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7 Questions on Leadership with Nina Antinora

Name: Nina Antinora

Title: CEO

Organisation: Change It Up, LLC

Location: United States

Nina Antinora is a #1 Best Selling Author and Chief Executive Officer at Change It Up®. For nearly 25 years, Nina has partnered with global Fortune 500 companies severing a mindset and change agility strategist and thought leader across various leadership excellence teams and countless business areas.

Nina not only excels in developing didactic training and coaching programs along with imparting client-focused initiatives effectively, she also demonstrates exceptional proficiency in nurturing emotional intelligence and bridging process, strategy, and insights with power skills. She absolutely loves helping her clients show up each day as their ‘best selves’ by tapping into the ‘human’ side of business in order to thrive amongst the ever-changing business ecosystem.

She has won various awards including “Best of the Best Practice Award” for the 2.0 Global Medical Training Competition earlier in her career. And recently, voted San Diego’s “Most Inspiring Women’ & ‘Top 50 Women Leaders’, as well as Los Angeles' ‘Top Success Strategist’.

Nina is also the founder of AGFS Foundation. For over 15 years, she continues to lead a team of volunteers and liaise with hospitals and hospices to support patients and their families who are battling a terminal illness.

She has developed various innovative IP including: TrailChats®, The TEBB Method®, Coffee with the Coach®, Opportunity Wednesday®, and the 3Rs™ Roadmap. She is the host of the upcoming YouTube series ‘Conscious Conversations’ and has appeared on numerous podcasts and interviews sharing her unwavering passion to change the trajectory of business mindset, behavior, and results— one mindful step at a time!

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Nina's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

I consider myself a servant leader who values my team's individual strengths and contributions deeply. However, adopting this leadership style comes with its own unique challenges. One hurdle is shifting entrenched hierarchical mindsets within organizations towards one of collaboration and empowerment.

Additionally, overcoming misconceptions that associate servant leadership with weakness or indecisiveness demands a demonstration of strength, empathy, and courage in making tough choices while always considering my team's well-being.

This shift can face resistance from those accustomed to more traditional leadership styles, necessitating patience and persuasive communication to help foster a collaborative growth culture.

I think back to a business situation over 20 years ago where my team's leader used the "talking down" to method as a way of lifting herself up. She would even use her pointer finger and wave it in our faces to prove a point. I knew back then that when I am in a place of influence, I will take the opposite posture and build my team up and together, we will succeed.

And, I knew that no matter the pressure or high demands that may be on my leadership path ahead, I will always strive to inspire and empower my teams to unlock their greatest potential. Committing to this early on in my career was not an easy ask for myself. However, I also felt deep down in my core that I needed to take this leadership approach in order to stay true to myself and anchor to my core values in order to thrive—no matter the situation!

Balancing the needs of individuals with organizational objectives poses another challenge. While prioritizing the well-being and development of team members is paramount, it's equally crucial to ensure that tasks are completed efficiently and goals are met. Striking this balance necessitates adept decision-making and effective communication to align individual and organizational aims seamlessly.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My leadership trajectory really began at a young age when I was entrusted with the role of captain for both my high school basketball and softball teams. These experiences instilled in me a deep sense of responsibility, as I was tasked with not only leading my teammates on the field/court, but also setting an example of discipline, teamwork, and resilience.

As captain, I learned to navigate diverse personalities, motivate others, and make critical decisions under pressure, skills that would serve as the foundation for my future leadership roles. Transitioning into the competitive NYC marketing agency landscape, at the age of 30 I rose to the position of executive producer, where I led cross-functional teams, managed high-pressure projects, developed creative strategies, and oversaw training initiatives. This multifaceted role honed my ability to collaborate across disciplines, think strategically, and adapt to rapidly changing environments.

Building on this experience, I transitioned into the role of a learning and development executive, where I leveraged my expertise to cultivate talent and drive organizational growth. Additionally, I founded a nonprofit organization, further demonstrating my commitment to leadership and community impact.

From the basketball court to the boardroom, leadership is not just a skill set for me; it's ingrained in my DNA, driving me to inspire, empower, and make a difference wherever I go.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

As a mom and wife first, I strive for balanced workday that includes dedicated blocks of time for work tasks and family responsibilities. It involves setting clear boundaries between work and personal life, prioritizing tasks, and maintaining flexibility to accommodate family and client needs accordingly.

Regular breaks and self-care activities are integrated to avoid burnout and maintain productivity. Effective time management and communication with my teams, clients, and family members are essential for maintaining harmony and achieving a healthy work-life balance.


4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

This is more of an ongoing reminder— that each person sees a challenge through their own lens. While I may perceive something one way, the other person may have their own take based on their previous experience and therefore approach a situation in a different way than me. It's important to always pause and give space for the other person to share their perspective and then together forge a strategy based on different perspectives.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

I would have to say: "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. He provides profound insights that has most certainly helped be enhance my leadership skills. These agreements—be impeccable with your word, don't take anything personally, don't make assumptions, and always do your best—offer a framework for fostering effective communication, emotional intelligence, and personal responsibility within leadership roles. By embodying integrity and honesty, leaders cultivate trust and transparency with their team members, fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration.

Additionally, practicing resilience and emotional intelligence enables leaders to respond calmly and objectively to criticism or conflict, fostering constructive relationships and teamwork. Avoiding assumptions and actively seeking clarification encourages leaders to approach situations with curiosity and openness, leading to better understanding and decision-making.

By modeling a commitment to continuous improvement and self-care, I am able to pass this mindset onto my team members to do the same, contributing to a positive and supportive work environment where everyone can thrive.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Find a mentor that aligns with your core values. Not someone just like you, rather someone will inspire you to see, think, and feel differently and to encourage you to flex beyond core competencies in the face of adversity. To always trust your gut. Be open minded. And and don't allow other people's fears to stand in between you and your achieving your goals.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

It's hard to pinpoint just one! So, I'll go with something that tends to be more of a trend in my leadership experience. Having worked with hundreds of people from all different walks of life, in various countries, industries etc., I continue to be inspired and motivated when I hear— "it's not what you said that made the greatest impact, it's how you made me feel..."

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