Paris – Day 3: Jean Hwang Carrant and Saba Nazar
Could a global investment banking executive and a cookie shop owner work well together? It was a risk worth taking as Saba Nazar of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Jean Hwang Carrant of JHC Cookies had an extraordinary few days in Paris.
I’ve been impressed by the number of very talented women coming from very different backgrounds, and just bringing them all together in a real partnership solidarity. It’s really tough to do that when you have women from such different backgrounds who’ve done such different things. That, for me, was quite overwhelming because a lot of offsites and get-togethers are with all very like-minded people. This was terrific because people were coming from such diverse backgrounds.
It’s an amazing group of women and we’re all doing different things – especially me, with my cookie shop. But my first impression that very first night was I realized it wasn’t just about me being a mentee and meeting a mentor and having wonderful talks, but actually a lot of the other mentees were mentoring me. We were having an incredible exchange between us, giving ideas and feedback. That’s what impressed me – we were all helping each other out. I’m trying to grow my company but I have no idea how to do it. I came here to be a sponge and absorb as much as I can.
The content of all of the sessions has been terrific. Very relevant, very on point. I think people have engaged and shared in a short period of time in a way that has been invaluable – learning everyone’s stories and the challenges people are facing.
For me the most important thing is having the opportunity to give back. I have been blessed with some great mentors during my career in different ways who’ve helped me along, and who’ve given me great advice. This is my opportunity to give back in a concrete way.
One of the things Jean and I are going to do is create a really good to-do list that is actionable. I’m an investment banker, not a consultant, so I’m very action-oriented and that is going to be my way of getting Jean very concrete next steps. During a very intense week, that is the simplest way of finding a way to take this forward.
With the tools we have been given during our GAP sessions and mentoring, I am ready to take on the next step of action to develop my business. What we have learned in financing, branding, public speaking, social media, leadership…it’s all going to help me spread cookie love around the world!
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Photography: David Hume Kennerly