This month’s EO Member spotlight is on Gyi Tsakalakis, President of Ethos, Pathos, Logos, LLC (EPL Digital). ELP Digital is a digital marketing agency that has been converting organic search traffic into meaningful business metrics since 2007. An alumnus of the University of Michigan where he studied Computer Science and Philosophy, Gyi also earned a degree in law from Wayne State University Law School. He began work as a trial lawyer before ultimately transitioning to a career in digital marketing as an entrepreneur. Gyi talks to us about his transition, his commitment to helping companies succeed and his relationship with EO Chicago.
EO Member: Gyi Tsakalakis
Years in business: 12 years
How long have you been a member of EO Chicago and why did you join the organization?
I have been a member for 11 months. I joined to meet, learn and share. In my short time with EO Chicago, there is no question that I have experienced tangible personal and professional growth.
How would you describe your entrepreneurial journey? Where did you start and where do you hope to go in the future?
My entrepreneurial journey began in 2008 when I said goodbye to my life as a trial lawyer. My business partner and I knew each other from undergrad and worked together to develop a business plan. In September of 2008, we finally decided to make the jump. I left the law firm and never looked back.
I am grateful to have two fantastic partners, as well as highly talented teams to work with. I hope to continue to grow both personally and as a leader of my businesses. I’m also interested in diversifying our interests.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Solving problems for our clients is my favorite thing to do.
What daily challenges do you face at work?
Saying “no” is the most common challenge I face. I’m hardwired to say “yes” and explore opportunities, but the issue there is that there’s only so much that one person can do. When we started out, we were a business of two people, so I was used to doing a lot of different things. But as we grew, I had to start delegating tasks to other people and recognize what was and wasn’t part of my role at the company. Learning and delegating was part of that process, but it helps with efficiency and keeps me laser-focused on one thing at a time.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
Never stop learning. I remember my mom telling me that as a kid, and she was very insistent on nurturing me in my pursuit to learn and try new things. In the context of entrepreneurship, curiosity is an advantage for us. It gives us an edge to our craft to always learn about what’s new or changing in our fields, so I make it a priority in my life.
What are your goals for the future of your business?
Simple. Healthy growth and a happy team.
Who or what inspires you?
Marcus Aurelius has always been a big inspiration in my life. He was a Roman emperor and one of the leading voices on stoicism. I incorporate his lessons into my everyday life.
If you could go back in time five years and share advice with your past self, what advice would you share?
Financial health is a non-negotiable for me. One of the challenges of a small business is that as you’re growing, it’s hard to know what things to compromise on and what not to. You can’t be in business very long if you’re making sacrifices all the time or else you won’t have a business anymore.
What brought you to Chicago?
My business partner. He and his wife wanted to try something new, and I went along for the ride. I was a local to the Detroit area for so long, but their move seemed like a good opportunity, so I went for it.
How do you find work-life balance?
I set mandatory no screens after 8:00 p.m. rule for myself and I really try to stick with it. It’s a way for me to push back against interruptions and carve out time for intentional things, like spending time with my family.
What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
Michigan football. Coffee. Whiskey. Reading.
We’re delighted to highlight Gyi Tsakalakis in this month’s Chicago membership spotlight. The Entrepreneurs’ Organization is a global business network of more than 14,000 entrepreneurs in 195 chapters and 62 countries. EO is the catalyst that enables entrepreneurs to learn and grow from each other, leading to greater business success and an enriched personal life.
Are you interested in becoming an EO Chicago member? Take a look at our membership requirements and join us for an event!