Ginny Pulos: Communicator, Wingmaker

Ginny Pulos is a third generation Greek-American, born in Dayton, Ohio. After graduating from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, she came to New York, and for twenty years she earned her living performing in soap operas, commercials, industrial films, stage acting, and singing as a guest soloist at Avery Fisher Hall and with the symphony in the parks. As she flourished in the arts, however, she discovered she had gifts that would open a new door for her, and enabled her to do the same for others.

In 1989, she started Ginny Pulos Communications, Inc., a speech and media training consultancy that also proved to be a vehicle for providing other talented people with mentoring that made a difference in their lives.

TNH: New York is the communications capital of the world. What does Ginny Pulos Communications offer?

GP: As a specialist in presentation and persuasion skills, and in team building in corporate environments, I pioneer innovative programs designed to help others know and persuasively use who they really are in, and out, of the spotlight. Our work lies principally in four areas: presentation skills (preparing people to give speeches and presentations in all sorts of settings), media training (preparing people for interviews with the press, television or radio and in court), communicating leadership and authority (that’s executive presence, persuasion and command), and storytelling to drive business goals (using true stories structured to be brief, engage an emotion and end on a high note told in present tense). Readers can follow our blog: http://www.ginnypulos.com/blog.html

TNH: Tell us about how you help the people with whom you work.

GP: Bottom line, I help people shine in the spotlight. Since so much of communication is nonverbal and personal, this kind of work can be excruciating for participants. I try to make it fun while people practice being themselves in the spotlight. Over my more than 26 years in business and teaching at New York University, I have developed a process and curriculum. I also use my performance skills, theatrical training, intuition, and enormous curiosity, research and preparation for my work. For instance, if I design a seminar to solve a particular communication skill, I may use theatre games or other creative exercises I invent to help people practice a new behavior on their feet before a camera, in an environment where it’s safe, and where we can possibly still have some fun.

TNH: You are very passionate about mentoring:

GP: It is really what my job is in general. I call it being a Wing Maker. I get people to take a risks on being who they are, and once they know who they are, they fly. People become empowered. Many created something new and innovative in their profession. It’s fascinating to see.”

TNH: Has your life path been influenced by your Ancient and Modern Greek and Orthodox heritage?

GP: Most definitely! Good you ask me this after just returning from the Acropolis! I believe my Greek heritage gives me confidence in the long history of philosophy, freedom, academic excellence and hospitality that people from our culture exude. When I first started singing many people compared me to Maria Callas. This was a high compliment for me. And, many of us Greeks are entrepreneurs. We think for ourselves. We use our own energy, drive and creativity to achieve excellence. These have been driving themes in my own life.

TNH: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?

GP: The greatest lesson has been to think for myself whom to trust. I’ve learned not to make certain people a priority in my life if I’m only an option in theirs. I’ve learned to ask for what I want. I also try not to help others if they haven’t asked for my help and have saved myself countless hours and effort and which allow others the dignity to think for themselves. I’ve learned to ask for help if and when I need it. Finally, I’ve learned not to worry about what others think, but about what I think. (I know that’s six lessons, but they’ve all been really big for me.)

TNH: Do you have role models?

GP: Formally? No. But esthetically – Maya Angelou, for her wisdom, her strength, her creativity and overcoming; and Arianna Huffington for her wisdom, savvy, strength, and entrepreneurism.

TNH: What’s your ultimate goal in life?

GP: To live a full and rich life surrounded by the people I love. I mean I strive to live deeply, fully and to live, as Aristotle suggests, a fully examined life — one that’s worth living.

TNH: Share with us some words of wisdom.

GP: I believe that being who you truly are is not enough, it’s exceptionally powerful. People are so afraid of not being perfect. Yet, perfectionism is what drove me away from singing, ultimately. I was never good enough for me. What a waste of energy! I also believe that stopping to be grateful and to express gratitude daily is a habit that breeds success.