Speaking for Ourselves

"I did it my way and you can, too," says Betty

"I did it my way and you can, too," says Betty

Areej Osman

 Migrant Voice - "I did it my way and you can, too," says Betty


Betty Encinales is a Colombian migrant who sees the glass half-full rather than half-empty. 

Look around, she advises: migrants are a genuine part of the London community, working in every kind of job. 

“Can you imagine London without migrants for one day?” she muses, knowing that the answer is No.

She sets an example with her indefatigable energy. When she entered the room she brought such positive energy, and we soon realised why ‘be positive’ is her mantra.  

Four years ago, after working for a recruitment firm in London, she started her own company. Now Becruit has branches in New York and Hong Kong.
“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, I always felt in my heart that I wanted to make a difference,” she says. “I want to have my own voice and to do things my way.” 

It was not easy. As a migrant woman she had to work twice as hard to prove herself, “I am a woman, I am from Colombia, I had to pay the bills like anyone else … but the minute I found that I love recruitment, am good at it and I can make money out of it, I said to myself ‘This is it’.”

Recruitment is a two-way street, she explains. As a recruiter, you help companies to get the right person and you help individuals to get a better job; “as a good recruiter I try to not just get someone to a better job but try to really understand what this person wants in the long run.”

She says she has learned a lot through her life journey from having everything she wanted in Colombia to the woman starting from scratch abroad.
Creating her own business was another fresh start which created new challenges.

“It’s a completely different journey,” she says, mentioning some of the challenges she experienced moving from being an employee to owning her own company, such as reporting to yourself, organising your own time and staying motivated.

Her advice to new entrepreneurs is, first, spend half an hour each morning to set your mind set on a positive note. 

Second, build a network. This, she says, is helpful because you share the struggle with people in the same situation as yourself and are therefore more likely to find solutions.

Third, stay motivated. Listen to motivational tapes, read inspiring books and go to conferences where you can hear other people’s stories. She describes creating your own business as “a completely different journey”. You move from being an employee to a company owner. You have to report to yourself and stick to your own diary, “sometimes you lose and staying motivated is a challenge.” 

Her own biggest challenge was not knowing where to start, “I never had a network, anyone to shadow or ask. I had to push myself, go out and meet people and ask. I had to create opportunities and make things happen.” 

To most of us, being vulnerable is seen as a weakness. Betty was no exception but as a result of her life experiences she now believes that vulnerability can be a valuable trait, “when you are vulnerable you allow people to advise you.”

Betty’s role models are her father and British entrepreneur Richard Branson, who she describes as successful but humble men. 

Betty enjoys traveling, running marathons, skiing, photography and painting, “I am not amazing but I am consistent - that’s how I became a better me.” 

She says her biggest achievement is understanding that she is vulnerable and can make mistakes, connecting to herself and loving herself for who she is.

For migrants who see only limitations, Betty urges them to look from a different angle and see limitations as opportunities to connect, to stand out and to think differently. 

“I bring some happiness where I go.  I like to do that because that comes from Colombia, that comes from me, my Latin spirit.” 


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Migrant Voice
VAI, 200a Pentonville Road,
N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: [email protected]

Registered Charity
Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

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