We had the pleasure of sitting down with the inspirational Mompreneur behind one of Dubai’s business stars, Bon Education, Anna Batchelder.
Mompreneurs WW: Tell us about your company…
Anna: We are learning designers and consultants. Like architects and urban planners, we work with our clients to design, build and implement small- and large-scale learning and development initiatives.
We have two sides of our business:
- Custom education program development– where we design bespoke education and training programs for our clients’ employees and customers.
- Bon for Work– where we work with companies to align their people strategy with their business strategy. We work with organizational leaders to create a talent development strategy. We then support implementation of the strategy through learning and development consulting, leadership coaching, team development and people analytics services.
Our clients include organizations such as Google, Microsoft, Jumeirah Group, Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, Mubadala, CISCO, Scholastic, Meydan and others. To learn more about what we do, I welcome you to visit www.boneducation.com.
Mompreneurs WW: How did the idea of starting it come about and who inspired you?
Anna: I moved to Dubai in 2008 because my husband got a job here. Back then, there were very few jobs in my area of expertise and interest – designing and implementing learning programs.
At the time my friend was starting a fashion company in the region and she encouraged me to start a company as well. I took a short course for females interested in entrepreneurship. With moral support from my friends and husband, I decided to set-up Bon Education. A year later, my husband joined me in the business and we now have team members in the USA and UAE.
Mompreneurs WW: What is the best part of what you do and the toughest?
Anna: I love what we do because we help organizations achieve their business goals through learning. We’ve worked with companies across a variety of industries from hospitality, to food and beverage, to technology, to education, to government, to automotive to banking. We get to learn about the complexity and nuances of these businesses while sharing what we know a lot about – learning and development, design, facilitation, coaching and education content development.
The most challenging part of my work is time management – balancing running and growing a business while at the same time being a mom!
Mompreneurs WW: How many kids do you have and how old are they?
Anna: I have three kids – ages 5, 3 and 1.
Mompreneurs WW: How do you juggle work and life balance?
Anna: I start my day with me time! Every day from 6-7am I work out and set my goals and intentions for the day. I do the school run. I work from 8:30 – 3:30pm, spend time with the kids from 3:30 – 8pm and then spend time with my husband and work into the evening.
I have a great nanny, schools I trust (Clarion School and Kids Island Nursery) and a network of family and friends I can call on for support! I also work regularly with an executive coach. I find it really clarifying to talk things out with her and to respond to her powerful questions.
I also spend every Saturday afternoon carefully planning the week to incorporate work, family and life priorities for the week. Without that weekly planning session, I would be lost!
Mompreneurs WW: What’s a book you always recommend and why?
Anna: I listen to a ton of podcasts for my daily information diet. My favorite ones are How I Built This(where I get inspiration from other entrepreneurs that have built huge companies from scratch), The Pitch(where I listen to founders pitch for VC funding and hear how the VCs respond) and Oprah SuperSoul Sunday(who doesn’t love Oprah?!).
Mompreneurs WW: What advice would you give a Mompreneur who was just starting out?
Anna: You are the artist of your own business, life and life style. Take tim
e to really vision the life you want to create. Revisit and refine that vision regularly. Know your values an
d use them as a compass for decision-making. Hire people that inspire you and fill in/complement your skill gaps.
Mompreneurs WW: Your favorite quote is…
Anna:“Do you have the discipline to be a free spirit?” Gabrielle Roth (Founder, 5Rhythms)