We had the good fortune of connecting with Bita Milanian and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bita, what do you attribute your success to?
To answer this, I need to first define what success means to me, which is balance. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have a busy and colorful life, which includes a loving family, dynamic career, passion for food and advocacy, and commitment to self-care.
Let me start with my family. I have an incredible husband of 20 years (this September), a wonderful stepson and daughter-in-law, and four beautiful grandchildren. My career is in the real-time communications technology industry. I am extremely fortunate to work for a company that values balance. Not to mention, I get to work with an awesome and supportive group of people.
Another key to balance is to volunteer and contribute to causes I’m passionate about and that inspire me in any way I can. I find it energizing and rewarding and always get back so much more than I give. As an Iranian-American, one such cause for me is promoting Iranian art, music and culture, as well as advocating for Iranians globally.
And last but certainly not least, balance means taking time for self-care. To overcome personal health challenges, I’ve found joy and wellness through dance and fitness, and inspiration in healthy, creative cooking, which I share with others on my social media food channel.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was lucky enough to start my professional career in 1996 with an international telecommunications company started by my cousin Neda and her husband in Toronto, Canada; who has been a strong mentor to me and an immigrant herself. Through that opportunity, I got to officially kickstart my professional career and experience what it is like being a being part of a start-up at age 22, leaving my parents for Toronto for 6 months, working in a basement office twenty-hours a day.
I came to love international business at a time when the Internet was booming, and telecommunications was the fastest growing industry in the world. Less than 4 years later, I landed a position at a multi-billion-dollar company, Global Crossing, and the world opened to me in new ways. I traveled around the globe, including attending the Cannes Film Festival as part of a very prestigious marketing role at age 24, becoming even more fluent in different languages I speak, while also maintaining my first language Persian and – importantly – mastering English.
I continued to push my mind to understand technology and global business, while always feeling pulled to Persian culture. In 2008, I found a new career path in Philanthropy, supporting the newly established Farhang Foundation in Los Angeles; truly an honor to help the generous founding board members build one of the most successful and inspirational non-profits, committed to celebrating Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large. Being deeply immersed in the music, art, dance, poetry, and overall beauty of Iran inspired me to build my first – then second company – giving me the opportunity to understand what it took to build my own businesses (which I continue to run today called Butterfly Buzz). You haven’t felt “difficult” until you create and run your own business, but the effort has been well worth it. Embracing the struggle as a blessing – this has been my enlightenment throughout my life.
In 2014, when one of my mentors called, offering a senior level position at his global software company, I pivoted again, and joined the company I continue to serve today. A company made up from a series of mergers and acquisitions, a company we took public on the NASDAQ in 2017 called Ribbon Communications. Until COVID-19, I was traveling non-stop, producing massive, week-long conferences, bringing together executives, media, customers and partners alike from around the world with my awesome team, while being effective in our digital marketing and communication strategies.
As great as my career continues to be, I also make sure to push myself to be physically, mentally, and emotionally the best person I could be!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would suggest starting with a tour of the ever-developing and beautiful DTLA. It has so many hidden gems, from restaurants to art galleries. Though sadly some are no longer open due to the pandemic.
There are lots of trails for hiking, including one that goes up to the Hollywood sign. And if a hike is too vigorous, then maybe a stroll on the Sunset Strip, followed by lunch and people-watching at “Le Petit Four” (one of my favorite spots in L.A.)
A visit to the beaches is a must. They can play volleyball in Manhattan Beach, watch street performers in Venice, shop in Santa Monica, and grab cocktails at Gladstones on PCH.
And finally as a proud Iranian-American, I would also recommend they tour Little Persia located on Westwood Boulevard for some delicious Persian food and shopping at local stores.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people and groups who deserve recognition for all the great work they do. Below are a few of them and their Instagram handles:
Shahdeh Ammadi (@shahdeh)
Fred Parvaneh (@fredparvaneh) founder of (@inspiringiranians)
Rose Ghavami (@rose.knows)
Other: I curate a cooking channel where I share my personal recipes that have helped me maintain a healthy lifestyle at https://www.instagram.com/bitakitchenofficial
And I also enjoy engaging on Clubhouse now where incredible conversations and connections are made; let’s connect there at https://www.clubhouse.com/@bitamilanian