Bisila Bokoko: Finding Your Authentic Self
Bisila Bokoko (@BisilaBokoko) is a Spanish-American businesswoman and entrepreneur. "There is not only one right way to succeed," she tells you, "simply to just go for it".
Can women have both - a life and a career?
Bisila (or BB for millennials who prefers her nickname) calls herself :
“A cultural hybrid. I was born in Spain to African parents, became an American citizen, and have been living in New York City for the last fifteen years.”
In this episode, Bisila and I had a casual conversation to help you better understand her journey from zero to launch, as a speaker and influencer. What was it like for Bisila to speak in so many countries? How does she prepare herself for the appearance? How to engage with different people from so many different backgrounds and beliefs?
We also drill into tactics such as how Bisila introduces herself to people she meets for the first time. She shares an effective approach that sparks conversations rather than monologues.
- [06:00] How do you introduce yourself? How do you approach people you meet for the first time?
- [09:00] Is it easy to network in the US?
- [13:00] BB and Fei comparing how it was to be in touch with family in the past versus now, and what that means to new generations and businesses.
- [17:00] I think the dynamics of networking changes a lot between groups of men and women, and thus I have different strategies depending on who I’m networking with. What’s your take on this?
- [22:00] BB sharing her strategies for genuine networking, and tips based on past experience
- [27:00] Do you change the script of your talks based on your audience reaction? Did that happen in the past?
- [32:00] What does success mean for you and how do you measure it?
- [35:00] How do you know you are delivering meaning?
- [40:00] What made you decide to become a speaker, changing your corporate life?
- [45:00] How did the project of building libraries in Africa start?
- [48:00] How were you able to transport those books, and how did the kids react?
- [54:00] What’s your relationship with fashion?
- [58:00] Fei and BB talking about Spanish brands such as Desigual.
- [62:00] How did you invent your brand? What was your strategy?
- [66:00] What are some of the things you have learned from your fans and audience? How do you share in social media?
- [10:00] I love to meet people, and sometimes it is great when you know that someone could benefit the other even if it has nothing to do with you. It’s a great energy that you bring to your life.
- [15:00] It’s good to remain humble, and just give a tag. My tag is entrepreneur. If somebody wants to know more [about you], you let them know.
- [24:00] Sometimes I just feel the audience. You have to come from your heart, and explain that not everything was a path of roses, it is always ups and downs. People also want to know that sometimes you don’t feel so beautiful and you don’t get the invitation. When you have something to say and you come from that authentic place, nobody really cares. Instead we have a tendency to reject people that try very hard to show something. You feel they are not coming from that authentic place.
- [32:00] When you surrender to whatever comes out, and you are able to just be there, and give everything, I notice. And when I’m insecure, then I notice too and it’s not the same. Those are the vibes that you send to the audience.
- [37:00] Failure is an illusion. When you give up you fail, but before giving you couldn’t have failed, because it’s part of your journey. And because you took the wrong decisions or things don’t go the way you want, it doesn’t mean it’s failure, is part of your journey. A lot of people think about the NOs, they start putting a list of the reasons why they shouldn’t. In my list is only the ‘why YES’. And that’s the only thing I concentrate on.
- [44:00] The biggest fear that we have is failure, to not be good enough. But who is the judge here? We tend to think it’s the outside world, but in reality is us, we are our own judge.
More on Bisila Bokoko
Bisila worked at IVEX, The Valencia Institute of Export is a Regional Trade Agency, for 6 years. IVEX promotes internationalization of Valencia companies. In IVEX, she developed and implemented marketing strategies for these companies to market their products in the US.
In the following 7 years, Bisila worked for the Spain- US Chamber of Commerce as the Executive Director. The chamber is a private, U.S. non-profit organization, dedicated to fostering trade and investment relations between Spain and the United States.
Then there's Bisila Bokoko Embassy International, a company founded and run by Bisila. Some of her clients are Pikolinos, a Spanish shoe and accessory company, Foodie Channel, and Desigual (one of my favorite clothing brand).