When people ask us what we do, we say ‘help people to do well by doing good’. Over the past couple of years, we’ve been working with Boston College through our ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ programme, starting with hosting their first ever social enterprise conference, to delivering several social enterprise Bootcamps and facilitating their social enterprise market day- all with the objective of increasing the number of social enterprises in the community. On 27 April 2016, we delivered a very special Bootcamp.

Back in February, a group of students and community members came together where we helped them develop their skills to and project development tools to take their social enterprise ideas to fruition. With pots of seed-funding up from grabs in partnership with Unltd, the Bootcamp had great outcome with several securing what they needed. At the end of the Bootcamp, I offered the group (mostly consisting of Plumbing students) the opportunity to do a ‘Train the Trainer’ with us in order to co-deliver the next Bootcamp. A few of them signed up.

Fast forward to 27 April, the 4 students spent the morning with Melody, learning the techniques of a trainer, breaking down the modules and practicing delivering it. We encouraged them to push through their comfort zone and to try to lead a session on their own. We rolled up our papers and ran for the afternoon Bootcamp!

The afternoon Bootcamp was for a group of A-level students. We walked in and I asked them why they were there (always important to gauge expectation). Comments like “to learn how to make a difference”, “do something new” and “to learn new skills” were offered. Perfect. We were off! Although the atmosphere was laden with anxiety over the imminent end of year exams, the students pushed through. Their chosen theme for their group social enterprise was chosen by themselves; The social inclusion of the elderly and intergeneration with young people.

Our ‘train the trainer’ Milika delivered the first segment and was professional and enthusiastic and on it went, each doing a great job and pushing through the nerves they felt. This was as much about them, as the Bootcamp participants we were training.

We looked at the community and different aspects of it as relating to their project, we helped them break the project down through an interactive module called PROMA© as well as set them an unexpected creativity social enterprise task! Here’s the interesting thing. Usually, people get participants to pitch to a panel of experts (we’ve sat on our fair share of those!), but I wanted them to pitch to a panel of their peers (the train the trainer students). This had a powerful effect and interesting dynamic on both sides.

The A-level students walked in with a desire to create change and knew their theme- but had no idea of what project they wanted to run or how to do it. Despite it being just a half a day Bootcamp, it’s important to us to support them to feel like they can go to the next stage (wherever they started from). We’re pleased that the A-level students were able to walk out with a solid concept, a name for it and a plan as to what they were going to do next. We won’t ruin the surprise, but it’s an absolutely brilliant idea and we look forward to keeping you updated on what happens next!

As for the Train the Trainer students – one of the participants who put himself forward, at his Bootcamp was extremely shy to say his own name, and yet stood up to co-deliver with us! At the end he said; “I don’t feel shy anymore”

 

For all enquiries about Bootcamps and social enterprise programmes, email: info@inspirEngage.com. Tweet us @inspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So many people will tell you that you shouldn’t care what people think! I find that such a stupid, unrealistic & irresponsible stance! I am extremely confident in myself- but I care deeply what people think! In fact I’m always fascinated by how people view me. HOWEVER- what people think doesn’t change how I see myself. I know who I am and what I’m not.

So if you’re working towards a state where you don’t care what people think- then change your goal! And those who say they don’t care what people think- are lying!!!! It’s human and it’s ok! But don’t let everyone’s beliefs become your beliefs.

Be happy with who you are. That’s confidence.

 

Need further support to be the best you can be- be more confident and do your talents justice? Book in for a limited slot for 1-2-1 Coaching with me. See more information here or email info@inspirEngage.com with subject ‘Coaching with Melody’

 

InspirEngage Bootcamp on Social Enterprise at JWEF by Melody Hossaini

During the week of 15th February, The InspirEngage team carried out a tour of activities in Bahrain, including Skills Bootcamps at Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum (JWEF), our Business Masterclass for SMEs as well as a stop on the international speaking tour ‘How to Change The World’. It was our second time in Bahrain, having previously delivered the InspirEngage Bootcamp training young professionals from across the MENA region to launch their own social enterprises relating to the environment, in partnership with the British Council. Here’s a breakdown of what we got up to and what we learned.

InspirEngage Skills Bootcamp

InspirEngage Bootcamp Day2

The JWEF brought together hundreds of young aspiring entrepreneurs. On the programme were a range of panels and speakers. But our stance was – magic happens when you take inspiration and turn it into action in that moment when a window of opportunity opens in your mind. This is what the Bootcamp was for. Covering the practical aspects of building an actionable plan from an idea. We delivered the Bootcamp in 2 parts- the first focusing on setting the foundation by training the participants to use our tool called ‘Career Map’ to define their goal, their identity and strengths as well as setting the right mindset for impact. The second part was hands-on and high energy including helping participants to understand social enterprise as well as putting it all in practice with our social enterprise task. They amazed us with their concepts and proved that although at the start, none of them really knew what social enterprise was- by the end of it, so many were aspiring social entrepreneurs- helping people to turn passion into profit.

‘How to Change the World’ – Speaking to Students

As Melody Hossaini’s signature speaking tour – we made a stop at Al Rajaa School in Bahrain to speak to hundreds of excited students! The presentation focuses on provoking thought in students about success and impact as well as share actionable tools and methods for ensuring their individual potential being fulfilled. The students and teachers were blown away by Melody’s interactive style – including having students up to take part in a shock-exercise. The students were eager, energised and stayed around for a long time to ask lots of questions sparked by ideas they had!

Business Masterclass for SMEs

InspirEngage Business Masterclass for SMEs

As part of supporting the growth of the eco-system as a whole in Bahrain, it’s vital to engage SMEs. For this reason, we designed an interactive ‘Business Masterclass’ hosted by Bahrain SMEs Society and the British Council. Participants were taken through a range of exercises to consider their place in the market, their social impact models and how to adopt a mindset shift leading to organisational transformation. What struck us was the fear that exists amongst people to share their ideas for risk of someone stealing their concept and replicating it. We had a fascinating dialogue on this, with us sharing the network models and changing face of business to be much more transparent.

 

Facilitating Panel on Success Stories of Local Entrepreneurs

Success Stories of Local Young Social Entrepreneurs

On day 1 of the Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum, Melody was invited to chair a panel of 4 young entrepreneurs from the region- Wafa Obaidat, Faisal Sherraif, Aysha Al Oraifi and Abdulrazag Al-Mutawa. We started with each panelist giving an overview of who they are and what they do. Melody then prompted them to tell tales of how they went from having an idea all the way to making it a success. Topics of discussion included whether starting when you’re young is a barrier or strength (most of the panelists felt that there young age worked in their favour although a couple of them did mention that sometimes they had to work hard to be taken seriously), the exact step-by-step of how they got started and got their first clients as well as their top tips for success for the aspiring entrepreneurs. Melody fielded questions from young people including from a 13-year-old who wanted to know if he was too young to get started. The panel’s advice – you’re not too young – go for it! Melody had some added words as someone who began in her sector aged 13 also. “Of course you can begin when you’re 13- but like anyone else starting a venture; do your research, speak to people who know that industry and be committed.”

It was a pleasure for us to be back in Bahrain and working to shape a strong eco-system of entrepreneurship – but one which is also socially responsible and allows young people to thrive. We wish all the young people and SMEs the best and look forward to their continued impact!

For all enquiries, email: info@inspirEngage.com

Trained these young children in Dubai in the InspirEngage International Bootcamp with the aim of breaking their norm of a classroom just being about books. We developed their confidence, trained them to think about their ongoing self-education, got them to stand up- push desks out of the way and interact. We also wanted to build their sense of social responsibility to see that they have the power to make a difference in their community.
After the Bootcamp, their teacher went up to the host client and was saying something in Arabic, that looked like a complaint. Afterwards, I asked what she’d said, the host answered; “the teacher said that now that the children had seen what a classroom can be like, she’s worried that they’ll never listen to her!”
We have to break norms of what education has to look like and be creative in the classroom to engage students, to open their minds and skills but also to ensure we’re teaching them lessons for life- not just exams.
In the past few years, InspirEngage and myself have trained many educators both in the UK and abroad on implementing more creative methods and social enterprise models. Email info@InspirEngage.com for all enquiries

Big Brother, X Factor and The Apprentice – just some of the big reality shows dominating our screens. But what’s the truth behind it all and where do we draw the line?

Last year, I was invited to Birmingham City University to join a panel chaired by Matthew Wright, joined by Steve Brookstein, Donal MacIntrye, Melody Hossaini and Sinitta. It was an interesting revelation of secrets behind the show and discussion as to whether as viewers we are asking for more and more, hence pressure building on TV producers to shock us, yet we then moan that this isn’t reality.

In my view, reality TV has been forced to become unreal in order to feed our ever-growing need for entertainment. This is a shame, but it’s also what those who go on reality shows (like myself on The Apprentice), signed up for.

Watch this taster video of the discussion at BCU:


 

 

 

Sun, sea, sand and relaxation – lazy mornings, sun tanning by the pool and lot’s of chic-lit reading. That used to pretty much sum up my beach holiday pre-baby! Post-baby, the picture was a little different! Here’s my blog on our first holiday with our 9 month-old baby Kian and my tips for those going away with their little ones, including how to reduce your luggage weight!

It’s very exciting going away for the first time, as a proper family as opposed to a couple. To be honest, I didn’t really think it would be that hugely different, but it really is! Firstly, when my hubby and I used to go away, we were still always over the limit! This time, we packed the bare essentials and reduced it to one suitcase to create capacity for all the stuff that the baby needed, and boy did he need stuff! From swimmer diapers, to formula milk, to food pouches to a steriliser!

We thought a lot about where we wanted to go- somewhere not too far away (as didn’t know what he’d be like on the flight), somewhere relatively warm with an all-inclusive resort and somewhere with not a huge time difference to disturb his routine. After considering Greece and Portugal we decided on a 5*, beautiful resort in Tenerife. The weather was perfect (warm enough for him to swim and not be too cold, but not too hot with maximum temp of around 29), plus there’s no time difference at all!

Was worried about how he would cope with the flight but he was absolutely fine! Feed them milk as you take off, let them nap after that, then we read to him and played the rest of the way and then we were there!

Babies have to adjust to changes – so with daily temps so much higher than England, Kian’s body was constantly hot in the first couple of days- he even had a little bit of a high temp at one point. But by the third day, he’d adjusted perfectly.

Hard parts:

  • Putting him for naps in the buggy, instead of his comfortable bed back home! Sometimes would take a while for him to sleep and find a comfortable position.
  • Sitting in the restaurant for evening meals- past his bedtime (he usually sleeps at 6.30pm at home), sometimes he was playing, sometimes happy but other times he would get frustrated and yell out and ruin people’s dinner!
  • When you just want to sit in the sun, read a book and relax, but your baby has other plans!

Magical parts:

  • Simply spending, uninterrupted quality time together! That’s the best part. Your baby changes all the time, their personality coming out. So, this trip, was all about us getting to know our rapidly changing baby.
  • Seeing him get into the pool for the first time and his laughter as he loved it and would splash around at speed! So lovely!
  • Seeing him interact with different people! This is one of the great character-building positives of travel. He has to get used to different kinds of people and being out of his comfort zone.
  • At a resort, there’s always lots of music, by the pool, live music at dinner and evening entertainment. Kian really likes music and was even dancing along!
  • Taking LOTS of photos and making memories together, as a family!

My tips:

  • When it’s your first time packing for a trip with a baby, you don’t know how much to take of each essential. We took one big pack of diapers but it wasn’t enough. We bought some out there, which were fine. For formula- we use Aptamel and needed just over one pack (we brought some extra in a plastic freezer bag. You need lots of wipes! We brought 2 packs and still needed to buy one here!
  • You definitely don’t want to pay for excess luggage but with all this stuff, it’s hard not to! My friend Gemma came up with a good idea to avoid this! Airports always have a Boots which sell the baby things, and if you get your stuff from there, past security, it’s not put towards your luggage allowance! Genius! Go into your local Boots, and if you have 2 weeks until you go away, they can order it all in for you (we ordered food pouches, his milk, swimmer diapers, wipes and sun tan lotion). If you don’t have time, you simply get the number for that Boots directly and call the evening before you fly, and they will put it all aside for you.
  • About 20mins before boarding, we gave Kian some calpol. He may have been fine without it, but it doesn’t hurt and helps them if they are in a little discomfort from the flight. 
  • We took 3 swimming suits for Kian to try- one all one one with buttons around his legs from John Lewis, one all in one with only a zip at the top (from Next) and also a 2 piece- top and shorts from Ralph Lauren. The all in one with buttons was definitely easiest.
  • Take lots of toys (from those that light up, to little soft blocks to bigger toys they can pull etc), because when they’re sat in their buggy on a day out, or sat in their high-chair at dinner, it really helps to keep them happy and preoccupied! We also took his books which were so useful as he loves reading.
  • Take a thermometer- helped to check his temp when his body was hot.
  • Make sure your resort is buggy friendly and that you have a room on bottom floor if no lift. Unfortunately, our resort wasn’t with its endless annoying up-hill paths and also 2 flights of stairs to our villa.
  • Upgrade to a villa if the cost suits you. We did this, which meant we had 2 balconies, a living room with a sofa and a large bedroom. Came in handy!
  • We took a travel steriliser which was great but forgot a bottle brush (you can get a compact one with a case from poundland).
  • Although a baby has lots of needs and may cry or need food or sleep – try to take time to enjoy yourselves, go to dinner, sit out and enjoy the entertainment, the baby has to learn to adjust and can’t be the other way around, as you’ll end up doing yourself a disservice and you’ll have a baby not capable of adaptation on your hands! Afterall, that’s the beauty of travel – change and experiences!

 

 

 

Immigrant Social Entrepreneur in England awarded ‘Europe’s Most Influential Woman’

Melody Hossaini, accepting her award in the European Parliament, Brussels. 4 June 2015

Melody Hossaini, who was a star on BBC’s The Apprentice in 2011, was awarded ‘New European Woman Influencer’ of 2015 inside the European Parliament on 4 June.

The first New European Awards is an awards ceremony organised by UNITEE – The New European Business Confederation under the high patronage of the European Parliament. Its aim is to recognise and celebrate the contributions of New Europeans- Europeans with a migrant background. In particular, this year’s awards honoured four special categories: New European entrepreneur; New European Politician; New European Woman Influencer; and New European of the Year.

Melody, who was originally born in Iran and raised in Sweden, moved to the UK at the age of 13 and volunteered in her community for 11 years to champion young people, before setting up the successful social enterprise, InspirEngage International, in 2009 with the aim of training people to be successful by giving back. Since then, Melody has helped educational institutions to better prepare their students for the world of business and work, trained vulnerable adult women to become economically active through social enterprise and guided corporates to better engage with communities through innovative CSR models. She was the first social entrepreneur to appear on ‘The Apprentice’ being described by Lord Sugar as a ‘woman of exceptional ability’.

‘This award really is an honour for me. The journey as an immigrant to being able to transform communities, is one that has become my life. I’m so inspired by the people we train, who work tirelessly with so little. They inspire me to do more.’ Melody said. ‘We’re passionate about helping people to explore social enterprise as a vehicle to create change.’

A member of the judging panel, Viviane Teitelbaum, President of the European Women Network, stated ‘Melody’s commitment in the youth sector and social entrepreneurship in the UK is exemplary of the values we support at the European Women’s Lobby. Her support to young people and vulnerable women to develop the essential skills in order to be successful by giving back to people and society meets our aims. Melody is a wonderful role model for women and an influencer we will certainly hear more about in the future!’

Amongst the other winners was Congo-born Vincent Kompany, captain of Manchester City, whose father was there to accept the award on his behalf.

Winners, MEPs, Judges & hosts at the Awards

In a time when Europe is struggling to compete on the economic stage, immigrants and minorities are often, in the public discourse, discriminated and seen as a danger or a drag on public finances. The New European Awards want to change this narrative: far from being a problem, diversity and immigration are changing Europe for the best, and contribute to keep it smart, innovative and open to the world. The Awards will finally give New Europeans and the diversity they bring about the acknowledgement they deserve.

The ceremony took place in the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin room in the European Parliament, to celebrate and honour those New European personalities, who, thanks to their multiple background, have achieved important successes in their professional lives. By acknowledging the winners’ talents not only will the value-added of diversity be shown, but they will serve as New European Ambassadors: role models for the present and future New Europeans. Showing that not only integration is possible, but that it is conducive to success in the broader society.

Melody’s Acceptance Speech inside the European Parliament


—————————-

Contact Monica Rean at InspirEngage International for any press enquiries or media pieces : info@inspirEngage.com / +44 (0) 7963 522067

Watch Melody speaking at TEDx about ‘The Social Enterprise Revolution’ here.

 

The Social Enterprise Revolution at Barnet and Southgate College – What Happened!

Barnet and Southgate wanted to bring social enterprise into their curriculum areas in a big way! We spread impact across college with successful Teacher Training, both in-person Bootcamps and online Tutorials for students, resulting in innovative social enterprise projects. Skills Bootcamp also helped student to secure job in interview!

“It’s a great to be working with Melody and InspirEngage as I see this partnership as a brilliant and unique way of embedding social enterprise opportunities within all our courses” David Byrne, Principle at Barnet and Southgate College

This Pioneer college opted for all of the components of the SER programme, including Carousel and Launch, Teacher Training, 8 Skills Bootcamps in person and the Bootcamp Tutorials (impact across college), Showcase day followed by the Graduation.

Teacher Training: Melody with the Curriculum Area Leads

Teachers: Following the launch of SER at the college, all heads of department were gathered for a Teacher Training day with CEO, Melody Hossaini. Through this, they became Social Enterprise Champions and importantly helped co-design what weaving in social enterprise into their curriculum area, would look like. What some of the teachers had to say:  “Thank you for a great trainer’s day. Very energetic and informative trainer.” and “Excellent training, lively and informative.”

Students: The Bootcamps covered all our core modules spread over 8 sessions- students learned what social enterprise looks like, examples of what young people their age have achieved, how you construct a social mission, how to work as a team, how to sharpen their communication skills in business and much more. By way of a taster and opportunity to apply skills gained, students were set a social enterprise sales task, working with our partners My Bnk. Students went away for a week and sold their social enterprise products: Seedbombs, Chocolate and Soap. They sold £432.50 – in just one week!

Projects: The students came up with a range of social enterprise projects, connected to their curriculum, which they presented on Showcase Day. The projects included:

‘Food for Thought’ – fighting homelessness. Students brought in their unwanted clothes, which they sold and raised over £100 in one day. Unsold clothes went to local homeless people and local charity. Now in phase 2 they’re investing their money into making a plaque bench for the community working cross-departmentally with construction students.

Social Enterprise Revolution

‘Rules of Web Design’ – designed a brand new platform, which gives information on how to create a website. It’s free to use so they can forums on there to help people. Selling advertising space to commercialise it. This project was assessed as part of the student’s curriculum area.

‘Diggy Dogs’ – hoody for college leavers so students still feel a part of the Barnet and Southgate community. They worked with other creative groups in the college to finalise the design. They used the showcase to do a feedback survey about what students wanted and managed to secure 50 pre-orders at £20 each without even having the product yet!

Impact: During the Showcase Day one student said, ‘The support I got from the course was great, it was a great experience to have and I will consider what I want to do in the future now’. On the Social Enterprise Revolution Graduation Day, one student said; ‘ I really enjoyed the Showcase Day! I gained a large variety of skills that I have applied to real life business situations which I can take forward in life.’

In the first Bootcamp, one of the female participants was so anxious about presenting in front of the group that she left the room. Our InspirEngage Trainers helped the student to develop her skills and confidence in presenting. By the end of the Social Enterprise Revolution, she presented her groups’ final social enterprise project to the class and she spoke on camera about her experiences!

When we covering the Communications module, one student said he had an Interview coming up and was really worried about his communication skills as he got really nervous. We showed him how to apply everything he had learned through the Bootcamp – listening, communicating yourself with clear words and reading the interviewers body language. The next week we saw him he told us he did really well, wasn’t too nervous and was offered the job!

Some of the students- skills for social enterprise!

Testimonials:
“The support I got from the course was great, it was a great experience to have and I will consider what I want to do in the future now” Hasan Avci, Student

“I gained negotiation and planning skills, and how to find a target market.” Stephanie, Student

“The Social Enterprise Revolution was awesome! I found the teamwork aspect most useful and I learned to take more initiative” Siavash, Student

“I really enjoyed the Showcase Day! I gained a large variety of skills that I have applied to real life business situations which I can take forward in life.” Dominic Olive, Student

“I have gained confidence and knowledge of social enterprise – Thank you!” Rebecca McKeer, Student

“I really enjoyed the Social Enterprise Revolution. I’ve gained new skills, and it’s given me a list of ideas on how to communicate well” Alex Nonillo, Student

“I got first hand experience in selling – I’ve never had to sell products to people before!” Jamie, Student

Want to chat to us about The Social Enterprise Revolution? Drop us a line on info@inspirEngage.com and give us a follow on @SocEnt_Rev/ @InspirEngage

Yesterday I witnessed something that stirred a lot of feelings in me about bullying. Keen to hear your thoughts….

It's nicer to be nice.

Bullying is such a serious issue, we need a cultural change in how we are allowed to treat people.

I was at the library on Friday (I like to work there every now and again) and shared a table with a few young people aged around 18. They were chatting like best mates- even making plans for the weekend and laughing away! One of the girls excuses herself and goes to the toilet, suddenly the other girl turns to the guy and says “OMG she’s so f****ng annoying… Let’s just ignore her when she comes back!!” I was so shocked! The girl comes back and tries to chat with them again but they were trying to ignore her. I was weighing up whether I should have a quiet word with the girl who was being mean but someone told them to be quiet as it was a library and they were chatting so loudly. I also didn’t want to get involved with a relationship which I didn’t know much about and be out of context. But it really stayed with me.

Don’tknow how people can be so two-faced. If you don’t like someone, there’s a polite way to let them know and let the relationship fade. It made me so sad. I hate seeing people being treated badly. Please be kind to each other… This isn’t a mushy plea – it’s about survival!

Unfortunately, I experienced bullying whilst at school- more of which can be read on my blog ‘Bullying – Refuse to fit in’ (http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2013/09/bullying-refuse-to-fit-in/). In my blog, I talk about THAT look. The sideways look like ‘Omg what a weirdo’, I HATEEE that look.

When I go and talk in schools and I ask students a question and they give an enthusiastic answer and others do THAT look, I never let it slide. THAT look kills enthusiasm. It kills passion. It kills confidence. Let people be who they are and don’t belittle them, unfortunately some don’t recover. Sadly nothing will change, unless WE do and unless we COLLECTIVELY start to not accept those looks and that behaviour. I would bet £1,000 that if I told the mean girl in the library that what she’s doing is bullying, she’d be shocked. So few are aware of what they are doing. STOP.

I live tweeted this blog and here are some of your tweets:

@lotusflowerldn ; I was bullied in the workplace so this piece really resonates. The experiences don’t always build you up it’s true

@CleverJames ; Sucks. It happened to me at school too, but like to think I would feel the same even if it hadn’t. Just mean and immature

@_PC_ ; It happens at every age. Some people I know were not to friendly with a woman I knew who was ill. She hung herself.

@haaayles ; I once auditioned for the main part in the school play, got given THAT look and never tried out again…

@c_syal ; story of my life at school, massively knocked my confidence. Ironic how those bullies are now trying to be pally pally with me

Have you experienced THAT look? Are you someone who bullies people? Are you recovering from being bullied? Tweet me @Melody_Hossaini

To book a speaking engagement on topic of bullying, email info@inspirEngage.com

BOSTON COLLEGE JOINS THE “SOCIAL ENTERPRISE REVOLUTION!”

Revolutionise Enterprise – Go Social!

Boston College are the latest College to dip their feet into ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ by running a taster day on 21st April 2015. The programme, which was launched in 2013 by InspirEngage International and featured in Lord Young’s ‘Enterprise For All’ report, trains students to become successful by giving back, with a connection to their curriculum.

The day, which will include a Skills Bootcamp for learners followed by an interactive conference for businesses and local community, will be delivered by InspirEngage CEO and the first ever social entrepreneur to appear on BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’; Melody Hossaini. Boston College are working in partnership with Taylor iTEX CIC and UnLtd to fund and support social entrepreneurs and some of the awardees will be attending the day to share their story. The conference is in conjunction with Boosting the Local Economy, supported by Boston Big Local and UnLtd

Melody Hossaini: Founder of InspirEngage International – portfolio in over 100 countries, reached over 1 million people; experts in training people to be successful by giving back. Former war asylum-seeker from Iran, award-winning female social entrepreneur, started aged 13, based in the UK, grew up in Sweden, has travelled the world. Trained by Nobel Laureates Desmond Tutu on Peace Implementation at PeaceJam in LA and former Vice-President Al Gore on Climate Change at Cambridge in 2007.

In 2011, Melody was selected over 70,000 people to be on BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’, became the first ever social entrepreneur to appear on the show, making it to week 10 out of 12, being described by Lord Sugar as ‘a woman of exceptional ability’. As featured on CNBC, Channel 4’s ‘Battlefront’, BBC 1’s ‘Show Me The Money’, HRH the Queen’s 2009 Christmas Day speech (for projects at CHOGM) and regular writer for The Guardian. Melody is a professional speaker, skills trainer, blogger and a new mum.

Twitter handles: @bcezone / @InspirEngage / @Melody_Hossaini / @SocEnt_Rev – #GoSocEnt

See original post by Boston Collegehttps://enterprisezoneboston.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/boston-college-joins-the-social-enterprise-revolution-2/

Watch what happened with ‘Social Enterprise Revolution’ at Harrow College:

 

54 countries. 1.2 billion young people. 1 special celebration. 9th March is Commonwealth Day. For us at InspirEngage International, the focus is on the young people who will be leading change. In this blog we look back on attending Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Trinidad & Tabago in 2009- our work there even featured on the Queen’s Christmas Day Speech that year.

Melody with delegates-Commonwealth Youth

It’s not often you attend a conference onboard a beautiful cruise ship. Every year CHOGM is held in various locations around the world. In 2009 we were invited to attend the gathering in Trinidad & Tobago. World leaders and young people came together to discuss solving the most imminent threats facing our planet.

Parallell to the main CHOGM meeting, was a youth gathering of some 200 people, and InspirEngage International, in partnership with other organisations, was tasked with training and facilitating the young people to prepare their contribution to be presented to Kamalesh Sharma – the Secretary General of the United Nations. I was honoured to deliver a keynote address (then aged 24) on the main stage. As a, then. recent graduate with Al Gore of the Inconvenient Truth training in Cambridge, my stage was focused on climate change and how young people can create change in their communities.

Watch a short snippet of the start of my keynote address at CHOGM 2009

 

To continue the outcome-focused approach, I also delivered an InspirEngage Skills Bootcamp for the young people coming from all over the Commonwealth. The Bootcamp covered our core modules in equipping the participants with skills needed to go back to their countries and achieve their social mission. The young people were enthusiastic, innovative and eager to develop their plans. As with all our Bootcamps- we got them up and moving around doing exploratory learning in an interactive way.

Delivering InspirEngage Skills Bootcamp-CHOGM

As part of the trip, we also attended a session in Parliament with their Prime Minister and Kamalesh Sharma himself (pictured), as well as a ceremony to welcome the Queen. InspirEngage has worked with the Commonwealth Secretariat throughout the years, including me filming an impact video with them to mobilise action in young people across the Commonwealth (in fact, tomorrow we shall be attending the Commonwealth Youth Awards at the Princess Alexandra Hall). We are always struck by the sheer force of the young people- that’s the power of the Commonwealth for us. This leads to growing business, trade and understanding.

Secretary General of the UN, Kamalesh Sharma

Melody

@Melody_Hossaini

 

 

Reading – central to education, communication, development of imagination and language! Here’s my blog on how to help your baby to love reading too.

From a young age, I was passionate about reading. I was the first person on both sides of my family to wear glasses as a child (aged 12), due to the many hours I spent over books! Therefore, it’s no surprise that when I knew I was having Kian, one of the things I looked forward to the most were reading time together.

Firstly let’s look at the benefits of reading to babies- because after all, they can’t actually read yet:

  • They like listening to your voice
  • They like looking at bright colours and pictures
  • Helps them with their development- hearing different words
  • They like quality time spent together and sitting against your chest
  • They like touching things and exploring
  • They’re more likely to enjoy reading later in life if they become familiar at a very young age

Now at the age of 4.5 months, he holds his book himself (did it for the first time yesterday!), turns the pages and recognises different books. This isn’t because he’s more intelligent than other babies, but simply learned behaviour. Here are some of the things I have done with Kian, that may help to support your baby to enjoy reading:

Kian - The first time he held the book himself

  • It’s never too early to start! – I read Kian’s first book to him when he was 7 days old. They can’t see very well then yet, but they can enjoy hearing your soft voice, especially if you read something to them that rhymes.
  • Do it in stages – Firstly simply read, secondly let them look, thirdly show them and finally let them do it themselves. So for example, with Kian, when he was a little newborn, I held him to me as I read and told him stories. When he could see better, I would show him the book, then let him watch as I explained about turning the page and would repeat things whilst showing him things on the pages and turning each page. Thirdly, I would hold his little hand in mine while I held the book and turned pages. And fourthly, let them have a go- you’ll be amazed at how quickly they learn and want to hold the book themselves and will turn the page (even before you’ve finished reading it!)
  • Get them to interact - It helps if you get them to interact with the books before they learn to turn the pages and hold it themselves. A couple of ways to do that, which is also fun for them, is to get a book which has a button to press which makes a sound. My mum got Kian books which make a cat ‘meow’ sound. He learned really quickly to press the button himself. The other way is to get a book which has different textures on each page for them to touch and explore, which also aides their development.
  • Sit on your lap – For them to get used to holding a book, it helps if you sit them on your knee so that they’re looking at the book the way they would if they were reading it themselves.
  • Foreign language –  If, like me, you’re teaching your baby a second language, reading provides a great opportunity for them to hear that language and interact with it. I speak Farsi with Kian and ‘read’ to him in Farsi, regardless of the book.

    Bedtime reading with Kian

  • Make it up! – Don’t be afraid to make up your own stories. One of the most valued memories from my childhood bedtime reading, were my aunt making up funny stories we could relate to that were about children our own age. Obviously babies are too young to make those connections, but I do believe that we can plant seeds when they’re really little, so I tell Kian stories that I make up myself about kindness. I tell him about children who stand up for those being bullied, I tell him about the boy who found a lost cat and helped it, I tell him about the boy who spoke to his teacher about drawing secret friends and doing something kind for them that week, I tell him about the boy who had special powers and used it to defend those who couldn’t defend themselves, and the boy who helped the environment with exciting projects in his community! (Yes, the social entrepreneur in training!)

Whatever your do, have fun and enjoy the special quality times with your baby!

Have a look on my blogs for other baby blogs. Tweet me your thoughts and how you get on with reading with your baby @Melody_Hossaini.

Melody x

(For all enquiries email: info@inspirEngage.com)

 

 

It’s been just over 2 months and already I can not remember life before changing-mats, dummies and sterilising bottles! People ask you if it’s what you expected and honestly, regardless of how much you prepare, you will never be able to expect what is to come. This blog is a little insight into the first 2 months on the outside for the baby and adapting to this big change as a family.

The first few weeks, you just stare at him- not believing he was actually inside your body. How can it be possible? You stare at every little move he makes. Everyday there’s something new. So far we’ve had first smiles, first time he grabs hold of a toy, the first time he starts gurgling! Must say, it’s not all easy and smiles. Becoming a first-time mum has its difficult days. The sleepless nights, the constant demand on your time as well as a change in identity (you’re predominantly now a mother, as well as the other identities you previously held.). It’s a personal journey and it’s different for everyone, but for me, it’s taken 2 months for things to settle.

4 important things have happened:

Routine- For the first 6 weeks a newborn needs all the care it demands, but it pretty much takes over your every minute of the day. That can not continue as you will either go mad or simply not have time for anything else! One day we simply decided we wanted to implement a strong routine for Kian, and decided for feeds only every 4 hours and that we wouldn’t hold him when he was fed and changed- and we stuck to it. It changed our life! Both Kian and parents are happier with this!

Making Memories- As well as a video diary (which I share with our family on a whatsapp group as we go!) we booked in for a photoshoot! A lot of people take photos when the baby is newborn in the first 2 weeks but I found waiting until he was 8 weeks meant his face was more settled and he was more alert, yet still little and cute! With photos as important as these, it’s so important to pick the right photographer. I can thoroughly recommend Paul Ward Studios in Birmingham- he took the photo above. He is patient, talented and has multiple sets in the same studio for varied shots. We took 3 outfits -one of them was a cute Christmas outfit for his our Christmas cards! One casual and one dressed up! I was blown away with the photos! Paul is offering 10% off to my readers and followers. Just quote ‘Melody’. Info on > http://www.paulward.net/melody/

Date Night- BC (before child), my husband and I used to go on date night regularly- but that becomes difficult with a baby. However, it’s vital to make time for eachother and so we left the baby with my mum and went to a lovely dinner together (steakhouse since I couldn’t have my steak medium cooked whilst pregnant!. It was nice to catch up, reflect as parents and focus on our relationship as a husband and wife.

Baby Talk isn’t cheap!- The most important thing you can do to benefit your child’s development (even if they’re newborn) is to talk to them. Each morning, during his morning feed, I tell Kian what day it is, what the weather is like outside and what we have planned for the day ahead. I speak to him constantly when I am with him. People think babies can’t communicate but they’re naturals! The key is to speak to them then pause, and they will speak back (ok, gurgle obviously) – this is helping him to become alert as well as learn the basics of communication.

 

I want to thank you all so much for your constant support. This week my facebook page hit 31,100 people- thanks for following and your kind words! You can tweet/ instagram me on @Melody_Hossaini.

 

 

Bump to Birth in 10 Photos!


You’ve heard your body changes and the bump grows during each month of pregnancy- but what does it really look like if you took a photo on the same day each month? The following blog shows photos taken from first month of pregnancy in January, to holding the baby in my arms in October.

Here’s a very brief breakdown of each month:

Month 1 – The moment you find out you’re pregnant is one of the most beautiful moments (it was for us anyway!) Brought my husband and I so much closer and took us a good month to sink in that we’re having a baby! It’s also important how you begin something, so enter pregnancy with a positive mindset. You’re carrying a baby who will mirror your feelings, if you’re calm and stress-free, they will be too!

Month 2 - Highlight is telling the family! I’m never going to forget the moment I told my family we’re having the first baby in our family. It’s rare that you give such happy news in life and it’s a beautiful feeling. Enjoy it!

Month 3 - The pregnancy symptoms at play, whether it’s nausea or cravings, but by now they should have somewhat settled, as you complete the first trimester, you’ll also be amazed at how quickly it’s going! You’ll also spend time standing sideways checking if your bump is visible yet. Probably won’t be visible to everyone just yet.

Month 4 - Exciting month and a big highlight as you get the choice to find out the sex of your baby! I wanted to know the sex of my baby, not because I wanted to paint the nursery blue or pink but because it helped me connect with the baby and mentally prepare myself. You can see from my bump I was having a boy! Boy bumps are neat and forward, girl bumps are generally wider.

Month 5 – Well into second trimester and you should be feeling at your best (if no complications- although every pregnancy is different). The symptoms should be gone but you’re still not so big that you can’t do things. Use this time to spend time with your partner. My husband and I went on a lot of date nights to spend time together and connect before the baby comes.

Month 6 - This is a good time to go on ‘babymoon’ the last holiday your partner and you will take for a little while (make sure to check the allowance for amount of weeks you can still travel, from both your doctor and the airline if flying). I also found it a good month to have my pregnancy photoshoot, whilst on holiday on the beach.

Month 7 – The 3rd trimester is for preparation! Speak to your midwife and find out what antenatal classes are available in your area- I found them really useful. This is also the time to baby-shop if you haven’t done it already and get the nursery ready! Very exciting once it’s completed, I went into the room a few time a day and gave me such a nice feeling.

Month 8 – Time to finish work (if you’re working) and winding down. By now you’re heavier, bigger and less mobile. Start to relax and take it really easy, but keep mobile- go for nice walks and swimming. The more active you are, the better your labour will be. (I went swimming for 45 minutes, 2 days before giving birth).

Month 9 - Almost there! It’s normal to feel anxious, excited and constantly wondering when you’ll be going into labour! Take this time to discuss with your partner what your expectations are of eachother. You’ll be too emotional and tired once baby comes- this way you are prepared. Have a great labour- your baby is almost here! (this photo was taken 3 days before I gave birth).

Month 10 - Your baby is in your arms. I experienced more emotions and feelings at once than ever before. You’re on a high, and even lack of sleep can’t get you down! You sit by the basket just staring at this incredible creation! Enjoy this beautiful time. Things start to settle in the 2 months that follow. Kian is 1 month old in the 10th photo.

Check out this youtube video on my product reviews, tips to deal with pregnancy symptoms and more:

 

For all enquiries, email info@inspirEngage.com / Tweet @Melody_Hossaini

 

All you need to know before baby! Confused about travel-systems, suffering from heart burn or itching or just anxious about becoming a mother? I’m now coming up to 39 weeks pregnant- it’s almost time! Here’s my final pre-baby blog- Covering my tips for pregnancy problems (including my life-saver for itching!), how to be make the most of pregnancy and avoid problems later.

At 37 weeks pregnant in the new nursery

Find me on twitter and instagram: @Melody_Hossaini Let me know what you think!

In 2013, Harrow College became a national Pioneer of Social Enterprise Revolution- an InspirEngage programme and the UK’s first hands-on programme to embed social enterprise into the curriculum of schools, colleges and universities. By incorporating social enterprise into their curriculum, they took an innovative approach to pathways into work for students. Here’s the round-up!
 

The InspirEngage team put the students through the intense 8 Skills Bootcamps and Incubator throughout the academic year to develop core skills to launch their own social enterprise connected to the curriculum area. Make money and make a difference!

Student projects included,

  • Hair, Beauty and Love! > One group of students took the initiative to organise an event to offer their hair and beauty services to staff and visitors of Great Ormond Street Hospital. Fees from treatments offered were donated to the renowned children’s hospital
  • Bringing cultures together! > A group of female students felt passionately about celebrating and bridging the gap between various cultures in their community and planned a wonderful event with culture food and dance that students contributed to!
  • Be active- be healthy! > If young people have something to do and somewhere to go, they can get out their houses and be active and lead healthier lifestyles. This group of students organised outdoor games for young people in their area.

One student said, ‘I’ve found it very inspirational, because you’re doing something to help someone- which is a good thing for us teenagers – doing something good to help and give back to our community.’

As part of the programme students promote their social enterprise projects at the end of programme Showcase Day. On reflection one student said, ‘Social Enterprise Revolution has helped me develop my future. I know better what I might be doing and I’ve gained knowledge in business and my future is a bit clearer now, than it was a few months ago’.

After Showcase Day, students who have successfully completed the one year programme attend the Social Enterprise Revolution Graduation Day! After graduating, one student said, ‘Social Enterprise Revolution has helped me develop my employability skills, my leadership and management qualities and I am more confident about my future and I’ve got a better idea of how to start and run a business thanks to Social Enterprise Revolution – thank you’.

InspirEngage Mentors, Hannah Catmur and Seun Oshinaike who are successful young entrepreneurs gave up their time to support the students on their enterprise journey at one of the InspirEngage Bootcamps.

InspirEngage Founder and CEO, Melody Hossaini said at the “Amidst a time when there is so much pressure on educational institutions to think innovatively about pathways into work for students, I would like to congratulate Harrow College for adopting social enterprise within their curriculum. Over the course of the year, we have seen positive development in the students, and feel Social Enterprise Revolution finally offers the opportunity for formal education and creative social enterprise to collide.”

Benefits of Social Enterprise Revolution:

  • Allows students to develop their life skills
  • Make their learning real by connecting it to local community causes
  • Develop an enterprising mindset
  • Students make money & start potential work whilst still in education
  • Educational institutions become national Pioneers of Social Enterprise

For all enquiries email: info@inspirEngage.com

Tweet: @SocEnt_Rev / @InspirEngage

Putting other people down to make yourself look big is one of the most cowardly things one can do. Ever thought about why bullies behave the way they do? Felt angered and just put them down to a lost cause? We speak to a lot of young people who are victims of bullying and we explain that those who attack and generally feel the need to belittle someone, are very troubled individuals themselves.

If you think about it, no one who is confident, stable and happy would feel the need to put someone down. Nothing is gained. However, unfortunately, it’s a very common coping mechanism for others. What we do and say is a reflection on us, not on the person it’s said about.

In 2011, I took part in BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’ – and a competitive show like that does push you to your limits. Although it was a little cringe at times when watching back me justifying why I was the worthy winner, it did make me proud to know that I don’t put other people down to make myself look big. Focus on what you can bring to the table and what you can do, rather than relying on why other people can’t, because otherwise, when that component is removed, you’re not left with anything.

You can disarm people with kindness. Sometimes that shocks people more than being mean. I spoke about this in a previous video which can be seen below. Ultimately, that gives you a good kind of power. That’s what’s important and that’s what will make you big- by helping someone else. Blowing out someone’s candle, won’t make yours shine any brighter.

So here’s the challenge we’re setting you- next time, you come to say something negative about someone, don’t and replace it with expressing kindness or a compliment. This will help them and you.

Tweet us your thoughts and experiences on this @InspirEngage/ @Melody_Hossaini

Watch the video explaining how you can disarm people with kindness!

Getting ready to pop! Baby Moon Photo shoot

The Baby Moon! The pregnancy is zooming by! I’m now just entering my 29th week- 7 months! Last week the hubby and I went on Baby Moon to spend some quality time together before the baby comes! Our last trip as a two-some. We went to the sunny Antalya and had a very relaxing week- would definitely recommend a Baby Moon to anyone pregnant if you have the opportunity to go.

The Pregnancy Photo Shoot! Had been considering for a while, whether to do a maternity photo shoot or not as wasn’t sure I wanted a studio forced photo shoot, but while we were on holiday, our resort had photographers available and so we decided what better backdrop than the ocean (it also helped with making wearing a bikini top in the photos much more natural as you have to show the belly!).

I had come up with the ideas of how I wanted the shoot and had a clear brief for the photographer. Would strongly recommend this as maternity shoots really vary and it’s important to do it in a way you’re comfortable with. I decided to opt for the blue bikini top and matching blue nails (as having a baby boy!) and a loose flowy skirt from H&M (which I ran to the shops and bought the day of the shoot!). I had seen people wear the flower band in the hair but didn’t have one myself, but on my run to the shops there was a Turkish man selling them to picked one up for £2 and was really happy with it. I also bought the ribbon from the photo on to the right from a market and opted for this polka dot one which I think added a nice touch to the belly shot!

If you aren’t comfortable with the exposed look, you can also go to the fabric market and buy some flowy organza or something similar and use as a drape- works especially well against wind blowing, ceating a goddess look.

The 3rd Trimester Symptoms and Business! Can definitely feel the 3rd trimester symptoms of lower back pains and swollen feet- the size of my feet on the plane ride over to Antalya were surreal! I’m still very busy at work at InspirEngage International delivering our skills Bootcamps as well as doing quite a few professional speaking gigs. I find the energy and it’s all fine- but the problem is what to wear that is professional and comfortable at the same time! I’m thankful that at least it’s the season for flip-flops and sandals!

Poolside at the baby moon!

Here are some of our fave shots…

Earlier today, I read an instagram post from one of the entrepreneurs I follow (Manny Khoshbin) that stated: ‘What goes on on my head: A constant hustle, Gratitude and yes Disappointment that there is so much more I can do.”

It was the last sentiment that grabbed my attention. I found it a very honest reflection and one I can truly relate to. In the course of building a business, and experiencing a level of success, as well as feeling inspired and grateful, you also develop a ‘nagging friend’ who sits on your shoulder saying you could do so much more. There is a positive correlation between success and the volume of the ‘nagging voice’. This is because the more you achieve, the more you become aware that you have an ability to make things happen, and the more aware you are of this, the more you feel disappointed in yourself for not doing more.

This is something which you have to find a fine balance to and manage. But here’s the thing. Funnily enough it is exactly that mindset of a self-critical attitude which allows you to motivate yourself to achieve more, so accept that sense of ‘disappointment’- stop being too hard on yourself but at the same time be grateful that you have that feeling which is keeping you on track.

Keen to hear your thoughts- do you ever experience this feeling of disappointment that follows from a achievement? Do you find it’s productive and motivating? Tweet me your views @Melody_Hossaini.

For more on mindset and why ‘Personal Responsibility is Vital to Success’, read my previous blog.

Melody