Melody Hossaini, founder of InspirEngage International, offers Skills Bootcamps that enable individuals to be confident, work-ready and socially enterprising.
What inspired you to create InspirEngage International?
I’m an accidental social entrepreneur of sorts! I began volunteering in my community and co-founded a youth organisation at the age of 13 so by the time I finished university I had developed 10 years of experience in community engagement. I completed a qualifying Law degree but decided that I would much rather follow my passion and support people in making the change they want to see in themselves. At the time, I felt that there was a gap in real life skills training. Learning life skills wasn’t like learning Math equations, it wasn’t as black and white. First, you must develop a person’s confidence and mindset so we designed the InspirEngage Bootcamps and took it across the world in varied communities and ages until we felt like the content truly would create impact for individuals. Once the skills and mindset have been developed, people can make an impact and be happier, and that’s what the world needs.
What innovative methods do you use at InspirEngage to encourage growth in individuals?
We created ‘Energy-Wave Disruption’. On an everyday basis, our energy wave floats in the middle. Then, when something great or bad happens, our energy wave goes up and down, and it’s at those moments that a window opens for real change. So, what makes our InspirEngage Bootcamps different is that we create this ‘Energy-Wave Disruption’ within the Bootcamp. We use shock-tactics that open this window and achieve change and people walk out differently to when they came in. The other thing which we are proud of is that we use ‘in-room application’ because what’s the point in learning theoretical things and going away not knowing how to apply it? That’s the most important step, we allow participants of our Bootcamps to use everything they have learned within the Bootcamp. It’s experiential learning and people are always shocked by the level of interactivity and informality we use in the Bootcamps.
What life skills do individuals need to succeed in today’s world and why?
As we head into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the future requires a very different set of skills for future generations. The top 10 skills needed have one thing in common, they are essentially human skills, something a robot cannot do; and these are what we call life skills and what sits at the heart of the InspirEngage Bootcamps. One of the most important skills I would say is emotional intelligence. This is something I am very passionate about helping people develop and have been doing a lot of work in preparing people for the future world of work.
What advice do you have for individuals to boost their self-esteem in the workplace?
Having confidence is truly what unlocks the vast amount of potential each person is sitting on. I am coaching so many individuals on our ‘Invest in Yourself’ programme who hold senior positions or aspire to be more successful and simply want to be more confident. Here’s the thing – the common misconception of confidence is that ‘you should not care what people think’ and this is utterly misleading and an unrealistic aspiration. As a social entrepreneur and someone who considers myself very confident, I care deeply about what people think and how I am perceived. However, what people think does not necessarily affect the view I hold and know to be true of myself and for me, that’s the key. I also think communication is key in the workplace. For example, if you don’t know, ask; you did something great, speak up; you did something wrong, acknowledge it and learn. Open communication needs to be a core part of the culture of each workplace. We need more people speaking to each other, openly, face-to-face and less people whispering in the coffee room afterwards and causing misunderstandings and separation.
Could you share some success stories of individuals you’ve worked with that either created their enterprise or grew into more confident versions of themselves?
We deliver a programme called ‘Startup & Stilettos’ training women from vulnerable backgrounds to become economically active by setting up their own social enterprise. I met a lady who was such a talented artist, a newly separated single mother, struggling financially and yet had such a passion for helping her community. Through the programme and her sheer determination, she was able to launch her own social enterprise, selling her art and using the profits to run an art play session for children from deprived communities. She was truly an inspiration for other women. I also coach people individually on a programme called ‘Invest in Yourself’ (nothing works if you don’t!), and have been honoured to be a part of so many people’s journeys, including a highly successful individual who suffered from anxiety and lack of confidence and began to really fulfill her potential at work, get her promotion and even feel happier in her personal life.