Bita MilanianBita Milanian serves as the Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Ribbon (ribboncommunications.com) & its Kandy.io division.

Ribbon is a global leader in real-time communications software solutions for service providers, enterprises, independent software vendors, systems integrators and developers, operating in over 80 countries.

With over 20 years of marketing, branding and communications experience, Bita has held senior-level marketing positions at various companies, including TPx Communications and Global Crossing.  Prior to joining Ribbon, she held the top post of Executive Director for Farhang Foundation (farhang.org) and is also the founder of the creative and consulting agency Butterfly Buzz (bflybuzz.com), which she still operates as a means to continue her humanitarian work, support up-and-coming artists, as well as non-profits, to enable them to increase their profiles and optimize their brands.

A passionate community organizer, Bita actively volunteers her time and expertise in support of numerous causes and organizations and is a popular speaker at various conferences and programs on the topics of technology, philanthropy, art, culture, social justice and gender equality.

Bita has been a social media influencer and blogger since 2000, leveraging her expertise in online platforms for business to raise the profiles of global entrepreneurs, immigrants and artists alike who are being the change in the world they wish to see, building on Gandhi’s philosophy.

Although an Angeleno for nearly 30 years, Bita considers herself a global citizen and focuses her efforts on that scale.  Bita attended California State University, Northridge studying Business Administration and Marketing, and Kaiserin Augusta Schule in Cologne, Germany. Prior to Germany, she spent the first 13 years of her life in Iran, where she was born.

She is fluent in Persian and German, and proficient in conversational Spanish, French and Azeri Turkish.  As a seasoned traveler, she has had the pleasure of experiencing cuisines from various corners of the world. She enjoys trying new and bold flavors, and is equally as passionate about creating them in her own kitchen. “Food connects us,” Bita writes, “and when we are connected, we have the power to bring cultures together for positive change.”

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

Bita Milanian serves as the Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Ribbon & its Kandy.io division, a global technology company with more than two decades of leadership in real-time communications for service providers, enterprises, independent software vendors, systems integrators and developers in over 80 countries.

With over 20 years of marketing, branding and communications experience, Bita has held senior-level marketing positions at various companies, including TPx Communications and Global Crossing.  Prior to joining Ribbon, she held the top post of Executive Director for Farhang Foundation and is also the founder of the creative and consulting agency Butterfly Buzz, which she still operates as a means to continue her humanitarian work, support up-and-coming artists, as well as non-profits, to enable them to increase their profiles and optimize their brands.

A passionate community organizer, Bita actively volunteers her time and expertise in support of numerous causes and organizations and is a popular speaker at various conferences and programs on the topics of technology, philanthropy, art, culture, social justice and gender equality.

Bita has been a social media influencer and blogger since 2000, leveraging her expertise in online platforms for business to raise the profiles of global entrepreneurs, immigrants and artists alike who are being the change in the world they wish to see, building on Gandhi’s philosophy.  In January 2020, she launched her radio show called B the Change on Radio Iran 670AMKIRN (SoCalPersian.com), feautirng immigrant journeys of some of the most remarkable Iranian-Americans, from hardships to successes, and their positive impact in the world, being the change and inspiring the next generation.

Although an Angeleno for 30 plus years, Bita considers herself a global citizen and focuses her efforts on that scale.  Bita attended California State University, Northridge studying Business Administration and Marketing, and Kaiserin Augusta Schule in Cologne, Germany. Prior to Germany, she spent the first 13 years of her life in Iran, where she was born.

She is fluent in Persian and German, and proficient in conversational Spanish, French and Azeri Turkish.  As a seasoned traveler, she has had the pleasure of experiencing cuisines from various corners of the world. She enjoys trying new and bold flavors, and is equally as passionate about creating them in her own kitchen. “Food connects us,” Bita writes, “and when we are connected, we have the power to bring cultures together for positive change.”  As a result, she also shares her own healthy and quick recipes via BitaKitchen.com @bitakitchenofficial.

Bita has won many awards for her professional work as well as her humanitarian efforts. Most recently she was recognized as part of the “35 World Changing Women” by Conscious Company Magazine and Global Women in Telco & Tech 2019 “Agent of Change” Award and shortlisted for the Women in IT Awards in London as Business Role Model of the Year.

More information about her activism and philanthropic efforts, as well as her love of cooking, dancing and family can be found on her Instagram @bitamilanian.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I’ve been fortunate in that opportunities have come to me, largely based on a personal and professional network I value greatly as both are made up of talented, successful and creative people I love working with. My career is intentionally intertwined with my life, and because life is not something we can plan (though we can set our paths, organize our finances, prioritize our time, and balance our energies), my professional journey has been shaped by my passions and interests, which makes even the hardest work joyful.  I learned when I was very young that trying to force things to happen doesn’t work, and that by embracing the mystery of life, being loyal, being a leader and working hard, magical things happen and life is enriched by a series of moments to be grateful for.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

We all face challenges, and in the industry I’m current working in – advanced communications software and technology and Internet innovations in the real time communications space – challenges are often caused by constant changes to the business, economic and social landscape. There is rarely a day that goes by that doesn’t include a robust challenge for my team, my colleagues and myself; overcoming challenges takes creativity, deep thinking, hard work, courage and above all a great sense of humor!

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

It is impossible to name one, but what I am most proud of is mentoring dozens of people, supporting them in their pursuits, challenging them, encouraging them, pointing out opportunities for improvement, and of course singing their praises when they accomplish things that scared them in the beginning. There is nothing more satisfying to me than to experience the growth of one of my team members, or one of my colleagues. That said, there have been monumental moments I’ll always remember including taking a company public on the Nasdaq, producing and hosting multiple extremely successful global tech events 6 years in a row, rebranding and relaunching multi-billion valuation companies, being part of the groundworks and then becoming the founding executive director of the most prominent Iranian-American non-profit, Farhang Foundation in southern California and more.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Knowing that we can find a solution for every problem and not ever giving up easily; in fact, I don’t give up at all. We can ALWAYS find a way to achieve our goals when we stay focused and committed.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

  • Study up constantly
  • Work hard every day
  • Aim high and disrupt
  • Avoid mediocre ideas
  • Aim for perfection
  • Have the courage to go up against incumbents
  • Have the wisdom to understand that without resources even the best ideas will fail
  • Listen closely to the most successful people in the industry
  • Know there is always something new under the sun; everything is new under the sun
  • Admit mistakes quickly
  • Regroup with agility
  • Focus on simplicity
  • Be kind.
  • Give back.
  • Leverage all of the resources available to you

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

The data suggests the barriers for women in tech are still present, including lack of equal pay for equal work, and an imbalance in the number of women in senior positions, and that is wrong. I’ve advocated for girls and women my entire life. As for me, personally, I’ve overcome barriers by refusing to be defined by my gender, my age, my looks, my skin color, my heritage, my beliefs or my personal choices; instead I chose to be defined by the quality of my ideas, my work, my commitment to excellence, my steadfast loyalty to my friends, my support of my team and colleagues, and the consistency of my achievements. You can’t argue with successful outcomes, no matter which gender you are or identify with.

What do you think companies can do to support and progress the careers of women working in technology?

Be conscious that without women across positions in all levels and departments, the business will suffer. Hire strong women, and support training and career development initiatives. Set goals and measure progress. Show pride in developing and maintaining a diverse culture, and bring your daughters – and granddaughters – to work!

There is currently only 17% of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

Start by establishing curriculum promoting women in technology and female leaders in first grade and continuing all the way through high school (enhancing STEAM programs to focus more on female technology leaders). Establish female technology mentoring programs at every high school in the country and make it easier for female, especially minority and low income students to pursue education in the technology field by offering more public and private scholarships. Work closely with organizations like Girl Scouts to ensure that they make STEAM a greater area of focus and highlight current female technology leaders as role models.  Target more high profile male CEO and technology executives to  be advocates for hiring and promoting more women C-Level technology executives (by serving on Women-technology boards, speaking at conferences, through advertising, PR, etc.) .

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

The technology industry is vast, and we’re starting to see various interest groups – for example teaching girls to code, women in the Internet of Things industry, women in healthcare technology, women in telecom, women in the channel, women in AI, and so much more. I suggest the greatest resource a woman interested in excelling in this industry can find is a successful woman in tech willing to mentor her. That said, many – in fact the majority – of my mentors have been men who not only respect and admire women, but who actively recruit and support women because they have experienced the qualities women bring to the tech industry. Ultimately, I hope we will one day advance a society where the imbalances fall away and we need less time to advocate for the right things, and have more time to drive achievements that make the planet and the workplace a better place for all with no distinctions based on our differences.