By Katie Turner for Executive Alliance

Founder and CEO of the Slutty Vegan restaurant will be the keynote speaker at Executive Alliance’s annual Women of Excellence celebration.

Get ready for inspiration. Annually, Executive Alliance brings a nationally known speaker to October‘s Women of Excellence. This year, we are proud to bring a trailblazing CEO that combines business acumen, philanthropy, and a whole new take on vegan eating.

Pinky Cole is the founder, CEO, and force behind Slutty Vegan, a fast-growing vegan restaurant chain which she launched as a food truck in 2018. Today, the chain operates nearly 15 stores and five food trucks in multiple states and continues to expand.

“When I started Slutty Vegan, I had no idea that it was going to become a worldwide phenomenon,” she said. “But, the universe is showing me that my dream job is helping people to reimagine food.”

Cole had worked in television and owned another successful restaurant, which burned to the ground in 2016 as a result of a grease fire. Without fire insurance, Cole lost her savings, apartment, car, and was forced to reassess her path forward starting from nothing.

“That was an eye-opening moment because it gave me the ability to rise above the circumstance,” said Cole. And, it taught her that failure is a necessary part of the growth process.

“Failure is not failure at all. It’s really an opportunity to navigate through those circumstances and rise above them,” she said. “But, a lot of people don’t know how to do that.”

This idea inspired Cole’s new book, I Hope You Fail: Ten Hater Statements Holding You Back From Getting Everything You Want, releasing October 10. In it, she describes how failure and self-doubt can become the biggest motivators to achievement, calling on her own experiences as proof.

“I needed those things to happen to me, because it gave me the courage and the ingenuity to be able to continue on when I felt like giving up,” she explained. “I know what it feels like to fix the hardest times of my life, but I also know what it feels like to look back and say, I see why that happened.”

In speaking to fellow female leaders, entrepreneurs, and executives at the Women of Excellence event, Cole wants women to recognize how powerful they already are, and to see beyond the confines of identity and labels.

“I know my business and how I built something so special. I think that that has nothing to do with color. I’ve never had an issue being a ‘woman of color’ growing a business,” she said, encouraging female leaders to see their femininity as a strength.

“I believe that we [women] have that third eye ability to use our intuition to help and support us make decisions,” she said. “Women really are dynamic in every sense of the world. We know how to be moms and CEOs at the same time, and make it look good. We know how to multitask and we know how to be multi-dimensional.”

But, she adds that women need to support each other – not only professionally, but by providing each other safe spaces to be vulnerable.

“We have to be super women to everybody else. Sometimes we just want to take the cape off and just say, ‘Hey this is what I’m going through, this is what I need to be better.’”

With all of her success, Cole is still amazed at what she has accomplished in just five years.

“Slutty Vegan has become something that, just seeing it from my lens in the driver’s seat, some days, I still can’t believe it. The company has done so much for the community, for the ecosystem, for people who want to shift their lifestyles and lift their consciousness. I’m just so happy that I’ve been able to build something that is going to resonate with people around the world.”

Cole is a mother of two young children, and is expecting a third baby this year. A business leader, entrepreneur, wife, mother, daughter, friend, and more, Cole acknowledges how hard it is to balance the many roles that women carry in today’s world.

“I don’t know how I do it, but we do it, right? As hard as it is, we still do it. We still show up and make it happen every single day. And that is what makes it special.”

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