If Despina Zanganas had to define her life’s work in as few words as possible, these two would make the cut: Female Empowerment. Why? Because Despina is passionate about providing women with the opportunity to make life-changing connections, building communities, and empowering her fellow females to be financially independent through real estate.
In 2013, Despina read Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, and was inspired to co-found the Lean In Canada organization. During her time with the organization, it grew to 6,000 members, and it currently holds well over 8,500 members across Canada.
Despina is the Founder of Connect and Bloom, a coaching consultancy that helps women build confidence and create a personalized strategy with the goal of getting ahead in their career, gaining more business, or raising their profile through networking. She also hosts a networking podcast by the same name, where she interviews successful women from all walks of life — each with a unique story about how the right connection changed her personal and professional life for the better.
Despina is also the founder of Despina and Co. Realty. When Despina was 16, she bought her first fixer-upper in Toronto with her mother and sold it for profit. Years later, she did the exact same thing again, quickly realizing her passion for real estate. Through her own experiences, Despina knows the importance of owning real estate as a single woman. She often holds events for first-time female homebuyers to educate them on everything they need to know from statistics on female homeownership, how to finance buying your first home, to the ins and outs of cohabitation agreements.
Although she always had a passion for real estate and networking, Despina began her career in the digital design space. She was the creative director of multiple design agencies and won many distinguished awards such as the IABC Gold Quill Award of Excellence, Redgees and NSPRA. After several years in the industry, she started her own successful design company Chromatica Design, which would later become 108 Ideaspace, an award-winning digital marketing agency in Toronto. Despina has worked with many clients including British Airways, LCBO, Metrolinx, Toronto Hydro, Law Society of Upper Canada, Mellon Bank, and Nestle.
Despina has been featured on CBC Radio, CP24, The Globe and Mail, Global News, Toronto Star, Sun News Network, Livabl, Apartment Therapy, Flare Magazine, and more, discussing issues that are pertinent to women.