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WISE in collaboration with allbright | maria hatzistefanis

1st May 2024

How to Make It Happen: Lessons in Leadership and Resilience from Rodial’s Maria

In a world where the path to success is often cluttered with challenges and the unexpected, stories of resilience and strategic triumph are not only inspiring but essential. Maria Hatzistefanis, the Founder and CEO of the globally acclaimed beauty brand Rodial & NIP+FAB, Best Selling Author as well as Dragon on Dragons Den – Greece, recently shared her journey and insights at our sold-out event in collaboration with AllBright. The discussion was led by our Principal Partner of Global Luxury, Beauty & Fashion, Linda Summers and AllBright’s CEO Vivian Paxos, which illuminated the various aspects of building a successful brand and navigating the complex world of entrepreneurship.

The Journey to Self-Confidence and Strategic Growth

Maria’s career transformation from finance to founding Rodial was marked by what she describes as both the best and worst day of her life. At the crux of her mid-20s, Maria faced a daunting task. Despite pitching to twenty venture capitalists, sending countless business plans, and holding numerous meetings, she received no funding. Yet, she believed unwaveringly in her vision. With her savings at hand, Maria took the significant leap to establish Rodial on her own, a testament to her determination and belief in her idea.

Transitioning careers didn’t just require capital but also a deep, introspective journey into what Maria truly wanted to achieve. This evolution involved building her confidence and understanding the kind of leader she aspired to be. Today, Rodial remains a privately owned family business, a decision that brings its challenges, especially concerning funding. Maria emphasized the importance of remaining lean and profitable to sustain private ownership.

About WISE.

Women Inspiring Success & Empowerment (WISE) is a Partnerwise initiative that aims to unite professional senior women for networking and collaborative success. Motivated by a legacy of triumph and resilience, WISE offers a platform for female leaders to empower one another, fuelled by shared experiences and a common goal to diminish the gender bias gap.

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Strategic Insights for Sustained Success

Key Business Strategies

Maria underlined the significance of strategic hiring — finding flexible staff who could wear multiple hats and adapt to the company’s evolving needs. Rodial’s visibility and success have been significantly boosted by adept utilization of PR and social media, highlighting these as crucial for growth.

Leadership and Continuous Learning

Leadership, according to Maria, is an evolving trait, moulded by the challenges and growth of the company. She encourages an entrepreneurial drive within her team, fostering an environment where members are motivated to create solutions independently, reducing the need for micromanagement.

Staying True to Core Values

One of Maria’s strongest strategies is her focus on core product ranges and catering directly to customer needs without getting swayed by competitors. This focus has enabled Rodial to introduce innovative products like ‘venom’ and ‘dragon blood’, setting the brand apart in a crowded market.

The Power of Personal Branding and Facing Fears

During the pandemic, Maria ventured into social media to engage directly with her audience, despite initial insecurities. This move not only helped in promoting her products but also in building a relatable personal brand. She advocates for finding a comfortable, sustainable way to engage on social platforms and stresses the importance of every interaction in networking.

Wellness and Work-Life Balance

To avoid burnout, Maria advises taking weekends off, interspersing fun activities with the team during the week, and ensuring there is time for personal rejuvenation.

Sharing Wisdom Through Writing

Responding to the consistent requests for mentorship and advice, Maria authored three best-selling books, distilling her experiences and lessons into accessible wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders.

“It’s not about perfection, it’s about making a start. What can you do. What you can offer.”



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