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A must-read book on ‘competency and charisma’

  • Nadia
Spanning continents and oceans, expat South African Nadia Bilchik - now living in Atlanta - and Lori Milner, of Johannesburg, have produced a book, “Own Your Space: the Toolkit for the Working Woman”.
by SUZANNE BELLING | Mar 02, 2016

PHOTOGRAPH SUPPLIED

Pictured: Nadia Bilchik and Lori Milner… owning their space.

Every woman should own this book to own her space and keep it with her as a secular bible and guide to conducting her life - in its way as effective as Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”.

It outlines the heights a woman can reach if she becomes the very best version of herself and provides practical tools and insights from workshops held globally and through interviews with some of South Africa’s most accomplished women.

The book illustrates how to own your:

  • Headspace (attitudes and mindset);
  • Physical space (verbal and non-verbal communication);
  • Interpersonal space (emotional intelligence);
  • Virtual space (e-mail, phone and social media etiquette);
  • Time (learning to prioritise in the most productive way);
  • Networking (maximising these skills in personal and professional relationships)’
  • Decisions, successes, failures and finances;
  • “Asking”- by eliminating fear and learning the best way to ask for anything;
  • Podium - finding a confident voice to present information; and also
  • Learning from others who “own it”.

Bilchik and Milner sourced inspiring quotes and insights from some of South Africa’s top executives in business, media, the professions, education, as well as authors, psychologists and a high court justice.

The “shidduch” between the two women was made through Milner’s relatives living in Atlanta.

Bilchik, who has two published books behind her - “The Little Book: of Big Networking Ideas” and “Small Changes: Big Impact” - was putting out feelers for a suitable partner, when Milner’s relatives recommended “the engaging facilitator, thought leader and mentor, known for her insightful approach to being a modern corporate woman.”

There was instant rapport between Milner and Bilchik, president of Greater Impact Communication and a CNN editorial producer.

Bilchik began her career with MNet in South Africa, going on to host feature shows and segments for CNN.

“Lori is the ying to my yang and saw the potential to turn our passion into a product,” Bilchik said.

The next step was earning the approval of Terry Morris, MD of Pan Macmillan South Africa.

The two women met in a New York apartment, “as it was more central”, and for the next 12 months worked on the book via Skype and e-mail.

Both of them are alumni of King David - Bilchik of Linksfield and Milner of the Primary School in Sandton, followed by high school at Crawford.

Milner has an honours degree in marketing from the University of Johannesburg.

Bilchik, an internationally recognised TV personality, is in demand as a keynote speaker, renowned for her expertise in “getting people to like you, trust you and wanting to do business with you”.

She feels the impetus for her career was assisted by Elliot Wolf, her former high school principal, who encouraged her aspirations in drama, for which she was awarded colours.

She also pays tribute to her University of Cape Town drama professors who first introduced her to the concept of “owning her space”.

Both women praise their husbands, JJ Milner (Lori) and Steve Kesler (Nadia), and their parents Annetta and the late Morris Bilchik and Glenda and the late Arnold Levitan for giving them the confidence and support to pursue their careers.

“The project worked easily for us because of the time difference between South Africa and the US.

“We would communicate in the evenings for me and the afternoons for Nadia after my children Aiden and Noa were in bed,” Lori said.

Bilchik’s daughters Alexa and Julia are in their twenties and allow Bilchik the freedom to work whenever she wants.

The book, the two say, is about “competency and charisma”. It also teaches women how to say “No” in the nicest possible way. 

 

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