We interviewed João Perre Viana, professor of the MiM Personal Inspiration Week course Business & Career Mentorship. João considers himself a citizen of the world, as he was born in Portugal, finished high school in the U.S., and completed his MBA in Belgium in 2003. His first senior management appointment took him to Central Asia (Kazakhstan), then to Eastern Europe (Ukraine) and finally Africa (Angola and Mozambique).
Throughout his personal and professional life, he has acquired extensive experience as a business mentor in multinationals, accelerators, incubators, and corporate programmes. In 2014, he launched the Walking Mentorship, an innovative project 20 years in the making. Walking Mentorship consists of a philosophy of self-development with a methodology based on different mentoring formats, connecting walking and direct contact with nature.
What do you think inspires today’s next-generation managers?
I believe the focus on life-work balance is starting to become part of today’s business narrative, and consequently, the next generation of managers are paying more attention to this balance. Ideas such as what it means to lead a purposeful life are climbing to the top of the list of priorities in our world. Anyone who can prove that it is possible to meet a need, do it well and love what they do becomes an inspiration to follow.
Inspiration can come from anywhere: from world-famous individuals or corporations to relatively unknown people who manage to lead meaningful lives while succeeding financially. Although it is possible to find inspiration anywhere, we need to pay attention and know where to look for it, and here education plays a crucial role facilitating the process.
“Anyone who can prove that it is possible to meet a need, do it well, and love what they do becomes an inspiration to follow.”
What is the biggest take away you as an alumnus coming back to EADA?
My role as an EADA professor is that of a tutor and mentor, someone that not necessarily knows more about something, but knows something different. What we do (or don’t do) has consequences, and when you look back, it is possible to connect the dots and understand the powerful impact that things like education can have on our lives. When you dare to learn, it is a little like entering a “portal” that can actually transport you to other dimensions of thinking, being and finding a purposeful life.
What is the role of business and career mentorship in today’s business world?
The Business & Career Mentorship course is inspired by my activity with Walking Mentorship, and I describe it as a safe space where you can put your current life into perspective and create or revise your action plan.
The “Survival Kit” methodology is transversal to everything I do, and includes a set of eight steps that will gradually allow participants to create new meaning and drive change. This is a working methodology that helps you reduce stress and increase focus, concentration, motivation, memory, and mood.
How would you define personal and professional success?
For me, success means to live intentionally, which seems to be a never-ending job. Our life is like a movie in which we can simultaneously be the main character, the director and the screenplay writer. In this “movie”, all events are interconnected because they are part of the same narrative.
Some movies are long and others are short, but the quality of the final outcome is not related to the budget. A successful story is more often related to the underlying message that you are trying to get across and what impact you have on others. When you inspire, motivate or help someone to become a better person, you usually become a better person as well.