An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis

Make decisions that lead you toward your goals and who you want to be. Your day-to-day decisions will impact the rest of your life; make good decisions.

As a part of our series called “Making Something from Nothing,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Mary Kovach.

Dr. Mary Kovach is an associate professor with more than 15 years of undergraduate teaching experience. She earned her Ph.D. from Miami University, an MBA from Cleveland State University, and a Bachelor’s degree from Baldwin Wallace University. Additionally, Dr. Kovach earned a LEAN Six Sigma black belt (LSSBB) certification as well as multiple Agile certifications.

She spent 15 years at Fortune 500 companies managing multimillion-dollar global business units, earning a variety of management awards, and leading projects from inception to completion. Dr. Kovach is published in various scholarly journals and magazines and is also a blind peer reviewer to a variety of scholarly/academic journals. Furthermore, she was named to the International Editorial Board for The Journal of Values Based Leadership. Dr. Kovach has her own YouTube channel entitled Dr. K — The Management Professor, where her show “ROCKSTAR Manager” initially aired on the In the Limelight TV channel on Binge Networks.

Within the last few years, Dr. Kovach authored three books including #1 Best-Selling #MINDSET A Research-Based Approach to Understanding Motivation (Foreword by Sir Aaron Caruso, international award-winning tenor), ROCKSTAR Manager: From Theory to Practice (Foreword by Rocco DiSpirito, award-winning chef, author, and businessman), and with her cousins, Don’t Cut the Basil: Five Generations of Authentic Italian Recipes (Foreword by Ale Gambini, award-winning chef), which is a #1 international best-selling cookbook.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory?

Absolutely! For the first 15 years of my career, I worked for Fortune 500 companies. I had various departments underneath me from all over the world, so I managed day-to-day P&Ls valued at hundreds of millions of dollars as well as led major projects — such as moving call centers oversees or being required to optimize processes, ultimately shutting down large facilities. It was intense but a great experience. I started teaching as an adjunct professor and loved it. I was presented with an opportunity to transition into teaching full-time, completely changing career lanes and then earning my Ph.D. as well as tenure. I took advantage of the transition from face-to-face courses to online courses by building a YouTube channel, and instead of writing articles for scholarly journals, I started writing books. My most recent book entitled #MINDSET A Research-Based Approach to Understanding Motivation earned ten #1 placements during its launch week on Amazon! I also have two other books, ROCKSTAR Manager: From Theory to Practice, and the #1 international best-selling Don’t Cut the Basil: Five Generations of Authentic Italian Recipes.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Since this interview is about launching ideas into reality, I’ll share a quote from Walt Disney. He said “If you can dream it, you can do it.” I believe that. The only thing stopping you, is you. Graham Cooke said, “You can tell the quality of someone’s inner life by the amount of opposition it takes to discourage them.” If you want something that bad — go for it. The sky is the limit!!

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Yes! I joined Dame Clarissa Burt’s Mastermind group in 2020. This professional group of rock star women shared insight, resources, feedback, and provided continuous support. These women were at the top of their respective professions and willing ambassadors for this tight-knit network. Clarissa personally facilitated each Mastermind session, and they were always filled with laughter, intellect, and practical application.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?

You’re exactly right. There are a million ideas out there, but most people don’t transition that idea into something tangible. I see the biggest obstacle in overcoming this challenge as precisely that — those willing to roll up their sleeves and dedicate the time and effort to seeing their idea through to fruition, and those who don’t act on their ideas. Whatever your idea is, break it down into much smaller milestones. Create realistic time frames around achieving each of these milestones; then, block out time daily or weekly in your calendar to ensure you hit each milestone.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?

If I had to share five, they would be:

  1. My dad always told me, “Be a leader, not a follower.” It’s amazing how your perspective will change with that mindset.
  2. Make decisions that lead you toward your goals and who you want to be. Your day-to-day decisions will impact the rest of your life; make good decisions.
  3. Pay attention to your commitments, not only to ensure you fulfill them, but that you don’t overcommit. Those who produce great results are always asked to do more.
  4. Understand how to manage your own finances. Know your current revenue streams and continuously think of others in your future pipeline. Pay attention to your expenses and only pay for what you need, not what you want.
  5. Don’t self-select out. You were picked for a reason. There’s always a learning curve; if other people believe in you, you should believe in you, too!

Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

There are many ways to approach new product development from inception to execution. Here, I suggest you do some research to ensure there are no similar products on the market. Search for keywords specific to your product and industry to ensure you know what products are on the market and what you’re likely to experience. Then, find different groups on various social media platforms that can provide insight, familiarity, and provide some guidance whether there is a need in the marketplace for your product. I would also find a mentor in the field 1) who previously launched a product and can provide you with references (for details like applying for patents, creating and securing trademarks, etc.), 2) who is willing to be a sounding board and provide constructive feedback, and 3) who is someone you can genuinely trust.

There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?

Every person is different. For those with a solid capital backing and prefer professional advice that minimizes risk, hire a specialized consultant. From there, interview multiple consultants to learn which is the best fit for you — including your personality, communication style, expected outcomes, and fees. For those with minimal capital but big ideas who are comfortable with a little more risk, start researching on your own. This will allow you to make decisions that best fit the direction of your business and potentially build a network along the way. You can always hire someone down the road, but diving in can add more value to your experience.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I think everyone has something that makes them unique. Learn what lights a fire in you and build on it. Own it. Love it. We only get one life to live, and nobody knows how long we’ll be here. Find your passion and share it with the world!

One of the blessings I’ve had is a successful career. For the last 12 years, I’ve sponsored girls from Mexico and India. I spent many cumulative months staying at an orphanage in Mexico, and I want to show my girls that they are loved, they have support, and they can be whomever they want. I have one girl from India who visited the U.S. and we spent about a week together. All of them have so much passion for life, generous hearts, and are so intelligent, that I can’t wait to see their impact on the world! So to answer your question, I hope that through my success, I can have a larger ripple effect from my personal relationships with these girls who can transform the next generation of female leaders.

You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Thank you, that means a lot. I’m a professor and launched a YouTube channel a couple of years ago. When leaving a class or ending a video, I end with “Be your best you.” This means that you have something to contribute, and it’s your responsibility to share it with everyone. The decisions you make impact who you become. Think about who you want to be and make decisions to ensure that you become your best version of yourself. Nobody’s perfect, but you can make an effort every day to be your best you.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

It’s been my pleasure! Thank you for your time and questions!

Making Something From Nothing: Dr. Mary Kovach On How To Go From Idea To Launch was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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