As an outspoken advocate for mentorship of young innovators and entrepreneurship in the region, Sonia Weymuller, Founding Partner at VentureSouq, has had her fair share of guiding entrepreneurs and students.
In this #EntMETalks episode, as a third-time mentor of the e7 Daughters of the of the Emirates project, Weymuller continues to share her enthusiasm as a proactive and engaged mentor. Weymuller calls it an enriching experience from “an inter-generational and cross-cultural perspective,” pointing towards the wide range of background among the 35 members aged between 18-25 years old across the UAE, and commending her mentees’ growth in their ambition, drive and leadership capabilities for theirselves and society. “Mentorship provides a level of grounding,” says Weymuller, and asserts that mentorship is a two-way street; while as a mentor you help others to navigate their journey, the mentor can learn from their mentees as well.
Weymuller points out that a common cultural narrative around leadership is the need to be determined and having certain grit, in contrast, she advises that vulnerability is actually a strength, as well as self-awareness, and empathy- embodying leadership. These soft skills, according to Weymuller, are highly developed in the e7 program. For entrepreneurs, Weymuller advises that, “You need to be flexible and adaptable- you may need to pivot your business plan, you may need to hire a co-founder, you may need to replace your entire team with another team that may be better and complementary, you may need to shift markets. You can’t do that if you have a rigid outlook on life.”