Our Mentorship Network is an integral part of the Ignite experience. It is an opportunity for industry experts to give their time to help entrepreneurial leaders develop and we are so thankful for all of the continued support and commitment received to date.
In this spotlight we are highlighting two mentors at different stages in the network to get their perspectives on their experience as mentors. We interviewed Joanne Wohlmuth, who is fairly new to the network, and Kidist Emery, who was recognized as Ignite's Mentor of the Year in 2021.
We asked what prompted Kidist Emery and Joanne Wohlmuth to join the programme.
Kidist said that she is very passionate about mentorship and how it supports entrepreneurial leaders' success. When she was part of a guest panel, it was then that she realized she wanted to be a part of the Ignite Ecosystem.
Joanne said that the Mentorship network was a way for her to give back to the Bermuda community. She read about Ignite's intention to create jobs and support entrepreneurs, and she wanted to be a part of that as she has always seen herself as an entrepreneur through her involvement with many non-profit startups.
What makes a good mentor?
According to Joanne, a good mentor, "is known for their commitment of time, attention, and consistency. They are someone who is there to give the mentee 'a good listening to'. They are someone who sets a good example and a beacon of light for others. They remain focused on their mission and what it takes to get them there! A good mentor has an intricate knowledge of their craft and effortlessly exudes joy, energy, and engagement in doing what they do. Finally, a good mentor is patient and kind, never hesitates to give of themselves, and does this willingly to those entrusted in their care."
What skills have proven to be beneficial?
A few skills provided an unexpected benefit to Kidist in her role as a mentor. When asked about those skills, she said, "the common theme that has shown up is Mindset and getting the entrepreneurs to realize everything is 'figure outable'. She added, "to be able to share my losses is comforting to the budding entrepreneur that believes everything is going to go according to plan and then it doesn't. Getting them to understand 'this too shall pass' and that the 'setbacks' are great for the 'setups'."
What are your superpowers?
At Ignite we often talk about superpowers. In other words, what are the special skills or talents that make you unique? When we asked Joanne what her take on superpowers is she explained, "In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, we shy away from 'superpowers' or boasting about having any such abilities. I try to focus instead on ordinary human decency and engagement. I try to start there and keep it simple as a yogi. That is what Gandhi and MLK did with their focus on 'non-violence' and 'truthfulness', and they accomplished so much."
What advice do you have for those considering becoming a mentor?
Kidist shared a great reminder for us all, "Remember you are there to meet them [the entrepreneur] where they are and assist them in moving forward in the best way possible. It is not about you, and although you believe your story may be helpful, every entrepreneur is drowning in something and wants to be heard."
What are you most proud of?
Both Joanne and Kidist have had some incredible experiences so far. When we asked Joanne what she is most proud to have accomplished, she said," Right now, I am most proud of being able to make a dent in the International Yoga Community. I am laser-focused on creating a platform for yoga teachers and trainers from smaller yoga communities. The activist in me is pushing to give a voice to smaller jurisdictions like Bermuda and a voice to women and people of color in the field of yoga. I believe, because of my credentials, I have a responsibility here. I am also an activist for the maintenance of classical (body, mind, and spirit) teachings of yoga worldwide despite the determined interest in the West to continue to narrow yoga to another form of exercise or calisthenics."
When we asked Kidist what she is most proud of, she said “ I am most proud to accomplish (to date) a successful business that has trained Bermudians and provided them with an overseas experience on our Island. [I am proud] that I have created jobs and that I have helped many entrepreneurs on their journey in the new entrepreneurial space we have here on the island.”
Thank you Joanne Wohlmuth and Kidist Emery for taking the time to answer our questions. We are grateful and lucky to have such an amazing mentor network as a part of our ecosystem and we know that each one of our mentors will continue to be a beacon for others in their entrepreneurial journey with us.
Kidist Emery (left) and Joanne Wohlmuth (right)
Should you wish to be a part of the Mentors Programme at Ignite email firstname.lastname@example.org.