"The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another, we should raise each other up, make sure you're very courageous, be strong, be extremely kind, and above all, be humble." - Serena Williams
With its roots in Ancient Greece, celebrating the goddess Rhea who is said to be the mother of the Olympian goddesses and gods, on Mother’s Day we honour not only our own mothers but also the women in our lives who have helped others to become the strong and beautiful women that they are today.
Heading up Burwood’s award winning agency Zoom Real Estate, Ana Mavridis is the perfect epitome of such - a strong Greek business woman supporting women.
For the past 15 years, ZOOM Real Estate Burwood has operated under licensee in charge Spiro Mavridis.
Over the last five years Spiro’s wife, Ana, who has a background in the corporate sector and spent 11 years working for a life insurance provider, has increasingly taken more of a leading role in day-to-day operations.
Zoom Real Estate in Burwood was established in 1983 and has long remained at the forefront of the market in Sydney’s inner west.
Just this week the boutique independent agency unveiled its new-look headquarters, architecturally designed to bring the premises up to the “here and now” - the young, hard and fast, modern agency that it is today.
Attended by Burwood Mayor, John Faker, who performed the official ribbon cutting, the event was deemed a huge success in unveiling the renovated office that will house the team which collectively boasts over 100 years of real estate experience between them.
“We wanted it to feel warm and welcoming and inviting, so it feels like a nicely designed home, but within a professional office environment,” says Ana.
A hard-working woman and mother to 5 month old Adelina, wife to Spiro, mentor to her team and beloved granddaughter, Ana is the perfect example of how one multidimensional woman can do it all.
After finding that the biggest challenge that she faced when first stepping into the real-estate was just how male-dominated it was, Ana has become especially dedicated to championing female leadership in the industry.
“People kind of instantly associated real estate with ‘an agent must be a male’, ‘men show strength’ and ‘men can negotiate better than women’" recounts Ana. “The feminist in me was like, ‘well no’. Women can do just the same but they can also provide that element of empathy that many men might miss.”
As Ana’s words spill out rapidly, revealing her enthusiasm and passion about the topic, it’s easy to understand how she may have earned the nickname “papatrehas” as her Pappou would so very affectionately called her.
You can always tell who the strong women are, they are the ones building one another up.
Of her Greek heritage Anna explains that her grandparents were all immigrants and came to Australia in the Golden Era.
Her paternal grandparents were from a tiny village named Skra in Kilkis, Makedonia, on the border of Greece, and her maternal Grandparents from Achaia (Pappou) and Tripoli (Yiayia), Peloponnese, Greece.
“I first visited my grandfather's village, Vidova (now known as Kalamaki) in 2011, on a Greek summer holiday with my husband - our first Greek summer together and such a special moment to share together,” remembers Ana.
“My grandfather's village is a beautiful, sleepy coastal village (and a stark contrast to my other grandparent’s village - mountainous and pine trees as far as the eye can see), with whitewash and stone houses, and beautiful, vibrant bougainvillea.”
After her parents divorced when she was just 2 years of age, Ana grew up living with her maternal grandparents and spent weekends with her father and his parents.
"My maternal grandfather was my protector, my strength, my confidante, my greatest supporter. We shared a special bond and an indescribable love,” says Ana of the man who would always say "Χωρίς Άννα δεν Ζώ" (without Ana I cannot live).
"I wouldn't be the person I am today if not for my grandparents - especially my Pappou. I owe my honesty, strength, courage, persistence, stubbornness, desire to succeed, pride and compassion to him.”
Kind, generous, intelligent, and with a powerful business acumen, Ana describes her Pappou Nick as ‘my rock and my constant’ and her greatest source of inspiration.
She explains the enormous influence that he has had over her life for the last 35 years and how this has helped her to become the strong Greek woman and inspiring mentor to her team that she is today.
Pappou’s Life Lesson Number 1: With hard work you can achieve anything.
After arriving in Australia with next to nothing, Ana’s maternal grandparents ran takeaway food shops. Their first of what became numerous shops was in Villawood, above which they lived, and their last in Hurstville (Forest Road Takeaway).
Working long and hard hours they focused on serving quality food with fresh ingredients.
“I developed my great love of food and cooking through both my grandparents. My favourite thing to eat at the shop was Pappou's hand cut chips - thickly cut and always perfectly salted - I can almost taste them now!” says Ana.
In between running the takeaway shops, Ana’s grandparents also ran a clothing manufacturing business.
“My Yiayia was a seamstress for many years,” says Ana whose Pappou worked hard to secure clients such as Dolina and drove all around Sydney to deliver the clothing.
“My grandmother was always immaculately dressed and obviously focused on well-fitting clothing. I developed a love of fashion through her.”
Pappou’s Life Lesson Number 2: Career or Family? Why decide? A woman can do both.
Both a businesswoman and now a mother working in a male-dominated industry, Ana’s Pappou instilled upon her from a very young age that she could be anything – and everything – that she wanted.
Yes, she could have her own business, her own independence and could also be a mother - finding a balance and a way to juggle it all.
"It is not without its challenges but I believe that women can do almost anything men can do,” asserts Ana.
Ana says she tries every day to instil this same belief in the "incredible females" working in her team, whom she refers to warmly as "my girls".
"I try to lead by example and want them to know that you can have a career and family without having to compromise one for the other,” she says, explaining that her Pappou dedicated a lot of time to empowering her, sharing his values, morals and ethics.
Empowered women, empower women.
“I am typically a very process-driven, strategic, focused, attention-to-detail, transparent and organised person - particularly in my work - but on the other hand, I am also very free-spirited, an immense lover of travel, cooking, design, architecture and fashion, “ says the stylish and self-confessed travel addict whose creative side is beautifully showcased on her instagram page @ana.ismyname.
“I love health - both physical and mental - and fitness and I work hard to promote and live a healthy and balanced lifestyle,” says Ana.
“My team would tell you that I am a big advocate of mental health and always encourage them to take a break when they feel overwhelmed.
“Work will always be there but we can't ensure that our minds will be.”
Pappou’s Life Lesson Number 3: You are not successful unless you share.
As well as teaching Ana to be strong and hard-working, her Pappou always taught her that you are not successful unless you always share.
“Pappou taught me that no matter what level of success I achieve, to always be a giving person and help those who are less fortunate,” says Ana.
“He grew up living in poverty. War-torn Greece was hard on him during his childhood, and for that reason, he always made sure his fridge and pantry were full and that we always had ample food on the table. We loved sharing meals together.
“During my childhood and teen years, we would often donate clothing and food to the Greek Orthodox Church at Newtown. To this day, I continue to donate clothing and food to charities. I believe that no man, woman, child or pet must ever go without a meal - particularly in this day and age, and in the lucky country in which we live.”
As such, Ana and Spiro use their business, Zoom Real Estate in Burwood, and their stronghold in the area to run an annual Christmas Charity Food Drive.
Every year, Zoom receives donations from clients, tenants, family, friends and the local community, enabling them to donate a tonne of food to Foodbank NSW.
“There truly is nothing more rewarding than giving - my grandfather was so proud of me and this initiative,” says Ana.
Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean.
“My Pappou was my greatest role model,” reaffirms Ana.
“He instilled his love of the Motherland and the Greek language in me. I speak, read and write fluent Greek - so much so that they pass me for a local when I am there!"
Prior to COVID Ana and her husband Spiro would travel to their beloved motherland twice a year.
“We are Greek citizens and (in true real estate agent style) plan to invest in property over there, so we can always have a base, and a place for our daughter, Adelina, to enjoy and fall in love with our beloved Greece the same way we have,” says Ana.
“We are die-hard Athens lovers and want everyone to see what we see - a vibrant city, the birthplace of Western Civilisation. A historic city rich in culture, arts, great food, politics, interesting people, mountains, beaches, vibrant night-life, museums, neoclassical architecture... what's not to love?!”
We rise by lifting others
Very sadly, Ana’s Pappou Nick recently passed.
Her daughter Adelina had just turned 9 weeks old.
“It breaks my heart that he never got to meet her, he would have loved her,” she says.
A proud man and an even prouder Greek - so much so, that Anna's Pappou passed on the 25th March this year - the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence Day.
“Only heroes die on this day. He truly was my hero,” says Ana.
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