Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Bianca Lopes, Investor, Business Builder, Economist & Identity Expert.
How could you describe your career path in a few words?
I didn't wake up one morning as a child and declare, "I'm going to be where I am today." There was never that clear-cut epiphany or vocation. My journey has always been about exploring the world, harnessing a deep sense of belonging, and recognizing that there's nothing fundamentally separating me from any extraordinary, successful, or kind-hearted individual. What sets me apart is not who I am but how I engage with the world and the narratives I carry.
My career path has entailed shattering the preconceived narratives I held, even those entrenched within my family, and redefining what I believed was possible. This path has led me to forge remarkable connections because when you're unsure of your destination, you often stumble upon unexpected treasures. I once thought I would become a diplomat when I moved to Canada, but I ended up managing a painting business, eventually landing where I am today—a global identity expert.
I've been fortunate to delve into the potential of technology, particularly in domains like homomorphic encryption and zero-knowledge proofs, which may sound technical but hold the key to solving significant problems if we can communicate their value effectively. My career journey has been one of relentless curiosity and a willingness to embrace opportunities that often pushed me beyond my comfort zone. The voice of discipline in my head was always asking, "What's next?"
My path has been marked by change, enduring relationships, and a fair share of entrepreneurial endeavours, from making scrunchies to working in the banking sector, running a biometrics company, and volunteering. Diversity has been my signature, united by a common thread—curiosity.
The next significant thread weaving through my career is the concept of identity. It began as an almost geeky fascination with biometrics and the eerie world depicted in movies like Minority Report. Today, the landscape is different, but the power of this technology, along with others like web3, is undeniable. Yet, their impact depends on the questions we pose and the frameworks we create for humanity.
My career is an ongoing quest to harness my talents in communication, team leadership, and technological connections to facilitate positive change and awareness. That's the essence of my journey.
What was the most challenging experience? How has it changed your mindset?
I encountered a profound period of personal struggle, marked by health issues and an incredibly traumatic chapter in my life. Such moments often take us to the brink of our humanity, stripping away the layers of identity and persona we accumulate over time due to their sheer pain. They force us to see life through a different lens, a perspective that moulds our understanding of each moment.
During this trying time, the intensity of my suffering led me to escape into alternative realities and self-crafted narratives. I sought refuge in my mind, a place where I could be anything other than the painful experience I was living through. This experience unveiled a fundamental truth: when you shift from being the participant to the observer in your own life, you gain a valuable sense of distance and perspective. It becomes evident that the human mind is an incredibly potent yet, at times, bewildering entity. And by distancing ourselves from the darkest thoughts and the toughest moments, we learn to navigate the storm.
This transformation profoundly affected my mindset, leading me to embrace the concept of mindfulness, to live fully and not merely drift through life. This shift in perspective has fundamentally altered how I engage with the world and, in turn, who I am becoming over time. The universe, in its infinite wisdom, left me with gentle but persistent reminders of the lessons from that challenging phase. These reminders are woven into my daily life, a constant nudge from the cosmos asking, "Are you living up to the lessons learned? How are you showing up today?"
In essence, this experience has reshaped my very being, impacting how I present myself to the world and subsequently elevating the quality of my moments and the energy I share with those around me. It has been a transformative journey, a lesson that continues to unfold in the tapestry of my life.
When you get surprised by unusual and uncertain content, what do you think?
In moments like these, I can't help but think, "Is this our reality now?" It's a stark reminder of our world today, where I can be physically miles away from the individuals enduring the hardships. Yet, I'm acutely aware that suffering isn't exclusive to far-off lands; it's right here in my own backyard, in Brazil and Sao Paulo. If we scrutinize our surroundings, we'll notice that discussions about unusual and uncertain events are becoming more frequent. Mother Nature, in her own way, compels us to be more human, more empathetic.
It's a peculiar lesson to witness. We're being taught by the consequences of our own actions, a jarring reflection of the world we've collectively created. When I encounter unusual content, such as the atrocities that permeate our daily lives, my immediate instinct is to seek facts. This underscores the importance of trust, technology, and the identity of people and information. Trust, whether in someone or something, is the bedrock of addressing the disconcerting aspect of the word "unusual." It's rooted in fear—fear of whether it's real, fear of what to believe.
In this age, the role of media and communication has never been more vital. Technology is instrumental in shaping international, universally understood standards for trust, identification, and the protection of humanity and its intricacies. This, to me, is at the heart of our response to the unusual and uncertain.
My emotions in these moments are a mix of unease and inspiration. Unease at the vast terrain technology has yet to navigate, especially in terms of its effects. But it's also inspiring, reminding me of the privilege and accountability I bear as someone in the technology industry, entrusted with understanding and shaping the world around me. This is why I'm here—to navigate these complex waters with a sense of responsibility and purpose.
What is the key success factor for a female leader and manager?
The key to success as a leader and manager, regardless of gender, resides in recognizing our shared humanity. Let's dispel the notion of exclusive 'female' or 'male' energy; these are fluid qualities inherent in all of us. It's a fact, grounded in science and psychology.
When we address the hurdles and challenges that confront us, it's vital to discern the real from the imagined. For many women, there's a common experience of impostor syndrome. In numerous fields, especially those traditionally dominated by men, it's often challenging because the path is not well-trodden by others who look like us. Yet, it's crucial to acknowledge the unique brand of courage that women exhibit in these situations.
We've fought and continue to fight against the stereotypes and identities imposed upon us, labels that have never served our true potential but may have been convenient for a system, an individual, or someone's insecurities.
One of the crucial success factors for women, as I see it, is embracing the facts. Recognize the existing playing field, accept the reality, and detach the emotions from these facts. In fields like STEM and finance, women may find themselves in the minority. Even worse, they may be subjected to competitive, zero-sum narratives.
To navigate this complex landscape, we must embody the role of the observer. We can harness our talents, which may include qualities traditionally labelled as 'feminine'—like building relationships, demonstrating care, and fostering connections. These traits aren't 'cute'; they're expressions of genuine concern and empathy.
Moreover, it's essential to find your voice and recognize that it can encompass both masculine and feminine energies. Adaptability is a vital asset for any career and can be embraced by anyone.
In my journey, the support and mentorship I received from remarkable women like Jennifer Gibbs, Debbie Gamble, and Christy Duncan were pivotal. They extended their hands to lift me up, introduced me to influential circles, and emphasised the power inherent in my words and presence. This type of support and guidance is invaluable and applies to everyone, regardless of gender.
Success factors are not exclusive to a particular gender. In today's dynamic world, they require intention, a steadfast commitment to one's values, and the deployment of individual talents for the betterment of the world. Unlike more structured professions like medicine, some of us find ourselves embracing a multifaceted path—entrepreneurs, speakers, philanthropists, investors, and board members, navigating roles of creation, support, collaboration, connectivity, and service. We don't aim to sell; we aim to share our observations and experiences for the greater good.
Bianca is an investor, a business builder, economist, and identity expert. She focuses on driving meaningful impact through technology and business and have started 5 companies, led significant digital identity projects and help Companies transform data to unlock financial and social worth. Her central focus is how to rewire finance in the world, using the power of digital identities, ethics, and web3 technology.
Bianca has been fortunate to support over 40 financial institutions, 8 governments, and many Corporates in the reshaping and rethinking of their approach to technology when it comes to the role of identity and how to use that in their innovation agenda.
She manages an international speaking and Board calendar to help business leaders, governments, and people understand the impact of data, privacy, and the opportunity in finance that continues to exist.
Bianca is an early founder of a foundational digital identity company in Brazil that enables financial inclusion and the adoption of PIX, digital Reais and digital assets for all Brazilians.
Currently she is building the next blockchain based, global solution for “Identity for Objects” connecting real world assets with digital identities, from sports and entertainment to real world assets and B2B solutions.
She sits on the Board of the UNESCO's International Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, and ESG where she facilitates cooperation between developing brands and organisations to build a vibrant and ethical AI ecosystem.
Bianca’s journey has been what shaped her to be curious, informed and to have a worldview. She was born in Brazil, educated in Canada, living in Denmark. She speaks multiple languages and has degrees in Finance and Political Science and a master’s in mathematics.