Mentee, SANAD Lebanon Mentoring Programme.
“Mentoring to me is a support to those who cannot specify their goals and objectives; it’s the right guide for them to do so.” Abir Mazloum, Mentee, SANAD Lebanon Mentoring Programme
While many businesses have struggled to survive this year, Abir has been on a journey to transform her family business. It’s been a year of growth and discovery, one that has seen her develop a new profit line and increase her revenue, geographic reach and clients. “I joined the SANAD Lebanon Mentoring programme at a point when I was uncertain about the direction to take. I had two choices, to either open my own florist shop or further develop my father’s business. I’d seen my father struggle with the business for years and wanted to not only help him, but develop a successful family business,” shares Abir.
Abir considers herself a constant learning and has always sought out opportunities to develop her skills. Although her expertise lies in landscaping and design, she has taken up various online personal development courses which led to her interest in the mentoring programme. When she attended Mowgli Mentoring’s Mentoring Awareness Session, she found that the content aligned with her personal values, and she decided to apply for the programme.
“I felt that mentoring would help me develop objectives for the business and refine the ideas I already had.”
One of the key phases within Mowgli Mentoring programmes is the Kickstart Workshop. The workshop brings together mentors and mentees for 4-days of learning, and rapport building, paving way for the matching of mentor and mentee pairs. This is a critical stage within which the right foundation for thriving mentoring relationships is set, ensuring that the pairs are well prepared and aligned to develop trust-based, impactful relationships.
“When I was matched with Hussein Chouman, I felt that we had completely different ideas. The only thing we had in common was our personal and social values.” Keeping her commitment, she chose to keep going with the programme and soon discovered that the differences were the biggest advantage to their match. “Hussein gave me insights which I felt were quite foreign but provided fresh insights into my business and perspective. He has been a great support system.”
One of the greatest milestones that Abir has realized in 2020, and with the support of her mentoring relationship is business growth. Being in the gardening and landscaping business, Abir’s business like many others was affected by the Covid restrictions. However, she was able to cultivate a growth mindset and become innovative. “The pandemic has helped me to develop my creative thinking, I now think through how we can better serve our clients. I realized that people were struggling with accessing fresh groceries.” Responding to a specific need, Abir has gone beyond landscaping and designing decorative gardening, to planting fruits and vegetables in her clients backyards. “At the time, the Lebanese government had a campaign urging us to stay home. We leveraged #StayHome campaign and similarly created our campaign “#StayHome, we’ll come to you” allowing us to help our clients to grow their own food from their backyards.
Through her mentor’s support, Abir has tapped into digital marketing to expand her business. “When we’re on lockdown, we spend much of our time online on our phones. It therefore made sense that we market our services on social media, a move that has seen us attract over 1,000 followers over the past few months. I now have clients from various regions of Lebanon.”
Abir’s family business currently sits on over 10,000 square meters and employs 9 full-time staff as well as 6 casual staff who are called on demand.