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Maria Pallas

Maria Pallas

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

This question has a dual answer depending on which side of my brain you’re asking about, LOL! My left-brain has been the driver in my career. By day, I’m a Director of Strategy and Optimization for LAUFT Flexible Workspace. I’m in numbers, data, reporting, and analysis literally all day. I love being able to provide people with accurate “real-time” data to help them better understand the business, and to come up with ways to automate and streamline processes so that we can scale quickly and easily. By night, the right side of my brain takes over. I'm a radical self love leader, recovering people pleaser and podcast host of The Femme Cast. The majority of my focus is obviously on my career and growing within my role; That goes without saying. But to say that I don’t always have a little notebook next to me where I am jotting down ideas, thoughts, quotes and rants that I want to share on the podcast, would be a flat out lie. I’m excited to keep growing the podcast and my follower base (currently 4500!), as well as growing my leadership and influence. Ultimately, I’d like to bring my two brains/worlds together into one cohesive purpose and brand. Maybe this Spotlight is the first step to making that happen.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

When I joined Ellevate I had been working remotely for years - well before the pandemic - and I was feeling very alone and isolated in my work and professional development. I had an incredible team of people that I worked with and valued, but I wanted a neutral place, outside of my day to day team, to connect with and get support/guidance from. I thought Ellevate would be a great place to meet like-minded women who I could connect with. But once I joined, I realized that Ellevate was so much more than that. Being part of Ellevate has connected me to an incredible group of women who have been so supportive in getting me to where I am today, and they continue to encourage me to think about what I want beyond where I'm currently at. The best part is, they are all always willing to help me get there.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

No matter what I’m focused on, I’m thinking about how to bring my whole self in. But that’s not always an easy task.

In some moments, it’s about parking my ego at the door and leading with humility. In others, I’m battling imposter syndrome and need to leverage my powers of self love to know that I can get the job done.

In short, there isn’t just one quality that drives success. Every part of who we are is important, and I think that’s the key.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

Working with LAUFT since almost inception and the amazing people I get to work with, has been a truly extraordinary experience. As a team, we’ve accomplished so much together, and beaten so many odds - honestly, it’s insane when I stop to think about it.

And none of that would have happened without the amazing people that I get to work with day after day. They just won’t quit, and are truly the most inspiring group of people I have ever had the privilege of working with. The team at LAUFT inspires me every single day.

What are some career challenges on your radar?

Trying to bridge my two worlds together; they seem so opposing in my head that I often feel like I am torn between the two. I feel like I can’t share my thoughts on radical self love with my business network because they will think I’m a flake. And I can’t share my passion for data and automation with my podcast audience because, well…I would probably bore them to tears!! And yet, for me, these 2 halves of me are what keep me whole. Without self-love and making myself and my own needs a priority in my life, I couldn’t manage my day job, act as a caregiver for my elderly parents, or sit on the leadership team at Ellevate.

As I figure out how to bring this all together and help others see these important connections.

I would love to grow The Femme Cast audience and potentially figure out how to monetize it as well.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

That would have to be my podcast, The Femme Cast. The moment I realized it was being listened to in over 100 countries was pretty epic for me (not to mention overwhelming!). I literally felt like I was standing in Times Square naked.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

Like most paths, it was anything but a straight one. Probably because the left and right side of my brain have been battling it out for years.

Believe it or not it all started in fashion! I went to school for Fashion Merchandising Management, and spent years in retail management and volunteering backstage at fashion shows, trying to become the next Anna Wintour. But clearly, it was taking forever and I inevitably had to get a “grown up” job and start paying my dues, so I got my first office gig.

Once I started there, I moved around and worked my way up to corporate. At first I loved it. Then I hated it. So I left. And simultaneously I was also going through a divorce. So I did the unthinkable and I blew up my life, packed my bags and traveled through SE Asia for 6 months.

Next, I started a coaching business. Loved it but quickly started to feel very isolated and truly missed working with a team. But refused to go back to traditional corporate life.

That’s when I found LAUFT and I got the best of all worlds. It’s a start up, so although it’s an organization I still get to use my entrepreneurial brain, and we are the work life freedom company so that suits me perfectly. Plus, the podcast gives my right brain a playground to mess around in.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I love what we do at LAUFT because we are literally empowering people and organizations to adjust to hybrid work and finally achieve work life freedom.

And being able to share my personal story and experiences on my podcast, to help other women who might be struggling with their own self worth issues to me is absolutely priceless.

Both of these missions feel like they’ve never been more relevant - or needed - in the world.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

I hope that I can help people in all positions and all walks of life know and believe that they have always been, and will always be, enough.

What is your morning ritual?

I journal every morning while I have my morning coffee. I've been doing this religiously for years, and it is truly the most important part of my day. Because this is where I get clarity.

Each day it’s something different. Something I am thinking, feeling or contemplating, an action plan for the day/week/month ahead, where am I in relation to my north star and am I aligned in that, an idea that I’m inspired about that I don’t quite know what to do with yet…so many things!

What is your favorite social media site? Why?

I am actually not a fan of social media - I guess if I had to pick one I think probably instagram would be my favorite. I like memes, fashion, looking at super cute fur baby reels, and old Friends clips. Can't get enough of those.

Oh and lately I’ve been obsessed with anything related to Daisy Jones and the Six so I’ve been following the cast and binge watching reels along with the show. I might have to cut myself off soon!

What would you say your personal superpower is?

I know what it isn’t - and that is self love. If anything that has always been my biggest struggle - the paralyzing self doubt, constantly feeling ‘less than’ and insecure in so many ways.

But my determination to overcome that struggle and to share my story with others to help them do the same, is truly a super power.

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

I have really clear boundaries around work and personal time.That’s not to say I never work after hours but it’s a judgment call I make. And I keep most non-essential notifications muted on my phone. Nothing pulls you out of the present moment faster or more efficiently than an onslaught of notifications. Whether at work, spending time with family and friends, or just trying to carve out some down time, that’s an important line I try to maintain.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

Know who you are, what you want, what’s important to you and what you stand for, and that you are enough. Let that be your north star in all of your decision making.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.