Mursal Hedayat

CEO, Chatterbox


Mursal was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. She arrived in the UK, as a refugee, with her mother, a civil engineer. Mursal has spent her life investigating entrepreneurial solutions to social problems and founded Chatterbox, the world’s
first education technology company which harnesses the untapped talent of refugee professionals. Chatterbox is
an online language school that employs refugees as teachers and trains them to teach their native languages. Mursal is a Forbes “30 under 30”, MIT Innovator, UK Inspiration 50 and one of Financial Times’ Inclusive Boards Top 100 Most Influential Leaders in Tech.

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Most people, even at the highest level of society, rarely know what they’re doing. Whilst some of the top politicians may say that they have the answers for some of our biggest and thorniest problems in society, often they don’t know as much as they pretend to. That is the case throughout different sectors and groups and institutions in society. I think understanding that everyone is fumbling along with the limited information and time that they have really gives you the courage and authority needed to create your own solutions rather than leave it to the people who seem to know what they’re doing.  

2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given?

To really show your employees who’s boss, and if they don’t respect what you’re saying to fire them instantly. I think that that piece of advice might have worked in a pre- millennial era but not today, I think today respecting your colleagues no matter what position you have in the company is essential. We run a very horizontally structured organization. I believe a lot in empowering my team to really strive to grow as big in the company as they want to. And we want to become their success in the company and help them along the way without limiting their potential to grow inside of our organisation at Chatterbox.

3. What would you tell your younger self?

Ignore what everyone said about their being a single path to success. I would have told myself about the billions of models of success that exist and indeed that success is just a fragment of our subjected minds
and defined by that entirely.

4. What excites you most about the future of your industry?

The marrying of humans A.I’s,  platforms and other pieces of tech to create educational learning experiences that are as entertaining as watching Netflix. I think that is the goal for us as educators and I think that it’s within grasp with all the cool things coming out with VR and video conferencing that can lead you to learn from someone on the other side of the planet – which is what Chatterbox does.

5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

Of course, my mother. She is the strongest woman I know, the hardest working person I know and also a great mum and I’m very lucky to have her.

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