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Influential Woman - Lisa Panos

Influential Woman - Lisa Panos

I've known Lisa for well over 10 years; I worked for her counterpart as my first job out of college. In the beginning I would always admire her from a distance. She was always so put together, sharp and quick witted. I would tell myself - whenever I can do, what she does, I've made it. She's a single mom with twin boys! I mean...hello! As I started to get to know her, I would plop into her office and ask her all sorts of questions; basically, trying to figure out how I can set up my life to become a mom-boss-lady that she was (and is). Over the years, I moved away to grow into myself and my career. However, because I still had ties to Orlando I would see her when I would come back. I remember at a friend of ours wedding, we literally sat and talked the entire reception - she has such a unique and amazing outlook on life and I love hearing her point of view. She is such a welcoming, warm soul and I've grown to admire her and love her dearly.

...That is why; Lisa, is this weeks - Most Influential Woman

Name: Lisa Panos

Profession: Media Sales Manager

Quick Background: 54 years old, been in media for the past 30
years, B.S. in Marketing, University of West Florida. Divorced mother of
twin sons who turned 20, recently. One is an International Studios major
and musician at UF and the other is a Computer Science major at
Georgia Tech, currently working a paid internship at Apple, Inc. I love to
get lost in a good book, but I’m always sad when it ends; I feel like all my
new friends have gone home. On the water, in a rowing shell, with an
oar is my favorite place! Racing with same is what my gets my juices
pumping and keeps me motivated to work out. I’ve won several medals
and 4 golds with my team, over the last 2 years. I love my PJ’s; I’m
obsessed with Words With Friends; my sons are my favorite people to
hang out with.

1. Who has inspired you in life and why? My grandparents. My grandfather
taught me how to think like a man and my grandmother taught me how to act
like a lady.

2. What is one characteristic a person needs to succeed? Character and
coach-ability ( I know that’s two, but they’re both paramount).

3. What is always in your purse at all times? Lipstick.

4. What is your favorite phrase? I have two: “Haste makes waste” as a reminder
to be patient with myself and to slow myself down and a quote I try to always
keep at the forefront of my brain: “It is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be
thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

5. What motivates you the most? Appreciation, and it takes very little.

6. What was your biggest hurdle you had to overcome? Working mom guilt! My
kids have grown up voicing how proud they have always been to have a
successful working mom. That means everything!

7. Who do you want to be when you grow up? A crew coach who travels to
fabulous destinations all over the world and inspires people to row well. 

8. If you could meet one person either alive or deceased, who would it be? Martin Luther King. I’m saddened and perplexed that 50 years later after his “I’ve been to the Mountaintop” speech and, of course his subsequent heinous assassination, we have not come any further than we have with race relations. We are so divided. I wish I could ask him about his vision in this new day. And I wish he could lead us to a better understanding and tolerance of one another.

9. What is your favorite question to ask? When interviewing a candidate for a job, I like to ask “What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?” I’m looking for passion in what they do, be it professional or personal and a desire to get up and face the possibility a new day brings. 

10. Biggest piece of advice to new moms? Enjoy every stage and don’t wish for
the next “milestone”. It all goes by too quickly – someone once told me “the
days are long, but the years are short”. Amen.

11. Biggest piece of advice to a working mom? Stop with the guilt! You’ll be
surprised all the good habits and life lessons your kids are learning from you
by your getting up, suiting up and showing up, and then coming home to put
food on the table. You are Super woman without the chest shield!

12. What is something that most people don’t know about you? Very little; I’m an
open book.

13. What makes you laugh? I try to find laughter and humor in most things I do;
it’s important for me to keep things light. It disarms people and opens them
up to be themselves. Laughter will always follow.


14. Is it better to be perfect and late or good and on time? Very good and a few
minutes early. : )

15. What’s one accomplishment you are most proud of? Raising my sons to be
happy, well-rounded (semi-)adults who are thriving. Also, completing a Spartan.

16. What’s your favorite song? Anything Motown/R&B.

17. What are you passionate about? Young people thriving. Perhaps I’m lucky,
but I have had the good fortune to manage, mentor and know some very
quality, smart, coachable and loveable individuals under 30. Their curiosity
and energy are contagious and keep me feeling young! It delights me to
watch them succeed and forge their path in life.


18. What is your philosophy towards work? Don’t lose your passion for what you
do or with whom you do it. Stay relevant and in the game. BUT, at the end of
the day, go home and have dinner with your family and be present. The in-
box will be there tomorrow.

19. How do you define success? For me, it’s about balance. I am a hands-on, be at
every event mom; I have a career that is dynamic and lucrative; and I am a
competitive rower who works out almost daily. My kids are in college now
which make rowing at 5am doable. I want/need it all so I have to make it

20. What does family mean to you? Being around people you love who love you
back unconditionally. People you can hang out in your PJs with and be your
true, authentic self. This includes most of my blood relatives, and a few
fabulous friends.

21. If you were an animated character, who would you be? Wonder Woman, of course. Aren’t we all?

22. What worries you, and why? Everything! I’m completely neurotic! My trainer
told me to tell myself “change thought” or envision a stop sign to keep the
negative/worrisome thoughts away. One day at a time…

23. Would you rather be respected or liked? I don’t think they’re mutually
exclusive. I want to be both. I believe if you lead by example and are tough
when needed, you can be yourself and likable as well.


24. What is your favorite joke?Life - and I mean that with the utmost gratitude. The joke is on us - those of us (my hand is raised) who think we’re in control and have it all together. Life throws us curve balls. You have to stay grateful for what you have, keep the faith and a hearty sense of humor, take a deep breath and pivot. 

25. What was your favorite job? The one I have now : )

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