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On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, we are blessed to hear a compelling insight into the incredible life of Liza Pavlakos, from being physically and sexually abused, raped, homeless, kidnapped, tortured and human trafficked, to leading highly successful businesses and becoming an acclaimed international speaker, with limited high school education and no business training. We discuss overcoming and coping with adversity, starting a business with no education or business education, selling the service before the product, treating everyone as human beings, being proud to talk about your adversities, first knowing your ‘why’ before you know your ‘how’, and how she leads an active CEO lifestyle. This is one episode of the active CEO Podcast that you do not want to miss.
Liza Pavlakos is a beautiful lady who has emerged from the depths of misery, frustration of powerlessness, humiliation of sexual and physical abuse, heartache of abduction, loneliness as a homeless teenager, hopelessness of being human trafficked and hardships of poverty, to rise up and lead a highly successful life as a businesswomen and international motivational speaker.
Her grit and determination to turn around her life, overcome adversity, understand life is worth living, be exceptional and become a successful entrepreneur, has led her to inspiring and motivating many people around the world.
She broke through barriers and bounded over obstacles, as a young self-taught entrepreneur and philanthropist, to transform Minibar Piccolo into a popular Melbourne café, successfully grow Finest Alterations from a struggling business to a thriving profitable five-outlet franchise, and at the age of 23, plan and stage the Miss India International Pageant generating $100,000 in ticket sales.
This remarkable woman inspires hope, empowers audiences, energises people and transforms lives with her moving story, beautiful soul, lasting imprint and infectious optimism. She shares her story and message around the globe through the Liza Pavlakos Foundation, www.lizapavlakos.com and with global companies such as CNN, Ritz Carlton, PWC, Qatar Airways, Colonial and ANZ.
Liza talks about:
- Being exceptional about the way we think about the situations that be fall us and being the best version of yourself that you can be.
- How we choose to handle adversities, is what defines us.
- Being physically and sexually abused from the age of six by her uncle and cousin, who she really loved and trusted.
- Feeling unheard at the age of 15 she developed depression, which led to an addiction to suicide and running away from home at the age of 17.
- From a very sheltered Malaysian Islamic background, to being homeless and alone on the streets of Melbourne in Australia.
- Being kidnapped by a stranger while walking home from school, to a destination she did not recognize and tortured for 8 hours till she was a knife edge away from death as she was given her last rights.
- Feeling the heartbeat of her first child made her feel that she was loved, that she had a sense of purpose and to be the best version of myself.
- Coming up with her first business idea that resulted in a $100,000 profit, Miss India International beauty pageant, with zero start up and a baby in her hand.
- Empowering women and girls that have been abused themselves, but who weren’t able to articulate it or come out in the open.
- Feeling the calmness come over you when tragedy is about to strike you
- An Uber ride in the Middle East with her cameraman and assistant that led to being held at a prison and the uncovering of a human trafficking ring of over 350 people who had been gagged, murdered and burnt as military intelligence saved their lives.
- Suffering and coping with Post-traumatic stress syndrome, and now having the courage to make change and talk about it. .
- Having to ask customers how to make a Latte during her first days at Minibar Piccolo.
- The product should always be good, but it is always selling the service first before the product.
- Treating everyone as human beings as everyone has a story.
- Treating everyone who works with her as family members and they all will have a vested interest in the business.
- Staying calm, relaxed and focused on the person or people who need you to be strong, during moments of vulnerability.
- Seeing people from the eyes of love, forgiveness, empathy and understanding that it makes the world of difference.
- Know your “why” and then you will know your “how”.
- The purpose of the Liza Pavlakos Foundation.
- Teaching her children that they don’t need to shy away from anything and they don’t have to worry how people perceive them.
- Waking up in the morning, preparing food for dinner, going to the gym, doing something for her, listening to music and reading books.
- When travelling she always ensures that she has arranged a trainer ahead of time.
- Her soon to be released book – Voiceless No More
Active CEO Wellness Tip
Ben and Craig discuss the importance of getting active in the workplace. Extended periods of time spent sitting can result in chronic back pain, cardiovascular disease, muscle deterioration, decreased productivity and even poor mental health. It supports a sedentary lifestyle that could also lead to weight gain, poor cardiovascular health, weakened muscles, stiff joints, and even diabetes.
“The adversities are the very thing that makes them beautiful, that make them unique, that make them resilient, that make them strong.” Overcoming adversity with Liza Pavlakos on the active CEO Podcast.
“I am proof that a person can prevail against seemingly insurmountable circumstances if they have perseverance and the right mindset.” Liza Pavlakos on being consistent in the pursuit of her dream, on the active CEO Podcast.
Resources Mentioned in this show:
Liza Pavlakos LinkedIn
Liza Pavlakos www.lizapavlakos.com
Liza Pavlakos Facebook
Liza Pavlakos Instagram
Finest Alterations link
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole Performance Coaching www.bengathercole.com.au
Better Than Winning – Ben’s best selling book
Previous active CEO Podcast Episodes:
#15 – Michael Sewards (SkyBus) – All Aboard the SkyBus Link
#14 – Jamin Heppell & Jen Ziegner (Mountains & Marathons) – Leading From the Mountain Tops Link
#13 – Chris Dean (Choice Energy) – Disrupting the Energy Spectrum link
#12 – Kate Palmer (Sport Australia) – Changing the Game link
#11 – Tim Cosulich (Fratelli Cosulich Group) – Navigating the Global Family Business link
#10 – Dr Ndidi Nnoli-Edozien (Rising Tide Africa) – Magic Happens Outside the Comfort Zone link
#9 – Mike DeNoma (KBZ Bank) Part #2 – Creating an Earthquake link
#8 – Mike DeNoma (KBZ Bank) Part #1 – Your Strengths are What Energise You link
#7 – Trina Gordon (Boyden World Corporation) – Recruiting World Leaders link
#6 – Indiran Padayachee (RentCorp) – Winning Only Matters link
#5 – Suzie Hoitink (Clear Complexions) – Enemy of a Great Life is a Good One link
#4 – Rene Zondag (PBI) – People Are Our Greatest Asset link
#3 – Anne Gripper (NSW Office of Sport) – 6 C’s of Leadership link
#2 – active CEO Intro (NRG2Perform) Part 2 link
#1 – active CEO Intro (NRG2Perform) Part 1 link