With a network of more than 600 professionals from every industry, the mentor program is the crown jewel of 1871. Every day, mentors dedicate their time and expertise guiding our members from issues ranging from legal to tech and everywhere in between, forming valuable relationships and producing concrete outcomes. This week, we say hello to Awatif Yahya, Founder of Awe Horizons and Director of Strategic Partnerships at Ama La Vida.
- What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started in business?
Life is too short to slave it away at work; that's not to say my career isn't important to me -- it definitely is, but at the same time, it doesn't define who I am.
- What skills do you think are the most important for an entrepreneur to have?
Entrepreneurs need to be flexible and adaptable and they have to be able to manage change.
- What did you have to learn the hard way in your professional life?
I learned that being a perfectionist often slows you down and brings many unnecessary frustrations to your professional and personal life. You have to accept that things can go wrong, you have to let go, and you have to be able to manage change; that's going to be a lot harder if you're always aiming for perfection.
- What is one piece of advice you would give to a rising entrepreneur?
Be patient and be persistent, your efforts will yield results.
- Who was a role model to you when you were coming up in your field?
My greatest role models are my parents because their perseverance is second to none. In my professional life, I used to always look up to great managers, but thinking deep about this question now, I would say my greatest role model was a junior employee who reported to me. He was always cheerful, and he was always willing to try new things out to see if they would work. I must confess, I was frustrated with him at times because I was impatient and wanted to have the perfect solution ready at all times. I have grown since then and now I appreciate his attitude towards business and life in general; he didn't sweat the small stuff, he just brushed them off and kept going.
Now for the fun stuff...
- What is your personal mantra? You will never grow unless you try and do something beyond what you've already mastered.
- Which song is the soundtrack to your life? Tainted Love by Soft Cell.
- Where is your favorite spot in Chicago? The back of Adler Planetarium. You can see the entire skyline of Chicago from there.
- What do you like to do in your free time? I enjoy hosting house parties because I love cooking and networking.
Are you interested in becoming a mentor or teaching a workshop at 1871? Learn more here.