By Olivia Preston
15 years in the advertising industry, working in managing positions, immersed in the marketing industry, Irena Jakimova transitioned her business skills to the world of coaching. Placing a focus on women empowerment, self-awareness and the importance of a unique voice, Irena shares her business journey.
To let your dreams appear in front of you, it takes bravery and boldness, it takes time, consistency, belief and the resilience to carry on.
English, Serbian, German, French and your native Macedonian language are just a few of the languages you speak. Take us back to life in Macedonia, how has it shaped who you are today?
I can’t compare my life in Macedonia to living in other places around the world. I’ve lived in numerous European cities, but only for short periods when I was much younger. However, I believe living here has given me strength and a new motivation to inspire and encourage women to dream bigger and achieve more. It also has strengthened my inner feeling of belonging to the world through the multiculturalism we have.
A career in coaching often involves self-belief and confidence to express yourself freely. Why is it so important to find your voice?
I have learnt that we are all unique. Every one of us brings to the world a different perspective and experience of any topic. Sometimes we might blend ourselves with the masses, compare ourselves with others and lose our unique voice and our unique message. In order to be connected with our ideal clients, to our ideal collaborators, partners and other relations in life, we need to express our unique voice. And we never know who needs to hear that to benefit from the impact of our voice.
How has your experience working for the United Nations helped you on your business journey?
I have worked with or for foreign/international companies throughout my whole career path. Working for the UN just confirmed my feeling of belonging to the international community, it helped me learn how development organisations (and projects) work, but above all, it laid before me a whole bigger picture of a country and global human development topics. I guess this is where I started to nourish the desire to work on empowering women. I just didn’t yet know where to start at the time.
What do you wish you had known before starting your business? What was the driving force behind your own career?
I wish I had known more about all those feminine spiritual principles of success, like the energetics of creation, doing business the feminine way (with more play and ease compared to the masculine way of business). My desire was to create an entity, a place and a source that offers support to individuals and organisations to grow and develop, while giving me the opportunity to do it in a creative manner.
It’s receiving transformations in minutes and all of that in an ease, gentle, elegant way. No rush, no push, yet a little bit of challenging here and there. I tend to be able to see more in the women I coach than they see themselves. Through our work together, they discover the bigger picture, they become calmer, more confident and learn how to go towards their desired versions day by day. They achieve even more than they have expected.
What do you hope women learn from your business journey?
I would first of all like to encourage them to embark on such a journey if they feel the desire. Not to do it from must or need, but from the place of desire, to create some new value in the world. Not all of us have to be entrepreneurs with our own businesses, yet we can act in an entrepreneurial manner within any organisation.
Also, I hope they will learn that this is a long run and the building of a business and a brand (personal or company) takes time, investment and consistency. You don’t have to work hard all the time, you don’t have to be visible all the time, but one needs to be consistent. There will be difficulties and obstacles, which I also experienced, however we should listen to our calling, to our desires and move on.
What advice would you give to women wanting to build their brand and their business?
To let your dreams appear in front of you, it takes bravery and boldness, it takes time, consistency, belief and the resilience to carry on. There will be setbacks and results we didn’t want, however we may learn how not to look at them as (personal) failures, but as valuable lessons. Women tend to be more demanding and criticising of themselves, so we may want to learn to be more gentle and encouraging ourselves on this run. This is a long-term game and we benefit from reminding ourselves more often that we are here to BE not just to DO. We can share this statement also through our brands and businesses.
Edited by Sujany Baleswaran