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’

 

 

Today is InspirEngage Intrenational’s 7th birthday. I found myself reflecting on the journey thus far and why we do what we do. I often tell this story as something which puts the work of @inspirengage into perspective for me… it’s about a boy called Ashley…

A few years ago, I was doing a piece of work for Barclays bank on improving financial systems to help the homeless- in partnership with Centrepoint UK. I walk into the room & the young people are shouting, being disrespectful & rowdy. They were there mostly as they were getting a voucher. But very quickly, we had an understanding. I made it clear that I can’t possibly understand what they’re going through, but that this is an opportunity to create change. A change which would help future young people in their situation. I promised to do all I could personally to take it back to Barclays. All of a sudden when we cut the bs, they felt valued. They started putting their hands up to speak & began sharing their incredible stories. I listened & typed as quickly as I could whilst also trying to hold the tears back. They were stories you could barely imagine. These young people had witnessed scenes which a young person should not even see in films- never mind call their life.

There was this one boy- Ashley, who at the start was the most badly behaved. He admitted he goes to lengths he’s ashamed of for a piece of bread. This guy literally had nothing. Desperate. Had no one. His honesty showed his vulnerability and cry for help.

At the end of the session, Ashley came up to me. He said; “you know the community work you mentioned you do- how can I get involved to give back?” That moment changed everything for me. Here’s a guy who doesn’t have bread- has nothing but wants to GIVE BACK. (it still makes me emotional after all these years.)

I put him in touch with local @UKYP (who I was working with at the time) and he got involved in creating change by volunteering. Ashley will never know how much of an impact he made on me. It’s moments like that, which make us do what we do at @inspirEngage.

Thank you to everyone who inspires us- and who shares our mission as a social enterprise, to do well by doing good.

 

Melody Hossaini

Founder, InspirEngage International

 

 

 

Panel at JWEF Bahrain

Firstly Happy International Women’s Day 2016 to all the fabulous ladies out there and the men who appreciate them! Every IWD I write a blog about a story or message relating to my work on the advancement of women and this one is a special one about a moment that happened very recently that really shocked me and to those who ask ‘but why do we even need IWD still?’ – this is why!

Last month, I was invited to deliver a range of programmes with InspirEngage International in Bahrain. I’m no stranger to the region and had even previously delivered our Bootcamp in Bahrain. This time I was at the Junior World Entrepreneurship Forum- a gathering franchised across the world with the aim of supporting young people to launch their own businesses. Let me paint the scene. It’s day 2 of the conference, 200 people in the room, mostly young people (university students) but on the left side of the auditorium were 50 or so young boys aged 15/16. I’m on stage on a judging panel of an enterprise competition alongside a director of Intel and a gentlemen from one of the UN agencies. He’s talking about the general enterprise community of Bahrain and at one point he asks almost as a rhetorical question aimed at the young boys; “Would you guys ever work under a woman”. Before he’s finished his sentence, a few of the boys shout determinedly; “NO!”

The gentleman pauses but continues his talk generally. Once he’s finished, it’s time to announce the winner of the enterprise competition – but I can’t let it go. I take the mic and say “it’s my moral obligation to challenge you on what you said, in fact it’s all of our social responsibility” – my aim wasn’t to attack but to understand, so I asked if we could speak about it and why they said they would never work under a woman. One of the braver boys who had been most adamant answers “because men are more responsible” This interested me – so I said, “ok so what about if the woman had earned her way justifiably to the senior position – she was great at it, responsible and deserved it – would you work under her then?” – he still said “NO!”

By this point, the gentleman at my side was whispering in my ear to let it go and that they’re just young. The gentleman from the UN was back on the mic by this point saying that in Islam, prophet Mohammad worked for a woman and that it’s important to remember that, but then said something which deeply troubles me; “it’s women who raise children” so basically, if boys think like that then the mother is to blame. They were keen to move things on – and I didn’t even have a mic – so without a mic I persevered (not shown in video clip): I appreciate that every culture is different, religion is different and yes, places like the UK aren’t perfect in equality of gender either (in fact, we also have a long way to go) and this wasn’t about those specific boys, but about us questioning long-held beliefs that we automatically hold and thinking about the consequences of what our beliefs mean. I made the point that raising children and shaping society is more than just women’s responsibility – we all have a power to influence outcomes, and what point would there be to support the girls in the room to launch a business if half the population wouldn’t work for them- especially when Bahrain has no end of talent and potential, which was evident in our Bootcamps. More importantly – our societies are shaped by what we think, say and do; it wasn’t immediately about those boys but about the message it would give out to accept those views.

As I spoke passionately – I looked around at the faces of the women, wondering if they would step in or had a view on it. But the room was silent.

After the panel - the reaction of girls and boys

Interestingly, afterwards, a notable number of the women came up to me thanking me for speaking up, saying they were horrified too. We had an interesting conversation but I made it clear- “next time you hear something which you think should change and is wrong; in your own respectful way, speak up or you’re part of the problem”. I look up and 2 of the young boys from that group were there too – one said “we just wanted to come up to you and apologise on our friend’s behalf- hope it didn’t offend you.” I replied; “Thank you so much – that’s very mature of you. This isn’t about me and it’s not personal. This is about us provoking thought to create change. Here’s an idea – why don’t you go back to school and suggest to a teacher to have a discussion with the boys about this issue”. That was my bottom line aim in speaking out- not for people to adopt my thinking but to provoke thought and let people question opinions they’d previously held without considering an alternative. That’s how change starts.

We are all part of the solution.

For all enquiries: melody@inspirEngage.com
Tweet/ Ig: @Melody_Hossaini
Web: MelodyHossaini.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This must be the top issue raised by young people. Sorry, but if you graduate or even finish school and have zero experience, then what were you doing in your most time-rich period? You can get involved in so many fun things, meet amazing people as well as clock up years of experience.

A lot of employers are now telling us that they are rating experience on par with qualifications, if not higher. I started in the youth and community sector at the age of 13. Now at the age of 31, I have 18 years experience in my sector. Aside from the experience, volunteering allows you to also make a difference in your community. And what you do out of pure choice- for free, says a lot about you. #DoingWellByDoingGood

 

Watch Melody’s Top 10 First Job Vlog (in partnership with the Department for Work & Pensions).

 

For all speaking enquiries, email: info@inspirEngage.com

 

Have a social mission and want to turn it into a business? Recently, I wrote a blog on why Social Enterprise is the best business model: http://www.melodyhossaini.com/2015/01/why-social-enterprise-is-the-best-business-model/. Here’s how to set it up.

The Early Days

Have an idea and still working on the concept? Get your idea onto a one pager- what the outline is and why it’s needed, who it’s intended to benefit and what it’s going to do. It’s always good to run this by a couple of people in the sector. They may be able to offer you input at this early stage to make sure you consider your options and start the right way.

A social enterprise is a business- different to having a hobby you’re passionate about, or a charitable model. Social Enterprise, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, is still a business. If you’re sure this is the right model for you, this is how you register your business.

Setting up a social enterprise

You must choose a business structure if you’re starting a business that helps people or communities (a ‘social enterprise’). If you want to set up a business that has social, charitable or community-based objectives, you can set up as a:

If you’re setting up a small organisation like a sports club or a voluntary group and don’t plan to make a profit, you can form an ‘unincorporated association’ instead of starting a business.

Community interest companies (CICs)

A CIC is a special type of limited company which exists to benefit the community rather than private shareholders.

To set up a CIC, you need to apply to Companies House, and:

  • include a ‘community interest statement’, explaining what your business plans to do
  • create an ‘asset lock’- a legal promise stating that the company’s assets will only be used for its social objectives, and setting limits to the money it can pay to shareholders
  • get your company approved by the community interest company regulator – your application will automatically be sent to them

The CIC regulator has guidance on CICs, including the forms you need to set one up.

Mutuals

Co-operatives and industrial and provident societies are both types of mutual. A mutual is an organisation owned by, and run for, the benefit of its members.

 

Find out about legal forms for social enterprise.

There are also opportunities to invest in local enterprise with community shares or to bid to run a local service.

(Source of registration info: gov.uk)

 

Watch the Socila Enterprise Revolution at TEDxhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95f8RV_YdKY

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just started a business, or thinking of starting one? Then you need to know the following basic essentials! Watch my video interview with expert Accountant Sue Towner with her top 3 tips for startups.

Hope it’s helpful. Your thoughts and questions welcomed as always- tweet us: @InspirEngage/ @Melody_Hossaini