Marina Tognetti: Rejuvenating the Entrepreneurial Spirit

Marina Tognetti | Founder & CEO | mYngle

Building an entrepreneurial venture in distinctive fields is also a novel art, in itself, to be portrayed. Only those with unique ideologies and desire to bring out a change are able to pursue such art. One such artist cum leader, Marina Tognetti, Founder CEO of mYngle is effectively transforming the customary language education system proving herself as the perfect example of an entrepreneur. Her venture, a global language learning school, provides fully integrated virtual classroom that facilitates students with an interactive, efficient and convenient way of learning or improving a language.

CIO LOOK admires such profound leaders and their contribution in evolving the business sectors.

Below are the highlights of an interview conducted between Marina and CIO LOOK:

Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a leader.

I am a tech entrepreneur, founder of myngle.com, but the passion for entrepreneurship came later on in my career. When I graduated from University, it was an era when entrepreneurship was not very common for academics. I started therefore by building a successful career by large multinationals, Procter & Gamble, Philips, Sara Lee, The Boston Consulting Group and eBay; living and working in different Countries, and got an MBA from INSEAD along the way. It was when working as consultant on a project on internet strategy that I first saw the potential of internet to disrupt entire industries and change forever the way we buy, sell or interact. I had to be part of that! That was the driver to start an innovative company as mYngle, as I knew I could make a real difference, putting in practice all I had learned from my corporate career to make it a success.

How do you describe your company’s purpose and entice your target audience to gain benefits from your organization’s offerings?

mYngle offers customized language training programs through video conferencing in 45 different languages anytime, anywhere. Our lessons are one-on-one, with highly qualified native coaches and related to the jobposition of the learner. Our virtual classrooms enable learners to take classes 24/7. We are 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.

What are the crucial traits which every CEO must possess?

Have a strong Vision, to set the direction and anticipate and navigate challenges. That also means being able to ’Think out of the box’’.

Be able to adapt and change, to keep the business successful, especially nowadays as the speed of technological advancement increases and there is a greater degree of uncertainty in the world.

Not be afraid of taking (calculated) risks, as great and sometimes unforeseen opportunities come from taking risks. Embracing risk also helps overcome the fear of failing.

Have courage and decisiveness, to model the vision with actions, making the tough calls and taking decisions that can have high consequences.

Attaining strong communication skills, to align and guide the organization as well as to inspire and motivate others in order to translate the vision into action.

Be able to constantly learn to live at their growth edge. In order to learn, they must also have no ego and recognize what they do not know.

What are your intakes on roles of a Revolutionary CEO with regards to make a difference in the customary system?

I strongly believe that the key to success is not comparing with competition, but aligning with what customers want. Constant focus on customers and their needs is one of our pillars and key strengths.

Our goal is to be effective, on the best way possible for the learner. We want to value the learner’s time and place him / her as much as possible in touch with a professional teacher that is why our lessons are primarily done one on one. We strive to be unique by making sure we maximize results and learning to the fullest extent.

This also reflected in our internal KPIs and how we assess our job, using adapted versions of NPS (Net Promoter Score), which defines that only excellence counts. Our average lessons’ scores are 4.8/5.0. Thus results speak for themselves!

As per your opinion, what roadblocks or challenges are faced by CEOs whilst emerging as a leader? And what is your advice to overcome them?

We are living in an era of fast and drastic changes—technology, volatility of the market, talent evolution. This affects the role of a modern CEO, which must be able not only to adapt but also to ride the positive trends. The challenges are similar in many aspects to those of an innovative entrepreneur.

A CEO must not be afraid of taking (calculated) risks in order to anticipate trends and steer the company also in turbulent waters. A leader must be able to adapt. Being agile is paramount. In mindset and approach, as well as strategic direction. Last, but not least, must be able to build an organization that is also agile. That requires developing people that think and not only do “jobs”, employees that are entrepreneurs, fostering a culture of experimentation.

How do you cope up with never-ending technological disruption to boost your personal growth?

Technology should be seen as an opportunity, as it opens directions that only a few decades ago seemed unattainable. It allows new businesses that can disrupt entire industries. I am a business person, so do not need to be an expert in its implementation, but I must understand its implication for a business: how it impacts a company, the customers, and the value chain.

Data Analysis and Machine Learning are making great improvements. Algorithms are getting better, products are becoming more accessible, knowledge about best practices are being shared and collaborated at a very fast pace. Data analysis and machine learning helps triage new products better understand clients and try to anticipate possible issues, it also helps forecasting, funnel analysis, staff coaching, and the list goes on and on.

Being a leading expert in offering language education, what is your contribution in evolving business educational sector?

Offline education was, and in large part still is, operating in the old traditional way, offering learners what was available, not what they needed; but “One size does not fit all.” By understanding the customer and diversifying our offer in terms of teacher—content—methodology—frequency, we can match each specific need.

For us it is important to bring quality and customer centric approaches to the front of what we do. We want business professionals to see online language education as worthy of their time and investment. We want to make sure learning online is effective, fun, tailored to the learner’s needs and applicable to each person’s goals and objectives. By doing that, we increase the awareness that live language lessons don’t need to be done in a ’brick and mortar’ classroom environment, but can be done very well in an online setting.

What will be your future endeavors and/or where do you see yourself in the near future?

It is in my nature to want to constantly improve, and it is in the nature of an entrepreneur to always seek new opportunities or areas of development. The future in leading mYngle will surely hold new challenges, as we keep on innovating and being ahead of the market.

For me personally, it will also be time for the idealistic voice inside to speak, the voice that believes in giving something back for a better world. I walked this path and learned a lot. That brought me in a privileged position, where I can act and implement new ideas that can make a difference. I can now use my skills to make the world just a little bit better.

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