Interview with Claire Mponye - Montessori trained teacher & serial entrepreneur


Claire is a Montessori trained teacher and serial Entrepreneur who has started over 10 businesses in two continents.

Driven by love for play-based education,Claire started Bluemoon International School school is a school best known for its play-based approach to learning.


Claire is also very passionate for business and desires to see more women rising and building their own businesses. She has created the @be.your.own.boss.babe platform on Instagram which she uses to inspire and guide fellow Female entrepreneurs on starting and growing their own businesses.


Travel is another big passion of Claire's, and she takes every opportunity to travel.


Sarah Kukie: Tell me about yourself at twelve years old? What dreams did you have? What challenges were you facing?


Claire Mponye: When I was 12, I had normal 12 year old challenges. My best friends were not talking to me after they went for a sleep over that my mum didn't let me go to.

The proposal my sister and I had for our school principal to start a cheerleading squad was indefinitely wait-listed after spending hours and hours practicing all the moves in Bring it on on 1&2. It's still pending to this day.


SK: How different is that from where you are now?


CM: Not much, I still make absurd proposals.


SK: What was one of your most defining moments in life? 


CM: One day last year when I was in the back of my car having a panic attack because I had gone to a brunch and there were more people than my mental health could take. I called my sister and she came to me immediately. She talked me out of it as she does with every situation. When I was calm, she reminded of something I had heard before but never really resonated with until that day. She said, "Claire, you cannot let fear control your life. Fearing that things will happen will not prevent them from happening. It will just prevent you from enjoying your life. Stop trying go control everything because you can't. You are fighting a losing battle and it is destroying you."

I don't know if it was the fact that I was so tired of feeling that way, or the fact that I had had a glass of wine, but her words went straight to where they were supposed to, but I have been very intentional about not fearing what I cannot control since. It's not that I don't fear anymore, not at all. Rather, when I start to feel fear with anything I have a chat with myself and reason myself out of it.


SK: I largely believe in designing every aspect of one’s life to the best of their ability. What steps do you take to ensure that you live your ideal kind of lifestyle?


CM: Well, I am have never been one to wait for the perfect moment. I live my best life everyday. I don't wait to save enough. I don't wait to get enough knowledge, and I certainly don't wait for the perfect time. It is my policy that if its something is within my reach, I will not hesitate. If it is not in my reach, I will find a ladder.


SK: Do you have a morning/evening routine or ritual?


CM: Nope, I have never been one for rituals. Getting out of bed and taking a shower is ritual enough in the mornings. In the evenings I am usually too tired for anything.

SK: So that means you actually do have a ritual, one that involves getting out of bed and showering.


SK: What’s one habit you had to shred in order to proposer? What habits did you have to adopt?


CM: I had to let go of self doubt, feelings worthlessness and looking down on myself. I was not always like this. I was the most confident, self loving human you had ever met until I was about 23. I have struggled with these for four years due to different life changing circumstances. Of course, it wasn't easy to change this. It took work of intentional actions to get to where I am now.


SK: What accomplishment do you feel most proud of so far in your life? Why?


CM: Well, I am definitely proud of my school which is the only school accredited to offer the International Early Years Curriculum as is one of few schools delivering a fully play-based education. This has been my dream since I can remember. Not as detailed, of course, but being a teacher and owning a school that makes a difference has always been my path.



SK: One of the most common things people, including myself, face daily is impostor syndrome- suffering from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success. Have you had this? How do you deal with it?


CM: Oh yes!!!! For the last 6 years I had serious impostor syndrome. Even with all my achievements, I never felt worthy.

My sister came into my room one day and told me that I was a big freaking deal and that I should never let anyone else, not even myself, dim my bright shine. Until that day, I had never looked to see all the things I had achieved or everything I was able to do. It got me thinking, and once I got thinking, I realized that I wasn't actually worthless, rather the opposite. It was easier said than done though. It took me a year of intentional actions and thoughts. I also had amazing people around me who encouraged me and reminded me of the value I bring into the world every time I slipped back into thinking otherwise (their words).


SK: We have now started a whole new decade and, thank goodness, people are more aware of their power and the importance of intention. I’m curious, what’s your word for the year? What’s the intention behind it?


CM: I don't have a word of the year. It will take a lot more than one word to achieve my goals for this year. I do, however have a strategy for the year.


SK: Any big plans for 2020?


CM: Yes, I am working on a big platform that offers very very (need to stress the very) practical training, support and encouragement to budding and growing female entrepreneurs.

SK: Do you often reward yourself after an accomplishment?


CM: Yes! Because adult life is more fun with personal rewards for personal achievements. Usually a glass of wine, or a holiday abroad. Whichever I can afford at the time.



SK: If you could only keep five possessions, what would they be?


CM:

  1. My TV because it is such a wonderful source of entertainment.

  2. My phone, not because of WhatsApp (I barely WhatsApp or text), but because it has made me money for years. All my businesses were started on my phone.

  3. My Visa card because I always forget to get cash

I can only think of 3.


SK: How do you normally spend your free time?


CM: Often, I work. I have a HUGE project and I use every moment I can to move the needle somehow. Also, I quite enjoy my work.

I also love trying coffee shops with my sister. There are great options in Kampala these days.

I love a good adventure so I often plan trips away or at least spend the time fantasizing about them.


SK: What would you tell twelve year old you, now that you’ve got all this knowledge through growth and experience?


CM: First thing I'd say is that mum wouldn't be as strict and that she would eventually let us go on our first sleep over at 16 years, on our prom night, accompanied by our 12 year old brother. (Yes, that did happen)

I'd also tell me to enjoy my childhood more intentionally, savor it and not try to grow up too quickly. It goes by to fast.


SK: One piece of advice that you live by…


CM: Time heals. Love heals. Find yourself someone who heals your soul- be it a lover, sibling, friend, spouse, business partner or the neighborhood shop keeper.

Thank you Claire, for sharing with us. ❤💕

Find Claire on IG here: @be.your.own.boss.babe

 
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