“From zero to triumph! Athens born and bred, Charikleia Stouka was raised in a family with values, with her parents and grandparents instilling in her honesty, integrity, grit, moral principles, and a strong sense of family. From a young age, she was taught the importance of loyalty and responsibility, financial independence and being in control of her time, exercising the body and the mind, and broadening her horizons through travel. At the same time, she was also taught the value of empathy and the importance of being charitable, helping those in need, and taking action to protect animals and the environment. These lessons shaped her character, allowing her to become the strong, determined and compassionate person and leader that she is today. Recognising her responsibility to uphold these values and traditions for future generations, Charikleia has passed these lessons on to her own family and actively seeks ways to apply these principles for the greater good, always striving to learn and grow, remaining socially aware and attuned to the community’s humanitarian needs and aspirations, and engaging in volunteer work with various charitable organisations.
Charikleia graduated with a degree in structural civil engineering from the University of West Attica in Athens and started her professional journey seizing the opportunity to take a job at a local real estate office in 2000. Driven by her ambition to succeed in the field and using every opportunity to learn and grow, within a few months she was ready to venture out on her own. Charikleia launched ALMA Real Estate Hellas in 2001, quite literally running her fledgling business from a desk in the corner of her parents’ living room. It didn’t take long at all for her talent, wit and determination to shine and yield results. Two decades on, ALMA Real Estate Hellas has grown into a key dynamic presence in the Greek property market and has a very loyal and steadily growing clientele. As founder and owner, Charikleia favours a hands-on approach that prioritises outstanding personalised service and consistent quality results over growth for the sake of growth. And it has paid off.
Thanks to her personal commitment to lifelong learning and staying up-to-date in her field, today Charikleia is globally recognised as a leader in the Greek real estate market. One of just 20 certified Realtors® working in Athens, she holds a Broker Price Opinion Resource (BPOR) certification from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the United States, is a member of the Greek Association of BPOR-Certified Realtors (EPPA), and is registered with the Athens Court of First Instance. Most recently, during the pandemic lockdown, she completed with flying colours a National and Kapodistrian University of Athens distance learning course in guerrilla marketing. An expert on all things real estate in Greece, Charikleia boasts an extensive portfolio that includes Greek Golden Visa properties, dream homes and villas, fantastic plots for residential and commercial development in some of the country’s most sought after destinations, unfinished properties, and hotels for sale, as well as exceptional residential properties and professional spaces to let, investment properties, and businesses for sale.
Over the years, Charikleia has garnered a host of accolades and distinctions and has been featured in and contributed to numerous print and digital publications. Most recently, in 2022, Charikleia was chosen to sit on the judging panel of this year’s Global Business Excellence Awards. In 2021, she won “Most Influential Leader in Real Estate 2021 – Greece” at the Corporate Excellence Awards and was also interviewed for Corporate Vision magazine. In 2020, she was awarded three international Global Business Excellence Awards, in the categories of “Outstanding Public Relations”, “Outstanding Entrepreneur”, and “Outstanding Customer Service Initiative”, solidifying her place as one of the top real estate agents in Athens. In 2019, Charikleia was featured in a cover interview for Business Partners magazine’s 100th-anniversary issue and also appeared in the luxury edition Who Is Who Women Leaders collectors’ encyclopaedia of prominent Greek women in business.
Also in 2021, a bumper year for Charikleia in terms of recognition and acknowledgment, she was ranked amongst the “10 Most Innovative Business Leaders Revamping the Future 2021” by CIOLook magazine, which also included her in its list of “Most Admired Women Leaders in Business 2021”, running a four-page feature interview and extended the honour of publishing Charikleia’s contribution in the magazine’s Guest Article column. She was further named amongst the “10 Most Innovative Business Leaders Making a Difference in 2021” by Prime View magazine, which also named her “Most Influential Leader in Real Estate”, ran a cover interview with her, and included her in its “Outstanding Business Leaders Impacting Market Places” feature. Lastly in 2021, Charikleia was selected to be part of the international edition of the Who is Who of the World coffee table book, a quinquennial, limited edition, while ALMA Real Estate Hellas was included in Silicon Review’s “50 Fastest Growing Companies of the Year 2021”.
How did you get started in this business?
I had had some contact with the real estate industry over the years—I studied civil engineering at university and also helped manage some family properties when I was younger—and I had developed an interest in how it all worked… or sometimes didn’t. I gravitated naturally towards this work, so when I got the chance to work at a real estate office, I seized it. In the end, that wasn’t the best experience, but it was pivotal. Soon after I started working there, I realised that I wasn’t receiving the support that other new hires were offered; they kept piling on demands without providing the necessary knowledge and help, and within a short period, I was told to stop. The rejection, the injustice of it, caused something in me to rebel. What had happened was unfair, and, instinctively, I wanted to prove my worth. So instead of trying to fit in on someone else’s terms, I decided to start my own business.
What business books have inspired you?
The need for survival is the greatest inspiration. When it comes to motivation to work hard and succeed in business, nothing even comes close. But that said, I read a lot. I read voraciously, from casual novels to historical treatises and ancient philosophical texts. I even read the text on packaging or paper napkins. You never know where inspiration might come from, and you have to be open to finding it in the most unlikely places.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To start the business 10 years before the day I started it. To go for it, take the leap and give it my all. In other words, to do exactly what I did—but do it sooner.