ACC talks Black History Month: Nina Means

ACC Fashion Incubator Director Nina Means

Throughout Black History Month, Austin Community College (ACC) sits down with influential and accomplished faculty and staff to discuss what Black History Month means to them.

Meet Nina Means, director of ACC's Fashion Incubator. From her former career in public health to her current position in education, she loves building programs that will make an impact on communities.

Why do you work at ACC?

ACC reaches the community like no other institution in the area. We are giving people meaningful opportunities to change their lives for the better at an incredible value they can afford. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?

Why do you believe it's important for the college to commemorate Black History Month?

ACC has shown me time and time again that inclusion matters, and that means a lot to me. When we take the opportunity to acknowledge the contributions and heritage of those who work here, it communicates that we matter.

What are some personal or professional accomplishments you are most proud of?

I am most proud of my team. We have really pulled together in what is a startup within the college to build a new program that we hope will serve and develop many aspiring fashion industry professionals. They are passionate about their work and the community, and I've seen them go out of their way to serve and support our students.

What's the best lesson you've learned?

The best lesson I've learned is to embrace change. Flexibility is key as you move toward your goals. Nothing happens overnight or exactly as you planned it. When I've leaned into change, it has often transformed me for the better: I've gotten stronger, learned to trust my intuition, and developed patience as I persist toward my goals.

Why do you feel it is important to seek out and value diverse perspectives?

No one person has all of the answers. It is important to be confident in what you know while also seeking additional input from others who see the world differently from you. You never know what you may learn that will allow for a more inclusive experience.

How do you build bridges between communities?

I enjoy speaking with people around the college, the Austin community, and beyond who don't normally intersect with each other. Finding the synergies from these different communities gives a unique opportunity to do something transformative and interdisciplinary.

What inspires you?

I love building programs that will make an impact on communities. In my past career in public health, the best part of my day was knowing that we brought life-saving care to underserved populations. I think that's what drew me to ACC. We share the passion of working with and for people who need it the most. I show up for them.


Read our previous Black History Month spotlight on Joyce Aberebigha Tolofari, MSN, RN, associate professor of Professional Nursing >>