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Dina Readinger was a high-performing regional sales manager who believed her track record kept her job safe. It didn’t. So, she took the lessons she learned to start a coaching company that teaches women how to stand out.
“It’s all about likeability and influence,” says Readinger, founder of Ace Coaching Co. LLC. “(Women) get overlooked. You don’t stand out. People don’t know who you are. We have to change that.”
If there is a through line in Readinger’s life, it is to walk through every open door, even if you have no idea what’s on the other side or whether success awaits you.
That’s what she did nearly 30 years ago as a single parent when a job required relocating to St. Louis. Or when she didn’t survive the fourth merger and acquisition at her company and used that experience to help women thrive. Or when she turned the difficulties of COVID-19 into opening a franchise.
The Springfield native earned a bachelor’s degree in biology/chemistry from Missouri State University before attaining certification in nuclear medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She was attracted to nuclear medicine, which is an offshoot of radiology, partly because of the stability it offered. She stayed in the field for about 10 years, first at Ferrell-Duncan Clinic and then CoxHealth.
In 1993, Readinger, at the time a single parent, moved into the pharmaceutical field with GSK PLC. Two years later, she faced a choice: move to St. Louis and keep her job or return to nuclear medicine.
“My world turned upside down,” Readinger says about facing the prospect of leaving her hometown with two young children to start anew.
But she did it, staying for two decades, remarrying and having twins as she built her career with GSK, where she gained a reputation for skillfully combining teams that formed after a merger or acquisition. It’s a stressful process, Readinger says, because it’s often done poorly.
“I really loved it. I loved giving back hope, because nobody has hope during change,” she says. “I was really good at coming in and grounding people.”
Despite her success, Readinger’s job did not survive the fourth merger and acquisition of her GSK career.
“I thought I was safe,” she says. “I didn’t understand the power of influence.”
That led her to start Ace Coaching. She realized she hadn’t done a good job making sure decision-makers knew who she was and what she could do. One of her initiatives is Diagnostic Thinking, a coaching program designed for women, and she recently released a book, “Think Differently,” with co-author Sharon M. Weinstein.
“Confidence is the game changer for women and a fearlessness,” says Readinger, who holds an executive MBA from Washington University. “You create what you want. You’ve got to be confident in being able to make decisions and get people to follow you.”
And because Readinger has a penchant for keeping busy, she recently started a franchise of mobile pet spa Zoomin Groomin after her family benefitted from getting a dog during the difficult months of the pandemic.
The first downtown Springfield branch for Arvest Bank opened; a longtime licensed massage therapist became a first-time business owner; and 7 Brew Coffee opened its fourth shop in Springfield.