Episode 058: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs with Nathalie Molina Niño
What I love about Nathalie is that she isn’t satisfied with the status quo, and frankly never has been. She launched her first tech startup at the age of 20, which kickstarted her path of being a game-changing force for women entrepreneurs. By her mid-thirties she had already built four companies, and then surprised everyone by walking away from tech to pursue a theater degree from Columbia.
Her entrepreneurial pulse couldn’t be quieted and Nathalie realized that she had an opportunity to make a lasting impact for women change-makers. She’s also the founder of BRAVA Investments, which targets funds that directly benefit women, and last fall she published her first book, Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs, which is a collection of fifty “hacks” for start-up founders who don’t have access to old-boys networks or Silicon Valley connections.
Places to Find Nathalie:
Leapfroghacks.com to learn more about Nathalie and her book, Leapfrog!
[2:30] minute: Where did you grow up and what was the mindset around money and success that was instilled in you?
- Growing up in LA with immigrant parents.
- Money and politics were part of everyday conversations so was not taboo.
- Exposure to how money worked in a business and the stress it can bring.
[4:45] minute: Your parents were entrepreneurs, so was that always your plan or how did that come about when you started your first business in college?
- Watching her parents and some of their struggles made her think there had to be a better way, so she pursued the sciences.
- Saw the bureaucratic side of sciences and wanted to get the freedom of entrepreneurship.
[7:00] minute: Tell me the story of starting your first business while you were in school, how did that come about?
- A motorcycle accident left her in need of a car to get around campus. That became an opportunity to create websites for car dealerships and others.
- Her and her friends taught each other to code and it led to a sort of “accidental” business.
[9:00] minute: After that I know you built three other businesses before you left the tech field, so can you tell us about those and what some of your biggest challenges you faced were?
- Always felt that subject matter expertise was learnable.
- Struggled more with the human dynamic; the management of people.
- Best in smaller groups of people where everyone is known.
[12:30] minute: What was it like being a woman in the tech industry, what was that experience like being young in the tech world?
- Things have changed since she got in to tech in the mid to late 90’s. It wasn’t quite as defined as a “boy’s club” then as it has gotten.
- The differences women in tech see from their male counterparts is what fuels her.
- Today’s women are braver than she ever was.
[15:45] minute: Do you see any sort of tide turning in the tech world of men being more cognizant of these problems?
- Some change seen in the youngest generations, but the deepest studies show maybe those differences are not as big as we’d like to think they are.
[18:35] minute: You mentioned climate change playing a big role in this, what do you mean by that?
- Women are going to bear the brunt of the side effects of climate change.
- This drives her urgency for the equity of women.
[20:00] minute: You walked away from tech to go to Columbia and study theater, what prompted that decision?
- The canned answer is she was burnt out, and wanted to take her best skill of storytelling and put it to use in a world very different from tech.
- Physical ailments created by the stress her work caused actual burnout and her doctor told her to think about making a real shift.
[24:00] minute: What changed then, after you studied theater and went back to tech, how did you change the way you operate to not have this burnout happen again?
- Focused on her non-negotiables, and channeled her energy and drive into doing things that filled her spirit.
- Co-founded the Center for Women Entrepreneurs while at Columbia.
- Learned to work smart and to work purposefully.
[28:00] minute: What is your best tip on networking for young professionals?
- When you are not a known entity and just starting off, make like a goldfish.
- Don’t let your interactions get progressively more negative. Every interaction should read like the first one.
- Add value when possible.
[31:00] minute: Who has been the most impactful person in your journey to do well and achieve financial success?
- Her Grandmother who made it through the sweatshops of LA and managed to take care of her family.
[31:40] minute: Who is the most impactful person in your drive to do good and make an impact?
- Kathryn Kolbert who saved Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court in 1992.
[32:10] minute: When you are having a bad day what do you do to get out of the funk, any personal development practices?
- Closes her eyes and repeats a phrase from a Sarah Jones skit that helps her to get her mind right.
[32:45] minute: What book do you find yourself recommending to people most often?
- E-myth revisited. It applies to anyone doing business if the goal is to grow, not just people doing franchises.
[33:05] minute: What is the best piece of advice related to happiness that you would give our listeners?
- “You are the source of your own supply”
- Don’t let people deplete you, others don’t decide if you are happy or not happy or what you have within you.
Do Well & Do Good Challenge Nominee:
National Institute for Reproductive Health
From Nathalie: Focuses on areas that big organizations don’t serve, pockets of the country that are not supported by other larger organizations where women don’t have access they need.
The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) builds power at the state and local level to change public policy, galvanize public support, and normalize women’s decisions about abortion and contraception.
Using a partnership model, we provide state and local advocates with strategic guidance, hands-on support, and funding to create national change from the ground up. We are a force multiplier – we form strategic partnerships with a wide range of organizations to directly impact the reproductive health and lives of women across the country. Since 2008, NIRH has provided direct grants and hands-on support to more than 170 reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations in 43 states and 64 localities across the country.
At the national level, we go where others don’t, engaging in groundbreaking public opinion research, proactive policy initiatives, and innovative advocacy campaigns to shape a new national conversation about reproductive freedom.
Our political arm, the NIRH Action Fund, works in parallel to change state and local electoral and policy landscapes.
We don’t just push back against restrictions on abortion and contraception; we fight for a society in which everyone has the freedom and ability to control their reproductive and sexual lives.
Where to Find Dorothy:
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