Natanya Bravo: “Leadership development and training”

I find that women often bring a personalized understanding of the business world that is not often associated with traditional business models. We are taught supply and demand, but now more than ever, we have to see the consumer as the whole person they are and not just a demographic. This enables businesses to create […]

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I find that women often bring a personalized understanding of the business world that is not often associated with traditional business models. We are taught supply and demand, but now more than ever, we have to see the consumer as the whole person they are and not just a demographic. This enables businesses to create real connections and build relationships with their audiences that go beyond the transaction.


As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Natanya Bravo.

Natanya is a WOC solopreneur turned CEO who left behind her successful career, hopped on a one-way flight to Paris, and created her dream life after realizing her true potential. She is a business coach and new mother who inspires women to grow a purpose driven business rooted in their passion.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I started on the traditional corporate path right after college. I spent 10 years working within the media and entertainment industry, focusing on integrated brand marketing for consumer brands and media entities. It was a fun and fast-paced career that had me on a plane every 3–4 days for brand campaigns at big events like Fashion Week, The Grammys, Coachella, SuperBowl, essentially every tentpole entertainment event.

By the time I was 26, I’d attained what society often equates to success — a six-figure salary, owner of an investment property, and on track to become a C-level executive by my thirties. The problem was while checking all the boxes, I heard my inner voice telling me loud and clearly that this career path was not what I am meant to do forever. I was good at my job, but I was not passionate about the work.

I had no clue what would actually light me up, but I knew that I wanted to do more meaningful work that helped others directly. In 2016, I started on a self-discovery journey to uncover what I wanted my life to look like. That ultimately led me to what I like to call my own Eat, Pray, Love journey around Europe and reigniting a dream I’d written in my journal while in high school to create a platform that empowers others to realize and actualize their full potential. While spending two weeks in Paris, a city I have always loved, I started to play with the idea of living in Paris for a while. It seemed far-fetched, but I felt an inner joy and excitement every time I would think about it.

A few months after my trip, a friend of mine asked me, “What’s something you’ve always wanted to do that you’ve never said out loud?”. Without hesitation, I blurted out, “I’ve always wanted to move to Paris!”. It was the first time I’d ever said it out loud, and while terrifying, that conversation planted the seed. Six months later, I quit my job and booked a one-way flight to Paris.

I didn’t know anyone, didn’t speak the language, and had no clue how long I would stay or what I would do there. During this time, I decided to share my journey of creating a life of purpose via my newly created Instagram @TheBravoLife. In doing so, women worldwide began to follow my journey and share their stories with me. I quickly realized a deep desire for many women to create communities, services, and platforms to empower each other.

As I shared my story and background with my growing audience, more and more women asked for advice and support on how to start and grow a business and want to connect in person. That is how our first retreat, The Bravo Life Experience, was created — responding to a clear need and demand. During this time of building and growing The Bravo Life from a brand to a business, I realized that I could easily transition the marketing skill set I’d developed, incorporate and use it for good by empowering these women with strategies and support to create their own businesses. Since then, I’ve worked with almost 700 women through our group and private coaching programs.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

For 10 years, I led global brand marketing campaigns in the entertainment and media industry for Fortune 500 brands. Between the stress of traveling and my anxiety from working in NYC and LA, I realized I needed to enhance my way of life. I decided to create a new life for myself and booked a one-way ticket to Paris, and that one-way ticket was the catalyst that formed this 7 figure empire.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The beauty of entrepreneurship is that there are many mistakes, and anyone who tells you otherwise is probably lying to you. Growth can only happen from mistakes and failure — which is something I actually look forward to.

When first starting my business, I thought that I had to work a million hours to have a successful business. I thought I had to run myself in the ground to build a 7 figure business — I just needed systems, a team, and lead as the CEO.

Now looking back, thinking that I had to do all the things was the funniest mistake. It actually turned out to be one of the biggest learning lessons of my entrepreneurial journey.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My mom is an entrepreneur herself and has been my biggest supporter along this journey. I’ve watched her manage and juggle multiple businesses over the years, which definitely played a role in starting my own business. I go to her for advice all the time, and sometimes that’s her letting me vent and find the answers for myself, which I greatly appreciate. At the start of my business, I had a moment of extreme doubt when it seemed like nothing was working, and I’d just lost 1,000 dollars (which was a lot at the time) due to a bad investment.

I think she could see that I was having doubts, and as I was telling her about how I’d just lost 1,000 dollars, she transferred the exact amount into my account and let me know she was investing in my business. My mom is not the parent who spoils her children by any means. We weren’t raised to be given money for any and every desire, which was huge and really boosted my confidence that she believed in me not as her daughter but as a businesswoman. It wasn’t the money, and it was the belief in my vision that kept me going.

Six months after that conversation, my business really took off, and we generated nearly 1MM dollars in sales in that year. I recognize that I’m very fortunate to have a parent who supports me, but I believe we all should find and surround ourselves with those who believe in us and keep us motivated during the hard moments.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

“When you’re on a journey to fulfill your Personal Legend, the whole universe conspires to help you achieve it.” — The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

I’ve read that book more times than I count, and each time I take something new away. At the start of my journey to creating this business, I read The Alchemist for the first time. After years of feeling this inner pull to step into a more purposeful life — the idea of discovering and fulfilling my Personal Legend was exhilarating. It’s no coincidence that it’s my company’s basis, empowering women to realize and actualize their full potential.

I truly believe we all have a Personal Legend, and the hardest part is taking the first step to uncovering what that is. Once you take that first step, the universe absolutely helps you every other step along the way. People, ideas, and opportunities that I would’ve never known existed before booking that flight to Paris popped out of nowhere. Paris was the start of my journey, and it’s led me to do work that not only fulfills my own “Personal Legend” but enables me to support other women to do the same.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

Follow the Fear. I have this on my wall as a post-it note in my office and a constant reminder. Every day as an entrepreneur, you are faced with taking uncomfortable and often terrifying action. I was full of fear before moving to Paris, starting my business, getting on stage for my first speaking engagement — I still have fears every day. I remind myself that when we’re afraid, we are often trying to predict a future that hasn’t happened yet or living a past scenario that has already passed, and we are not in the present. I often say that my “green light” to pursue something is when I feel both fear and excitement, and anytime I have followed that fear, it’s led to incredible growth, happiness, and alignment with who I am and why I’m here.

How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

The basis of my business is to help empower women to be the active co-creators of their lives. Witnessing those women step into their purpose and then inspire others to do the same ultimately creates a ripple effect — that is what drives me. Supporting causes, I believe in my time as a volunteer and money to continue to make an impact and provide scholarships to aspiring female entrepreneurs who may not have the financial means to get started are two things I am passionate about.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience, what is currently holding back women from founding companies?

Unfortunately, societal norms still teach us that business and entrepreneurship are a world meant for men from a young age. I would love to see a shift in early education, even down the visuals used in textbooks, films, and media to show young girls what’s possible. That being said, it has been exhilarating to see a change and growth in what a typical CEO looks like over the past decade, and I hope that as more female founders can share our stories, it allows other women to know it’s possible for them too.

I also would love to see more organizations and networks created that are focused on female entrepreneurship support. Many of the current spaces are male-dominated, and it can be challenging for a woman to find her space within those rooms. I hope to create a network and safe space for women built off the collaboration and sharing of ideas, resources, and support. I’ve seen incredible things happen when women come together, share their stories, and support each other.

Can you share with our readers what you are doing to help empower women to become founders?

Our signature group program, Clarity To Launch Academy, was created to empower women with the tools, strategy, and support needed to create and grow their own coaching and consulting companies. We’ve had over 600 women go through the program in the past year, and to see them start the program with a vague idea, to creating an actual business that’s generating revenue and making hires — it’s incredible. I truly believe that women are stronger when we come together and support each other, and if I can play a small role in someone else’s dream coming to reality — I’ve done my job here.

This might be intuitive to you but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?

I find that women often bring a personalized understanding of the business world that is not often associated with traditional business models. We are taught supply and demand, but now more than ever, we have to see the consumer as the whole person they are and not just a demographic. This enables businesses to create real connections and build relationships with their audiences that go beyond the transaction.

I also believe that we have evolved from when a woman could either be a mom or a working woman. It’s important to show our children, both boys, and girls that there are no limits to what they want to do or become. We all have the power to be an active co-creator of our lives and ultimately create real change in the world.

I’ve been in business meetings with all men and seen how an entirely new vision can be created when a woman gives her perspective or ideas. We mustn’t live in a world where the vision is skewed to sole men’s thoughts and ideas. There has to be an equilibrium and space for diverse opinions and viewpoints — this is the only way real change and innovation can continue.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Can you please share 5 things that can be done or should be done to help empower more women to become founders? If you can, please share an example or story for each.

  1. More funding opportunities for female-owned small businesses to be able to start. It’s great to see the increase of grants and programs targeting female entrepreneurs pop up over the last few years, and I hope that continues. It would be great to have global funds funded by established female business owners to provide funding and support for new female-led businesses.
  2. Entrepreneurial education as part of our core education curriculum. In school, we are often taught about traditional jobs, which is great. Still, it’s less common to learn about entrepreneurship, business management, and careers outside of the societal norms we are exposed to from a young age. This should be taught from adolescence as a core K-12 curriculum, not just an option in Universities. It would be great to see young girls exposed to fields typically dominated by men — finance, construction, real estate development.
  3. More support for mothers and their children. A big challenge I see, and one that I’m now faced with firsthand as I am expecting my first child, is juggling motherhood and entrepreneurship. As women, we are often taught that we have to choose between our careers or being moms. Men are rarely if ever, faced with this decision. With the cost of childcare rising, there needs to be more financial and emotional support for mothers who absolutely want to be present in raising their children and want the freedom to explore their own passions and pursuits. It would be great to have networks, organizations, and local centers specifically designed for female business owners raising a family. There needs to be better access to childcare options, for example, affordable childcare that extends beyond the traditional 9–5 hours that an entrepreneur’s schedule may not fall into. It would be great to have co-working spaces designed for working moms with childcare options aligned with a business owner’s varying needs.
  4. Leadership development and training. We are taught from a young age that speaking up for what we desire makes us bossy and unattractive. As a result, I’ve seen many women struggle with going after what they want, articulating their point of value, and asking for their worth out of fear of how other people will perceive them. It’s one thing to be a boss or CEO, it’s a very different thing to be a leader. It would be great to have a safe space where women can learn core leadership skills necessary for the entrepreneurial journey.
  5. More Mentorship Opportunities: I’ve invested in my mentorship since the beginning, and it’s been pivotal to my success. I’d love to see more mentorship opportunities even within the corporate environment so women can feel empowered to take the next step in their careers and business.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I believe in the power of sharing our stories. I often tell my clients that no one can duplicate isn’t your business, it’s your story. I’ve seen what sharing authentically can do — it brings down walls and allows us all to see how much more alike we are than different. It creates community, and the power of what’s possible when people come together is infinite. I’d love for more people to share their stories, not just the pretty filtered ones that we often see online — but truly sharing all of who we truly are when we take away the titles and society-given labels.

We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

I’m sure she’s on a lot of people’s list, but without a doubt, it would be Oprah. She’s been on my vision board for over 10 years, and I’ve followed her work since childhood. I deeply resonate with her story and drive to create businesses and a platform and movement designed to uplift others to support us all being our best selves. I truly believe we are all here to be of service to one another in our own unique and special way. She’s done just that and has empowered so many others to do the same. As a woman of color, she is a huge inspiration for me, and it’s incredible to witness how she has navigated the various steps and pivots along her journey.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I am most active and love to connect with others on Instagram @thebravolife and my website is www.natanyabravo.com

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this!

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