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to give a special attention to social impact.

TNW: Tell us about your current role/venture. What’s at the top of your mind with regard to your business?

SM: I run a business development organisation focused on women social entrepreneurs, from very early stage to advanced level. We provide incubation, personal development, connections and awards on one hand, and on the other hand, coaching and consultancy to intermediaries, mentors and sponsors who also support these women changemakers. It’s a fascinating purpose. I have to maintain a sustainable pipeline of support and referral system. Commercial activities have to cross-subsidize services to people who might not be in position to invest money- yet- in their personal development. Yet, they need it and we also need to find and get more women social entrepreneurs into the pipeline. So for us a hybrid revenue structure is what makes the whole venture work, a combination of client sponsoring, public and private money.

TNW: Which business topics are you most interested in providing advice on?

SM:

  • Leadership and internal team building
  • Conscious and social innovation
  • Measuring social impact
  • Confidence in speaking and connecting in public (for marketing, networking, pitching or branding purposes)
  • Personal development (navigating transitions in career, business roles, work-life balance)
  • And of course, my pet topic: the gender lens on business.

TNW: How should a NextAdvisee approach their relationship with you, to get the best out of you?

SM: I think preparation is key.

Crafting a great question before the session starts enables us to get started on a high.

Having measurable indicators in the question helps as well. We don't always get answers to everything in life, so sometimes, it’s about accepting that a pointer for reflection can be as powerful as a straight factual answer.

I like working with people who are keen on seeing their situation from another perspective too, and keen on getting new habits started.

It’s not so much about the information but what you do with it. At the end of the day, they have to make the decisions about their own business.

TNW: What do you see as the benefits of an advice relationship, for the advisor?

SM:

It’s making me accountable; I have to craft insightful questions that move people a long way, or provide recommendations that I can evidence.

It's a great learning experience too, because no knowledge is 100% relevant when it is taken out of context. It makes me listen carefully to an issue. Everytime, it makes me see the world from a different perspective, even if most issues are recurrent!

TNW: Do you currently have a mentor?

SM:

I have a combination of mentors (for facts and knowledge) and a coach, to make me behave differently and efficiently. They all need to challenge me.

TNW: Which business matters have you most needed advice on during your career?

SM: 

Having bigger goals and putting systems in place to make them happen.

How to get rid of activities that costed us much more than they brought in, things I was convinced were good for marketing, reputation, and so on, but in fact only contributed to burn me off, and rein in our growth.

It could be a combination of looking at schedules, cost-impact analysis and delegating tasks (or not doing this enough).

Personal behaviour.

There are times when I was (and still am sometimes) my biggest obstacle. This is where my coach or my mentor have to come in and be radical.

TNW: What is the most useful lesson you have learned from a mentor?

SM: Big goals are attractive (not just for me, but also for my stakeholders) and pull you up. They make you behave differently. You get less bogged down on details, and you look up to the bigger picture. You strategise from the vision first and back to now. You have to adapt immediately.

TNW: Who would be your dream mentor in a fantasy world (they can be living or a historical figure)?

SM: I am very spoiled because of the nature of my work, I come across amazing women and men who are fascinating achievers, inspiring individuals and most of them very good at business.

They combine an understanding that we can not separate business from the necessity to have a positive social and environmental impact.

And they are also open to having a mutual learning. To give you a couple of names, I would like to meet:

- Angela Davis for her resilience, her academic sharpness, her knowledge of social justice, her empathy but also her iconic story.

- Janine Benyus, the super biomimicry champion, as she works at the crossroad of various disciplines (nature, business, science).

- and from the real fantasy world, Birgitte Nyborg Christensen, the fictional prime minister for Denmark, (in the TV series Borgen) for her ability to combine politics, business, social justice and top-notch diplomacy! She is rather fascinating.

I love talking about mentoring experiences rather than just physical mentors. For instance, Capoeira (a Brazilian martial arts I have started practising in 1998), is essential for me to understand the world, people, or any situation I am in. It gives me a lens and a metaphor with which I can translate complex situations and draw lessons from.

TNW: Is there anything we haven’t asked you, but you would like to share with our community?

SM:

We need more women great at combining businesses that create a positive social and environmental impact. This is the only way we can accelerate change effectively and have a massive ripple effect.

Let’s do it!

Servane is ready to start advising you on your business. For more details on The Business Advice Programme and to sign up, click here

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