This interview originally appeared on the Business Mentoring Luxembourg Blog on 04-Sep-2019.
Stephan Peters, Managing Director of SANZARU Group, has been a mentor with Business Mentoring Luxembourg since 2016 and has so far supported three mentees in different sectors. He shares his broad experience as an investor and and senior advisor.
Can you briefly introduce yourself? What is your background?
Thanks for having me over! If I had to describe myself in a few words, I’d say I’m a jack of all trades and a master of some. After growing up in Belgium to entrepreneurial parents, I returned to the Netherlands to study aerospace engineering, which gave me an affinity to technology as well as deep appreciation of the scientific method. After doing stints in investment banking, management consulting and private equity covering multiple sectors as well as four continents, I decided to re-connect with my entrepreneurial roots and started my own advisory and investment company about a decade ago. I focus on technology, communication, financial services, retail and sustainability; all with a growth perspective on mind.
Why did you become a mentor? How did you come up with the idea of becoming a mentor?
Along my own entrepreneurial journey, I realized that you’re fairly isolated from everyone else as a business leader and there’s profound difficulty in finding an objective third party who can function as a sounding board. I was lucky enough to have a strong support network that would provide me with much needed advice and perspective. Even so, I would have benefited greatly from having a more experienced, independent mentor who had walked my path before. A few years ago, I wanted to give back and share my own experience with those who might benefit from it.
The profiles of your mentees were very different. Why these choices?
As a professional advisor and an investor into start-ups, I have always thoroughly enjoyed helping business leaders succeed. Regardless of the sector, I decided to support my past mentees as I understood their struggles, whether it was to fully realize the implications of becoming a business leader, to identify skill gaps and design a development plan to build them, to discuss the nature of managing teams, or to better understand their company’s ecosystem and stakeholders. Having been there myself, I felt I was well-matched to mentor them.
What does the Business Mentoring Luxembourg programme bring to you?
Being a mentor of the BML programme is immensely rewarding. First of all, you’re supporting someone who’s in need of guidance and advice to weather a difficult period in their professional life. Secondly, the programme contributed to my own development as a mentor by providing insightful training and knowledge. Lastly, you have the opportunity to interact with your fellow mentors in the programme, share experiences as peers and learn from them.