Episode 12: How To Change The World With WIN’s Alfia Ilicheva


06-03-2020 • 1 hr

Can you imagine a world where your voice is not heard, and products and services are not designed for you?

Alfia Ilicheva, Co-founder of WIN, shares why gender inclusion matters even more in the digital age, and how WIN is creating impact globally. WIN is a non-profit organization on a mission to close the gender gap in innovation.

Alfia also shares her personal journey of transformation from an immigrant with no fluency in English to becoming an influential leader of a global movement, while holding a fulltime corporate job, and being a mom to three children. Alfia discloses exactly how she integrates work, life and community service, and how you too can manage competing priorities, achieve your goals and live your best life.

Visit www.iambeyondbarriers.com where you will find shownotes and links to all the resources referenced in this episode, including the best way to get in touch with Alfia.

[00:41] About Alfia Ilicheva
[04:32] Alfia on life changing immigration story
[07:22] Alfia on innovation
[08:35] Alfia on her superpower
[10:34] Alfia on duality of intuition and data driven analysis
[13:00] Alfia on proudest accomplishment
[16:17] Alfia on fear and commitment
[18:32] Alfia on founding WIN
[23:59] Alfia on womens’ impact on innovation
[30:45] Alfia on leadership
[35:24] Alfia on approach to hiring
[38:05] Advice on one key skill to develop
[40:38] Advice on relationship building
[46:51] Alfia’s habit or hack
[53:27] Advice on juggling career and being a mom


“I think if you really want to build change in the world, if you want to bring people along and create something beautiful, then your heart has to be there” – Alfia Ilicheva

“When you believe that you're not fully formed, that you can always become better, then with that mindset the sky's the limit.” – Alfia Ilicheva

“The beautiful side of the American dream is the core belief that we can shape our own dreams.” – Alfia Ilicheva

“Seeing both the beauty and the imperfections helps me grow.” – Alfia Ilicheva

“Part of a superpower is actually realizing that you have one.” – Alfia Ilicheva

“Instead of saying don't be afraid, don't feel anxiety it’s using those things to create momentum.” – Alfia Ilicheva

“We must create an equitable future where women are making decisions on how we innovate the world.” – Alfia Ilicheva

“Leadership, it's not about telling people what my vision is, and then making them do it. But it' about bringing them along and co-creating with them at the same time.” – Alfia Ilicheva

“A specific skill that is really important for women is collaboration skills.” – Alfia Ilicheva

“Oftentimes, in disagreements and debates, are sparks that could change the way you might approach something.” – Alfia Ilicheva

“Being a super woman does not mean that you are invincible and can do it all. It's actually recognizing what you can't do and not saying no, but saying yes to yourself, and finding that balance.” – Alfia Ilicheva

About Alfia Ilicheva:
Alfia is the Co-Founder of WIN: Women in Innovation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with an international mandate and a mission to close the gender gap in innovation. Under her leadership, WIN transformed from a local New York-based initiative into an industry-leading and globally-recognized organization. Ilicheva was the architect behind the original governance structure, operating model and the strategic roadmap and global growth plan. She now serves on the Board of Directors.

Ilicheva was previously Managing Director at R/GA Ventures, an award-winning venture investment division of R/GA, where she led the strategy practice and connected corporate businesses and private-equity backed portfolio companies with startups and
emerging technology resources.

Prior to her role at R/GA Ventures, Ilicheva was Group Director at R/GA’s Business Transformation team, where she advised C-suite executives of Fortune 500 businesses on strategic growth opportunities, with a specific focus on catalyzing new revenue
streams, launching sustainable products and services, and building internal innovation capabilities.

Prior to R/GA, Ilicheva was an Engagement Manager at Fahrenheit 212, an innovation and design consultancy, where she led high-impact innovation engagements for Anheuser-Busch, Charles Schwab, Citigroup, Discover, Nestle, Pfizer, and Uber. Prior to Fahrenheit 212, Ilicheva was the President of Five Boroughs Foundation of Photography, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization focused on providing photography mentorship programming in underserved schools. She was previously an analyst at the Royal Bank of Scotland, where she implemented capital issuances across technology, retail, natural resources, and CPG industries.

Ilicheva is an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow, a Presidential Leadership Scholar and a Founding Member of Columbia Business School’s Women’s Circle. Additionally, Ilicheva serves as a member of Columbia Business School’s Hermes Society Leadership Council.

Ilicheva is a frequent speaker and moderator at innovation industry conferences (Fast Company Innovation Festival, SxSW, 500 Startups Unity + Inclusion Summit, Grace Hopper) and academic institutions (Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, and MBA Innovation Summit).

Ilicheva graduated from Georgetown University with honors in international business diplomacy and received an MBA from Columbia Business School. She was the first undergraduate editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, a
university-wide publication. Ilicheva resides in Weston, CT with her husband and their three children.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alfia-ilicheva-3b01275/
Instagram: @womenininnovation
Website: https://womenininnovation.co/