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“Adaptability”, With Laura Lee Botsacos and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Adaptability- I think Covid 19 has shown all of us how important adapting is. Learning how to work from home, and operate via zoom is necessary for the survival of any business. Being able to be nimble, to adapt quickly and efficiently to circumstances out of my control, are definitely skills that have contributed to […]

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Adaptability- I think Covid 19 has shown all of us how important adapting is. Learning how to work from home, and operate via zoom is necessary for the survival of any business. Being able to be nimble, to adapt quickly and efficiently to circumstances out of my control, are definitely skills that have contributed to my success.


As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Lee Botsacos — Founder and co-creator of Apollo and Artemis Beauty by Equality™

Laura Lee has always been driven by tenacity and bold ambition. A beauty industry veteran with a multifaceted business background, Botsacos noticed a lack of all-inclusive skincare products. As an innate problem solver, she set out to pioneer a unique new brand.

A nod to Botsacos’s Greek heritage, Apollo and Artemis Beauty by Equality™ empowers people of all genders, races, and sexual orientations to harness their inner god + goddess through self-love and self-care, and embrace their strong, resilient, and perfectly imperfect selves.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was born in the Bronx into a boisterous Greek/Italian Family. We ate, drank, and did everything with gusto. We still do. We grew up paying homage to our ancestors and took pride that someone had the courage to come to this great country, in steerage, for the possibility of a better life. I have an older brother and younger sister, making me the middle child!

Eventually, we moved to Westchester County, NY and my world changed. Being in Westchester allowed my athleticism to flourish. I love being active! Sports and acting were my passions both formed the person I am today. Live theatre is one of the things I miss most during the pandemic. I was and still am very dramatic. Overall, it was a good childhood and I feel blessed to have some really lovely memories from my early years. I also developed a lot of positive habits, such as my strong work ethic, which has been invaluable in my career.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I am blessed to come from such a supportive family. Since I was a kid, I have been driven and ambitious and my parents could not have been more encouraging. I also believe that the middle class work ethic that I was raised with taught me discipline and how to work hard. Having family roots in the “old world” influenced me tremendously. My parents really stressed the fact that you had to work hard in order to make things happen for yourself and that resulted in me being very goal oriented. I have always welcomed challenges and have never been afraid to tackle obstacles that come my way. Useful skills for starting a business!!!.

Three years ago, the inspiration for my skincare line Apollo and Artemis Beauty By Equality™ came to me. My brand is inspired by my close circle of friends; which happens to be a very diverse group of people. My friends come from all backgrounds, religions, races, sexual orientations, genders, and even though they are all so different, the response that I got from them all was very similar: they loved the idea of an all gender, all inclusive, brand of natural PETA approved skincare. It was their collective positive reaction and non wavering support during this entire journey of launching a brand that has kept me going. Anyone that has started a business knows how stressful it can be and close friends and their support has been a huge motivating factor to keep pushing through no matter what comes my way. We are born into our families, but we choose our friends, so when they rally behind you and your vision; I think that might be one of the greatest gifts in life. Chosen Family. When you are in the ring, it’s nice to have your people in your corner rooting for you.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

It’s always hard to single one person out for fear of offending others, but I have to say that my father has always been incredibly influential to me. My dad was born into very humble beginnings, I often describe him as ‘ a man with a dream in his heart and a nickel in his pocket’ who through sheer determination achieved much success. He instilled that fierce work ethic, relentless perseverance and dreamer’s vision within me. We had an opportunity to work alongside each other for years when I was in the automobile business and during that time I really had the chance to watch him in action. Those years working together were comparable to attending the best business school in the world!l. One of the biggest takeaways that I got from my father was not to be afraid to take a risk. It’s a terrifying experience putting it all out there; your vision, money and passion for a new company, but it’s part of the entrepreneurial process. I never could have started Apollo & Artemis Beauty by Equality™ without my father’s encouragement.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that? I think the most interesting mistake that I have made is thinking or rather assuming, that I would be staying in one field forever. I had to learn and accept that my career is always shifting and evolving, similar to life. Many people land in an industry, position or company and remain there for years or for life which is fantastic, but my journey was very different. I have worked in many different fields and that diverse experience has brought me to where I am now: an entrepreneur!

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

I never expected that I would be launching a skincare brand at this stage in my life. Yes, the road to success is hard and does require a tremendous amount of dedication, but here is the thing: everyone’s road looks different. The sooner you stop comparing your road and journey to someone else’s, the better off you will be. I realize now that all stops along my career have prepared me for this one.

In the past I have compared myself to colleagues or other people in my life and seeing their achievements at times when I was struggling really left me feeling like I was failing in life. Social media can make it appear that everyone is living this amazing life and that can really play games with your mind and self esteem. Honestly, a lot of what you see on social media is smoke and mirrors anyway, so I try not to engage too much. It’s not healthy and self care is crucial when you are working round the clock on your new business.. I focus on my own zip code and since I stopped comparing myself to others and accepted that every person’s journey is different; it became easier to engineer my life and career. In order to achieve your goals, you need to have blinders on and zone everything out and stay focused. It’s hard.

Advice I would tell a young person is the following: keep it moving. On the rough days where everything seems to go wrong, and we all have them, get in the zone. Concentrate on sending out an email, write a blog post, make that call, keep the energy of achieving your goal moving. Also, be kind to yourself, maybe you do need to take 15 minutes and step away from the computer. Call your best friend, meditate, do a workout. Action is key.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Og Mandino’s , “The Greatest Salesman in the World”. If you haven’t read it, you must! I love this book. I’m sure the book has different meanings to everyone. For me, it represents the idea of what a life of abundance and true success is. I believe it has to do with being of service to others and that for me is really at the heart of this story. It also encapsulates having faith, perseverance and taking risks. I keep this book on my nightstand and return to it often. Sometimes, I will just let the pages fall open and just start reading, it’s incredibly inspirational. I love when stories stand the test of time, as this book does, it’s indicative of the fact that human nature and the will to succeed and help others will always exist.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

My favorite “Life Lesson Quote” happens to come from “The Greatest Salesman in the World”; there is a reason that is my favorite book! The quote is : “ I will persist until I succeed. Always will I take another step, if that is of no avail I will take another, and yet another. In truth, one step at a time is not too difficult.” This quote resonates with me because It goes back to the idea that you must always be doing something, taking steps forward, in order to achieve your goals.. Any action or task, no matter how small, is far better than no action at all. Stagnation robs you of your achievements. I try to honor this idea daily. Frankly, there are days when only the small actions happen because of circumstance or time or mood. And that’s ok. Just persist.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

My new skincare brand called Apollo & Artemis Beauty by Equality™. Our mission statement is “ Beauty dwells within the soul and shines on the surface. We are committed to the tenet that everyone is beautiful.” Apollo & Artemis Beauty By Equality™ was built on the pillars of compassion, integrity, love, and inclusivity. As we begin to introduce our amazing skincare products to the world we hope that our products will help others feel and radiate their best selves. It is our goal to spread the message of inclusivity and acceptance. We are all on this journey together and we all share human frailties, that does not mean we need to agree with each other’s thoughts, way of life, or spiritual practice, but we can still exercise compassion. That is the best thing that I am working on-letting my brand take on a life of its own as it enters the world. It’s like helping the baby bird out of the nest.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

I think good habits are the building blocks of success. From working out, to drinking enough water, eating as cleanly as possible and frankly, knowing when to rest. I always tell myself that I want to be physically, mentally, and spiritually whole. And I think that is all rooted in habits. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in being super strict all the time, because life is made to be enjoyed, but as a daily practice good habits are key. I make it a point to do something physical everyday, even if it’s just going for a short walk. The act of moving, clears my mind, which allows me to generate new ideas. New ideas are inspiring and motivating and keep me going! It’’s a cyclical process. I also strongly feel that positive habits and a good attitude go hand in hand. Recently, I also started allowing myself the freedom to rest when I need to without feeling guilty.. Self care is what Apollo & Artemis Beauty by Equality™ is about. Taking care of your inner and outer selves.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

I believe that my daily routine of exercise, meditation, eating healthfully and of course using my own line of clean beauty products all contribute to me feeling and looking my best. I could not possibly have the energy to start a new business if I was always tired and run down, and I certainly could not represent a skincare brand if my skin didn’t look nice. As I have stated, I am not perfect and some days I am better than others, but I strongly believe that healthy and positive habits add up over time and they are a big part of my overall self care.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

Oh great question. I know there are lots of theories out there about how long it takes to break a habit and how long it takes to develop a good habit. For me, and I do not mean to trivialize the process, it’s all about just doing it! When I made the decision to stop some bad habits (ie.smoking a hundred years ago) I just did it and when the cravings came I would acknowledge them and then envision my life as a healthy non smoker. I think we often say well it’s going to take 4 days or 75 days. I do appreciate the Mel Robbins approach of taking a moment and counting down for five seconds..5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Breathe!

Admittedly, overcoming any addiction is challenging but, working on the bad habit in conjunction with the good habit has worked for me. The day I quit smoking, I bought a pair of running shoes, and whenever the urge to smoke became unbearable, I made myself go for a run. It wasn’t easy at first, but before I knew it I couldn’t wait to go jogging and the urge to smoke became less and less.. The good habit replaced the bad..

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.

Sure. All three for me are centered around “knowing thyself”. Once, I truly trusted myself and acknowledged that I know my body and spirit better than anyone and took control, things shifted for the better. I know what foods and supplements make me feel at the top of my game and I try to have them as often as possible. . I do not do fad diets, I eat what my body craves and luckily I crave a lot of fruit and vegetables.

Like most people, I do not perform at my peak when I am tired. I used to force myself to push through; now when I feel run down, I will step away from the computer, go for a walk or make a cup of tea, and sometimes even lay down for just 20 minutes. Giving the body and mind time to regenerate is key to performing well.

I maintain my focus by focusing on the vision I have for myself and Apollo & Artemis Beauty by Equality™. As I have mentioned, working out is really an important part of my life. It keeps my mind clear and focused. On days that I feel my focus drifting, I will set my timer for 20 minutes, complete the task on hand and then walk away from the computer and take a walk or meditate. The reward of a mini break is a gift I give myself for powering through for those 20 minutes and I come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day!

I make it a point to never eat lunch at my desk. I take a break, step away from the computer and have a proper lunch. Separating the two activities allows me to relish my lunch, refuel my body and mind so I am prepared for whatever I have on my schedule the rest of the day.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Yes, I know I have talked a lot about exercise, but it’s key for me. A body in motion can not be stopped. Any form of movement and deep breathing has been critical for me to maintain and develop healthy habits. Another key aspect for me in creating and maintaining good habits is to surround myself with others who are like minded. In the world of Covid it is a little bit more challenging, but I have used this time to expand my network. I have done more virtual and online networking than ever. I belong to many entrepreneurial groups and organizations that offer digital memberships, and these have been invaluable to maintain that “mastery mindset” habit. Connecting with a collective of people who continue to strive during this time has been wonderful.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

Optimal performance at work for me, falls under. Communication, Accountability, and Adaptability

Communication: Effective, concise communication with colleagues and and customers is key for performing at a high level. One of things that helps me greatly with communication is open ended questions as well as repeating back what someone has said to me to ensure that I have heard it correctly. I might say, “So, I am hearing you say…..” and wait for confirmation. Open ended questions are great to use to really build connections with a customer- Questions that require a “yes” or “no” are fine for clarification,, but open ended questions are key to building rapport. One of my catch phrases is “Tell me more about….” This elicits a more robust response which builds more rapport and ultimately helps me gather more information.

Accountability-I make it a point to take responsibility for my own work and mistakes. Taking ownership of mistakes leads to a quicker resolve and makes the entire team perform better. Especially, for my small business, as a start up the sooner an issue is rectified the better. I also think people respect it when someone owns up to their mistakes.

Adaptability- I think Covid 19 has shown all of us how important adapting is. Learning how to work from home, and operate via zoom is necessary for the survival of any business. Being able to be nimble, to adapt quickly and efficiently to circumstances out of my control, are definitely skills that have contributed to my success.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

My habits influence these key areas of performance because I take accountability for being of sound, mind and body. For example, on super packed days, I wake up an hour earlier to exercise, I will meal prep in advance so I have healthy meals readily available. I also try to communicate good thoughts to the world at large and to myself.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

Removing distractions! This can be challenging in today’s world. There are a multitude of ways to be distracted. I created a home office and that was huge. Not everyone has the ability to do that, but I recommend at least setting up a workstation for yourself in a corner of a room. Having a “place” to go to work helps me focus.

I make lists. But here is the thing, I do not overload my list. On sunday nights, I will make my list for the week and then break that list into smaller lists for each day. The longer the list the more overwhelmed I can begin to feel. The shorter list is more doable and attainable. This helps me to stay focused.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

As I mentioned, for me it is all about being repetitive. So, I wake up and I immediately throw on my workout clothes, that prepares my body and mind to exercise. I like to exercise early in the morning , shower and then start working. But this came about only by literally encouraging myself to motivate and now it’s habitual. I don’t even think of it. On Sunday evening, I make my list for the upcoming week, at first it felt kind of funny to be planning ahead, but now it is a necessary habit. My weeks are so packed that Sunday night is the ideal time to write down what I need to do that week and I can work on it calmly. Once Monday starts, it’s off to the races…

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

I love being in the flow. Based on my experience, being in the flow occurs when I do not deviate from my goals. I have this vision of my future self and business that I meditate upon every morning. I target the bullseye and all of my habits are the arrows in my quiver.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

That’s a good question. I often say Apollo & Artemis Beauty by Equality™ is more than just a skincare line, it’s a movement. A movement of dissolving boundaries and spreading kindness. I would love to be at the helm of a movement that purports a true exchange of different thoughts and beliefs that can be shared without vitriol and judgment. I know it is a bit ethereal, but inspiring the dissolution of boundaries is what I am after and spreading kindness and acceptance to others and yourself.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Dolly Parton, she is an artist, businesswoman,and entrepreneur. She crosses many demographics, She is not controversial; stays true to herself and doesn’t seem to take herself too seriously. She is generous, gives back to communities and is of service to others. Sounds like a wonderful combination and cornucopia of a life well lived: talent and a big heart!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can find out more about my brand at

www.apolloandartemisbeauty.com . Or Instagram @theonlylaura @apolloandartemisbeauty

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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