“Black women break concrete ceilings but what makes the difference is really our attitudes. You can choose to be a victim or to be a leader. Depending on the place you are coming from, the results will be different”
I first heard Bisila speak at a Women Werk Gala. She was awarded “Honoree of the Year”. I could hear the passion in her voice as she gave an empowering speech about her amazing life journey! I heard her speak again at an NYU Stern business conference and her vigor was still so powerful. Again, I was inspired by her grace, hard work and tenacity! Bisila is one those women who genuinely want to improve the well being of young women all over the world. She is our Career Crush for obvious reasons!
Bisila is a multifaceted entrepreneur, speaker and philanthropist. She is the founder and CEO of BBES, a New York based business development agency that represents, promotes and markets brands internationally. She lives out her purpose of empowering young people through her non- profit, Bisila Bokoko African Literacy Project (BBALP). She also has her own winery, Bisila Wines! She is a fearless advocate for Women and Girls around the world!
She shared some Career Advice with us with LFE!
Balancing a day job seems hard enough in our fast paced society. You have a very busy work schedule ( and two children) but you still make time to invest in the success of younger women. How do you balance it all? How can millennial women maintain work life balance?
I love this question because helping women to maintain work life balance is important to me. Seven years ago, I was out of balance, sleeping poorly, eating poorly and playing Super Woman, trying to be perfect! “Funny things” happened in my life and I realized that I could be a much better mother, wife, leader, entrepreneur, daughter, sister, friend, mentor when I take the time on achieving balance, and I am living a happier, healthier and more productive life than ever!
I would like to share with millennial women what has served me personally to maintain work life balance:
- Let go of perfectionism; perfectionism can be destructive.
- Exercise, eat healthy and meditate.
- Be able to unplug and enjoy the present moment.
- Develop work goals but also life goals .
- Create a positive tribe and a support system with family and friends in sync with your values.
Women often have to break glass ceilings to excel in their careers. Black Women in particular have to break concrete ceilings. What are some of the challenges you have faced as a black woman in your career?
I turn whatever can be seen as a challenge into an opportunity. It is true that Black women break concrete ceilings but what makes the difference is really our attitudes. You can choose to be a victim or to be a leader. Depending on the place you are coming from, the results will be different. Actually some of the situations that I lived through could be perceived as unfair or difficult but they pushed me forward and I am grateful for all those moments! Black women break down fences. Instead of focusing on the fences, we should focus on the destination and where we are going.
We love wine! Owning and running a winery sounds like a dream! What was the aha moment behind Bisila Wines?
Wine is the symbol of friendship and love; thanks to Dionysus (The Greek God of Wine) who was concerned with peace among mankind. He introduced wine to make people happy! I always wanted to be connected with businesses that are happy businesses! Just a bit of mythology history here because when my brother Boyoyo proposed this business idea to me it was based on our love and friendship (long story). What really helped us to move forward in the hard times was the love and friendship that came from our team. So the aha moment came when I heard the about the business, and I knew it was in alignment with the values that the product represents!
You mentioned in a forbes article that you were determined to work in New York regardless of uncertainty. How do you approach uncertainty in your work life? How can millennial women approach uncertainties when it comes to taking risks?
An entrepreneur’s mindset is one that can cope very well with uncertainty. Nowadays, we all are entrepreneurs – even if you are an employee. If you don’t think as an entrepreneur, you will not be able to play the current game.
Humans in general are resistant to change and when something is not familiar we fear it, so living in the unknown is not easy by nature. Millennial women are living in the most exciting times in the history of mankind! We live in a very unpredictable world economy, and everything is transforming around us, now we need to be creative – not just to find a job, to create a job! This means there are no limits to our dreams!
Millennial women need to take a leap of faith when it comes to risk! No matter what happens you need to believe that somewhere around the road, things do work out. Don’t overthink, dont over analyze, use your intuition, trust it, and this is how you gain control of yourself while living life! (Tweet this)
What advice do you have for black millennial women who want to succeed and own their careers?
Black millennial women, I want you to be wildly successful, exceed your expectations and be happy! Know what you want! Find something that inspires you, find something to commit to, and make your world revolve around that project, task, or role and succeed in it!
Don’t settle for a job you are not passionate about, take risks early and often in your career. Spend more time with people than on your devices, travel as much as you can. Learn about other cultures and languages; invest in your education, coaching, mentorship programs and develop a network!
In line with our mission, what does being an executive woman mean to you ?
Being an Executive woman means that you can be at the center of the room without having all the attention. It means that you can create a balance between knowing and sharing expertise. It means that in the eye of storm, you can be emotionally resilient, and contribute to the growth of other leaders. It means that you get to use your voice for the goodness of your mission and others!