Nikolas Onoufriadis

Founder of Power2U Consulting

Nikolas Onoufriadis is a seasoned business leader and entrepreneur who has worked for over 15 years in positions around the globe. Nikolas is a conversational Spanish and German linguist, in addition to his fluency in native Greek and English. He is known for his guidance, sensitivity, and negotiating abilities as a leader and mentor. Nikolas has supported upcoming talent by acting as a judge and adviser for the MIT and BU Venture Accelerator programs.

Nikolas earned his bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in international relations from the University of Massachusetts. His second bachelor’s degree came from Harvard University, where he focused on psychology. Nikolas graduated from Suffolk University with a Master’s in political science and international relations. He earned a second Master’s in public administration with a concentration in strategic communications in public management from Suffolk University while simultaneously participating in the executive education program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Working as a management consultant and mental health counselor at the Institute for Mental Health in Athens, Greece, gave Nikolas Onoufriadis insight into his future endeavors. In those positions, Nikolas advised the Institute, addressed psycho-social issues on radio and television shows, and co-authored several books. That experience has remained significant for Nikolas because it exposed him to meaningful and challenging issues concerning interpersonal relationships, communication techniques, and social facets. Nikolas has long contended that these encounters and his work at Harvard catalyzed his subsequent life path.

As the Manager of International Business Development for INTRASOFT International, Nikolas created strategies, found fresh leads, and expanded INTRASOFT’s reach into dozens of countries through initiatives and clever alliances. The Group then gave Nikolas the task of launching INTRASOFT USA in Boston due to his enormous success, and he has since been in charge of its US activities.

Nikolas has professional expertise in various fields outside of business and politics. At the Institute for Mental Health in Athens, Greece, he held positions as a management consultant and mental health counselor. In this capacity, Nikolas Onoufriadis spoke on local radio and television programs on contemporary socio-psychological problems, advised the Institute on strengthening its position in the Greek market, and co-authored many books. In his spare time, Nikolas enjoys studying watchmaking, exploring Boston, and trying new culinary experiences.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

I should start by saying that I’m more of a “night-owl” vs. a “morning person”. I typically spend the first hour or so gathering my thoughts, prioritizing tasks on the agenda, prepping myself for the day. I get most of my international calls made early in the am to respect any time difference with clients and partners overseas. As the day progresses, I spend most of the time in meetings speaking with partners, clients, and our teams. At around 6pm things start to slow down; it gets quiet and that is when I feel the most at-peace and fully concentrated. That’s when I catch up with emails and put together strategies for the next days / weeks.

One thing that helps make my days productive is that I steer away from full meals during work hours. I usually get by with coffee and a light snack that keep me energized and focused. Then at the end of the day I enjoy a nice meal. That meal signifies the end of that workday so I can then relax my mind and concentrate on what really matters.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Putting the pieces together and coming up with creative ideas is the most rewarding part of my job, especially when offering solutions to complex problems. There is something exhilarating about helping people overcome an obstacle. The first step is to always draw from prior experiences. I put a preliminary plan together by jotting down my thoughts and then structure them. Once I have that initial plan drawn out, I collaborate with my team to analyze it and break it down into executable action items.

I’m also a very visual person and since most of my ideas are complex by nature, I always try to have a visual aid in the form of pencil and paper or a whiteboard to accompany my train of thought.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Something that I’ve found interesting lately is that people are looking for reasons to come together in more traditional ways. In recent conversations, I hear people becoming more aware of the importance of “life before technology”.

While I appreciate technology, need it, and use it religiously, it is refreshing to see more people seek human interaction and also recognize technology’s potential for harm, especially if not checked properly.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

I tend to actively listen and put logic first. I’ve always been a good listener and have tried to understand other people’s perspectives. I try to collect as much information as I can before expressing or forming an opinion, and always use logical and critical thinking. That said, I am a strong believer that any decisions deriving out of an emotional response always end up in mistakes.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Do your due diligence. Trust your instincts. Everyone has their own agenda.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

Do not change or lose yourself for anyone.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Keep taking chances. Try new things, get out of your comfort zone, make the hard decisions. Ever since I was a teenager, I have never stopped taking risks. Naturally, not everything turned out well and I always had to deal with the aftermath, but never stopped taking chances.

Be a nice person. Do not do things to purposely hurt others. Trust your instincts.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

If it’s during peak productivity hours, I tend to stop what I’m doing to either go for a short walk or listen to music. If it’s after hours, I try to put my phone aside and watch a movie or a show. It helps me get out of that vicious circle and refocus my thinking.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

Building honest, long-lasting relationships within the scope of networking. We all meet hundreds, if not thousands of people along the way. It is really important to identify and cultivate relationships that are honest, selfless, and built on strong foundations.

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

Failure in business is equally important as success, if not more. It allows you to learn from your mistakes, pick yourself up and charge forward. The biggest mistake I’ve made in my career was not doing proper due diligence on both people and projects. Most people rely on simple google results to make a decision. My advice when it comes to your business or career is to go beyond the surface by doing a deep dive, relying on accurate information, and collecting intel from various sources.

It is never easy to overcome a failure. You are overwhelmed by negative emotions and those can take over your life very easily. During that time, you must use logic to recondition your thought process, lean on people for love and support, and try to not lose yourself in the process. All in all, embrace the mistakes and learn from them.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I am not sure if there is something already out there, but I think an app that connects fellow travelers would be a great idea. For people like me that travel constantly, it would be great to be able to connect with others traveling as well. I understand something like this would have a lot of security implications, but at least it’s an idea.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Nothing too exciting, but the Adobe suite is really an amazing tool to run a business efficiently.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

Paying for my mentee’s ticket to fly to DC and attend an educational program for her school.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

I tend to use books and podcasts as outlets, so they’re typically around things that I consider hobbies or passions of mine. For example, I am an avid watch enthusiast so a lot of the books I read or podcasts I listen to are around watch collecting, watchmaking, the historical significance of brands, new technologies, etc. There’s something magical about the essence of time and studying it through these little machines.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

I’m a big movie/ series person. They relax me and help me offset my mind from the issues at work. More often than not, they give me a different perspective on matters at work or life in general. Two series that I have enjoyed a lot are “The Blacklist” and “Suits”. They both offered complex, analytical, and out of the box thinking that are critical in my life.

Key learnings:

  • Take risks. Fail and learn valuable lessons. There is no better school than life itself.
  • Always make time for things that help you recalibrate your thinking.
  • Build relationships and invest on those that are honest and mutually deserving.
  • Do your due diligence. Be aware of people’s mindsets and self-interests.