Effective Leadership Interview Series: At Your Leisure, Vol. 2

Effective leaders encourage strategic thinking, innovation, and action. They also use those qualities to inspire their team members and the work they produce together.

This summer, we’re taking a leisurely approach (via an adapted version of the Proust Questionnaire) to gain some insights about the people who inspire us every day, namely, our very own CEO, Spyro Kourtis.

Spyro is a fun and approachable leader who will always make time to talk about anything, truly. Here, he reflects on innovative cuisine (hello, fermented fish intestines), ancient history, and current golf skills.

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Ideal happiness is all about balance. Balance. Balance between work and play; freedom and commitment; healthy and decadent food. Doing all the things you like less in life makes all the pleasurable things that much more enjoyable.    

2. What is your greatest fear?

Loss of balance. 

3. What is the trait you most value in yourself?

My curiosity about all things cool and interesting. It’s what drew me to direct marketing/CRM.

4. What is the trait you most value in others?

Patience. I wish I had just some of the patience of a monk.

5. Which living person do you most admire?

At this moment in time, President Joseph Biden. Talk about patience. 

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

Innovative cuisine that defies common sense. Example, who would have thought that fermented fish intestines (garum) could make pasta taste that much better.

7. What is your current state of mind?

I’m feeling very content. The one positive thing about lockdown and COVID is how it has helped me value and appreciate all that I have in life, especially my relationships. 

8. What’s the best part of working with so many women?

Working in advertising/marketing has provided me exposure to a lot of great female marketing leaders. Many of my early career influencers were women that taught me the essential elements of strong CRM creative and meticulous client management. 

9. When did you know, “this job is for me”?

When I found out that unlike all other advertising disciplines, at that time, you could measure return on investment. This was the big WOW for me!

10. What is your greatest passion & how has that influenced your career?

I am passionate about ancient history. History is a form of storytelling. Understanding the audience and great storytelling is the foundation of all celebrated advertising.     

11. Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to drive, chip, and putt like a golf professional. My current golf skills are very much lacking and could beat most NBA teams with my golf score. 

12. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

During my tenure as CEO of Hacker I have had the great privilege to meet, befriend, and provide livelihood to over 1,000 Hacker families.    

13. What is your most treasured possession?

My little league baseball mitt. Oh, the memories.  

14. What does it mean to you to own an independent agency?

I greatly value the freedom to navigate our own business course. 

15. Who is your real-life hero? How about your heroine?  

Martin Luther King Jr. and Melinda French Gates. 

16. What “life hack” can you share with other working dads out there?

Lead by example. 

17. What is your motto?

Damn the torpedoes!