Q. What was the most significant event in your life?
A.The most significant event that changed the outcome of my life is the invasion of Cyprus by Turkey in 1974. My parents were living in the US, working and building their home in Cyprus. Their plan like many was to build a house and return to raise their family in Cyprus… they became refugees and had no home, village or land to return to. Turkey invaded and took 40% of the island. They stayed in the US and worked hard to build a new life for themselves and their family. We returned in 1994 where I spent my first 2 years of High School there and we were able to see the land where my parents and relatives are all from. It was an amazing experience. Even though we could not go across the line to see my parent’s village, being on the island of my ancestors was life changing. I feel blessed and almost guilty that I was able to grow up in the United States. People do not realize how lucky they are to be an American. Because my parents had everything taken from them I was able to stay and grow up in this amazing country that gives people the opportunity to be educated, work hard, and be successful.
Q. What is one of the best decisions you have made throughout your life?
A. One of the best decisions I ever made was to travel after graduating with my MBA back to Cyprus where my parents are from. I lived in Cyprus for 3 years teaching Marketing and Management at a college. I was able to learn more about my heritage, culture, language, and religion. I was also able to learn about other cultures and environments through my international students. I met my husband and we lived in London for 1 ½ years before moving back to the US. Living abroad has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge, learn diversity and to understand that one must embrace the international community.
Q. What do you consider the most significant barrier to female leadership?
A. The most significant barrier to female leadership is ourselves. Growing up and working in a male dominant industry I found that a female must go over and above what is expected to gain the respect and trust of her male counterparts and customers. As a young woman I was often bypassed or dismissed, simply because of my gender. I had to fight to prove that I was just as knowledgeable and capable as my brothers or male coworkers. If you do not have that spark inside of you to believe that you are a leader and the ability to pick yourself up and keep moving forward no matter, what you will not succeed. A female must not only prove herself, to the world, she must also put a lot of trust in herself to be able to overcome any negative feelings and bumps in the road to be a good leader.
Q. What motivates you to get out of bed every morning?
A. What motivates me to get out of bed every morning is first the love for my family and second my commitment to my work family. The realization that so many people’s lives depend on me getting up in the morning is a great motivator. I have many employees, subcontractors, and business partners that their lives depend on the success of Nicholas Pools Inc. If I do not open and run the business each season there will be countless people out of work not only in Ocean County, in New Jersey, but across the United States. The commitment I made to all of these people is what energizes me to wake up and make it happen every day.