We had the good fortune of connecting with Mente Bezuneh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mente, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I have always loved storytelling, and I have always done so through photography and videography. I wanted to reach as many people as possible with my work and tell their stories. I realized – what’s better than giving this hobby of mine a name and identity, and that was the birth of Mentopia Productions.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My career path was not easy, and I don’t think I’m even half way to where I want to be. But that’s the fun part; always trying to learn, grow and get better. The challenges started early in my childhood when my parents thought success was only achieved through academics. I was a smart kid. I mean I still am… haha… But I did great academically. My parents were sure that I’d grow up to be a lawyer, a doctor, a pilot or something socially acceptable of high value. But I could not think about anything else but being a filmmaker. I don’t blame them thinking that way, that’s the reality. I was born and raised in Ethiopia, we didn’t have a lot of people who made a decent living from any forms of art. Music, Film, Painting… yeah, they’re fun as a hobby, but not as a career. They were looking out for me. So breaking through that mentality was difficult. I had to make it, failing wasn’t an option. So I worked my butt off, and I still do. I don’t get enough sleep sometimes because there just isn’t enough time in the day for the things I have to do and for the things I want to do. And I think it also helps because I love what I do, so regardless of how many hours I put into a project, it doesn’t feel like work to me. Being able to do what you love is a big blessing. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. The other factor I believe is surrounding myself with the right people. By the right people I mean people with positive energy and can-do attitude. I’m grateful that my leaders, coworkers, and friends all have that mentality. I’m always challenged by them to get better and aim higher. You don’t want people to make fun of your ideas or goals, you want people to take the silly idea you have and help you make it better, make it work. And most of the great ideas out there start with a silly, funny sounding concept. Ever thought of jumping into a stranger’s car to go places? We’re doing that now, confidently. President Ronald Regan once said, ‘There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit.’ This literally defines me. I have always been eager to learn, so I used to shadow my role models, do a lot of things and not get credits for any of it. It didn’t bug me, it actually was a learning process. At Mentopia Productions, we’re all about excellence. No matter the size of the project, we give our clients the best. I don’t let budget get in the way, of course there are scenarios where that matters, but I value the the relationship more. I get excited about their projects, their stories, their ideas and I do everything I can to make their dream come true. I sleep better knowing I gave every project a 110%.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Dallas is such an amazing city filled with lots to do. It’s such a vibrant city where you can find a lot of diversity. My favorite place to eat and hangout is Shebelle Ethiopian Cuisine. They have a great selection of food which comes with a traditional coffee ceremony and Live music. It’s soul refreshing. The downtown is also packed with lots of unique finds. The Arts District is a great one to just walk around and sight see.. Klyde Warren park gets festive for holidays too and that area has so many amazing coffee shops. You can just grab a hot Chai Latte- my favorite- cruise around, and see a couple of great museums and so on. You should definitely checkout Deep Ellum too, there are a lot of creative folks and colorful pieces of arts in that area.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First of all, I’m grateful to God for all the opportunities I have in my life. I have learnt early on not to take anything for granted. Then I’d like to give a shoutout to my family. I believe discipline is key to anything you do in life, I inherited that and my strong work ethic from them. I’m thankful. My friends and colleagues at Axxess also deserves a shout out. The incredible leadership team has been nothing but supportive of all my endeavors. The future of healthcare is in the home, and these are folks who are working tirelessly in the home based care industry to help make that happen. It’s a place where I get inspired everyday and also learn to break out of my comfort zone so I can grow as a leader.
Mentopia Productions, Makenzie Harris, Emmanuel Adyuai, Stephen Kibara