Maria Militsopoulou is a multi-awarded Inspirational Female Leader and Strategic future-oriented Pioneer. She is the Founder of Women Empowerment Worldwide Leadership Organization (WEWiL.global) and the CEO/CVO of YouDream Consulting. In 2024, she was appointed as a Senator for Cyprus at the World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF). In 2023 she was appointed as the Cyprus Country Chair for the Humanity, Technology & Innovation Wing of the G100: Group of 100 Women Leaders. She acts as an Ambassadress of Women Leading the Future Supporting WomenTech.
As Innovator, Maria has created her own transformational coaching model after the name MY-DREAM™. She is a certified Mindfulness & Compassion Practitioner. She is a Positive Psychology and Cognitive Behavioral Coach and a Transcendent Mentor. She is a Motivational Speaker and Author and her first book sharing her personal journey of Leadership is set to be released in Spring 2024 through Amazon. She is a recipient of prestigious awards and recognitions including one of the 100 Top Global Women Entrepreneurs to be Inspired, 2023, Women of the Decade Award from the Women Economic Forum (WEF), and one of the World’s Iconic Visionary Women Leaders Reshaping the Future, 2023.
Recently, in an exclusive interview with Digital First Magazine, Maria shared her professional trajectory, what sets YouDream Consulting apart from other market competitors, her take on leadership, personal source of inspiration, future plans, pearls of wisdom, and much more. The following excerpts are taken from the interview.
Maria, please explain your background and areas of interest.
My professional focus encompasses the realms of Innovation, Technology, and Human Development. My professional expertise and background are rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Analysis and on applying protocols of Positive Psychology, aiming in the cultivation of a Growth Mindset, while fostering Transcendent Leadership.
Currently, my efforts are concentrated on strategically leveraging emerging Technologies. By connecting the dots my interest lies in building up resilient and future-proof ecosystems. I am dedicated to exploring new data paradigms and envisioning their contributions for a sustainable future. My vision focuses on shaping a corporate culture that not only adapts to the demands of the Digital Era but also prioritizes security, ethical practices, and continuous evolution.
What sets YouDream Consulting apart from other market competitors?
In the dynamic landscape of Technology integration, agility is paramount. At YouDream Consulting, as part of our philosophy, we embrace an agile approach, that allows us to swiftly adapt to the evolving technological trends and market needs. This agility isn’t merely a strategy; it’s deeply ingrained in our organizational culture, empowering us to respond promptly to market shifts and deliver solutions that align seamlessly with the pace of technological evolution.
By investing in the human factor and seamlessly integrating the Technology and Innovation Factors, I envisioned and brought to life the Tech Hub. This dynamic hub, rooted in the “Hive Model”, serves as a collaborative space where over 60+ affiliated IT and Business professionals from around the globe gather and fuse.
Our distinctive approach extends beyond mere collaboration. We actively engage with IT industry leaders that shape the future, ensuring that our perspectives and practices remain at the forefront of global trends. This comprehensive strategy not only underscores our commitment to excellence but also solidifies YouDream Consulting’s prominent position in the ever-evolving tech industry, always one step ahead of the industry’s developments.
You are also a certified coach / mentor and have developed your own Transformational MY-DREAM™ coaching model. Can you please brief us about this model and how it helps clients and how it integrates with an IT Company?
One significant passion of mine and my research’s focus is decoding human behavior. It’s a commitment under the Great vision of driving Positive Global Change. This led to the development of the MY-DREAMTM Transformative Coaching Model.
Embracing this model undergoes a profound metamorphosis, fundamentally altering lives by following a growth mindset with ultimate destination being Transcendence.
Part of the vision is to attract more women to the field of technology, encouraging them to adopt a tech-centric approach while keeping work-life balance, the right to motherhood, optimal mental health well-being and practices of self-care.
As the Chief Visionary Officer (CVO) of YouDream Consulting I have integrated the MY-DREAMTM Transformative Coaching Model to help both our clients and Organizations to adopt and adapt their corporate culture to the new realities of the Digital Era.
Are you currently satisfied with the status quo regarding women in tech? What specific changes do you think are needed to change it?
The current levels and statistics of women in the technology sector are not satisfactory, presenting a significant challenge in achieving positive change. To address this, the campaigns we run via the Women Empowerment Worldwide Leadership Organization, supporting WomenTech (WEWiL.global) and the G100 Humanity, Technology & Innovation Wing, uplifting future-directed human-to-human communities focus on actively engaging with schools and universities. Our goal is to deliver inspirational messages to women of all ages, encouraging their participation in new programs related to Artificial Intelligence, Programming, Data Analytics, and various other fields within technology.
Additionally, we provide essential tools for maintaining a balance in self-care, motherhood, and work-life balance. Emphasizing the potential to work from anywhere in the world, we aim to empower women in the tech sector and create a more inclusive and balanced environment. In this manner we actively address the skills gap issue that has been created in the post-covid era.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women in tech that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts? What would you suggest addressing this?
One of the significant challenges women encounter in the tech field is the perception of an unfriendly educational environment, often characterized by a predominantly male culture that can be discouraging. Beyond this, they struggle with the societal label of choosing careers in a male-dominated space, requiring a revolutionary mindset to overcome the neuro-programming they had endured even from childhood against a career in the technology sector.
Another critical issue is the lack of support, both psychologically and practically, starting from their homes and extending to the broader community. Women often find themselves without the necessary support even from their female peers or women’s groups in pursuing a career on the ICT sector.
In addressing these challenges, we need to transition towards a future-proof ecosystem that promotes human-to-human leadership. By fostering an environment that supports women holistically, we can provide the psychological and practical assistance required for them to navigate and overcome these obstacles effectively.
It is essential to recognize that societal programming has historically discouraged women from pursuing careers in the tech industry and engineering, further emphasizing the need to break these patterns and create a more inclusive space. This is what we try to accomplish from the awareness campaigns we run via my active engagement to the forth mentioned Organizations.
The meaning of leadership can change from one era to the other, how would you define the meaning of leadership today?
Leadership goes beyond conventional notions. It’s about cultivating unity within teams, where individuals with a natural inclination to lead take charge, not only in terms of responsibilities but also in problem-solving and offering mentorship and inspiration. A crucial aspect is the provision of psychological support, especially to team members facing challenges.
Inspiration is at the core of effective leadership. We need tangible examples, particularly from women Role-Models, who, through their actions, can set benchmarks and become a driving force. It’s essential for aspiring leaders to acquire the right tools and strategies, fostering personal and team success.
Moreover, leadership today involves adaptability and continuous learning. Leaders need to evolve with the changing landscape, embracing new challenges and opportunities. It’s not just about achieving goals but also about creating an environment where individuals and teams can thrive and exceed their aspirations. Therefore, effective leadership is a dynamic process of empowerment, inspiration, and strategic guidance that propels both personal and collective success.
Is there a particular person you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are?
In my life’s journey, the only divine being I have ever felt gratitude and admiration for, that guides my steps until today, an integral part of my deep spirituality, is God Himself.
God has been the constant source of solace, guiding me through moments of weakness and struggles. This profound connection has not only provided emotional support but has also served as a compass, directing my path, and offering resilience in the face of challenges. Gratitude for this spiritual foundation is at the core of my journey, acknowledging the divine presence that has been my unwavering companion.
What is it that motivates and inspires you in your everyday life?
What truly inspires and motivates me every single day is the inner strength and impact individuals can have on one another as part of a shared mission. Positive changes in others’ lives can stem from various actions, such as offering praise, providing guidance, mentoring, coaching, or even engaging in a friendly conversation on the street. The realization that a simple exchange can empower someone to literally move mountains and reach personal milestones is a profound source of inspiration for me. It’s the collective power of human connection, shared experiences, and the potential for positive influence that drives me to continue progressing and striving for personal and collective growth.
What are you particularly proud of in your career?
I take immense pride in transforming my dreams into a tangible reality, a journey that I can proudly say has led me to living my dream at this very moment.
Discovering my true mission from an early age, while facing numerous challenges and triumphs, made the journey a constant rise and fall. Through the ups and downs, I’ve cultivated a resilient mindset that led me to the point of transcendence. I am particularly grateful for not only achieving my goals but also developing the strength to navigate challenges, remain focused on my mission affecting positively others.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In five years from now, I envision myself continuing to play an active role in an ecosystem that fosters positive change. As a dedicated member of this dynamic environment, and within my Leading Role as a Founder of the WEWiL Organization, WBAF Senator for Cyprus and Cyprus Country chair for the Humanity, Technology and Innovation Wing, I aim to contribute significantly to its growth and impact. I see myself leveraging my experience and passion to drive meaningful initiatives and cultivating more Resilient Female Leaders.
My journey towards personal and collective growth remains unwavering and I look forward with my peers to driving Global Positive Change.
What advice would you give to women who want to enter the tech industry?
I would advise them to pursue their dreams fearlessly and not hesitate to seek the guidance of a mentor or openly express the challenges and anxieties that trouble them.
Even for those who tend to be introverts, a more challenging category to ask for help, joining support groups or teams to find their destination is crucial. They will always find the solution on their own, but by actively participating in women’s technology support groups, they can enhance their journey.
As I like to say we are facing the second age of Enlightenment, and as Diderot, a luminary figure of the First age of Enlightenment said, “Dare to know”. I would extend his wisdom by adding to it “Know yourself better, explore your inner strength, and embrace the power of collaboration and support. In this transformative period, seeking help, whether individually or within women’s technology support groups, becomes not only an empowering choice but also a catalyst for personal and collective growth.