If she were a color, it would simply have to be red. Multi-tasking, ambitious, extremely giving, always passionate about each new project she sets her eyes and hands on. And yet, always calm under pressure, extremely well read and impeccably polite. It’s rather not because of all the awards that Marina – Lida Coutarelli has collected throughout the last decade, but because of the very fact that she is unstoppable, creative (and almost stubborn), that she deserves to be considered the face of Communication and PR – when it comes to Southern Europe and Greece. 

Dr. Marina-Lida Coutarelli holds a Ph.D (D.Phil) from Oxford University in Crisis Management and a joint degree in Communication and Business from Brown University (Magna cum laude). She has worked as a Crisis Management, Strategy & Media Consultant for the past 10 years in Europe, the Balkans and Greece – ”Communication Lab” is the Crisis, Communication and Management company she founded back in 2007. And back in 2014 she was honored as one of the 40 most important women of the world in the field of Public Relations by the IPRA (International Association of Public Relations Professionals).

I met her about ten years ago, while I was still features editor of STATUS magazine. And back then her basket was immensely full – she was dedicated, almost obsessed one would say, wanted to transform the way we see the island of Spetses by creating opportunities for it to grow, already contemplating strategies and organizing what would later leave us speechless: the Spetses Mini Marathon, and the Spetsathlon

And I was lucky enough to follow her throughout these past years. Yes, she still never sees a crisis, but only opportunities, her taste is still impeccable, her humor remains unique. And she’s still far from being done, you can find her behind every successful campaign, every successful athletic organization or event, always striving to reach the next milestone. You can count on that.

Don’t get me wrong – she can’t do otherwise. It’s in her genes. This isn’t a woman gloriously defined by her work. It’s the opposite really. This is an unstoppable force that redefined the Art of Communications for generations to come. 

While still on the magnificent island of Spetses, after the Spetses Classic Yacht Regatta, organised by the Yacht Club of Greece, this past July, I finally had the opportunity to sit down and deeply enjoy a glass of Moët & Chandon – with her. 

PERSONAL

Your favorite color? 

Red.

Your favorite element?

Carbon – after all it does form diamonds and diamonds are a girls best friend.

Your favorite artist?

Pablo Picasso.

Name the woman you have looked up to, while growing up. Who inspired you to be the woman you have become, and why?

My grandmother – a super stylish grand dame who was always calm under pressure, extremely well read and impeccably polite.

Name the most stylish woman (dead or alive).

Coco Chanel.

Describe yourself using three words.

Multi-tasking, ambitious and giving.

What is the ultimate/ last true luxury for you?

Fresh flowers – every Monday I visit the farmers market and buy huge armfuls of seasonal flowers (as well as fruit and vegetables) – otherwise I feel our house is not a home.

What inspires / drives you to be the best version of yourself every single day?

My super talented husband.

Oscar Wilde once said “Regrets, just like mistakes, make a gentleman”. Same goes naturally for a gentlewoman, like yourself. What is the one thing you regret having / or not having done? What would you have done differently on your path?

I have no regrets – my motto is as long as you put your heart into it everything is possible.

ON SAILING

Is organizing SCYR a challenge?

The SCYR is organized by the Yacht Club of Greece – it is a great honor and privilege to be a part of such a momentous event which next year will celebrate its 10th year anniversary! I would say that the most challenging part is learning to speak the same language. People from diverse backgrounds and different starting points joined forces to create a magnificent sailing race – at the beginning we had to learn to function as one – and I believe we have now achieved this and we are an unstoppable force.

Describe sailing in three words.

Thrilling, Magnificent, Exciting.

What does the SCYR mean to you?

To quote the President of the organizing committee Mrs. Liza Stathatou – “It is history coming alive before your eyes”. 

If you were a sailing boat, what kind would it be? Can you describe it? 

I would be a handmade Spetses caique – authentic, stylish and reliable under almost any weather.

ON WORK

Name a project you took over and delivered that you, for whatever reason, will never ever forget. 

During the last year of my D.Phil at Oxford University I was hired by several of the sponsors of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games to coach and prepare their teams in how to handle a crisis. Fortunately, there was no need for anyone to put theory into action but I felt very happy to be part of this monumental occasion in our country’s history. 

Name the one moment in time that you felt truly proud of yourself. Why?

Spetses mini Marathon – the largest multi sport event in Greece won a gold award at the prestigious European Business Awards amongst over 3000 companies/institutions from 18 different European countries. I not felt tremendously proud of myself but also my team. For me teamwork is the cornerstone of almost every success. 

When it comes to communications and PR, what does it take to actually be brilliant and successful? And what did you have to sacrifice for it?

As a mentioned previously – teams and teamwork are an integral part of success. Also perseverance and hard work. I believe that hard work outdoes talent at any given moment. You have to fight hard and strong to achieve your dreams. I started working from a very young age and sometimes I feel I had too much responsibility on my shoulders and sacrificed a lot of fun when I was very young. 

ON M&C

What does Moët & Chandon stand for in three words – according to you?

Happiness, Victory and Achiement.

Let’s say you were to organize a private dinner party at the Moët & Chandon Μaison in Épernay.  Miles away from the sea, that you love so much, but feeling her salty molecules in the air. Serving, naturally, Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage. In this parallel universe, who would your 5 special guests (hypothetically, they can be dead or alive) βε?

John & Jackie Kennedy, Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein.

[All images of Marina – Lida Koutarelli shot by Kosmas Koumianos.]

With her husband, Georgios Carabellas, during this year’s Spetses Classic Yacht Regatta.
Yours truly, together with fellow journalist and Moët & Chandon ambassador Myrto Kazi, and the unstoppable Marina-Lida Coutarelli