With a passionate and motivating mindset, accompanied by an instinct for brand strategy, Maria Lambros spent 20 years at the country’s largest fashion retailer, Edcon.
Over the course of her career, Lambros has worked in many roles across strategy, marketing, planning and buying fields. For the last seven years, she has filled the role of CEO at Prestige Cosmetics, a leading luxury Cosmetics Brand distributor in South Africa: a subsidiary of CAVI Brands.
Ahead of the 2018 Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss Awards, Elle sat down with her to find out more about her support for women in business.
The ELLE Boss Awards focuses on finding the best businesswoman that holds a set of criteria in her hands powerful enough to compete within the tough corporate and entrepreneurial spheres - often headed by successful businessmen. How do you think workspaces can evolve to include more equality across the gender lines?
In a nutshell, it must come from the top. As leaders we must lead from the top and create the environment for equality to thrive and live in; your actions must be purposeful and meaningful. Recruitment, engagement strategies as well as values need to reflect the intent that will result in a talented and diverse workforce. It is through such practices that we will evolve the workspace.
Can you reflect on your social conscience pertaining to women empowerment in South Africa?
I feel from an integrity perspective, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard in order to build credibility and to be taken seriously.
As women, we need to stand together to build consistency. It’s when we don’t stand together and use our gender inappropriately that it takes power away from us as women. I am fortunate to work in a very female dominated industry which by its nature empowers and takes women seriously.
What did you learn from a previous job or former employee that you will never forget?
A leader drives people which in turn drives business. An organisation is always about the people, you must have the right people in the right roles because their success is your success.
Can you recommend three activities, that you personally do, to get the creative juices flowing?
- It is important to make time to think, we live in a digital world where we are “always on”. Have digital detox time – turn your phone off and just allow your mind to be in the present. I book time in my diary to [do this].
- Exercise is key to a healthy creative mind, it creates the happy hormone – I am an avid runner.
- I love listening to leadership podcasts whilst running or driving to work.