POSTED ON January 31 2013

CAREER IS IN:

Introducing

Kristina D. Tsipouras

Occupation

President + CEO, ZOOS TEAS

Education

Stetson University - B.A., Communications, Minor in Women and Gender Studies

After a family summer spent in Greece, Kristina D. Tsipouras was inspired to bring one of her favorite Greek products -- herbal Greek mountain tea -- to the States. So she headed in a radically different direction from her current career and what started as a vacation turned into ZOOS Teas.

Set to release her first product this spring, Kristina is thrilled to introduce a new, healthy beverage to the American market. “ZOOS is an immunity booster and a common cold fighter,” she asserts. And while her Greek roots inspired her new business, they also give her an appreciation for the importance of balance -- a refreshing attitude we totally dig. “A healthy balance will only help me build a better company and a happier life.”

“I wake up every day excited to start the work day and I go to sleep feeling fulfilled and excited for the next day to come.”

How did you discover your current job?

I've always been fascinated by product development and have had a passion for the world of health and wellness. My event planning career was simply not fulfilling me anymore. I knew I had to find something more meaningful; something I loved doing every day. And after spending a summer with my family in Greece, I realized that it may be possible to develop one of my favorite Greek products in America: Herbal Greek Mountain Iced Tea. The health benefits are endless and it tastes great. I knew it was a hidden gem America would fall in love with!

What responsibilities do you have in your role?

Everything under the sun, from A to Z. As the founder of a new company, you wear every hat. From operations to design to social media and marketing, I do it all. I have a board of advisors and great mentors in the industry, but at the end of the day, it's my company and my reputation on the line. My first hires will be chosen very carefully and offered equity in the company. I've never enjoyed my 9-to-5 jobs and I want people to love working for ZOOS and enjoy coming to work every day. I want them to succeed and see the actual rewards and hard work in their paychecks each quarter.

What was it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

I wake up every day excited to start the work day and I go to sleep feeling fulfilled and excited for the next day to come. I don't mind staying in on a Friday night and working on ZOOS. I've never had this type of passion before. ZOOS is an immunity booster and a common cold fighter, so I'm excited to be able to share this healthy beverage with the world.

What challenges keep you awake at night?

Deadlines, securing enough investments, the 1,000 things on my to-do list. But I still tell myself: just one step at a time. I have to enjoy this process and what I'm creating. In the long run, I know it will be worth it.

Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

Actually, no -- thanks to my Mediterranean background. I appreciate and understand how necessary spending time with my friends and family is. For mental health and stress, clarity and happiness, a healthy balance will only help me build a better company and a happier life. And at the end of the day, don't we all want to be happy?

Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?

When a much larger brand reached out to me to potentially partner, even before we hit the shelves. I knew I had a gem in my hands and that this brand would be huge some day.

What are some of the rules you live by?

I come first and it's OK to be selfish!

A positive attitude, and a good nights sleep can fix almost every problem.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

A passion for our product and a self-motivated individual. The harder they work, the bigger the rewards will be. Someone who's creative and is also up for wearing any hat at anytime. Innovation and creativity is huge in a successful startup.

What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?

You're young! Chill out. You don't need everything figured out just yet. Enjoy your 20s. All of the transitional periods and new opportunities; jumping out of your comfort zone ... that's when you learn and grow the most. Appreciate those times!

What is the biggest mistake you've ever made?

Listening to too many opinions. When I initially wanted to quit my job to launch a beverage company (which I had no previous experience in), people thought I was crazy! Thankfully my family was supportive, but many friends offered negative advice that made me fearful. You have to believe in yourself and trust your gut. It's OK to ask for opinions, but at the end of the day, you create the destiny you want for yourself. I knew that I wanted to create my own heaven on earth and that would require going against the grain; taking a path less traveled. Many people feel uncomfortable when you go against society’s norms and standards. However, the most successful people that I've met in my life are also the most passionate and they simply believe that anything can happen!

I often refer to this Steve Jobs quote when I feel "alone" in my decisions:

“Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes ... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules ... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things ... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” –Steve Jobs