Marina Lida Coutarelli – Founder of Spetses Mini Marathon and Spetsathlon
Every success story is unique. Marina Lyda Coutarelli, wife, mother, entrepreneur, is undeniably a strong, dependable, confident woman, completely in touch with her mind and body, who has managed to find ways to skyrocket her success. Passion, hard work and dedication in everything she does, propel her to reach new levels of excellence. Marina is the founder of the Spetses Mini Marathon, this year celebrating its tenth anniversary, and of Spetsathlon, two major sports events that give prominence to sports tourism in Greece. She also runs Communication Lab, a company that has won more than 35 awards.
In the ten years of Spetses Mini Marathon, what is the most touching moment you have ever experienced?
It’s really hard to point out just a single moment. Every event is full of emotions and I have kept a special place in my heart for every single one of them. If had to pick, I would definitely mention all those moments when renowned athletes and Olympians competed next to amateurs, such a unique opportunity, almost impossible to experience unless you participate in Spetses Mini Marathon. Also, I will never forget the first moment that Nikos Papaggelis competed, just six months after his amputation. And finally, the last year that the event took place, in 2019, when we broke the participation record with over 18,000 people from 42 countries.
“Lockdown” – Covid19 pandemic crisis. What changes do you foresee?
I think we are not yet in position to have a clear picture of the real effects of the pandemic. What I realized is, that even through difficult situations we can draw on the positives and keep them as useful tools for the future. For instance, a lot of people turned to sports. Some of them first started their sports activity during the lockdown and others aligned their training routine with the circumstances. For me personally, sports activities helped me get through the lockdown period. In addition, my company was one of the “lucky ones” of this difficult era, since we acted with flexibility, managing to increase our turnover and propose innovative ideas to our sports related clients, even though we are small company.
You are one of the first to participate as a judge in GIWA, and you continue to support these great awards. What is your experience?
I am very proud to have participated in the GIWA Awards. Τhe founder, Sofia Konstantopoulou deserves all the credits for her vision to promote women in various fields. I was honored with the position of judge in the “Sports” category twice and it was a very special experience, during which very important women in the field emerged.
How do you manage self doubt?
Personal success is not something that effects every woman the same way. I find that the majority of successful women are confident, with an innate ability to multitask and a willingness to work so hard that there is almost no time to question themselves. But even if it happens, you should keep in mind that if you don’t take risks, if you don’t make choices that will take you a little off the beaten track, it is very hard to reach even higher. So I would advise women who face self doubt, to manage it as “part of the process”.
What’s a leadership lesson that you’ve learnt that’s unique to being a female leader?
It may sound cliché, but what I have learned in my career years is that nothing will be given to you if you don’t fight hard for it. You have to be persistent and disciplined. Find a way to manage success and not put it down when you struggle. Also, it is important to be surrounded by people who love and support you. I personally feel blessed because I have a great family, who is very supportive and makes me feel safe and calm.
Could you name a woman who’s inspired you the most?
A woman I admire and appreciate is Michelle Obama. I believe that with her actions she left an indelible mark as the first lady of the USA and managed not to be overshadowed by her institutional role. She is really an inspiration to all women who aspire to chart their own course.
What’s the best work-related advice you’ve ever received?
The best work related advice I have ever received has actually become my motto, «Do it and let it go wrong». It is very important to be what we call “doer”. Being active, flexible and determined, is a formula that hardly fails. Even if «wrong happens», you learn valuable lessons that make you progress. Sometimes there is no time for over-analysis, while as I mentioned before, taking risks and getting out of your “comfort zone” is what helps you flourish.
Make-Up: Konstantina Michopanou / Dress: MI-RO Designers / Watch: Garmin Fenix 6s
Many thanks to Yacht Club of Greece for the use of their premises for the photo shoot.