By Bisila Bokoko – Back in 2010, I was invited to attend Empretec, a women’s business awards conference in Geneva, Switzerland. There I was, in a room full of women from all around the world. I was immediately inspired and fascinated by the energy of cooperation and commitment to women helping each other succeed. It was the first time I had experienced being in the space of a supportive community and witnessed women from all around the world working together to make their dreams come true.
My eyes were opened to the power and potential we all have as women to help each other succeed. It became a true source of joy for me!
Throughout my career in International Business I’ve had the chance to address audiences and speak about how to do business across the globe, the landscape of geopolitics, entrepreneurship, leadership, and even fashion. In 2014 I was invited to the Dominican Republic as a guest speaker to an event called, Leadership in High Heels (already I was in love with the name). The event organizers asked me to talk about my career path and some of the obstacles I had to overcome to get there. It was the first time I remember being transparent about some of the personal challenges I had faced through the years. The response from the audience that day was so overwhelmingly positive.
What I discovered is that women – no matter where we are in life or how we got there – all have a story. Sharing our personal journeys – the good, the bad, and the ugly – can have a tremendous empowering effect on each other.
Sharing our personal journeys – the good, the bad, and the ugly – can have a tremendous empowering effect on each other.
My connection to empowering and uplifting women has always been attached to the way that I work. As Executive Director of the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce we were a team of 16 women working together; I didn’t purposely plan it that way, it just happened! The Chairman would often comment on how our team of women worked so well together. This showed me that sometimes we need to demonstrate to the outside world how powerful and effective we can be just from our commitment to work together and support each other.
When I transitioned to entrepreneurship and started my own company, BBES, I also ended up with a team of women. I have found amazing women who have supported me in ways I couldn’t even imagine and I am so grateful for that! However, it wasn’t always this way. Early on in my career, I experienced the opposite. It was so painful and I saw how damaging it could be to be in competition with each other rather than in support of one another.
My passion and dedication to empowering women and women-led organizations has driven me to create a unique program where I coach and provide mentorship to female entrepreneurs or aspiring ones to help them become the best version of themselves. In my program, I am so proud to say my coaches and mentees have gone on to do some incredible things in their career and they’re only just getting started!
If you’re looking to do more for other women, here are three simple ways to do it:
1) Share Your Network: Open your network to them, share your contacts and make introductions.
2) Share Insights: Share your experiences and lessons learned, hard work, blood, sweat and tears. You never know how much sharing your story can help someone.
3) Share Resources: Invite someone to an event, make a connection, recommend someone or share market research, you will definitely make a change in someone’s life!
I believe in the magnificent power of women. Let us help one another and hold hands to climb the ladder of success. If we ever fall from it, let’s be there to pick up the pieces and help to start again.
Happy International Women’s Day, we have a lot ahead of us!
About The Author
Considered one of the ten most influential Spanish women in American business, and declared “an international change agent” by Black Enterprise, Bisila Bokoko is an acclaimed businesswoman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. For seven years, she held the position of Executive Director of the Spain-US Chamber of commerce in New York. She then launched BBES, her consulting firm in 2012. Bisila’s work has won her widespread recognition and led to dynamic involvement in EMPRETEC, a United Nations program that supports up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
From hosting at the UN in Switzerland to delivering powerful keynotes in Dominican Republic, and on-air radio hosting in South Africa, Bisila continues to inspire audiences around the world.