You must learn to say no. Saying no to requests, projects or even clients that you are not comfortable with is imperative. Conscious Leaders lead with empathy and loving kindness always but that doesn’t mean that they can be bullied into doing things that their instinct tells them isn’t right. It is critical to be able to say no and feel good about it.
As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Artemis Evangelidi.
Artemis Evangelidi is a Holistic Business Lawyer, a Conscious Business Consultant and published Author of ‘Life. Thoughts That Make The World Go Around (And Up, Not Down)’ (2019). Artemis has dedicated the better part of her 20-year legal career to helping people become Conscious Leaders by expanding their mindsets and enabling them to thrive at every level.
She is passionate about raising global consciousness through ethical and transparent business practices. She lives and breathes the motto “Be The Change You Want To See In The World” and is a proud international citizen having lived and worked across 4 continents. She is an invited contributor to Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, a member of an international think tank on Conscious Leadership and a mentor for lawyers across the world.
Artemis is the Founder & CEO of Cyprus based Aipeia Consulting, an international business and legal consulting firm and holds Bachelor of Science (Psychology & Physiology) and Bachelor of Law Degrees from Monash University in Melbourne Australia.
Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Thank you for the opportunity! An interesting question — how does a corporate/commercial lawyer transition to providing holistic and Conscious Business services? For me it has been the most interesting, exciting and natural transition of my career. When the better part of your life is spent creating, assisting and advising businesses around the world, you have a first-row seat of leadership in action. Successful leaders and by default, successful businesses, have one thing in common — an elevated consciousness. Conscious Business has at its core the 5 P’s: Passion, Purpose, People, Planet and Profits. When you can effectively balance the 5 P’s by taking into consideration the well-being of your people and your planet, so that you can effectively pursue your passion to fulfill your purpose, profit is a direct result. That really does sum up the core elements of any successful business and that is what I am focused on creating for my clients.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
When I decided to roll out Conscious Leadership workshops in 2018, I knew I was taking a risk. Here is this legal consulting firm teaching people how to become Conscious Leaders. But I knew that I was being guided to offer this service because it was needed. The most interesting stories have come out of these workshops. Such as when the CEO of one of the largest companies in the country asked to speak to me 4 hours into the first day of the workshop in private, to tell me that they were having a profound ‘wake up’ experience and were emotional from what they are experiencing, it leaves you marked forever. This is proof that as leaders we need to be brave always — when we want to take that risk then we take it and never look back!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I launched Aipeia in February of 2013, little did I know that 2 weeks later Cyprus was about to enter an unprecedented financial crisis. All banks were shut across the island for 3 weeks, capital controls and deposit haircuts were imposed. There I was pitching and, on a roadshow, only to have it all come to an instant stop! I laugh about it now but at the time I was mortified. All my savings had been invested in the launch of my company, I had reached out to all my contacts and colleagues worldwide and I felt like it would all come crashing down. To be fair, it took time, but of course it wasn’t the disaster I worried it could be. It was a very strong lesson in being resilient in the face of unexpected events; of finding different services to meet different needs; of having a strategy that is flexible and can shift with the times; and of having faith that it will all work out in the end.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
We offer holistic legal and business services with a focus on Conscious Business creation. Traditionally lawyers operate very conservatively, and their services are limited in scope to providing support in one particular area of a business. But drafting documents and closing deals isn’t the only thing that businesses need. If we can make a change in the world and help people to understand that their businesses can be a catalyst for good whilst also making money, then that is an incredible gift. The fact that we enter each business as though it is our own, work closely with our client’s boards and shareholders to really understand what is going on and what we can do to transform and elevate their businesses, is a game changer for our clients. They know that we are there to offer support from every angle. We have experts in corporate administration, compliance, finance and accounting, marketing and business development together with lawyers to take on each business from start to finish. I think the most interesting result of our hard work is that our clients feel so comfortable with us, they contact us through WhatsApp and Messenger to run past us even the smallest thoughts or ideas. There is nothing more satisfying than becoming a part of each client’s corporate family. That is where the real work is done.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes I am! I am currently in the process of writing two new books which I am very excited about. One will be a follow up book to my first, going deeper into Conscious Leadership and the second will be focused more on personal development and spirituality and how that transpires both in our personal lives and our businesses. We are also working on taking our Conscious Leadership 2-day workshops online and expanding these further through shorter intensives focused on specific areas such as: Mindfulness in Business, Increasing Our Emotional Intelligence and so much more. All of these are tools that we will make available to people around the world to assist them to delve deep within themselves as they transform and elevate.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
In order for any team to thrive, they firstly need to be aligned with their leaders and in order to be aligned with their leaders, their leaders need to clearly demonstrate each and every day the ‘why’ of the company. I believe that as women, we are more intuitive in sensing when our team members are with us all the way or not and that is an amazing gift to have. I have worked with hundreds of employees over the years as part of the Conscious Business transformation services we offer and at the top of the list for every employee is the need to feel that they are part of something greater than their day to day work. Regardless of the industry, where the teams are working together to achieve a common goal, they are thriving. It doesn’t have to do with money or titles, but with a sense of doing something important and understanding that each and every team member has a role to play.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
Large teams need structure and clarity. Policies and procedures need to be in effect and implemented at all times. There also need to be appropriate tier structures so that the teams are grouped and there are line managers in place at all relevant levels. Think in terms of Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’. To get to the transformation stage we need to tick off survival needs first and foremost. We then need to ask what culture do we want to create? This is so important and all leaders really need to understand that the culture can make or break a business. People need to know what they are supposed to do and how, who they are supposed to report to and when, and how the whole team is working as one coordinated body to achieve the purpose of the business.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I have been blessed with three incredible mentors during my life with regards to my career. All three were unique in their own way. My first boss in Australia helped me get started and really cemented my foundations in the profession proving that compassion, empathy and loving kindness are necessary attributes to have in our line of work. My subsequent manager in Greece, also a lawyer, took the time to train me in cross-border commercial law with an emphasis on ethical behaviour which, as we all know, is oftentimes missing from the corporate business world. And finally the CEO of the company I was building the legal department for in Qatar, opened my eyes to the irrelevance of gender, religion and race when it came to doing all things from a place of love. I am incredibly grateful to these three men who helped me grow professionally — they gave selflessly of themselves to mentor me and support me at every level.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
That was actually the driving force behind writing my first book. I thought that if I could reach even one person on the other side of the world and give them inspiration, hope and help them to dream themselves into greatness, then I had succeeded. I love mentoring people and helping them see the beauty and the power within — that they can achieve anything they want to if they believe in themselves and have faith in the process.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Your strategy must be crystal clear. Along the way people will approach you for all sorts of things — to join forces, to collaborate on certain projects, to put your name to their products or services. The thing is that you may be flattered or even excited to partake in these things but if they are not aligned with your purpose, they will end up taking up your precious time and leading you off course. When your strategy is clear and you know the steps needed to get you to your ultimate goal you can make better decisions.
- You must learn to say no. Saying no to requests, projects or even clients that you are not comfortable with is imperative. Conscious Leaders lead with empathy and loving kindness always but that doesn’t mean that they can be bullied into doing things that their instinct tells them isn’t right. It is critical to be able to say no and feel good about it.
- Meditate. Nothing gives you the clarity, emotional intelligence or increased awareness that meditation brings. It helps to put things into perspective, to see other viewpoints and to find solutions. It is a part of my daily practice and my go-to tool when I may be feeling overwhelmed or stuck.
- Take Unconditional Responsibility. This is one of the key differentiators of great leaders from mediocre ones. When you take responsibility for everything going on in your team and your business you are actually empowering yourself to find the solutions necessary. You step out of blame and victim consciousness and use your heightened awareness to work out what can be done, delegate the work and see it through to fruition. Nothing inspires a team more than a leader taking responsibility.
- Lead with love. Love is the strongest energy field around and love is actually the basis of our existence as human beings. When we lead with love we lead ethically and with integrity. We can put ourselves in other people’s shoes, speak honestly, listen attentively and exercise our judgment without external influences. Leading with love is a game changer.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement. that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
For me Conscious Leadership IS the movement. Doing the work of going within, understanding what makes each of us tick and what limitations we have as we work to remove past conditioning that no longer serves us and then expanding all of this as we attune to the attributes of the Conscious Leader, is life changing. Conscious Leaders work from a place of love, speak honestly and openly, act with integrity, are ethical, take responsibility, are open to learning, exercise humility, know when to put their ego to one side and work to empower and inspire all those around them. This is what we should all be aspiring to become. This is what will shift our consciousness and that of the entire world to be one built on the foundations of love, peace, dignity and empowerment. For each of us to be one with all that is around us — people and environment. The interconnectedness of it all becomes clear and that is how we change the world!
Can you please give us your favorite. “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Other than Ghandi’s “Be The Change You Want To See In The World” which is my daily mantra, I am also inspired by “It Always Seems Impossible Until It Is Done” — Nelson Mandela. And I can vouch for both of these quotes as being ‘true stories’ in my every day. When I was told that a lawyer couldn’t combine consciousness and spirituality with commercial business law, I proved them wrong. When I was told that what I do makes no difference as I am one person, I saw the impact that I, as one person, could have on the entire world through my book, my social media posts and my daily interactions with my clients and my community.
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 with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
It is incredibly difficult to choose between Arianna Huffington and Oprah Winfrey, so I’d like to invite them both to this private breakfast! They are my inspiration — my daily reminder of the good in this world. That you can use your influence, knowledge and wisdom to transform millions of people while leading from the heart. They are both in my dictionary under the definition of ‘Conscious Leaders’ and they are a constant. source of power!