Quick! Name two things that would never go together. If you said computer science and beauty, think again. Entrepreneur Candace Mitchell is already pioneering the combination of these two seemingly disparate fields. She founded Myavana, a platform and app that delivers personalized and scientifically-backed haircare solutions to women around the globe. She’s also the entrepreneur-in-residence for Ascend2020, a program financed by JP Morgan Chase to develop and support minority and women-owned tech companies and small businesses, and was named on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list. Candace leads the way for women of color in the tech industry, and uses her own experiences to help people find their purpose.

Candace joined us for a Donuts & Digital talk, giving us an inspiring perspective on building our own entrepreneurial spirit every day, while we chomped some sweet breakfast treats. Here’s what we learned:

Make it personal.
Entrepreneurialism comes from within—Candace’s own experiences with haircare led to the development of Myavana. As a woman of color who was going natural (meaning she was foregoing the chemical hair straighteners she’d been using for decades), she needed advice to navigate the dizzying array of products on the market. She listened to her internal compass, made it personal, and built an entire business around something she had complete faith in. Here at Hothouse, we encourage everyone from the senior VPs to our most junior staff to put themselves into every project, creating unique work with a personal connection.

Be relentless.
Unapologetically chase your boldest ideas, and let them evolve. It took interviewing 1000 women, and pivoting their product six times, to adapt Myavana to meet the needs of its target market. Our creative team knows there’s potential for every idea, no matter how big or small—so we ask the right questions, and pursue excellence, even if that means changing the idea to make it better.

Diverse people bring diverse ideas.
Candace took the stage to pitch her idea to a panel of bald, white, male judges, all of whom would decide whether or not to fund her company aimed at black women (with hair.) She opened their eyes to a $5 billion industry, offering them an untapped opportunity for investment. Our agency mission is to find our clients’ untapped marketing opportunities, and we know the best way to do that is to bring a diverse group to every project, each person bringing different knowledge, expertise and experiences.

Don’t hire for skillset, hire for mindset.
One of the harder lessons Candace had to learn was the right way to hire. Skills count for a lot when building a team, but more important, is the way people work together. She began digging in deeper to each candidates’ motivations and values to bring more cohesion to the team. Here at Hothouse, we look for a growth mindset and positivity—as well as some sick InDesign skills.