Nang Ei Ei Mon is the founder and CEO of How She Did It, a Myanmar-based platform that focuses on upskilling women on their career, also connecting them with potential employers. With a diverse background in domestic violence counselling, healthcare research, digital marketing, and more, Nang helps women to reach their financial goals and independence through How She Did It.
Note to ally: To her sister: No matter the challenges I faced, you were there for me and helped me find myself. I am becoming a better person because of you. Thank you for being my sister, my bestfriend and my soulmate. | To Andy Annett: Dear Andy, thank you for seeing the potential of How She Did It way before I fully realized it, and thanks for also helping me grow professionally and personally.
Whether it is financially, logistically, or emotionally, entrepreneurs need support to succeed. Starting a business is rarely a one-man game. We are naturally social creatures, and many entrepreneurs look to their networks of friends and family to get them up and running. It was no surprise then, that when I talked to Nang Ei Ei over Zoom, she said her sister has been her biggest ally so far.
Daughter of a businessman father and a frontline doctor mother, Nang spent part of her childhood with her two siblings living under the supervision of her eldest sister.
The biggest impact, however, was when her sister returned to Myanmar after living and studying abroad for approximately six years. With the liberal and open-minded perspective her sister had gained, Nang found a lot to admire and follow from her experience. The confidence that Nang had in establishing How She Did It years later started from the guidance provided by her sister.
While in high-school, Nang was studying English to supplement her future university studies overseas. “As ethnic people, however, we have accents,” she pointed out. “I used to get laughed at for it.” Nang wanted to open up a speaking club to encourage people of different ethnicities to learn English together but, like any teenager, had also doubts about executing this idea.
Yet, Nang’s sister spurred her to pursue her goals, and the club, named Smile Speaking Club, grew to be one that lasted for three years, bringing many people of various ethnicities together.
“I learnt so much about leadership, community leading, being courageous and action driven thanks to my sister, who pushed me until all of it became natural to me,” Nang said.
The beginning of How She Did It was not easy. During the founding of the Myanmar-based company from 2019 to 2020, Nang was going through her divorce, which led to a rise of uncertainty and fear, especially as a single mother taking care of a young daughter. Nang started to guess every decision she took.
Fast forward to today, Nang has grown out of that fear. “I’ve become more courageous because of my sister. She made me braver to take action.”
Nang told the story of how in 2018, Nang’s sister nominated her as a speaker for a TEDx conference at Yangon, which was an “incredible step” to promote How She Did It and boost its visibility to a much larger audience. To create a product or service so impactful, worth speaking about it in a TEDx talk was a dream, she confided to her sister five years before her participation.
Nang also took a moment to thank another ally, Andy Annett. She met him at the Founder Institute Program, Yangon Chapter, which she had joined to pitch the idea of How She Did It. Andy was one of the many mentors that helped Nang at the program.It was Andy’s involvement in the field of gender equality in Myanmar that specifically drove Nang to reach out to him later, she said.
At the time, Andy was running a programme to boost startups that sought to boost women and girls’ empowerment. Nang credits Andy’s expertise within the field when she talks about how she decided to focus on women’s economic empowerment.
“With How She Did It, there was a lot I wanted to do at first. It was overwhelming,” Nang said. “As a specialist in the field, Andy laid out a different approach. He introduced me to the distinct idea of economic empowerment. I knew where to focus my energy, and it was a much more efficient and resourceful execution of How She Did it from then.”
Now, at How She Did It, Nang encourages Burmese women to take risks and try their hand at whatever they wish to do. “We all need sisters or soul sisters. We need other women rooting for us, wanting to see us succeed. Get that support in your life,” she told KrASIA.