A Birthday Balancing Act, An Incredibly Inspiring Year

September 11th, 2018 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

Photo by Hamid Moslehi

As my next birth year begins today on September 11, I feel healthier, happier and more confident than ever. I believe that we all can achieve equilibrium when we embrace the fullness of our physical, emotional and spiritual lives.

Like every individual, I have had my fair share of challenges, and like every family, my family and extended family have experienced loss, including the very recent passing of one of our dearest friends; a young father of three who fought cancer hard up until last week, and is now gone from our lives.

Every challenge and loss are reminders that our time on this planet is limited, lessons that we never know what may come next.

I have learned that love and appreciation can be shared and experienced every day, made visible in the smallest gestures of kindness, and continual, compassionate action on as large a scale as we wish when we live with intention, passion and purpose.

Those who know me well know that my energy can be intense and that my drive for quality and success in business and life has manifest in 20+ hour days, sometimes sequential days. When left unchecked, this aim for perfection can be a recipe for exhaustion and defeat, and I am happy to report that in the last twelve months I have become a lot better at letting go – because when we let go of perfection, we open time for rest and reflection!

I am enjoying life more as I get older and doing so by understanding what balance is for me; it is different for everyone, but for me it is about a harmony of family and friends, work and pleasure, doing well and doing good, self-improvement physically, mentally and emotionally, and overall awareness of the gifts I have been given.

Hudson 3 & Ella Grace 1

Of the many gifts, two of the most important are my two grandchildren, Hudson & Ella Grace, who have enlightened our world with their intelligence, curiosity, unconditional love, joy and generational journey, tuning us even more into the importance of balancing our time and energy so we can get the most out of every moment.

This year, it was impossible for me to choose one cause, for example, to celebrate on September 11, 2018 as I do each year, so I chose five and thank so many for donating to these non-profits using Facebook’s awesome birthday giving platform, which raised over $300 million in less than a year (100% of which went to the non-profits without any fees).

Rather than focusing on the many amazing memories including participating in dance competitions in support of charity, traveling around the world for work and service, growing as a cook in my own kitchen and food blogger through Bita’s Kitchen, taking new headshot photos with the renowned celebrity photographer Hamid Moslehi, celebrating many family and friends’ moments, contributing to great organizations like Persian Women in Technology, speaking at many business and philanthropic conference and so much more, instead I am sharing information about those causes and asking for you to support the one or two which you care most about.

The links will take you directly to a donation page on Facebook – it’s easy to give and share your support!

International Society for Children’s Cancer (ISCC)
ISCC was formed in keeping with the 4th goal of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals; to help reduce child mortality by the target date of 2015. ISCC is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) non-governmental, non-political organization that was co-founded by Mrs. Saideh Ghods and Mrs. Fereshteh Tavakoli in Chatsworth, CA in June of 2004.T o date, ISCC has helped NGOs working with cancer-stricken children in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, Iran, Kenya, Lebanon, Turkey, USA and the UN refuge Agency. Dedicated volunteers support ISCC, enabling over 90% of every dollar raised to go directly to programs.

Farhang Foundation
Please join me in supporting Farhang Foundation’s Iranian Music Program at UCLA! Farhang Foundation is a non-religious, non-political and not-for-profit foundation established in 2008 to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture for the benefit of the community at large. The foundation supports a broad range of academic activities in Southern California by funding university programs, publications and conferences. The foundation also supports diverse cultural programs such as the celebration of Nowruz and Shab-e Yalda, theater, dance performances, film screenings and poetry reading in Southern California. And, in cooperation with various cultural and academic institutions, Farhang Foundation funds major programs and exhibitions about Iran and its culture.

Pars Equality Center
As a community-based social and legal services organization, PEC is dedicated to the idea of helping all members of the Iranian-American community, and those from other Persian-speaking countries, realize their full potential as informed, self-reliant, and responsible members of American society. We believe that learning and teaching the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy as well as the rules and rewards of entrepreneurship are the necessary ingredients for our success as a community.

World Central Kitchen
José Andrés founded World Central Kitchen after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti with the belief that food can be an agent of change. We have expanded globally and have developed into a group of chefs creating smart solutions to hunger and poverty.  Today, World Central Kitchen uses the expertise of its Chef Network to empower people to be part of the solution, with a focus on health, education, jobs, and social enterprise.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU works tirelessly in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of liberty for everyone in our country.  “Dare to create a more perfect union.”

As I posted last month, quoting James Thurber, “Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”

Photo by Hamid Moslehi – hamidmoslehi.com

As we all navigate a world that can be overwhelmingly negative and dangerous, let’s aim to live in enlightenment and awareness, to love one another, accept and celebrate our differences, reject polarization and hatred, and do our best to balance our own lives so we have the strength and creativity to help make other lives better.

Finally, I thank you all, dear family, friends and followers, for your faith in me and your support of others, however you may best express that support – and wishing every person on the planet their best birth year ever, choosing happiness, choosing health, and choosing to be kind and generous, as this may be the best way to fight for the right – and rights – of humankind.

With everlasting love, hope and respect,

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March 8th, 2018 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

This year’s International Women’s Day brings more powerful context and more promising momentum when it comes to gender equality and women’s rights than ever in history. I have been so deeply moved by the courage, honesty and risk-taking women who have come forward in light of revelations and scandals, that my own internal energy has […]

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November 10th, 2017 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

On October 30th, the company I have contributed to for several years (GENBAND) merged with another company (Sonus), to form a combined global communications brand we named Ribbon Communications.  And this week, I was proud to represent the newly combined companies on a panel regarding the importance of diversity in the workplace, and the opportunity for […]

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October 21st, 2017 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

Dancing Over the Bridge: Supporting the Great Work of the Los Angeles Beirut Sister Cities Committee I am so excited to be dancing with seven other Angelenos on November 4th at the Dancing in the City of Stars event, benefiting the programs of the Los Angeles Beirut Sister Cities Committee (LABSC.)  A challenge that has […]

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July 23rd, 2017 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

21-year-old entrepreneur Shrey Fadia had an idea which came to him after seeing first-hand, people’s’ daily struggles when using a wheelchair and decided to do something about it. India is the second most populated country in the world, and is challenged, as are all countries, to find ways to efficiently help make the lives of […]

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June 22nd, 2017 by Bita Milanian - 6 Comments

With Fourth of July, Independence Day (United States) just around the corner, I can’t help but think about our nation’s visionary founders, and the many great leaders who have followed in their footsteps, dedicated to not only preserving but also improving upon the vision set forth by our founders. As a former refugee and immigrant […]

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May 12th, 2017 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

Nurses come into our lives and families at the most important and tender times. What would we do without them? Today, around the world, we are celebrating International Nurses Day, on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, and today in New York City, at the United Nations, our friend and inspiration, Deb O’Hara Ruscowski, a RN, […]

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April 9th, 2017 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

  As a citizen of the world, I consider many countries my home! As a naturalized American citizen, forced to flee Iran as a young girl, and a grateful refugee who found support in Germany, then the U.S.; I am also often in Canada, where beloved members of my family live. While I am deeply […]

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December 27th, 2016 by Bita Milanian - 1 Comment

In a high school near Princeton, New Jersey, home of the highest ranked university in the world producing some of the greatest minds, innovations and companies in history, and famous for Albert Einstein, students lead by an inspiring educator have built an online tutoring platform where young people around the world can help each other […]

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October 23rd, 2016 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

Face Forward Mends the Lives of Victims of Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking and Other Cruel Acts of Crime It is impossible for those of us who live in loving relationships and families, who have the resources to lead comfortable lives, to imagine the pain and suffering of children and adults who are beaten, burned and […]

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September 11th, 2016 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

What Happened on September 11 Has Inspired Millions to Never Give Up or Lose Hope, Even Under the Most Difficult Circumstances I was born on September 11 and feel honored each year to have the opportunity to look back on what happened on that day in 2001, not because of what the terrorists destroyed, but because […]

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September 8th, 2016 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

Iranian Baha’is Have a Human Right to Advance Through Study While Practicing Their Faith Education Is Not A Crime; a campaign that raises awareness of human rights abuses in Iran, is committed to protecting the rights of young people who have been barred from studying due to their beliefs, and encourages universities worldwide to admit […]

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August 25th, 2016 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

Fine Artist Zaria Forman’s Quiet & Powerful Activism  Zaria Forman‘s pastel drawings transcend photorealism, bringing the eye and heart into a mystery so strong the mind begins to work differently. Inspired by her mother, Rena Bass Forman, who planned an expedition to Greenland but never made it when she succumbed to brain cancer, Zaria honored […]

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August 10th, 2016 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

We never know where innovation will rise, and for what meaningful purposes. This week, I learned about a project being led by a young 22-year old engineer name Madindra Aryal in Katmandu, Nepal who witnessed the devastating earthquake there and was inspired to invent a solar-powered panel able to light streets, homes and charge mobile […]

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July 29th, 2016 by Bita Milanian - 1 Comment

Let’s Give Girls in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Other Countries Guitars That Can Inspire Kids Everywhere What started out for the renowned rock guitarist Lanny Cordola as a single trip to Kabul, Afghanistan, to meet and comfort a family that lost two young daughters in a tragic suicide bombing, has turned into a mission to teach girls […]

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June 19th, 2016 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

On this Fathers’ Day, as we are all still trying to process the most recent tragedy in Orlando, I’m honored to share the story of a remarkable man. Iran Nazario continues to dedicate his life to eliminating gang warfare in Hartford, Connecticut while sharing his own life story, his strength and his philosophy to contribute […]

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May 28th, 2016 by Bita Milanian - 1 Comment

After emerging as a movement in the last decade, Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) programs are starting to graduate children who have evolved into impressive young adults – and our future will be in their very capable hands and hearts.Photo: WindwardSchool.org On Friday, the Windward School’s Class of 2016 graduated, moving forward as responsible, well informed and inspired […]

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May 18th, 2016 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

Some human’s journeys are more personal than others. For my friend Reza Pakravan, his life’s journey is personal and passionate as he continues to race around the world living his best life, while drawing attention to some of the world’s greatest challenges. In March 2011, Reza set the world record for the fastest crossing of […]

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February 5th, 2016 by Bita Milanian - 3 Comments

Sometimes life throws challenges at us we simply cannot understand. Then a light comes on and a single individual recognizes the gift that adversity delivers, and has a crystal clear sense of their purpose.  Such is the case with a woman I admire so deeply. Her story is personal, and so is mine. Brandy McFadden […]

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December 1st, 2015 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

It’s a good, busy day today, reflecting on and sharing my thoughts and love with so many amazing social entrepreneurs who are benefiting from the great work the team at Giving Tuesday has been doing over the last few years to bring awareness to the joy that comes from giving. I’ve never been a fan […]

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November 16th, 2015 by Bita Milanian - 1 Comment

It is no secret that I am keenly interested in innovation across a variety of fields. Innovation is the result of passion, determination, and a great deal of hard work. At its best, innovation – whether in the field of technology, economics, or social justice – leads to the betterment of lives. When I think […]

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November 1st, 2015 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

Pari Forood is the first generation Iranian-American author of the true-life novel, The Gates of Light, published in May 2015. After graduating from Vassar College, she was the Press Secretary to Congressman Hamilton Fish, Jr. in Washington, D.C. where she was inspired to write her book about the issue of immigration, both as a policy […]

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September 19th, 2015 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

For my friends Sultan and Kate Meghji, 2015 has been year of joy, achievement and sudden loss. Even as they were preparing to introduce their family foundation, inspired by decades of service by earlier generations in India, Africa, and North America – they got the news that their father, genetics pioneer Dr. Moez Meghji, passed away […]

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September 11th, 2015 by Bita Milanian - 17 Comments

Today, I celebrate my first birthday as a grandmother. Our grandson, Hudson, was born earlier this summer and when I held him in my arms, I knew my life was changed forever. Life is so precious – a miracle! When I, along with millions of others, saw the image of little Alan Kurdi washed up […]

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May 14th, 2015 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

In my continued series on individuals who inspire me and are giving back to the community, I would like to feature author, social media genius, NPR Producer, mother of four and 2014 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient; someone I also get to call my friend, Iran Davar Ardalan. This extraordinary woman has grown-up with […]

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April 23rd, 2015 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

With the devastating effects that Ebola has had in West Africa, I am glad to know there are scientific pioneers out there like Dr. Pardis Sabeti leading the charge against this fight and proud to profile her in my ongoing series sharing the accomplishments of inspiring people. Dr. Sabeti led a team that went to […]

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March 31st, 2015 by Bita Milanian - 1 Comment

Dr. Cori Lathan is one of the most interesting women scientists and entrepreneurs I’ve come across, and it is an honor to share her story as part of my ongoing series of profiles of inspiring people making a big difference. I was introduced to Dr. Lathan through a colleague at my company (GENBAND), when one […]

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March 19th, 2015 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

This picture above says it all about Willy Oppenheim, who co-founded Omprakash while he was in college, after volunteering at a hospice center in northern India. I am honored to feature him in my ongoing series on inspiring people and the movements they ignite! In 2004, Willy met an elderly man suffering from paralysis. “The […]

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March 4th, 2015 by Bita Milanian - 1 Comment

I’m in Barcelona today, and was unable to attend The J. Luce Foundation’s annual gratitude event that was held last Thursday, February 26th.  I was recently introduced to Jim Luce, founder of the Foundation, last fall by a mutual friend, and spent time with him where he is based in New York City. Jim came […]

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January 27th, 2015 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

I’ve been following Box for a while now, as part of my marketing role at GENBAND. We also deliver collaboration tools to large enterprises (different from Box – we focus on real time communications between human beings using voice, video and messaging). But the idea is the same – how can we give people in […]

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December 31st, 2014 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

2014 has been a year of tremendous change, challenge and collective progress across many dimensions in my life, and today I am especially full of gratitude for a growing circle of friends and colleagues. As part of my professional journey and choice to re-enter the “corporate” world and as part of my life’s plan to […]

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December 23rd, 2014 by Cigdem Binal - 2 Comments

  The Emerging Ecosystem of Goodness Cigdem A Binal, Independent Technology Marketing Strategist (Guest Author to BtheChange.) In a world increasingly run by software, ecosystems have become a powerful and valuable asset in order to stay on top of the rapidly evolving marketplace. With the growth of open source models, and the advancement of applications enriched […]

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November 8th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - Leave a Comment

Today I am happy and honored to share a story about two women who reached across continents and two very different worlds to bring one vision to light. Kwamboka Okari shelters, feeds, clothes, educates, and advocates for 230 orphans in Kisii, Kenya. Peg Campbell heads up the U.S. team on the Board of Directors for […]

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October 25th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

Malala Yousafzai captured the world’s attention and respect when she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in Pakistan while she was riding the bus to school on October 10, 2012. She amazingly survived and the international outcry that followed helped to bring further attention to her cause.         Malala and her […]

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September 28th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

In my ongoing series profiling leaders I admire, I am delighted to show more than I am telling in this post – sharing the beautiful, visual design Lauren Towle has been contributing to non-profits since she graduated from college. I met Lauren through a dear friend nearly ten years ago, and was so impressed with […]

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September 5th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 3 Comments

Bita Daryabari is a woman I have admired for many years, both in my vocation (in the communications industry), as well as avocation (in supporting the advancement of Persian arts and culture). Her work speaks louder than her words, though she is a woman of letters, and in 2008 created the Bita Daryabari Endowment in […]

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August 7th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 7 Comments

The last two weeks have been incredibly busy, exhausting and inspiring!  Thanks for following me half way around the world and back, where in NYC last night, our Summer of Service interns had the honor of meeting the LIG Global Foundation team at the warm and beautiful Gabriel’s restaurant near Lincoln Center. The room was beautiful, […]

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August 1st, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 1 Comment

This week I am posting from Istanbul, as part of a business trip to the UK and Europe, and am thrilled to introduce you to one of our “Summer of Service 2014” interns, Begum Kuralkan. This is the second year of Begum’s internship, having spent a good part of last summer in New York meeting […]

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July 24th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 1 Comment

Earlier this month, on a business trip to NYC, I met Camelia Entekhabi-Fard for the first time, or so I thought. We had been introduced by a mutual friend, who met Camelia in Kabul, Afghanistan years ago, and stayed connected on Facebook, following each other’s unusual lives quietly without ever having met personally. Or so […]

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July 17th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

Last week in New York, I had the great pleasure to meet Judy Shapiro, otherwise known as “Judy Consumer,” and currently founder and CEO of engageSimply. Within minutes, I felt her great energy, and found myself fascinated with her vision for “Engagement Networks” which she is building many of on – or should I say […]

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June 18th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 1 Comment

Sometimes the most inspiring people in the world are sitting right in front of you – and part of your closest family. In this post, continuing this series on inspiring people blessing the planet, I am honored to profile Neda Moeini, co-founder & past president of Group of Gold Line, who helped build the business with […]

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June 6th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

The next visionary leader I would like to spotlight in my series on Companies, Cultures, and Leaders I Admire is Dr. Phillip Olla, CEO and co-founder of Mobile Diagnostic Services. Throughout his career, Olla has held roles in various sectors, including telecommunications, space, finance, and healthcare, but what truly stands out to me is his […]

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June 2nd, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

Last Friday, I was honored to take part in one of hundreds of volunteer events that occurred around the world as part of my company’s annual “Global Day of Service.” Thousands of employees worked full “eight hour days” and more, helping organizations and people in their local communities. While the GENBAND team volunteers year round, […]

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May 28th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 7 Comments

I am full of gratitude today because I have had the honor to transition recently from one dream job to another. For those of you who know me for years, or for my entire life, you know how much leaving the communications industry to help build Farhang Foundation meant to me, personally, professionally and spiritually. […]

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May 20th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

As our series profiling visionary leaders who are mashing up business and giving around the world continues, I am honored to feature Chid Liberty, and his Liberty & Justice sustainable .com / .org model. In his twenties, Chid, who is now 34, returned to his home country of Liberia in 2009 to cofound the country’s […]

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May 16th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 3 Comments

While I have never met Hassina Sherjan, I feel I know her as a sister through a friend of mine who met her in Kabul, Afghanistan a few years ago. I am honored to share her story with you as the second in a series on people who don’t only wish for change, but are […]

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May 13th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

Updated 07/28/15 I’m grateful to so many of you who have shared your enthusiasm for my new blog, and woke up inspired today to start a new series of posts on people, teams and companies who inspire me. I’m starting with Fasha Mahjoor, one of the leaders I admire most, founder and CEO of Phenomenex. […]

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May 9th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 2 Comments

With WebRTC, developers at a company based in Melbourne, Australia have created a connected care application that uses browsers to bring together people with cystic fibrosis around the world with specialists determined to find a cure. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-threatening, genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system with approximately 70,000 […]

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April 25th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 4 Comments

It was an honor last week to address one of my favorite organizations in the communications industry – Women in the Channel. I shared with them a vision for the future of “real time communications” delivered in new ways, with new technologies including WebRTC. The worlds of IT and telecom, which are blurring, have long […]

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April 17th, 2014 by Bita Milanian - 10 Comments

My friends have been encouraging me to start a blog for many years, and a recent change in my career path has finally triggered this first post today. After spending more than a decade in the telecommunications industry starting in the late-90’s, which we called it at the turn of the century, I accepted a […]

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