Monika Mantilla is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Altura Capital and Small Business Community Capital (SBCC). Altura Capital, an NP client, is an impact investor focused on growing and building companies, especially those that are minority-owned, woman-owned, and otherwise enjoy diverse ownership. Through both of her companies, Monika plays a pivotal role in developing an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, advisors, and corporations working together to harness opportunities.
It was a pleasure to have a chance to discuss Monika's businesses and career journey with her. Her energy and passion for making an impact in underserved communities is palpable. The important of relationships was an overarching theme throughout our conversation. Monika has built successful businesses and an impressive network by being an invaluable partner. She is now leveraging those relationships to bring opportunities to others. Our conversation left me motivated and inspired. Here are a few of the key lessons from Monika that stuck with me.
Focus and learn from mistakes. Monika recalled a story from early on in her career that we can all relate to: that dreaded mistake that comes to a head during a presentation. Rather than be fired or reprimanded, as Monika thought she might be, her boss at the time used it as a teaching opportunity. He knew that was a lesson that Monika would take with her and trusted that she would not make the same mistake again – and she hasn't. Mistakes are a decision or action that do not produce the outcome we expect. When we understand the outcome and the decisions that led to it, we can adjust accordingly for the future. Learning from our mistakes make us stronger.
Collaboration is the key to success. There is so little that we can do as human beings alone. Every endeavor on which we embark requires a group of people working together, which why our relationships are so important in life and in business. Monika relied on her partners and mentors when she reinvented her business to what Altura Capital is today. She credits the high quality people with whom she surrounded herself in getting to the right place at the right time. The keys to successful collaboration are communication, listening, and honoring our partnerships. We need to not only understand what our needs are, but also the needs of our partner. From that understanding comes a common solution.
Find your passion. Monika emphasized the importance of finding one's passion. It may not come to you right away, you need to explore and experiment to find what you're passionate about. Once you've found it, commit to it and go for it in a bold, but thoughtful way. You won't be able to achieve your goals from the sidelines. The biggest failure is not trying.
We are at a historical moment in time. Women and minority-owned businesses have been underserved for a long time. The events of the last year have opened the doors to more opportunities. Monika has seen firsthand that executives and corporations now understand the value of having a diverse portfolio and having a diverse population at the table. We must be committed to helping raise each other up. If we all commit to building that camaraderie, then good things will happen. Now is the time to seize these opportunities.