Priska Oroz is the co-founder of Athena Founders, a mission-driven community for female founders in business to connect, learn and grow their businesses.
She’s also the founder of the marketing agency Studio Mimpi and has a wealth of experience in marketing and branding. Priska has worked with some of the biggest luxury brands worldwide including Belvedere Vodka, Glenmorangie, Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Burberry, and Tiffany, and Co. helping them with their end to end marketing and brand management, which has led to 7 figures in brand revenue.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Priska Oroz: I’m Priska Oroz, and I’m the co-founder of Athena Founders. We’re a community for female founders to connect, learn and grow. Both my co-founder and I are new expats in Portugal, and the pandemic made it very difficult to connect with people in general. It was especially hard to find other female entrepreneurs to motivate, inspire and connect with.
So, we decided to create Athena Founders as a way to build the community we wished we had. Today, Athena Founders have grown our network to over 3000 founders in the span of 4 months, making us one of the fastest-growing entrepreneurial communities in Portugal.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Priska Oroz: Within the last two years, we’ve seen a big change in how people interact with businesses. Customers are now more discerning, and they have higher expectations when it comes to the overall experience. We’ve seen a big shift in how people purchase, how they search for products and services, and how they interact with businesses. And this is something that businesses need to take into account when planning their strategies for the coming year.
What we’ve learned is that businesses need to be more agile than ever before. They need to be able to adapt to changes quickly, and they need to be able to listen to their audience and understand what their needs are.
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Priska Oroz: If you’ve not yet considered digital transformation for your business, now is the time. In order for businesses to survive and thrive in this new landscape, they need to be able to adapt to the changes that are happening. This means having a strong online presence, being able to reach their customers, and understanding how to use digital tools to their advantage.
For businesses that are starting to focus on digital transformation, my advice would be to start with your customer in mind. What are their needs? How can you reach them where they are? And what tools do you need to put in place in order to provide a seamless experience for them? Answering these questions will help you create a solid foundation for your digital transformation journey, and it will ensure that you are able to reach your customers in the most effective way possible.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Priska Oroz: We launched the Athena Founders community towards the end of the pandemic, so we were lucky enough to have a solid understanding of the changes that were happening in the world and how we could adapt our business to them.
We quickly realized that people were spending more time online than ever before and that there was a big need for connection and community. So, many of our events and programs are now offered online, and we’ve also started to offer more virtual networking opportunities.
However, social distancing and isolation have taken a toll on people, and we noticed that people crave human interaction. So, in addition to our online offerings, we also host regular meetups and events, which have been very popular. People really want to be able to interact with like-minded entrepreneurs in a safe and supportive environment.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Priska Oroz: I think the biggest advice that I wish I had received was to focus on my mental health and wellbeing. The pandemic has been really tough on everyone, and it’s easy to get caught up in the negativity and the stress of it all. But it’s so important to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.
In 2022, I want to focus on making sure that I’m taking the time to exercise, eat healthily, and get enough sleep. I also want to make sure that I’m taking the time to connect with loved ones and to do things that make me happy.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Priska Oroz: I definitely don’t see any signs of online business slowing down in 2022. In fact, I think we’re going to see even more growth in this area. I think people have realised the benefits of doing things online, and they’re not going to want to go back to the way things were before. From virtual meetings and online shopping to remote work and Zoom consultations, I think we’re going to see even more businesses and individuals taking advantage of the convenience and efficiency of doing things online.
I do think, however, that this will result in more people appreciating social interaction. This is where I think the hybrid model comes in. I think we’re going to continue to see a rise in online businesses finding ways to provide offline experiences. Whether that’s through meetups, events, or other types of gatherings, I think people are going to crave human interaction even more. And businesses that are able to provide this will be successful.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Priska Oroz: I can spend 8 to 10 hours on my laptop alone and add a couple more hours to my phone. As a marketer, I need to keep scrolling to make sure I can keep up with the conversations happening online. However, I try to take breaks throughout the day, and I make sure to disconnect from work when I’m done. I also try to limit my screen time on weekends, and I make sure to spend time doing other things, like spending time with loved ones, being outdoors, or listening to a podcast.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Priska Oroz: Absolutely! Stories are a great way to communicate both internally and externally.
Communication can be rather tricky, as you need to be able to understand who you are speaking to. We’re a small company, so we can adjust our communication to each person. Some people receive data better than stories and vice versa.
What we do at Athena Founders is encourage positive reinforcement to our team as much as possible and encourage them to speak up when they have something to say. This way, everyone feels heard and respected.
When it comes to external communication, stories are definitely the way to go. We use them to connect with our members on a deeper level and to show them that we understand their needs and wants. Stories show your customer that you’re not just a faceless company but that you’re made up of real people who care about them and their experiences.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Priska Oroz: I think the real challenge right now is two-fold. First, businesses need to be able to adapt to the ever-changing landscape. The pandemic has forced us to change the way we do business, and I don’t think things are going to go back to the way they were before. We need to be able to be flexible and adjust our strategies as the landscape changes.
The second challenge is that businesses need to be able to stand out in a sea of online noise. With so many businesses competing for attention online, it can be difficult to break through the clutter and be seen. But, by creating thumb-stopping content and engaging campaigns, businesses can overcome this challenge and reach their target audiences.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Priska Oroz: I’m very interested to learn more about crypto and NFTs, and honestly, I need to do a better job on that. It seems like I’m really late to the party! With a wave of new categories in the business world and marketing itself, sometimes it’s challenging to keep up. I also want to have a deeper understanding of online marketing as it is not my area of expertise, and I feel that it will help me a lot in the long run with the direction the world is going.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Priska Oroz: There’s no doubt that the data reflects a real problem in the workplace. I think leaders need to be more aware of their employees’ needs and wants and make sure they’re doing everything they can to create a positive working environment. Additionally, I think companies need to focus on retention and making sure their employees are happy. They should also be collecting feedback regularly to see how they can improve.
At Athena Founders, we believe that business is all about people. It’s not just about making money – it’s about making a difference. So, we always put our people first. We invest in them, we nurture their talents, and we create an environment where they can thrive.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Priska Oroz: This one is a no-brainer for me – I would love to have the ability to be a super multitasker! With so many things to do and so little time, it would be amazing to be able to work on ten different things simultaneously. Of course, this superpower would come in handy in all areas of business, but I think it would be especially helpful when it comes to hiring. With so many things to consider and so many candidates to evaluate, it would be great to be able to do it all at once!
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Priska Oroz: Success to me in 2022 means that I am able to help other female entrepreneurs to achieve their goals and dreams through our community. For too long, women have been held back in business due to the lack of resources and connections. I want to create a space where women can lift each other up, share ideas and advice, and collaborate on projects. I also want to continue to grow my own business and reach new heights.
I also want to be able to spend more time doing the things that I love and less time on things that I have to do. I always say, if I can spend 90% of my time doing things that I love and 10% of my time doing things that I should be doing, then I will be successful.
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Priska Oroz for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Priska Oroz or her company, you can do it through her – Instagram
Disclaimer: The ValiantCEO Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.