Own Your Diversity as a Leader

How do you bring your diverse experiences to the table?


“I think that one of the most important things about leading is bringing a diversity of voices,” says Nathalie Molina Nino. As a leading tech entrepreneur and founder of BRAVA Investments – an investment firm dedicated to impacting and empowering women – Nathalie has seen the power of diversity at work. In this video, Nathalie talks about the importance of having an organization that is made up of people with a variety of voices, backgrounds, cultures, educations, and experiences. “We don't need one different kind of leader,” she says. Nathalie goes on to explain the crucial difference between having a diverse team, and having one representative per segment of the population, and why the latter is a danger to the team, the organization and the individuals.

Watch the video now to hear Nathalie’s insightful take on the importance of knowing why your diverse experiences are valuable to the team.

Throughout my career, I had some very clear indications of what it meant to be a leader. In fact, I remember a competitor to a company like Prezi was released around the time, around midway through my tech career, and I remember looking at their stock photography catalog and searching the word "leader." And the only thing that came up were pictures of men in suits or men in military garb, because, according to this organization, that is what a leader looks like, right?

And so I became largely that, a man in a suit or a man in a military outfit, because I looked at the leaders around me and I thought, "Well, if I'm going to emulate them, then this is what it looks like and this is what it feels like." And I became a monster boss.

It's a danger to be tokenized. It's a danger to be the only woman in the room, the only Latina in the room. It's a danger to sort of be the only one that represents a whole segment of the population. And one of the dangers is to ourselves, to feel that we have to represent and we have to sort of fit into what leadership has defined before we got there.

I do think that the world needs all of us to step up and lead, and I think that one of the most important things about leading is bringing a diversity of voices. There is not one way to lead, and when we're busy emulating what we see around us, we're obfuscating who we are as human beings.

We don't need one different kind of leader. We don't need just women to lead and just African-Americans to lead. And so the advice that I often give entrepreneurs that I work with, students that I mentor, is to just show up and to leave the door open and, if possible, bring as many of people from your community with you so that you can gain that critical mass, so that you can be in the room to the tune of 20%, 30% of who is in the room and start to influence that culture. But if enough of us get into the room, I think we'll start to shift what that actually is defined as.

Nathalie Molina Niño

Nathalie Molina Niño is an impact investor focused on making a catalytic impact on women in the world. A technologist and coder by training, she’s a consummate entrepreneur, and a storyteller at heart, passionate about telling the oft...

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