February 11, 2020

Year 2 participant Rehema prepared herself to address the audience at the Dar es Salaam Leadership Summit. She looked out at the crowd and felt her nerves kick into high gear. Desiree, a fellow AWEC entrepreneur, grasped her by the arm and said to her, “What would Aya say?!” before the two shared a smile. She was talking about Aya El Meteiny, who mentors both women throughout their program year. 

Aya El Meteiny is an Egyptian expat currently living in Ireland. Over the course of her career as an engineer, she has had such a passion for encouraging women to empower themselves professionally, especially when they are in the minority. As she enthusiastically says, “I enjoy proving to people that we can do it.” 

This commitment to women’s empowerment prompted her to jump at the opportunity to volunteer as an AWEC Mentor when her employer, Google, deepened its relationship with AWEC in Year 2 of the program. 

Aya’s professional and technical background coupled with her genuine interest in empowering other women has made her an excellent Mentor to AWEC entrepreneurs. She has provided her mentees with guidance and advice on technical improvements to specific business problems, as well as pushing them to set clearer objectives for their professional and business development overall. 

Aya credits her mentorship style to the mentors she’s had herself, saying, “I was blessed to have several mentors in my life and by giving me the room to breathe, it was a really eye-opening experience.” 

Going beyond just providing business solutions, Aya strives to get to know her mentees’ businesses, but also her mentees as people. She describes her approach to mentorship, saying, “I am keen on building those relationships, even outside of AWEC.” 

In addition to regular one-on-one video meetings with her mentees, she maintains open forms of communication, chatting with them via WhatsApp and answering quick questions over email. As she says, “You need to be willing to give that time.” 

“AWEC is an amazing platform enabling you to connect with women from across the continent and the world,” Aya remarked. Her advice to fellow AWEC Mentors? “Be present, be engaged, and grasp the opportunity to share your advice. It can really help.” 

AWEC is currently recruiting mentors for the Year 3 Cohort. If you or your organization is interested in the opportunity to advise African women entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses, please contact Dawn Leaness at [email protected]


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