6 hours ago | By Petah Marian
Big data meets consumer insights. Experience WGSN.
Nov 28, 2017
By Nina Giglio
You already had the chance to read about Clarissa’s and Georgie’s detours and side streets on the previous posts from this series. Now we’ll share Bibiana’s story – from facing cancer, moving from Colombia to Barcelona all in the name of love and, finally, switching from Sales Intern to a Manager role at WGSN’s Marketing team, leading the activities in Southern Europe, DACH and Middle East.
Bibiana Mesa, Marketing Manager
Of all detour stories we’ve shared here, BB’s is probably the most spiritual one. She’s our inspiration to learn how to let it flow and trust the universe’s plan.
Professional French fries taster, Bibiana’s favorite place is her kitchen, where she feels more in tune with herself – a combination between a childhood spent watching her mother cook and cooking as her creative outlet: “All the energy I used to put looks together during my stylist and fashion consultant days has migrated to the kitchen: it’s now used to mix ingredients and find new flavors.” While nothing makes her happier than pizza and playing dress up every morning, she’s also a talker: combining a habit of talking to her plants every day and speaking to herself while walking: “People must think I’m crazy, but it helps getting my thoughts clear”. BB has a “Latin soul that gets triggered by salsa, boleros and son Cubano”, but also loves jazz and female singers like Edit Piaf, Alanis and Florence. What she’s listening to at the moment? Podcasts. “I listen to them in the morning while getting ready, on every topic: food, chefs, creatives, writers, books, politics. They’re so inspirational.”
Have you always known where you were going and what you wanted to achieve?
I think I have always followed my gut and, more than knowing the destination, I’ve always been a fan of the ride. I had cancer when I was 20 years old, a time when I didn’t know anything about myself or the future. The best lesson I learned from that experience was not to worry too much about tomorrow: enjoy the current moment, be present and let it flow. Whatever comes will be amazing and perfect for you. I think that’s my motto – kind of a funny one when you work in a company that owns the future.
Do you consider cancer the biggest detour of your life?
Yes. I was on my way to be the perfect girl: graduates from high school, goes to uni, has perfect grades, finds a boyfriend, gets married. But cancer changed all of that: I was facing death, I was bald in a world of long-haired blond babes and I had to become an adult in seconds to be able to fight that monster. It changed everything. Being sick gave me an opinion: on life, on work, on me. It made me face myself in the mirror and say: “Ok, so what are you going to do, who are you going to be if this thing doesn’t kill you?” Those are hard questions to ask yourself when you are in your early twenties, and I love that I had the chance to question myself and my existence when I was so young. My life has been amazing since then and because of that.
Besides cancer, there was moving from Colombia to Spain. How did that happen?
It wasn’t a planned decision. I moved to Barcelona because I fell in love with a man that lived there – he’s now my husband. When I got there, I enrolled on a Fashion Marketing Master and made the decision not to work during that period. I was tired and needed a break from everything. After a while I wanted to work again, so I did some things here and there as a stylist, but realized that it was going to be harder than I thought. Spain was slowly starting to recover from the crisis and the stylist job has a lot to do with connections and recommendations. I didn’t have any at that point.
That must’ve been a delicate moment.
I told myself “let it flow, something will come up, the universe will conspire in your favor”. The Master I was doing encouraged the students to take internships in the course’s last semester. I found an ad for a Client Service internship at WGSN Spain and got really excited about it. I had been a user of the service in Colombia and praised it, so I sent my CV. What was my surprise when the woman that called me back shared the last name with me. I thought “this is mine, this is the universe telling me you are going to be fine”. I know is silly, but it was a nice coincidence. And I got the job! It was so cool, I was a 33 years old intern. I felt like Vince Vaughn in “The Internship”.
So you started in Sales. How did you end up moving to the Marketing team at WGSN?
I interned for eight months and it was amazing. I got to see the industry from the inside and Isabel, Spain’s country manager, was amazing. She taught me a lot and introduced me to people inside and outside of WGSN. Then a chance to move from the internship into a freelance job in the marketing department came up. When they offered me the job I could have said no, as it was not ´my field of expertise´. But I said yes because I was ready to challenge myself and step outside of my comfort zone. I work really well this way. There’s nothing I like better than a good challenge.
How has your life changed since this ‘detour’?
I love it. I have been out of my comfort zone since my first day at WGSN. It has been such an enriching experience and so empowering, that nowadays I feel that there is no change or challenge I couldn’t face. I found myself enjoying and being good at things I have never thought I would be good at. I was always on the creative side of things, I’m a designer in my core. But, at the same time, I recognized that my brain’s left side is as stronger as the right one and decided to enjoy it equally. I also enjoy that I can apply my creativity in more strategic ways.
Do you miss being a stylist?
I miss creating stories and finding the perfect things to make them come through in a shoot or a catwalk, the haze and the excitement of the backstage. But I don’t know if I would go back now.
Before these opportunities came up, did you ever imagine yourself changing career paths and ZIP codes?
Changing countries, yes. I have always been a wanderer and I love travelling, but I always thought it would be as a stylist. I had the dream of working with international brands or for a big magazine. I never thought moving to Spain would give my life a 180-degree change the way it did.
We believe that the future isn’t a destination. It’s 100% within you. To see what other beliefs we share, check out wgsn.com/wgsn
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