Joining the group of Female Disruptors today is Mona Bijoor. Simply put, she’s a force. Her deliberate balance of drive and compassion yields a passionate leader and mindful mentor for today’s entrepreneur. She knows that success is never one person’s job, decides to channel any fear of failure into positive energy and relies on her support system for success.
Here’s the scoop:
Home Base? 🏠
Brooklyn, New York
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
When did the entrepreneur light bulb go off? 💡
The light bulb for my first business switched while I was pregnant with my second child ten years ago. I was writing a blog every day about fashion and retail and I was on the lookout to solve pain points in this industry with the goal of ultimately starting a fashion brand. One day, I had an epiphany and realized that I should not be launching my own brand (there were so many out there already), rather I should be creating a platform for brands and retailers to connect and transact online. So I did that.
What advice would you give other women wanting to start a biz?
How do you bring goodness to the world?
None of us can achieve success without some adversity along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are so many people that have helped or supported me along the way. Success is never a one-person job. But I find that many times it’s a brief conversation that can have a meaningful impact on your life.
An early turning point for me was in high school when a close family friend who was a couple of years older, said that she was nervous about getting into a good college. She was on track to becoming valedictorian of her class. I looked at her and thought if she was going to have trouble, then I certainly would have an issue! Through that dialogue, she taught me how to channel my fear of failure in a positive way. I also learned that intelligence doesn’t mean anything without passion and consistency of hard work.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why?
- Value the Distinction between Intensity and Consistency. In any business, times can get intense–finishing a project by a given deadline, launching a new product line by a certain date, hiring 10 people before year-end. Many people believe that you have to be intense all the time. Sure, building a successful business does require periods of intensity, but you are likely to burn out if you are always intense. Building a successful business is a long game and success is really made up of all the things that you do consistently day in and day out—servicing clients with superior service, shipping on time, and hitting profitability.
- You Don’t Need to be Liked. Many leaders tear themselves apart because they want to be liked by everyone: their team, clients, and their shareholders. But being a strong leader means making good decisions—and as a result, you aren’t going to be liked 100% of the time. Getting comfortable with making hard decisions that don’t please everyone, but are in line with your ultimate vision—is a requirement for the job.
- Define Success and Measure It. When you build a team, you need to be explicit about what success looks like for each position. It’s your job to articulate clearly upfront the expectations (before a person accepts the role) and to have a scorecard in place so that there is no ambiguity on whether he/she is meeting expectations.
- Give Feedback Often. A scorecard is helpful because it’s black and white, however, qualitative feedback is important, too. Giving positive feedback reinforces the behavior that you want to see more often. When you see things that a team member needs to improve, make sure you explain how the changes tie back to the company’s values and also show them how to do it.
- Celebrate Successes. When something great happens, acknowledge it. Otherwise, the difference between great and not-so-great won’t register in your teams’ brains. When every day feels the same, motivations could slip. I like celebrating by sharing food or doing a non-work related activity together. When people feel good, it triggers the release of happy hormones, leading our brains to think, “I want to feel this way again, so I need to keep doing more of what I’m doing.” Taking time to pause and celebrate helps everyone enjoy the journey and reinforces team camaraderie.
Favorite “Life Lesson Quote” ✒️
“…nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great ever came out of imitations. The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect [in the way people expect] and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
– Journalist and author, Anna Quindlen
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I’ve said this in the past, but I love Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo.
In business, she forged her own path and always stayed true to her values and Indian heritage. Ms. Nooyi found a way to achieve success without giving up who she is in the process.
Secret talent? 💃🏼
Hip hop dance
Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Where will social media in five years ⏰
Social media will become more intimate and private. Fewer likes by people whom you don’t know, less focus on followers and more one on one and meaningful exchanges.
Favorite drink order? ☕️
My husband’s Really Spicy Bloody Mary
Favorite Instagram Account?
Not active on it.
My Macbook Pro
Favorite Way to Decompress?
Laughing hard with my kids
“The real point is that with any setback, professional or personal, you must get over the delusion that you cannot do “it” again—whatever that “it” is for you.”
my latest on @thrive: As A Founder Who Stepped Down – My Advice to WeWork
— Mona Bijoor (@MonaBijoor) October 16, 2019
Women You Admire?
I admire a lot of women, but my mom showed me early on that you could be a successful entrepreneur and mother—and still take care of yourself. She takes her health seriously and explores lots of ways to nurture herself and keep her energy high. It’s probably why she looks like she is 50 instead of 70.
What are you excited about for this year?
I am excited about my book tour in October and November to promote my debut book, Startups and Downs—The Secrets of Resilient Entrepreneurs. The US book tour is this fall and then I’m on to Europe and Asia in early 2020. Having the opportunity to meet so many entrepreneurs across different industries gives me so much inspiration!
Mona’s infectious passion for entrepreneurship is inspiring. Mark your calendars for her upcoming book tour and score your chance to meet this gracious gal in person.
About Female Disruptors
Female Disruptors is a passion project by Lisa Buyer, designed to spotlight women who are disruptors in their space. You don’t need a bestselling book to be a female disruptor—you need passion, vision, focus, compassion, determination and a burning desire to share this with the world.
Spark your ambition with more inspirational stories of women breaking down barriers: