Entrepreneur Ana Manduley believes American women business owners are missing a big opportunity by not expanding globally. A champion of women in STEM and international collaboration in all of her numerous entrepreneurial and executive roles over the past 25 years, Ana shares her tips on global networking, mentoring and more.
Melinda Wittstock: Ana, welcome to Wings.
Ana Manduley: Melinda, thank you so very much for having me.
Melinda Wittstock: It's wonderful, what you're doing with your new startup to support and lift woman all over the world, not just here in the United States. I'm curious, what is inspiring you most on your journey right now?
Ana Manduley: Well, what is inspiring me right now is an organization, which is called UAE-AFRICA Mentoring Development Consortium, UAMDC. We have an amazing team globally, in terms of not only women but across the board that we support Australia, India, the US, the UAE and we're building bridges together all in the same goals, and in passion that really is basically about exceeding and lifting and championing our women mentors that are part of our journey and be like to do this globally and it's all about global collaboration so it's really exciting to see it all coming together on the same path.
Melinda Wittstock: That's wonderful. What do you see as some of the main issues or perhaps differences between what women entrepreneurs experience in the rest of the world outside the United States, are they the same challenges or slightly different?
Ana Manduley: I would say they have the same challenges of course, in other countries you may have, emerging countries, you may have things like infrastructure problems and a lot of the women, they may be more of a male oriented society so they have to fight harder but I still see them succeeding and there really are mentors. So if we see all the wonderful things that they do against the law it really gives us so much opportunity and we know that we can not only help them but there's no excuse for us not to do well in the US and other parts of the world so it's amazing to see the resilience.
Melinda Wittstock: Do women tend to launch different types of businesses, talk to me specifically about say the UAE and the Arab world.
Ana Manduley: I would say they have similar, I know for example in the UAE there's a lot of effort with STEM support and the current government, they're doing a lot with technology support and so firms in that realm and a lot of the youth leaders are really coming on board and they're really putting together a great team of not only supporting champion women, which is great to see, and also youth, but I would see a lot of STEM related careers are flourishing in the UAE and of course that's kind of coming on to other countries, that's our name UAE-AFRICA Mentoring Development because we want to build bridges with them. They're a great mentor for other countries as well as working with the US, in addition.
Melinda Wittstock: Music to my ears, you know, women who are educated in STEM and have just much better chance of creating nice, scalable, disruptive businesses so that's awesome what you're doing in that area. I'm curious, what are some of the main challenges that you're finding and you're seeing women finding, whether we look at it in terms of building bridges and sort of finding ways to mentor each other across the world or just specifically get those businesses launched and growing and scaling. What are the main challenges?
Ana Manduley: I would say like it is here, you know trying to get the right funding, the right resources, we see a lot of educated women even in other parts of the world but again its getting that right kind of networking. And I feel that having women networking and mentoring makes a big difference globally, there's some great organizations and of course as you're saying and as many others, if we come together it just makes such a big difference and I'm seeing that, even with our company how we're all helping whether in the UAE or Global Mentors or the UAE or here in the US and of course we work back in Africa, but I see still the same challenges with funding, that's a major thing but I think training as well, so we're trying to get a lot of our mentors that are in STEM to really come together and help in the training to build the next leaders in STEM and other passionate careers.
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Melinda Wittstock: Lovely. So in all your experience, you know across corporate, across government, across NGOs, and being an entrepreneur yourself, what are your top three go to pieces of advice for women who are either thinking of taking the entrepreneurial leap or are already in it and trying to figure out how to get up off the start up sticky floor and really scale their companies?
Ana Manduley: I think like in anything it's having the corporate background as that supportive [inaudible 00:06:07 for many years it's to really work on projects that inspire you and I think that really transforms it into a business that you're trying to build because if you're starting your business or if you have a passion for your business you'll give it your all if it's something you really have the heart for, and as you're going out lets say you're trying to pitch to other potential investors, they'll see right through you, they'll see if you really are there if 24/7 is your child then you want to make a difference and I feel that a lot of countries, or at least I see a lot of societies now they understand that it's a global collaboration and we're trying to build economies and having a unity with then the different groups and also we feel, at least as a woman, it's very important to have male mentors in addition to women mentors, so make sure that you have, they always say about eight mentors in your world, if not more.
Mentoring is really important so if you don't have expertise make sure you go out and get it. I think there's a lot more resources even more so now, and the world is really flat so it's amazing how you see companies that are going international for that fact that its really becoming global and it seems like everybody really wants to help women, even much more now. And I see it's really great, so exciting to be in this time and be a woman and to champion other women.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh yes, the mentoring is so important, and not only in terms of finding a mentor for yourself but paying it forward by mentoring others at the same time, to lift others up. There's always someone that you're one month ahead of, you know? That you can help.
Ana Manduley: Absolutely Melinda, I agree with you wholeheartedly.
Melinda Wittstock: And so you mentioned something interesting about the world being flat, are there lots of opportunities for women in the US to really think globally? I think sometimes women launch businesses that are unnecessarily small. We could be seizing global markets, rather than just thinking about serving the US or even local markets. Do we think big enough? Can we think bigger?
Ana Manduley: Oh, yes, absolutely. I have all these projects that are coming together now and we're bringing women from the US, from other countries, and you have to look at other emerging nations, we're working a lot in Ghana, and looking at South Africa and other parts of the world and again, it's amazing how with our group, we're championing a lot of American women and of course other women that have expertise in STEM and transformation, and oil and gas, you name it. And I think it's really, the world is your oyster, and you never [inaudible 00:08:57 small enough. You have to think that you have a lot of talent and you have to share worldwide so you never know, you have to really reach out and that's when networking, having a good tribe of women mentors is really key.
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Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. So what other advice do you have?
Ana Manduley: I always say, always be positive. Another thing I would say learn to say “no”. Because a lot of times as women we tend to say yes to everything, so I think we mean well but I think it's good sometimes to have your priorities and make sure that you stay creative and I feel that taking care of your health is key in staying creative and being able to help other women in the journey, now and for your business or in life.
Melinda Wittstock: That's so important. So Anna, how can people find you and work with you?
Ana Manduley: They can find me at a website, uae-africamentoringdevelopmentconsortium.com and also I'd be happy to give you my number its 1-(301) 538 3976, that's direct.
Melinda Wittstock: Alright, well thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Ana Manduley: Thank you Melinda for all that you do, you're awesome. You're the best mentor ever.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness, thank you.
Ana Manduley: Thank you very much.