Team Hopscotch is lucky enough to meet with impressive women daily through our work supporting and developing opportunities for professionals in our region.  We like to use this space to shout about those who really stand out as 'having it all'; the impressive women who balance work, family and life on a daily basis.  We've interviewed authors, bloggers, entrepreneurs and heads of industry; they are our Hopscotch Heroes and an ongoing source of inspiration.

This month, it's the turn of one woman wonder, Mona Tavassoli.  Many of you will know her as head honcho at Mompreneurs ME and Mom Souq.  She's a talented speaker, life coach and experienced entrepreneur in her own right, but these successes truly came after a spell of self-reflection and self-investment. Here's what she's learnt:

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Hopscotch: Tell us about your family situation?

Mona Tavassoli: I moved from Iran to Dubai with my parents in 1999 and I started my studies at University of Wollongong. I did my Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and my Masters in International Business.  I started working in advertising in a local agency in 2005 and by 2007 I joined Publicis Graphics which is one of the top international agencies and I mainly worked on Nestle.  I absolutely loved my time at Publicis, it was a great learning experience and the ad agency’s environment is very vibrant and welcoming.

In 2009, I decided to move to France to get my second Masters in Strategic Tourism Management and I got married in the same year, which was not in my plans, but the universe has surprises for us all the time!  My husband and I went to France together and studied our masters together which was another beautiful chapter of our lives. I was pregnant when we came back in 2011 and we started our own advertising agency as my husband had also worked in international agencies before. After 9 months and when Ryan was born, I started Mom Souq which is a community for moms and after that we launched Mompreneurs ME in 2013. We basically gave birth to 4 babies in 3 years; Ryan, Polar Bear Creative, Mom Souq and Momprenerus ME!  In 2015, our second son, Darian was born and made our life complete.

H: And what's your work situation now, it all sounds rather busy? 

M: Yes! I am a serial entrepreneur and speaker. I started Mompreneurs Middle East in September 2013 due to high demand to support start-up mom entrepreneurs. At Mompreneurs ME, we believe that empowered mothers raise empowered children and we empower them through entrepreneurial education and mompreneuship.   Mompreneurs ME tackles the four main challenges that entrepreneurs face on their journey: Mentorship, Fundraising, Education and Community Support. This is achieved through our Flagship course: "Mompreneur Rising", and our self-mastery workshop: “You Can Have it All". We also organize events such as The Global Mentoring Walk - Dubai Chapter, and other activities and initiatives throughout the year.

H: What is the biggest challenge you face and how do you work around it and keep things balanced?

M: In 2013, I had everything that anyone could ever ask for, a beautiful family, my own business, our community and yet, I was not enjoying it.  There was a time when I felt really overwhelmed, when both my business and Ryan were two years old. It was very challenging to find balance between my personal and professional roles and that’s when I started attending workshops and worked with many coaches to manage myself better instead of managing the time only.  I remember that I went to a networking event and the speaker asked us to write 3 Fun things that we would do for ourselves the next weekend, and I couldn’t think of one! I had forgotten about myself completely and I had devoted everything to my family and business. I had put my own desires last and that was the real reason of my unhappiness at that time.

There was a huge shift in my life when I identified my values and priorities. I make sure to not compromise on the most important things in my life within a time frame of one week. I write down all of the priorities for each of my roles (mother, business owner, etc) one week in advance and I make sure that I have kept the balance between all of my roles throughout the week. Not every week is perfectly balanced but the first step is to have that awareness.  I am delighted to share my findings and practices with fellow moms and mompreneurs during our ‘You Can Have it All’ workshop. 

I am also a strong believer that Entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to find balance in life. We have started our Entrepreneurship Course in 2014 called Mompreneur Rising and we have around 100 alumni already who have gone through our course and they often call the course “An Eye Opener”.

H: What keeps you going?

M: On a personal level, my conversations with my Ryan, he impresses me every time we talk about topics that I would not expect from a 6 year old as well as my play times with Darian when he makes me tea and donuts with his small toys! 

On a professional level, receiving feedback from our community and knowing that we are impacting and improving the quality of their lives through education.

To attend Mona's courses and find out more head to https://monatavassoli.com and http://www.mompreneurs.me.