“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” ― Bill Gates
It really takes the pressure off if you understand that every experience you have, whether you characterize it as “good” or “bad,” is exactly the experience you need to have at that moment. Some choices may lead to more painful lessons than others, but nothing hurts like living in the fear of negative results as the consequences of bad choices. Sometimes our intuition guides us toward those things that we fear the most, so we can push past them and become stronger as a result. Raptly, our future is very sensitive and highly dependent on the present as events that might seem insignificant now can completely transform the future.
By being responsible for our own lives, and being accountable for the decisions we’ve made, we can change our lives for the better. While mentioning about responsible decisions and making fearless choices in life, prompts-up the name of an archetypal innovator who is Marina Tognetti. Marina is the founder and CEO of the leading multi-language global platform for live online language learning mYngle.com.
Marina valiantly took the bold steps in her life as she believes that one of the keys to any successful business is being able to come up with new ideas to keep operations, products and services fresh. She used to ask herself: “What is the worst that can happen?” And then it would turn-out that in most cases it is something that can be managed or corrected or that is not so bad after all.
Taking the responsibility for her choices and the destined results each time, Marina asserts, “I never waited for something or someone to pave my road, but assumed that the first step was on me. If you start from that perspective, you know that ─ no matter what obstacles you encounter (in life or work) ─ you can always move further, strong on your own feet. You are in control, and you feel in control.”
About the Entrepreneur and the Inception Story
Originally from Italy, Marina has lived and worked in different countries and has eventually developed a passion for foreign languages and cultures. Her drive, besides languages, and creating something from scratch, is to leverage the internet to change the traditional world of education from being supply-driven to being demand-driven.
Marina graduated cum laude in Business and Economics from L.U.I.S.S. University in Rome, and holds an MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau (France). Before starting her own company, she had 18 years of professional experience in consumer goods marketing and business development by Procter & Gamble, Philips, Sara Lee; strategy consulting by the Boston Consulting Group and e-commerce/technology by eBay.
Pursuing an ardor for language and neologisms, Marina has developed proficiency in speaking Italian, English, Dutch, French, Spanish and a bit of Mandarin. She was inspired to open a facility for language learning when she herself faced difficulty in learning a new language. She concluded that language learning would be much easier if people could learn languages as if they were living in the country where the language was spoken, benefiting from native teachers through internet connections.
Her quest to provide affordable and high quality online language lessons to thousands of people all over the world impelled her to establish mYngle.com. mYngle offers customized language training programs through video conferencing in 45 different languages anytime, anywhere. The platform provides one-on-one lessons from highly qualified native coaches and insights relevant to the job-position of the learner. mYngle virtual classrooms enable learners to take classes 24/7.
The Pivotal Turnaround Moment
Initially, mYngle was launched as a marketplace, something Marina knew very well from her previous experiences in the industry. But entrepreneurship in reality turned out to be very different than her corporate life. At first Marina and her team thought they had it all: funding, lots of Awards and PR, and extremely motivated individuals to work with. But there were symptoms of a deeper problem. They listened to their customers and followed their wish of quality education, starting to adjust mYngle’s services for the people that had the highest “need” for them. That brought them to a position where companies, more than consumers, were interested in the services they offered. This was another pivotal move wherein the company was to be transformed into B2B from B2C. They implemented everything they wanted over the last years and it worked. It was difficult to let go of the initial idea, but necessary.
Today, mYngle is the solution for busy professionals who need language training to be successful in their international business, and for Companies that want great learning results and a transparent and controllable learning process to make their investment a success.
Adapt, Innovate, Learn & Evolve
Marina believes that ‘Once you stop evolving, it is the beginning of the decline.’ She attributes her successes to her constant pursuit of learning and evolving. This allowed her to take many risks and to be persistent in the face of difficult situations, to be flexible and adapt- which is essential to be successful as entrepreneur. “We tend to get attached to our initial ideas and well-thought plans, because change is often difficult, and inconvenient. Keep on evolving till you get it right. Change is an essential part of being entrepreneur,” asserts Marina. She believes that learning requires honesty with oneself, as, in order to learn, you have to recognize and accept that something can be done better.
In mYngle, people stimulate a culture of experimentation and allowing mistakes. Innovation cannot exist in a culture of fear of consequences. For her staff, Marina seeks entrepreneurs, people who do not keep the status quo, but push themselves beyond their comfort zone. If you try ten new things, some will fail, some will be OK, and one will make a difference. At mYngle, the team is always looking for that “special one’’.
Be Unique. Be You.
Marina opines young enthusiasts with her aphorism “Do not talk about things you are not satisfied with, if you are not going to do anything about it. We are in a world of too many words and too few deeds. Start walking the walk.”
Her hope for future women business leaders is that they could stand courageous and be able to build & lead successful businesses by being true to themselves, instead of trying to imitate the types of leadership that surround. She believes in giving examples of role models that other women can identify with. A different way of looking at leadership, one that better fits a new female model of leadership, and can be equally or even more successful at the end. “When I talk about my experience, I try to give the genuine picture of who I really am. I am not a superwoman, not an unachievable example. You cannot be successful if you try to be someone else,” says Marina.