Meet Eleni Mitakos – Galmatic founder, womens’ educator & Verve member
Eleni Mitakos is a Sydney business owner doing awesome things to empower and educate women and teenagers. Her topic of choice is cars: a passion and skill she shares with other women. In doing so, Eleni helps women to them to unlock the confidence to know what they’re dealing with when popping the bonnet. Here’s Eleni to tell more in her own words!
At 17, I bought my beloved first car: a 1958 FC Holden. Being a fairly simple engine, I quickly navigated my way around its inner workings. To me, learning about how my car actually worked was a no-brainer. But not everyone felt the same way. I was always surprised by just how many people were shocked to learn I knew even the basics about cars. The sheer number of comments made me realise I wanted to help other women feel more comfortable around their cars.
Empowering women through life skills
My business Galmatic began as a book: a 101 of basic car maintenance for women. Today, we’re a fully-fledged operation running hands-on workshops for women and schools, as well as online courses. To date, we’ve taught over one million teenagers with basic and essential car skills. All kinds of wonderful women attend our workshops on weekends but it’s often parents (whose kids are learning to drive), recently-divorced women, and those who are preparing to fork out big bucks for their first ‘expensive’ car. They all leave knowing how to check their car regularly, how to form a good relationship with a mechanic, and with the confidence of knowing basic road safety for themselves and their loved ones.
For many Australian women, a car is one of the first big purchases we save up for and spend on. But besides paying (often reluctantly) for a yearly service, it seems many of us don’t think about the general maintenance of our car. Is there any another product we’d willingly spend thousands of dollars on, to then not take care of? A lot of women I meet think about getting their car serviced, or going to a mechanic, with the same anxiety as going to the dentist. That’s often because they’re unclear on how much things should and will cost.
Knowing your numbers
Putting aside money for your car is my top tip! Just like any rainy-day fund, I recommend saving small, regular amounts to use to cover your annual service, insurance or unexpected repairs. This is one way to take the fear out of owning and maintaining a car. For myself and the women I teach, knowing they have some money saved specifically for car maintenance takes the stress out of getting it serviced.
Investing according to my values
My business has evolved naturally over the years and I try to think about society when planning for the future. Like most of us, I couldn’t have predicted the pandemic and the uncertainty it caused me as a business owner. I’m proud to have survived that period and, actually, it taught me a huge lesson in cashflow. I managed to live on much less than my usual income, which showed me what I’m capable of. In business terms, it also cemented the importance of diversification. I’m keen to explore more online offerings, and eventually, add electric car skills to our workshops – once they become more widely used and accessible.
I also used my pandemic-enforced, down time to organise my super – which is how I discovered Verve. I’d been with the same super fund for as long as I could remember, but knew I wanted to switch once I looked deeper into where my money was actually being invested. I wanted an option that aligned more with my values. I ended up searching ‘female only’ options as I thought surely there was a company doing something similar to my business, but for super. And so I found Verve!
My idea of wealth
To me, a wealthy life looks like making decisions that are right for my life rather than decisions that are based on money. Instead of buying what’s cheaper or making decisions based on how much money I have. It means being able to make good, clever decisions where money isn’t the deciding factor.
If I could invite any woman for coffee
Without a doubt, it would be Queen Elizabeth I. She ruled in a very male-dominated era. She survived being in the tower, her mother was assassinated, and for just being the daughter of Henry VIII. She ruled powerfully in an era when women weren’t supposed to rule. I just think if I could go back and bring her here, and see what she could do with those skills in this day and age would just be extraordinary.
Are you a Verve Super member? We’d love to hear your story. Send us an email and let’s chat: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A friendly reminder that all the financial information contained in this blog is general and doesn’t take into account your personal financial objectives, situation or needs. It’s important to do your own research and consider getting in touch with a professional adviser to access specific advice tailored to your unique situation. When considering if Verve Super is appropriate for you, please read the PDS and TMD available on our website.