Stella Bida started her entrepreneurial journey in Belgium after a few years working as an employee for corporate companies working in the digital project management domain – mainly in the banking sector. Today, as a business owner, she owns multiple businesses: ‘Happy Clients = Higher Profits’; ‘Le Succès des Coiffeuses’ (Hairdressers’ success); and ‘Innovation. Strategy. Results’ where the objective is to help corporate companies to manage the launch of their innovative and ‘disruptive’ digital solutions.
She has a successful career and is confident about the choices she makes to get the results she wants. She stays focused on her top priorities and doesn’t get distracted by all the other things that one could also do. She has worked hard to take her dream into a strategy which is now the unique path she has materialized.
NY Elite Spotlight: Meet Stella Bida
NY Elite: You began your professional career as an IT engineer. Can you tell us a little about your background and how you started your journey as an entrepreneur?
Stella Bida: I always love to say that my journey as an entrepreneur started when I was a child! I have always been attracted to finding solutions where everyone else might see problems. For example, automating repetitive tasks has without doubt been the main reason that I decided to study IT engineering.
I started my career in Brussels about ten years ago working as a consultant for international companies mainly in the banking sector. After a couple of years as an employee, I decided to start my entrepreneurial journey by creating my own consultancy company. I was looking for a way to be able to control my own growth. Throughout the years, I have started other businesses in different industries, such as people empowerment, event management, business strategising and the hair and beauty industry.
NY Elite: As a woman what were the main challenges that you faced?
Stella Bida: The first challenge as a woman has been to be taken seriously. Working in a male environment, I always had to keep focused on my results as a priority. The objective has been to show that I deserved to be respected for the added value I brought to projects. This has been the key to my success during my career and as an entrepreneur. My main accomplishment with regards to this attitude has been to be selected as one of the top 50 leaders in an international bank I worked for, being one of the few women selected from the IT department. The recognition empowered me to be myself and not be afraid to be proud of myself. I truly believe that women and men can work together to create positive synergies.
The second main challenge as a woman has been to find support from other women. Most of the people who have been able to support me during my success have been men. Sisterhood has been hugely lacking during my career and as an entrepreneur. But I am happy to see that there are more and more safe environments building up across the world for women to empower each other. This has helped me in building the success I want, by meeting women I have been inspired by.
NY Elite: What has been your greatest achievement as an entrepreneur?
Stella Bida: My greatest achievement as an entrepreneur has been, and still is, to impact people. This has been the most beautiful achievement for me! When people tell me that I have impacted them, that my message has empowered them to be the best they can, I feel that I have accomplished my objective. It is the best fulfilment I get as an entrepreneur. I am still on my quest to empower the maximum number of people to achieve the type of success they want for their life, no matter how they define it.
NY Elite: What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
Stella Bida: Without any doubt, I would focus on two things: confidence and daring to take risks. Leadership does require us to be confident about the choices we make for the results we want. And risks are necessary to get the best results. All the best choices I have taken so far have resulted from my own confidence and the ability to take risks. I believe that if women had more faith in themselves, their leadership abilities would highly benefit all society.
NY Elite: What woman inspires you and why?
Stella Bida: It would wrong to focus only on a single name as I have found so many women across the world who have had a considerable impact on the person I am today. So many of them have been such great inspirations!
If I had to choose, I would say Oprah Winfrey. Without knowing much about her, I remember during my early years – around 7 years old – being very attracted by her talk shows. At that age I could already see the authenticity, power and wisdom Oprah could provide. I would spend hours watching her TV shows. Growing up, I understood where she has been able to take all of her passion and energy. The story of her life is one of those which remind me that the struggles encountered in life are the fuel that creates the impact we can have on other people’s lives.
As I want to impact people, I have come to understand how important it is to transform pain into the energy which keeps me up and strong. I am so thankful for the beautiful women and stories I have listened to so far, reminding me of that.
NY Elite: How do we as women steward power well?
Stella Bida: I believe that women have the ability to use power as a complementary tool to support their leadership. The positive aspect about it is that in situations of conflict, I see that women are oriented towards specific solutions. Women should be trusted and appointed to more powerful positions and work together with men: they tend to look for solutions with benefits for the development of families, communities and society as a whole.
I believe that bringing women more to the front in certain situations would also enhance the power and advantages men bring to society with their own conception of power. Both men and women’s power are necessary for a balanced world.
NY Elite: What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
Stella Bida: Today, women across the world are having more and more awareness that they can transform their dreams into a reality. I am happy to see that women are standing up to show and talk about their success stories so that others can see how real their own success can be. Great role models are being revealed!
Despite the efforts which are being done, I am afraid though, that the number of role models revealed will not be enough to impact all the women across the world in the near future. I think that the biggest challenge for the next generation of women will be to find role models they can look up to and identify themselves with, so they can say “I want to be like her! If she has done it, why can’t I?”. That sentence, I have said to myself many times and it has changed my life. It has been a trigger! If there are more women from the current generation who are able to speak up and have the courage to build confidence, then the next generation will have enough women to be inspired by!
*Article by Fati Gorezi, in collaboration with The Global Woman Magazine, UK.