Innovator Insights: Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO and co-founder of Brava Investments @nathaliemolina
Nathalie Molina Niño is an impact investor having more than a little impact on women entrepreneurs. She launched her first tech startup at the age of 20, co-founded Entrepreneurs@Athena at the Athena Center for Leadership studies of Barnard College at Columbia University and in 2015 was interim Chief Revenue Officer of PowerToFly. Most recently she was behind the launch of the now-ubiquitous entrepreneurship platform from media mogul, Nely Galán, called SELF MADE. Nathalie is also a member of Dreamers // Doers, a highly curated community of high-achieving trailblazing women who come together to support each other on their entrepreneurial paths. The community encompasses a diverse mix of female founders, women working at startups, and other female creators, change-makers, and influencers.
Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?
Nathalie: Because I like to fix things, and I’m arrogant enough to believe my way is better.
Me: What problem would you like solved?
Nathalie: Anyone who disagrees with me. Also, dollar margaritas.
Me: What is your biggest regret?
Nathalie: Winning that dollar margarita contest. Kidding, I don’t do regret.
Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?
Nathalie: Whether I’d failed or succeeded the time before, I often struggled when starting new projects, with a bad case of imposter syndrome. Either I was going to fail again or the last success was a fluke, either way the inner monologue could be crippling. That is, until a mentor, Awilda Verdejo, changed everything one day and gave me a mantra that I still repeat silently to myself a decade later: “YOU ARE THE SOURCE OF YOUR OWN SUPPLY”. And I am. And you are. And the sooner we realize it, the easier life gets.
Me: What does success look like for you?
Nathalie: A life without fear, filled with people who see you, and challenges that sometimes keep you up at night. Losing a little sleep now and then is ok in my book because worry is just entrepreneur-food, and rumination is simply what we do when we are fixers, and we’re humble enough to be thoughtful about it.
Me: Who are your heroes?
Nathalie: Joan Fallon, Kathryn Kolbert, Nely Galan, Jada Hawkins, Awilda Verdejo, Nina Vaca, Kat Cole, Jovanka Ciares, Kimberly Bryant, Daveed Diggs, Jess Weiner, Wayne Escoffery, my mom, my dad, there are so many. Too many to list. My heroes are my friends, my students, co-founders, my family, my lovers. They are all around me. I am incredibly lucky to be surrounded by people who inspire, humble and challenge me. If your heroes are too distant, it’s harder to see their humanity, their flaws and the banality of their real lives, mixed in with the heroics. It’s important your heroes be multidimensional or we find ourselves trying to model our lives towards the fiction of perfection. And life, the kind I’m interested in anyway, is decidedly imperfect, and more beautiful because of it.
Me: What is your best discovery?
Nathalie: That it’s possible to be successful, ambitious, uncompromising with the quality of your work, and still be kind. And that it’s possible, in fact it’s necessary, to hold others accountable for also knowing that possibility. In other words, I’ve discovered that I have zero tolerance for assholes.
Me: What would the title of your biography be?
Nathalie: Disappointing god, and other disembodied poetics.
Me: Anything else we should know about?
Nathalie: I’ve just launched the business I’ve been dreaming about for two decades, with some of the most amazing humans on the planet. It’s called Brava Investments and we’re rethinking gender-lens investing. Essentially, we’re focused entirely on providing good returns to investors and real results for women. More than who founded it or what the board looks like, what we care about is who is impacted by the success of the company. So, Brava invests in scalable businesses that improve the economic health of women.