Filitsa Kounias’ career has been less than linear but in a way found its way back around to where she started.
At the age of 23, Ms Kounias had set up shop on the island of Lesvos with her husband Antoni, selling art out of a gallery.
Soon after, they made their way back to Australia where Ms Kounias studied hard for her law degree that saw her take on roles such as prosecutor with the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions and as a defense lawyer before opening her own boutique firm.
“I hadn’t picked up a paint brush for 20 years, I hadn’t taken a photo for that long. For me, I felt like my brain needed some sort of spark because it had been so focused on logic. So I really wanted to ignite the other side of my brain and I wanted something where I woke up every morning inspired to want to do it,” she explained.
It was then that Ms Kounias launched herself back onto a familiar trajectory, but this time it would look a little different.
Ms Kounias founded the Athena Wisdom Business Masterminds, which focuses on bringing entrepreneurial women together to help launch, create and run their own businesses and creative ventures.
“I was going to a lot of networking things, especially for women, and finding that I just wasn’t making deep connections and I didn’t have a group of people that I could go to for support, accountability and to be challenged… so I decided to create my own,” Ms Kounias said.
She also co-founded Green Apple Marketing with friend Mitra Maggs, who were brought together by Ms Kounias’ Instagram page townsvillelovesyourbusiness which initially promoted local businesses.
These newer ventures were more than just business to Ms Kounias, they were a way to impact positive change in the community.
“I really believe with small changes we can have a ripple effect that can change a whole community. Making a change in one person can make a change in their family, it can make a change in the people they serve, and it’s that kind of ripple effect in the community that can change things for the better,” she said.
Taking the leap of faith into entrepreneurship after years of practice in law was not an easy choice, however Ms Kounias felt the time had come to break free of the parameters she had set herself over many years.
“I think I got to a point where what I was doing just wasn’t fulfilling my soul and it wasn’t giving me the life that I wanted and it was hard to stop. You have to stop and look at your life and contemplate really, is this the path that I want to take? And looking back it as a very brave decision to say ‘no’. But then to completely change what I wanted to do based on who I was, but I also had to remember who I was, and that takes a lot of work to do. It takes a lot to say ‘this is no longer serving me’.”
It is almost inevitable that during her career ‘sea change’ that Ms Kounias would also develop along with her businesses.
Getting to a point where she could actively collaborate and challenge others on her terms meant overcoming her own fears.
“In the beginning I was scared to fail. I was worried about what other people would think. Now I fail every other day but I learn from every single thing that doesn’t go right. The good thing about that is you can tell other people about it and empower them to feel safe to fail as well. These days I’m more resilient,” she said.
Now she hopes she can share her experiences and wisdom with others, fostering a legacy that will give people the permission to be creative and feel inspiration in everything they do.