Member Spotlight | Konstantina Sakellariou
Founding member of WomenH2H, Writer, Traveler, Entrepreneur, Passionate about transformation through storytelling and traveling
My path to self-growth started at the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
I am actually a French knight!
I plan to hike most of the Middle East’s long trails within the next 5 years.
I have traveled extensively to over 50 countries; I still consider myself a novice traveler.
I make meaning of life only through the writing process.
I can only do creative work at a desk, in a designated quiet place, preferably in my pajamas.
I am much better at preparing desserts than cooking food.
I am an active citizen with long participation in several NGOs.
I passionately document thoughts and impressions inspired by my travels. I have already published a book and frequently write on my blog and Patreon page. Also, I curate boutique traveling experiences to invite others on a transformational journey following the art of conscious traveling. Respect, sustainability, empathy, peace, storytelling, and immense love for our humanity are at the core of my life and work. I am on a mission to share my knowledge, passion, and inspiration with like-minded women and be a member of a tribe that aspires to bring positive change. Before changing my life and professional path, I enjoyed a 20-year long corporate career having held senior positions in the professional services and governmental sectors while undertaking several entrepreneurial initiatives as well.
When it comes to the role of women today, what inspires you, and what concerns you the most? The energy held by women, individually and collectively, has been, from time immemorial, one of the major forces shaping our world.
Women's role, sometimes revered and sacred, other times degraded and disrespected, remains quintessential in understanding and developing our creativity, receptivity, and ingenuity as a species.
Today, women are reclaiming their position in the world, both in work and in their personal lives, rediscovering their identity and setting the basis for a more balanced and, hopefully, more humane future.
Still, many of our female traits have been forgotten over time, or their understanding has been distorted when examined through a male-dominant lens.
Finding our authenticity is at the core of our work, as women, today.
What’s your goal around that, and why is it important to you? Why is that a priority for you right now?
Although reclaiming the power and wisdom of our femininity is a significant sub-goal in my work, I prefer to focus on humanity as a whole, trying to decipher through our formal history and our informal stories, tales, or myths, the origins of our presence today.
I document the evolution of my research, thoughts, and understandings in my written work, while I further develop this knowledge, this inner wisdom if you will, during the trips that either I take by myself or I lead, during which I learn to see through the eyes of another.
When we truly understand our past, beyond prejudice or misinformation, when we take a holistic, helicopter view on how we came to be who we are today, we can manage to move forward with empathy and peace.
This is my biggest priority: the essence of my work.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve personally had as a woman at work? How did you try to overcome them? On the surface, I did not face any challenges at work by being a woman. On the contrary. I enjoyed an excellent collaboration with male teams, precisely because our individual goals and set of skills did not clash but, instead, complemented each other.
When searching deeper, though, I was the enemy of myself.
Neither my self-confidence nor my self-worth was at the level they should be. When I realized this, I took a sabbatical to work on myself, and finally decided to embrace a different lifestyle: one that would allow me to be more authentic and creative.
Who or what would have made it easier? What do you wish you would have done then?
Ideally, a profound understanding of the feminine identity should be instilled from childhood. The patterns that we follow are still influenced by the past, leaving modern women with many unanswered questions.
We are part of the generation that changes this, so, hopefully, it will be much easier for women in the future.
Many women are overwhelmed by the constant changes at work, frustrated with conflicts, or disheartened by office politics, drama, and draining emotions. What have you done in the past to help you get through such moments? True enough, office politics are a significant demotivator for women, especially regarding their ambition to advance in the corporate ladder. On the other hand...
Women are responsible for a lot of the drama and emotions at work. Taking responsibility for our contribution to the problem is the first step towards identifying the most suitable solution.
I strongly believe that by defining one’s priorities and broader goals with integrity, one can determine the most appropriate path to follow. When this is set, the next steps require flexibility and adaptability, and, if anything, these are among women’s strong points.
Whom do you follow on these subjects? Are there authors, influencers, leaders, sites, blogs you follow? Although I am an avid reader, I mostly find the lessons that I need from life itself. I follow a conscious way of living and traveling, which means that everything that comes my way is appreciated and examined for the lessons it carries.
Books, movies, dialogues with strangers, human stories, experiences, or landscapes, they all turn into my everlasting teachers.
There are many people whose work I closely follow, but they are not the ones on whom I depend for my growth. They are, rather, part of my broader inspiration.
Do you participate in other women groups or communities? What have you seen work in such communities, and what was missing for you? When I was living in Dubai, I was actively participating in several women groups, formal or informal. Having returned to Greece, I find value in remaining in contact with informal groups, where the discussions are profound, and the support much more valuable.
In general, women are not comfortable with networking, even within same-gender groups. They often confuse the communities as selling platforms, they refrain from interacting based on the very valid point of a busy life, and they rarely support other women. It is worth noting that men are so much better in such interactions, and, hence, manage to create more effective networks for their career goals.
Why is it important for women to be surrounded by other women, and what is the role we play in each other’s lives?
Traditionally, we, women have been operating in groups and not individually. We feel more comfortable and more powerful like that.
Of course, this is a double-edged sword since, in a group, a woman might lose her individuality, or hide her weaknesses behind the numbers.
When done properly, such groups can be a source of creativity and change, and that is why they should be fostered.
What activities could we do so that we master together how to get back our zest, thrive on change, lead with grace and confidence and co-create the beautiful workplaces we all long for?
We should take time to search within. A healed woman is strong, confident, authentic, and powerful. She is aware of her boundaries and her potential and has the inner knowledge to allow for receptivity, instead of getting trapped in an action-based mentality.
The more we work on ourselves, the more we can pass on the learnings to the next generation, building a solid base for the future. It is part of our responsibility and purpose.
How do you see your role in building this community? And is there anything else you want to add that you think would be helpful for us to know as we are building this community? The virtual nature of the community allows for global growth but makes the building of friendships and relationships harder. I hope that, when we can all travel again, we will organize regional or international gatherings, during which we can learn from each other and, as such, grow together.
As an individual, I am keen to talk on a one-to-one basis with as many members as I can, get inspired by their story, and contribute with ideas or support wherever possible. I have already started this process and look forward to continuing now that summer is over and most of us are back to base.