“Keep your Goal Alive…” Mona Makkawi, Founder of Konsult

  1. What are the challenges that you think women face in the consulting world?

In today’s world, the challenges women face are not exclusively in the consulting world, as the dominance of the patriarchy attach its claws to all areas of life;

However, let’s also be realistic and admit that sometimes the biggest challenge women face comes from their own species! I’ve never got the support needed from other women in Business early in my career. So, I made it my mission to be the support I’ve never had, to other women. We must support and empower each other’s.

Here are some incidents that happened to me along the way:

  • On the comments about either being too aggressive or being a doormat, I’ve received comments in both ends of the spectrum. I’ve had a female manager tell me I was “too girly”, and I’ve had people tell me I’m intimidating and bossy. I got the first early in my career and the latter later on so maybe it’s a natural progression. Bottom line: you can’t be everyone’s favorite person, so I stopped focusing on the thing that everyone likes. As long as I deliver, people really don’t care, as long as I do it professionally and ethically. In turn, I ignore feedback that isn’t actionable.
  • Some men sometimes make inappropriate comments and sexualize without realizing. No, it’s not always intended harassment. People often say “not so clever” things without thinking. You work together for 10 hours and then have dinner/drinks together. People can’t be at their best the whole time. But if someone makes me uncomfortable, I reciprocate, and I expect men to take it as well as they dish it out.

 

  1. The previous company you worked at was Management Solutions, which is now mastered and matured into Konsult. Can you tell us more about this professional career upgrade and what is behind it?

I founded Management Solutions Lebanon back in 2009, to cater Lebanon and GCC for all matters related to HR & Management Consultancy, Executive search, and Recruitment.

Konsult holds at heart the same concept of Management Solutions, with one slight difference, that I am now enriched with thirteen years of experience, making Konsult the mature product of Management Solutions and a strongly skilled reference that provides solutions for companies.

Throughout these thirteen years, I have held many managerial titles, moved forward in my career, and got introduced to different industries among which oil and gas, electro-mechanical engineering, renewable Energy FMCG, food manufacturing, retail, fashion design, NGO’s, food packaging. This supplement Konsult with multidisciplinary approaches and highlight its qualifications to tailor made solutions for these industries. Add to it of course the training and coaching part which we didn’t use to provide at Management Solutions.

 

  1. Switching gears, what advice would you give someone who’s just starting out in their career?

The first advice I give people is to believe in themselves and to never stop investing in their knowledge.

To be humble and always be hungry to learn, remember sometimes you are required to unlearn to learn. The world is evolving, and nothing should be set in stones.

The business world is changing every day and so are we, if we don’t progress with it, we will be doomed to fail.

Keep your heads high in the sky, but most importantly make your feet firmly grounded as nothing kills a career more than arrogance.

Be helpful to everyone that crosses your career path, as we elevate by lifting others.

Be very mindful of your social media posts, as this is where recruiters are doing their background checks nowadays, and you do not want to give the wrong impression or message as a young professional.

 

  1. What obstacles have you faced throughout your career path, but you have managed to surpass them?

Since a very young age, I knew that to survive this VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) I had to develop many skills and to be very flexible.

There is no such thing as a career without challenges, and I even consider it boring, but the key here is to use all the obstacles to build yourself a shield, a ladder and steppingstones that will further you in your professional life.

The ultimate challenge that faces all Lebanese living in Lebanon, not only me, is the overall uncertainty (Political, Economic, Social…); therefore, if one could maneuver this, he/she will be able to see opportunity at every obstacle.

 

  1. We have found out that the steps you took in your career journey are broad and limitless. To what extent were you able to stay focused among all other responsibilities and areas you have been present in?

As a mom and a professional, it is easy to sometimes get off-track. The key here is to always keep your goal alive, not only keeping an eye on your goal.

What I mean by keeping your goal alive is to update your goal(s) and vision continuously and periodically, because we often do not notice that life is changing and so are we!

So basically, what I do is to always search within myself, always work on updating my goals and my vision.

There will always be distractions, but if you know the destination, you will ultimately reach it.

 

  1. Who are the industries mostly concerned with Konsult?

As I mentioned before, Konsult draws on the experience of Local, regional, and international consultants and trainers from many fields and industries therefore, industries that are concerned with Konsult are FMCG, Electro-Mechanical Engineering, Food Manufacturing, Food Packaging, Fashion Design, Retail, Oil and Gaz, Renewable Energy, Universities, NGO’s etc.…

 

  1. Can you share with us some tips to be taken by fresh graduates who are applying for Jobs?

I am really impressed by the youth and fresh grads of today, they really know what they want and are not afraid to ask for it. If I were to give them a few tips, it would be the following:

  • Have confidence in your abilities, but also be eager to learn
  • Although it is true that the digital world changed careers and lives, and that nowadays you have easy access to information, please never underestimate the years of experience of the older generations, as some things are only learned by time. Give yourself time to learn and never burn stages.
  • Never be discouraged by the first career roadblocks. They will never cease to appear; you will get better at overcoming them.
  • Write your goals and hang them on a vision board, and never be afraid to dream big, but also know that the bigger the dream the harder the effort.

 

  1. Now that you have opened Konsult, what are you exactly expecting or looking forward to in the future?

At Konsult, our mission is to assist businesses in optimizing their performance through developing their Human Resources and Management Systems to deliver high quality services.

We do this by transferring our skills and expertise to clients from a multitude of sectors, to support them in mastering these skills, to optimize their processes, adding value to organizations, and obtain intra-preneurial and entrepreneurial skills that will have a dual impact on success rates and the bottom line. Holding in mind the vision of being the Human Capital and Management Partner of choice for Professionals, Entrepreneurs and Enterprise.

 

  1. Finally, what are your tips for growing a company?

I strongly believe in the saying “you don’t build a business; you build people and then people build the business” by Zig Ziglar

This is the most truthful saying, as you cannot grow a company without taking good care of its people, who makes the business? People do.

Therefore, my advice to all Business owners out there is to never stop investing in their people, it will not only make the business grow, but it will also create loyalty, accountability and sustainability for the business and the people in it.

Another tip would be to always be updated on the trends in the business and never be afraid of the fast-happening transformation, digital or other. Whether you are B2B or B2C you must always invest in the business trends that suits your industry.

Always hire subject matter experts, as you will be amazed by the return on investment, as the cost of hiring unqualified people is painful for the business finances and will affect the bottom line immensely.

Embrace the Empowerment