Mikaella Melanidou and Katerina Patsalidou
Co-founders, Visual Space

‘Our primary aim is to reach out to more artists and art lovers. We are planning to organise several amazing events, both online and offline, and are looking forward to future collaborations, and great opportunities’

Visual Space is an online art platform that aims to promote high-calibre emerging and early-career artists through engaging exhibitions and an e-commerce store.

Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top?
“It is proven through various studies that gender diversity within the workplace increases efficiency and performance. Having more women leaders in a company can help carve a path for new generations of young aspiring women to set their goals in whatever profession they would like to be in, without second-guessing their abilities, and without thinking that they cannot reach the top of the pyramid.
Diversity is essential in any workplace (gender, ethnicity, sexuality etc.), as involving people with different backgrounds and experiences can allow for the presence and interactions of new and valuable perspectives. Moreover, companies need to have a deeper understanding of the landscape to uphold their commitments to innovation and ethical practices.”

What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
“Confidence is key. Take ownership of your skills and abilities and push the boundaries for growing your business. If you do not have confidence in yourself and/or your business, then who will? Throughout your journey you will have a lot of feedback, some positive and some negative. Learn to handle constructive criticism, and whenever you think some feedback could work, test it. Feedback is very important, and it can help you improve every step of the way.”

Do or did you have a woman leader as mentor or are there specific women who inspired you and why?
“We were very fortunate to have several women as mentors and who, at some point, have helped us with our company, Visual Space. Even when Visual Space was just a very rough idea, they guided and helped turn it into a business. Some of these women were from the IDEA Innovation Centre, a non-profit organisation, aiming to support the development of innovative start-ups. We owe a huge thank you to Mrs Angela Panayiotou, Maria Kouloumbri and Maria Evgeniou for all their willingness and persistence to support start-ups such as ourselves.”

How should women support other women in their organisations?
“A way in which women can support each other is through networking. This gives the chance for them to connect with other women in the workplace where new professional opportunities may arise. Networking is extremely important for any business and to meet new people who are working in the same industry is very helpful. Another strategy to support other women in their organisations is to mentor them. It is morally rewarding to share your personal experiences of how you were able to work your way up and give advice to other women on how to follow their own career paths.”