''Saying Yes, when I was afraid of what it would mean, And actually thought to myself - I can't do that''
Anastasia is the Founder of FeMentor - The First Reverse Mentoring Startup In Europe. She has taken the challenge to answer our 20 Truth Questions, For us to get some insight, And learn the Truth about the person behind the venture.
I'd Like To Offer:
- Myself as a keynote speaker on topics such as reverse mentoring, And how to best reach Gen Z.
- My book: https://shop.haufe.de/prod/gegruendet
My TRUTH Story:
1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF IN THE THIRD PERSON TO A CROWD OF 10,000+ PEOPLE? Anastasia Barner is one of the youngest female founders in Germany. She founded the first Reverse Mentoring Startup in Europe called "FeMentor" where she helps females find mentors of all ages for free. She gave her first TEDx Talk in 2022 about the Role models of Tomorrow, And has published her first book with the Haufe Publishing House in October 2023.
2. WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF A TRUTH FOUNDER? A truth-finder is someone who doesn't give up, who perceives hurdles as opportunities. Someone who sets out to make a difference even in the face of headwinds, And believes in herself and her mission, even if no one else does.
3. WHAT EVENT OR EVENTS HAPPENED TO YOU THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A FOUNDER? I think no one is a better motivator than yourself. I identified a problem by keeping my eyes open; And within 2 weeks I found a solution to the problem. In my opinion, This is the best way to found a startup in which you want to change something where there is no solution yet, And not to create an artificial market.
4. WHAT IS YOUR MORNING ROUTINE & RITUAL? THIS is a question I get asked a lot in podcast interviews, and to be honest (that's the point) I don't have a particular ritual. I wish I could fit the ideal founder image and say I get up every morning at 5:00am with a smile on my face and drink water with lemon. The truth is, I take off my sleeping mask, reach for my cell phone, and check my e-mails before I slip into the kitchen and make myself a cup of black tea. That's usually how my morning ends and the workday begins.
5. WHAT MANTRA,QUOTE,LINE OR PHRASE DO YOU SAY OFTEN TO INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE YOURSELF? "Will this still be on my mind five years from now?" Especially when I have to struggle with problems, which you unfortunately have more than enough as a founder, I always ask myself if I will still be thinking about this problem in 5 years. Most of the time the answer is no, And I take a breath and move on.
6. WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD CARE ABOUT YOUR VENTURE? FeMentor has been around since 2019 and interest is growing steadily, confirming that the need for female mentors is more relevant than ever. We want interpersonal encounters, encounters with role models and that at eye level. I myself am generation Z and can understand the desire to exchange ideas with people whom have already had a career, or still have a career. Moreover, FeMentor's target group is women who are increasingly looking for ways to empower themselves and other women.
7. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU ARE THE ONE TO MAKE YOUR VENTURE A SUCCESS? One secret to my success is that I have put my ego on the back burner early on. FeMentor stands alone and doesn't have my face all over it. We have so many wonderful women that we want to give equal visibility and attention to, not just the ones who have more reach or anything else. I started FeMentor because I know how important a network is and not everyone has access to one. This motivation is one of the reasons why I love what I do every day.
8. WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND FOR YOUR VENTURE? I think as a founder, at some point you can't really separate that anymore. My professional success doesn't define me, but nevertheless my work gives me an incredible amount. When i see the lives of others change for the better because of our work, it's an incredible feeling of happiness and success. Just as it fulfills me personally when I notice that people are inspired.
9. ANSWER THESE AS MANY TIMES AS YOU LIKE - I BELIEVE... I DON'T BELIEVE... I believe founding a venture was the best thing that happened to me. I don´t believe that founding a venture is for everyone (a bit controversial). I believe that following your gut feeling will bring success to you. I don´t believe that reading motivational books will bring you further into your career. I believe staying humble is a secret to success. I don´t believe you need to be a founder to be happy. I believe that staying truthful will bring happiness.
10. WHAT'S ONE DECISION YOU MADE AS A FOUNDER THAT COMPLETELY CHANGED THE COURSE OF YOUR JOURNEY? Saying yes. Yes, even though I was afraid of what that would mean. Saying yes when I wasn't actually ready. To say yes when I actually thought "I can't do that yet".
11. WHAT DO YOU REGARD AS YOUR GREATEST SUCCESS PERSONALLY & AS A FOUNDER? By saying yes, I was able to completely check off my bucket list at the age of 23. This is my greatest success personally, because within 9 years I have achieved everything I hoped and dreamed of so far. This makes me proud, because now I have even more time to fulfill the dreams of others and help them achieve them faster.
12. WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHY? That I have remained true to myself, although that is not always easy, especially with a certain amount of success. And that I consider and treat the people around me, always at eye level. Regardless of whether I am subordinate or superior.
13. WHAT'S ONE THING YOU CAN IMPROVE ABOUT YOURSELF, AND WHY DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE NOT DONE IT BY NOW? I could be better at taking things more easy. I have the feeling that I am sometimes under pressure and also suffer from Fomo when I am not on the road all day or doing something productive. I blame this on my age, And would like to practice more inner peace.
14. WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'VE EVER RECEIVED OR GIVEN, OR BOTH? Open your network to grow it.
15. ON A SCALE FROM 1 TO 10 - 10 BEING THE BEST. HOW WELL DO YOU THINK YOU AND YOUR TRUTH STORY IS CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD BY YOUR COMMUNITY? ( WHY NOT 10? ) I guess at the moment it's around 7. I use social media as my mouthpiece, which allows me to use my voice while communicating my values and knowledge. However, social media is difficult because things can be mistaken and I am misunderstood when I make certain statements; And the way I dress. I think people don't always understand or like me, And that's absolutely fine with me.
16. WHO DO YOU MOST ADMIRE AND WHY? I've been able to meet so many personalities, including the Queen of Sweden, Gorbatschow, Elon Musk and many others. However, the person who is my first rolemodel and the reason why I am in the world, Is the person I admire the most: my mother. She has given me not only life, but always her love, the knowledge that she is behind me and the belief in me. For that I will be forever grateful.
17. DESCRIBE YOUR VENTURE - ELEVATOR PITCH STYLE? FeMentor is the first reverse mentoring platform in Europe. We've expanded globally since 2022, helping women find a free mentor from another generation. We build bridges between Gen Z, Millennials and the Boomer generation, who hardly ever meet anymore in our time. We enable access to knowledge, network and potential business partners.
18. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT MISSION STATEMENT OR MESSAGE + MARKET FIT FOR YOUR VENTURE? We are currently helping companies and universities set up their own reverse mentoring programs to learn more about intergenerational learning. We also help women to find professional opportunities that are fairly paid and enable management positions. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, companies have a strong interest in recruiting better.
19. WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AFTER A LONG WORK DAY? When I want to relax, I bake or cook. I also like reading and sitting in the sun, It helps me immensely.
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU TREATED YOURSELF TO AND WHAT DID YOU CELEBRATE? I always build small rewards into my day. Be it an iced latte, a snack or just time for myself. I definitely celebrated handing in my book manuscript. I feel my book is the beginning of something new that contains many truths.
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