Martin Afshari-Mehr

“An inspiring and gratifying experience”

Martin started his career at Goldman Sachs and qualified as a New York Attorney before completing an MBA at London Business School. He now works as an Investment Manager with expertise in strategy and finance. Martin worked with Allen Ssanyu Nakiboneka, a female entrepreneur who runs a kindergarten in Uganda.

“I volunteered because I have been very privileged in my life and career to date and I was seeking to give something back and to help others. Grow Movement was an opportunity to leverage my education and experience rather than just aid financially.”

“My first phone call was nerve-wracking! I wasn't sure what to expect or how best to build trust and provide advice. I let her drive the conversation at the beginning and asked her about her business, her customers (parents) and what she thought were the issues and especially what she wanted to gain from our sessions.”

“I did quite a lot of preparation for the session, which meant only six sessions were needed. I looked up information about Uganda, the industry sector, her neighbourhood and put together guides for each topic we discussed. Together we improved financial recording and planning, cash flow (chasing up late-paying parents and making sure that they paid on time, etc.) and a marketing plan.”

“I spent more time listening than talking and tried to teach general principles that could be applied rather than just solutions. I also tried to be as open as possible and get feedback so I could tailor future suggestions if a particular strategy didn't work out. There were a number of challenges along the way! Language/accent was challenging at times; technical issues like poor quality phone reception, her computer breaking down and taking time to be fixed or even not having electricity at some points!”

“At times I did find it hard not being unable to be there in person and see whether you are having any impact. For me personally I take pride in the knowledge that I may have given someone more confidence and helped add value to someone's business.”

What would you say to other volunteers thinking about joining Grow Movement?

“Do it! It's a small effort on your part for a potentially massively impactful change for someone else! It is an inspiring and gratifying experience.”

  • Ashridge Business School
  • MCA
  • Cass Business School
  • Institute of Leadership and Management
  • Bull Dog Trust
  • Westminster Business School
  • UK Aid
  • Turkish Airlines