Jeanine Suah, a go-giving entrepreneur, uses the world as inspiration for community innovation. With friend and colleague Maghan Morin, Suah co-founded Thynk Global, a co-working and event space where people of color and allies can create, collaborate, and build for the future. Their mission is to empower minorities to take risks while connecting them to resources and opportunities that help them build a sustainable business.
What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
JS: Freedom, flexibility, and power. Being an entrepreneur gives me the freedom and flexibility to create what I want, when I want; and the power to not only provide for those who have provided for me like family and close friends, but the platform to evoke positive change for those young entrepreneurs who come after me.
How did your company come to be? Describe the a-ha moment that lead to its conception.
JS: Thynk Global was born out of the sheer desire to make a positive impact on the minority community, both locally and globally, through entrepreneurship, opportunity and sustainability. After working in co-working spaces and launching our first concept in 2017, we saw that the people who needed these spaces the most, often could not afford to work from them. As a result, we created a more socially inclusive concept with all the same high-quality features, at a fraction of the cost.
How has your business changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
JS: Apart from us having less people in the space, we’re honestly working hard to just figure it out. We’ve had to get really creative in the way we disseminate content and create community by offering virtual memberships; however, our main recent priority in reopening our doors has been shifting our focus to increasing sanitary procedures to keep everyone safe.
What is your proudest and darkest moment so far? Share a key high and key low from your journey.
JS: Proudest moment is definitely getting featured on Business Insider, not once but twice in one month! That was an intention that I set three years ago so to see it come to fruition was beyond amazing! My darkest moment hit me about four months ago. Long story short, we acquired our building only to find out that our landlord had several violations which delayed our opening by six plus months. Simultaneously, my husband and I were living in separate cities and told me he wanted a divorce, and then when we were finally ready to open the business, COVID hit us HARD. It was super tough to deal with but after therapy and tons of self-reflection, I came out on top! It was dark but I never allow anything to defeat me and I always find the silver lining in everything.
How is your company changing the landscape?
JS: According to Cheddar TV, we’re pioneering the Affordable Workspace Movement and that’s what we believe to be true. Thynk Global is the first black-owned self-funded coworking space in Miami, we’re the first coworking space in South Florida to feature a pop-up retail shop, and we’re the first coworking space in Miami to be started by two black female founders. We’re making the workplace more affordable for the people who need it most by cutting market prices by nearly 65% and being more intentional in how we connect with our community.
What do you wish you knew when you started? Is there anything you would do differently?
JS: Although I wish I knew that not everyone has your best interest at heart, I definitely would not do anything differently. Each experience I’ve had throughout my journey has served a specific purpose and has shaped me in a uniquely beautiful way that I would not change. I’ve been smacked in the face with some serious trials and challenges, but I am grateful for every single one of them because they each taught me a valuable lesson that will make me a stronger CEO.
What advice/credo do you live by as you grow the business/what is your professional and personal mission statement?
JS: Always give more in value than you receive in payment. While my dad always taught me, when you take care of people, people will take care of you, that credo put into words when I read the book, The Go-Giver (one of my absolute favorites—I cried real tears lol). That piece of advice is something that I value to this day. Be a servant leader, stay genuine, authentic and give when you can (and even when you can’t) and you’ll be taken care of.
Where do you find inspiration when faced with challenges?
JS: Within my faith and within myself. I think of the bigger picture, remember by “why” and keep my focus. Challenges are temporary but perseverance is forever.
What does “success” look like for you? What do you think will help you achieve it?
JS: Success to me is having a billion-dollar valuation while having that freedom, flexibility, and power to create what I want on my own time. At a surface level, I know I’m already successful because I’ve been a direct vehicle for change in creating opportunity for the people, but I also have very high standards for myself which are also indicative of financial milestones. RELATIONSHIPS and maintaining a focused mindset will help me achieve it. It takes a village to build an empire, no one can achieve it on their own.
Has personal or professional “success” changed for you since the COVID-19 pandemic?
JS: Not really. Building something great is a hustle regardless of the circumstances. I still want to achieve the same things, and WILL achieve them, we just have to shift and adapt to the times in order to get there.
What’s it like to work alone or with your partners? What advice do you have for fellow entrepreneurs about building and leading teams?
JS: Oh my gosh, I literally have the best business partner known to man. I could NOT have gotten this far without a partner. There’s a certain level of accountability, hustle, and drive required to achieve your goals and I’m grateful to say that I’ve found that in my business partner Maghan. My advice for building a successful team is find people who are stronger than you in certain areas and learn how to effectively delegate tasks and communicate your vision. Hire for potential, skill, and character, and make sure that your team’s individual goals are highlighted as much as the company’s goals are.
Many entrepreneurs continue to perfect their daily morning routines to support their work and greater vision; would you mind sharing your morning routine or a regular ritual that grounds your work each day? How has it changed in recent months?
JS: I love this question! Wake up by 5:30am (sometimes 4:30am if I have some extra work to do), play some Yebba or Crime Mob in the car, in the gym by 6am, shower by 7:10am, out the door by 7:45am, have my tea and fruit on the way to work and in the office by 8am—if not earlier. Some days, I leave the house at 5:45am and am in the office by 6am—during these rare days, I’ll leave work at 6pm and be in the gym by 6:30pm. My physical health feeds my mental and emotional creativity. Working out is a valuable outlet for me and helps me perform at my optimal level. Whatever stress I’m feeling, I take it to the gym, leave it there and handle my business.
What keeps you motivated during this time?
JS: Knowing that challenges are only temporary, and my impact and legacy will be forever. I also have the weight of thousands of black and brown entrepreneurs on my back and that’s a lot of pressure. They need us and we need them, so knowing that I will not allow myself to disappoint them keeps me going.
What kind of entrepreneur do you want to be known as, as in, what do you want your legacy to be?
JS: I want to be known as someone who gives a sh*t about the people I’m serving. As someone who loves and gives more than they receive and as someone who did whatever was necessary to advance the agenda of the people as a collective, I want my legacy to be that I loved people as hard as I could and that they felt valued because of me.
What is a quote or words of wisdom that help you get through the tough days?
JS: Be the change you wish to see in the world. When you understand what your purpose is, you work hard to see it come to life, by any means necessary.
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