Blending Heritage and Sustainability with Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks – Podcast Episode 10

Podcast • January 9, 2024

Summary: 

On today’s episode of Elevate Your Career, Nicole chats with Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of ECOS, a company that manufactures eco-conscious cleaning products powered by plants. Kelly has made significant contributions to environmental sustainability through her company’s eco-friendly products. During the discussion, she reflects on her journey, her Greek heritage and early life challenges, including her father’s migration to the U.S. and her mother’s influence. She discusses her academic path, leading to UCLA, and her initial career choices, which were guided by a strong sense of social responsibility and a desire to make a positive impact.

Kelly shares insights into her varied professional experiences, including working in public relations and her stint as an executive director at the American Hellenic Council. These roles honed her skills in media, storytelling, and forming impactful connections. Joining the family business, Earth Friendly Products, she faced the challenge of making a mark in an established company led by her visionary father. She emphasizes the importance of earning respect as an employee first, rather than leveraging family connections. Her approach to leadership and growth involved respecting her team, understanding her role, and making calculated changes to scale the company.

Nicole and Kelly discuss the significance of communication and diversity in leadership, highlighting Kelly’s initiatives in hiring a diverse and skilled team, reflecting the consumer base, and ensuring her company’s internal structure mirrors societal diversity. Discussing the dynamics of working in a family business, she shares personal anecdotes, including the challenges and learning experiences that shaped her leadership style.

Join Nicole and Kelly for this fascinating and eye-opening conversation!

Enjoy!

 

What You Will Learn In This Show:

  • Kelly’s Greek roots, the influence of her father’s migration to the U.S. and her mother’s impactful role in her life.
  • Her transition from public relations to executive director at the American Hellenic Council, and how these roles cultivated her abilities in media, storytelling, and creating meaningful connections.
  • Joining Earth Friendly Products and the challenge of establishing her identity in a company founded by her father.
  • Strategies for effective leadership, including respecting the team and understanding her role.
  • The importance of building a diverse team that reflects the company’s consumer base and mirrors societal diversity.  
  • And so much more…

 

Quotes:

“I would have never had a place in that executive group, if you hadn’t trailblazed the path for women there. […] And then because of you so many of us had the opportunity to follow and I really thank you for that.” – (Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks)

“Instill confidence in your child at an early age and confidence and the belief in oneself is critically important to become a leader one day.” – (Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks)

“One of the most important things as a leader is to be a good communicator. […] It’s important to surround yourself with diversity of thought too.” – (Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks)

“You can’t leave Greece without wanting to protect how beautiful our Earth is.” – (Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks)

“…if we’re not going to regulate, we have to give the information we have to let people make informed decisions about what they want in their homes.” – (Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks)

 

Resources:

Nicole’s LinkedIn

ECOS by Earth Friendly Products

Kelly’s LinkedIn

 

Podcast:

elevate your career

Summary: 

On today’s episode of Elevate Your Career, Nicole chats with Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, President and CEO of ECOS, a company that manufactures eco-conscious cleaning products powered by plants. Kelly has made significant contributions to environmental sustainability through her company’s eco-friendly products. During the discussion, she reflects on her journey, her Greek heritage and early life challenges, including her father’s migration to the U.S. and her mother’s influence. She discusses her academic path, leading to UCLA, and her initial career choices, which were guided by a strong sense of social responsibility and a desire to make a positive impact.

Kelly shares insights into her varied professional experiences, including working in public relations and her stint as an executive director at the American Hellenic Council. These roles honed her skills in media, storytelling, and forming impactful connections. Joining the family business, Earth Friendly Products, she faced the challenge of making a mark in an established company led by her visionary father. She emphasizes the importance of earning respect as an employee first, rather than leveraging family connections. Her approach to leadership and growth involved respecting her team, understanding her role, and making calculated changes to scale the company.

Nicole and Kelly discuss the significance of communication and diversity in leadership, highlighting Kelly’s initiatives in hiring a diverse and skilled team, reflecting the consumer base, and ensuring her company’s internal structure mirrors societal diversity. Discussing the dynamics of working in a family business, she shares personal anecdotes, including the challenges and learning experiences that shaped her leadership style.

Join Nicole and Kelly for this fascinating and eye-opening conversation!

Enjoy!

 

What You Will Learn In This Show:

  • Kelly’s Greek roots, the influence of her father’s migration to the U.S. and her mother’s impactful role in her life.
  • Her transition from public relations to executive director at the American Hellenic Council, and how these roles cultivated her abilities in media, storytelling, and creating meaningful connections.
  • Joining Earth Friendly Products and the challenge of establishing her identity in a company founded by her father.
  • Strategies for effective leadership, including respecting the team and understanding her role.
  • The importance of building a diverse team that reflects the company’s consumer base and mirrors societal diversity.  
  • And so much more…

 

Quotes:

“I would have never had a place in that executive group, if you hadn’t trailblazed the path for women there. […] And then because of you so many of us had the opportunity to follow and I really thank you for that.” – (Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks)

“Instill confidence in your child at an early age and confidence and the belief in oneself is critically important to become a leader one day.” – (Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks)

“One of the most important things as a leader is to be a good communicator. […] It’s important to surround yourself with diversity of thought too.” – (Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks)

“You can’t leave Greece without wanting to protect how beautiful our Earth is.” – (Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks)

“…if we’re not going to regulate, we have to give the information we have to let people make informed decisions about what they want in their homes.” – (Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks)

 

Resources:

Nicole’s LinkedIn

ECOS by Earth Friendly Products

Kelly’s LinkedIn

 

Podcast:

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