Mona-Lisa Prosper | Montreal | Don't Be Afraid

Director, Black Entrepreneurs | Directrice, entrepreneur.es noir.es @Futurpreneur

https://www.linkedin.com/in/mona-lisa-prosper

I hold a Bachelor of Law degree and am a member of the Quebec Bar. I am also currently pursuing my MBA part-time at HEC Montréal. Wanting to use my law degree more creatively, I started my career as an entrepreneur helping other entrepreneurs start and grow their business. I cofounded a firm offering both legal services and business consulting to startups and SME’s. That allowed me to fully immerse myself in the creativity and innovation of entrepreneurs, which has always been very inspiring to me. Law having always been a means to an end, rather than the end, I decided to leave my firm after a few years in order to explore other professional avenues. I joined Montréal International’s foreign investment attraction team after a short stint in human resources. I have always been mission-driven, and always found ways to get involved with causes and organizations that were close to my core values. Whether it is by being the President of the Young Chamber of Commerce of Women of Québec, and sitting on multiple other boards, or promoting the importance of inclusive governance, I always advocate for matters of diversity, inclusion and representation. Being born in Montréal, and having parents that immigrated from Haïti, I have always navigated both cultures with pride. My parents always made sure that I knew and understood my roots, all while being fully integrated and proud of my Canadian heritage. The opportunity to lead Futurpreneur Canada’s new program dedicated to Black entrepreneurs was the perfect combination of my values, involvements and professional background!


What were the biggest initial hurdles and how did you overcome them?

Having too many interests! I considered it a hurdle because I kept trying to find where I fit in, instead of fully embracing the things that I liked. I constantly felt out of place.


What books are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading the French Version of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to Present by Robyn Maynard, and also reading Change By Design by Tim Brown.


Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your pursuits?

I would not say contention per se, but definitely lots of confusion!!! It was hard for my parents to understand certain decisions I made, and to understand what was so difficult for me to figure out about my career. They always had confidence in me, but were eager for me to find clarity.

How did you handle it?

It was also difficult for me at first, because I was very confused, but I found a way to gain confidence in my choices. Once I was confident in my strengths, goals and interests, it was easier for everybody to understand and follow. And at the end of the day, I stopped caring about what other people thought.


What would you do differently in hindsight?

I would have put way less pressure on myself! That would have probably helped the process a lot!


What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success?

Always being proactive! Even if things were blurry, I kept moving, trying things, getting involved etc. That helped me define my strengths, weaknesses, and interests. I was able to find my way through staying open to trying different things and making possible mistakes.


What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?

The path will most definitely not always be linear but trust the process!!


What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?

Don’t be afraid to try things, and to make mistakes. Stop looking for the “perfect” path, or the “perfect” opportunity, because there is no such thing. Every opportunity will teach you something or help you expand your network. They key is knowing when it’s time to move on!