With entrepreneurship at the core, Monica
Badra, Co-Founder and CEO of Neo NextGen currently runs a consulting business
in aerospace transformation services and digital solutions. She also leads few
side hustles in real estate, crypto bots, paperless apps, artificial
intelligence and machine learning models, E-commerce businesses on Amazon and
Etsy, as well as her role as a Board member and Strategic Advisor for startup
companies in Web3.
Monica is a transformation enthusiast with
a track record of elevating organizations, unlocking incremental value and
driving efficiencies with strategy and execution at the core. Monica’s main
source of energy comes from constant challenge and learning. She also has a
wide realm of interests spanning from aviation to behavioral finance,
investment portfolio management, trading, disruptive technologies, as well as
Web3; crypto, NFTs, the Metaverse, digital twins and virtual reality.
She saw “The Matrix” for what it was at a
very young age. “In a few years from now, our avatars in the Metaverse will
live a better lifestyle than we do in reality. What if we treated this as
Her path had difficulties at every turn.
Her self-assurance, outspoken personality, energy and quest for knowledge
occasionally sparked conflict. She loved disrupting the status quo and
optimizing how we did things yesterday. Her mission was to further
her personal development, which she worked hard to achieve in a corporate
From her years negotiating with her dad at
the dinner table, Monica had an innate business sense. From her years in
corporate, Monica learned operational depth and harnessed a network of mentors
and eventually partners and customers for her new venture, Neo NextGen.
Childhood Learnings for Leading
Monica always knew she wanted to be an
entrepreneur like her father. In the 1980s, both of her parents moved from
Lebanon as a result of the Civil War. Her mother relocated to Canada together
with her family to start over. It was never an option to pursue a career while
residing in the turmoil of war. She soon after got married and had three kids.
At the age of 40, she returned to school to earn a degree as a certified
gemologist and she eventually started her own jewelry business, with the goal
of modernizing pearls.
Father of Monica arrived in Canada with
little after losing his parents when he was a teenager. In a variety of
sectors, including construction, ink, real estate, restaurants, apparel, décor,
mineral mining and now blockchain, he established enterprises from the ground
Monica took a lot of pride in leading by
example as the eldest of three. Both daughters and son were raised as
businessmen in a somewhat unconventional family.
Joining Corporate World
Monica approached life with an immense
sense of gratitude. She paved her own path and charted her own course. Not
knowing where to start in her career, she knew she needed to ground herself and
learn the fundamental skills that could only be learned in the corporate world.
While completing her degree in finance, she worked in large corporations to
understand process, structure, breadth and depth, with the goal of eventually
running her own enterprise. She worked at Mckesson Canada as a change adoption
analyst and then at Bombardier, in the transformation office of the corporate
jet aftermarket, where she learned business analytics, process engineering and
managed large, strategic projects in product development, strategic sales
planning, delivery and operations, customer experience and account management,
technology and digital, human resources, change management and finance
Monica then joined AJW Technique, a world
class MRO hub located in Montreal, Canada where she led a two-year
transformation as the Head of Strategy and Business Development and right hand
to the Chief Executive Officer. She enabled the company to hit their targets
with a clear strategy and clean-sheet of internal data and processes. Within
few months, the C-Suite was able to access visualization boards that gave them
a 360-degree view of the company at their fingertips. Key performance
indicators were established, goals were achieved and the firm became profitable
in its first year of transformation.
After a successful two-year transformation,
AJW Technique went from strategize, optimize and finally to digitize. As part
of her role, Monica took the initiative to autonomously lead the digital
transformation with the aim of turning AJW Technique into a paperless MRO
(maintenance, repair, and overhaul) organization, giving it a competitive edge
in a dynamic market. Neo NextGen was then established as the forefront of
strategy, innovation, optimization and digital transformation, empowering the
next generation of aerospace disruptors and pioneers with unique support and
A Keen Observer
With her competitive spirit, and zest for
learning, Monica always took on more than was expected of her. She spent the
first years of her career observing leaders in a corporate environment and
building her own leadership style, knowing that it was a steppingstone for her
She defines her style in 3 pillars:
Some of her key mottos for each are:
For being aware of mindset:
- Confidence comes with knowing your worth – make it your life’s
mission before all
- There is beauty in ambition – be bold
- Design your own destiny – this is the Metaverse
- Fear is an illusion of the mind
- Your mindset defines your experience
- Opportunity doesn’t fall from the sky, seek it and seize it
- Pursue uphill climbs, steady roads mean you’re going the wrong
- Comfort is a trap
- Anything redundant has an opportunity cost
- Knowledge is power – keep learning
- Drama drains your brain cells
For Taking Action:
- Everything is figure-out-able
- Nothing is impossible
- Start somewhere and method will come
- Jack of all trades, master of none
- Run in order to walk
- Build a routine even within chaos
- Time is money – slow down for no one
- Intention matters more than approach
- Read the room, this is your greatest weapon
- If you’re #2, learn from #1, then become #1
- Constantly ask for feedback
- Play to win or to learn
- Life is a a series of choices, responsibilities are also
For Having Perspective:
- There are 8 billion people on earth, you will survive
- Be grateful, before you complain, then don’t
- Your voice is a scarce commodity, you have a responsibility to
- Be a listener – this is your purpose
- Everything happens for a reason
Neo NextGen is a renowned provider of
business and digital transformation services, from strategy to operations, with
a focus on sustainability, unlocking incremental value, centred on an ethos of
people, productivity and profit. Aerospace transformers powering
NextGen offers professional management consulting, advanced business
analytics, process re-engineering, project management, business transformation,
and digital transformation services to connect the end-to-end user experience.
The company’s winning transformation recipe
is applied in three phases – Strategize. Optimize. Digitize.
- Strategize – Vision and value creation across product, sales,
delivery and customer experience
- Optimize – Integrated data and process driven
- Digitize – Creating connected, streamlined efficiency with
The pandemic has accelerated digital
transformation across all compass points and industries, as organizations
struggled to preserve cash and streamline their cost structure by optimizing
headcount, inventory, and lease management. Most businesses have made use of
the downtime to simplify processes, reevaluate strategies, and overhaul every
area of their operations, beginning with people, process, and data and moving
quickly into technology.
Neo NextGen has helped organizations
realize exponential potential with a tried and tested approach. The company was
founded to ensure startups and established aerospace corporations alike have
access to advanced technologies to enable efficiency and workflow connecting
the end-to-end customer experience in real time.
Aerospace is a good example of an industry
that is compliance-heavy, dependent on deep technical expertise and often
manual transactions, which impact an organization’s ability to deliver
heightened turnaround time, cost, quality and supply chain efficiency.
The sector is especially dependent on
tribal knowledge, and is facing growing labour concerns with retirement, skill
gaps and recruitment challenges, propelling digital as a core enabler for
sustainability, efficiency and employee value proposition. Many aerospace
companies have clung to dated business models, methods, and technologies out of
comfort and resistance to change. Neo NextGen challenges organizations to think
differently, partnering to efficiently leverage modern technologies for
established or startup organizations, making them more relevant, competitive,
and efficient in every aspect.
Delivering a unique digital approach.
It begins with inception and moves to incubation, where Neo NextGen partners
with its customer to build a solid foundation for business transformation and
digitalization with business sponsors and a cross-section of the workforce, the
incubator or innovation team. Both parties work together to identify high
priority pain points. Once identified, they work on designing the solution.
Then, Neo NextGen engages its ecosystem to test use cases with different technology
partners in order to deliver the best mix of technology to workflow.
After engaging an incubator or innovation
team, who are the main users and change agents from within the business, Neo
NextGen acts as a broker of technology partners. Harnessing an ecosystem of
partners who are technology experts within their field, such as artificial
intelligence and machine learning, blockchain, RFID technology, paperless web
applications, robotics, and augmented reality, ensuring Neo NexGen delivers the
application that is fit for purpose.
NextGen is at the forefront of strategy, innovation, optimization and
digital transformation in this field, empowering the next generation of
aerospace disruptors and pioneers with unique support and services.
With decades of aerospace experience, Neo
NextGen is the founding glue that translate the operational workflow of
aerospace to direct technology experts. This is a significant relief for the
customer, who would otherwise spend time educating suppliers on the
complexities of aerospace.
With AJW Technique as a use case in
aerospace, Neo NextGen has developed solutions to capture tribal knowledge and
facilitate training of new hires, liberating the senior and more skilled
Some proofs of concept include paperless
applications, dynamic pricing models, predictive sales, procurement, and
manpower forecasting models using artificial intelligence and machine learning,
asset tracking using RFID technology, and customer portals.
- In addition to developing these solutions, Neo NextGen creates
a culture of development and learning with their customers’ incubator.
Digital transformation has become part of the employee value proposition,
engaging a younger generation that may otherwise have more interest in
eVTOL (Electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing vehicle), drones,
blockchain, and other engineering opportunities outside of traditional
The company’s digital roadmap is reflective
of global trends with the goal of introducing next-generation solutions to all
industries. Other technology on the radar includes performance gaming systems,
digital twins, virtual reality, drone applications, additive layers, NFT
collections, converging slower moving industries into the Metaverse.
Monica feels excited by
challenge. She states, “Understand what gets people
excited to get out of bed every morning and make it your mission to be an
endless supply of that source.” Her best past employers knew
how to keep her stimulated. They gave Monica a breadth of projects
and responsibilities from every function of the business, keeping her on a
constant learning journey.
In her spare time, Monica looks into new
businesses she wants to start, be it an investment fund, real estate, affiliate
marketing programs, Amazon FBA, delivering a course on blockchain, setting up
crypto bots, building apps that deliver financial and start-up guidance, buying
a component repair shop of her own, etc. She often sacrificed her social life
to build her empire – herself. She states, “Two people with the same
upbringing can go down two opposite paths, and it’s all to do with mindset.”
Always an Uphill Climb
In Monica’s view, success
represents ultimate freedom, abundant learning, and perpetual growth. She views
her mindset as a mountain with endless uphill climbs. As she reaches a
horizontal road, she feels stagnant, it’s a sign that she has gone the wrong
way. She banks her journey and her learnings and proceeds to the next challenge
or uphill climb.
Monica fears comfort. She sees no
difference in the cycle of product development and a human’s life. She
asserts, “The same way a product becomes better with more data,
testing, and feedback, we become better business leaders and human beings with
more experiences, challenges, and retrospection. Why pause the cycle that can
lead us to greatness.”
For Monica, the transition from employee to entrepreneur was challenging but very rewarding. She opines, “There is no playbook that exists for young entrepreneurs to know where to start, which is the hardest part.” She wants to dedicate much of her time to coaching and redirecting young adults onto a path of success, starting with adopting a mindset of awareness and building confidence that attracts the right opportunities. She mentions that she owes it to the mentors who have taken her under their wing.