From Mentee to Business Owner at 15 years old

By Nathaniel Addo

“The hallmark for good leadership is a selfless attitude and a sense of inclusiveness” – H.E. Formal President John A. Kufour.


I am Nathaniel Addo and I am the Team Leader for the INSPYA Equip to Succeed Mentoring Programme and also a mentor.

I believe that the quality of life lived by a person is an exact measure of the impact one has been able to make on lives and the society; likewise, the extent to which one can become successful in life is a direct measure of the quality of thoughts that runs through the person’s mind. The kind of thoughts possessed by a person now is a guide map to knowing who that person will become in the next five years.

As a mentor, one of the mentees I was assigned to Maxwell, a 15year old boy who lives in one of orphanage homes INSPYA works with,  a place about a mile from where I live. Maxwell aspires to become a well-recognised Veterinary Doctor in his community within the next 12 years. He believes that as he grows into adulthood he will be caught up with the pressures of life and therefore has to enjoy his teenage years. Maxwell is a “car freak” and is able to tell you about the latest Toyota model or which Mercedes Benz make is the fastest.  What I found striking about Maxwell is that although he was not the oldest child in the orphanage, he was perceived by the other children as a leader and was considered the responsible one. This did not make him arrogant, but he was always  ever willing to be corrected and to learn, having it in mind that he wants to become the best that he can.

Nathaniel teaching his mentees IT during a mentoring session

As Maxwell’s mentor, it was my aim to inculcate in him a winning attitude, to equip him to achieving his life’s goals and to awaken the leadership spirit in him. My mentoring sessions with Maxwell were divided into two main parts; the first was on capacity building which entails setting SMART goals, studying the unique habits of great world leaders, communication and brain developing exercises. The second part was on education and involved academic assistance, assistance with veterinary studies and IT skills development. Week after week, as I continued to spend nothing less than 3 hours with Maxwell, the other children from the home joined in and became part of our mentoring session. I wasn’t just Maxwell’s mentor; but a mentor to the entire home, as the children took an interest in the activities I was undertaking with Maxwell.

What motivates me as a mentor is the personal initiatives and the obvious positive change I see in my mentees. Just after a couple of mentoring sessions, Maxwell, the car freak I once knew was now a purpose driven individual. He has started taking veterinary vocational lessons as an apprentice, with my advice and the support of his caretakers and the other mentees he has also started a small scale business where he rears and sells rabbits and guinea pigs.

All my mentees are doing very well and I know for a fact that the other mentors in INSPYA’s Equip to Succeed Mentoring Project are also having an impact on the lives of their mentees.

As the Team Leader for the Equip to succeed Mentoring Project, my duties don’t only revolve around mentoring; but it sure is the best part of what I do as Team Leader. Today, I’m equipping just a number of kids in a home to succeed, but tomorrow, I will Equip the nations to succeed.

Maxwell (1st from the left), Nathaniel (2nd from the left) and other mentees

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