You may or may not have heard of the Sisters of the Leaf Global Movement (SOTLGM), and we have featured them on Cigar World before, but we wanted to bring some light to the amazing things this project is working on, and amplify the founder, Dr. Anastacia Psomiadi. Read all about the newest SOTLGM initiatives and get to know Anastasia a bit more. 

 

Jean: I’m so excited to chat with you today about Sisters of the Leaf Global Movement! Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule. Why don’t you start off by telling us a bit more about who you are and what SOTL Global Movement is.

Anastasia: Thank you, Jean, for having me. It’s great to be connected for our common mission!

I was born in Greece, and I grew up in a family full of love, honesty, and integrity. As I matured, I realized that the world had not met my expectations. I didn’t approve of it! So, I started to create initiatives to build a better world to live in from my school years. 

As a Social Innovator & Entrepreneur and having a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and Master of Arts in Theology, I always been dedicated through my initiatives to issues of social identity & social stereotypes, sustainability & ESG, local communities, stakeholders’ engagement, women's empowerment, responsible entrepreneurship, business ethics, cultural heritage & collective memory, social innovation, and social health. Before relocating to the USA, I served as a lecturer and headed the Master of Business Administration program in Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Innovation, and Social Entrepreneurship at a European University.

Do you know what my playground is? To compose different and often conflicting scientific fields and to the mechanisms that transform all these theoretical concepts into reality. 

Based on this I established The Sisters of the Leaf Global Movement in 2017.

I developed this organization based on Social Psychology’s methodological tools, including Sustainability principles & stakeholder engagement.  

The SOTL (Sisters of the Leaf) Global Movement is a global dynamic organization dedicated to empowering women in the cigar industry and fostering a sense of community among cigar enthusiasts worldwide. Through multiple educational programs, networking projects, mentorship, self-discovery, and advocacy efforts, SOTL Global mission is:

To introduce women to the cigar world, to inspire and lead them to extraversion, to create opportunities for collaborations, to build their network, to motivate them to create cigar initiatives, to support female entrepreneurship, and in collaboration with men, to develop a better environment for aficionadas and aficionados.

Dr. Anastacia Psomiadi enjoying an elegant smoke 

 

Jean: What are the main initiatives that you are working on this year?

Anastasia: We continue to empower aficionadas & aficionados through educational & mentorship programs such as :

    • SGM Maestro School Cigar Sommelier Tobacconist (https://www.sotlglobalmovement.com/sgmmaestroschoolofcigarsommeliers
    • The One-to-One Mentorship programs.
    • My Research about the impact of cigar enjoying on Social Health, because I am an Associate Researcher of the Laboratory of Experimental Social Psychology in Panteion University
    • We support cigar weeks and individual and local initiatives around the globe.
    • We have created amazing partnerships with THE RUM LAB, and other initiatives promoting pairing experiences such as cigars with rum, tea, coffees.
    • We organize SOTL Global round tables, we host many women and men especially the consumers and the cigar lounge owners at HUMO LATINO monthly edition and at the digital and printed edition of the Cigar Journal magazine. 

 

Jean: What got you involved in this cause?

Anastasia: As you can realize from my life positioning, if I don’t like something, I create something else “better and ethical” to replace it. I have learned in my life not to change things but to create something new to replace them.

It was 2003.  I had never seen a cigar in my life. I also never smoked a cigarette. I dislike cigarettes. In 2003 during a business trip in South Africa, a lady offered me a cigar and as soon as I smoked it, I felt it was an extension of myself. I was fascinated. As soon as I got back to Greece I started reading about cigars, buying cigars, humidor, lighters, cutters etc. A new world opened in my life. My divine journey to the cigar world had just begun. Ever since I started smoking cigars, I do this at home, in my car, while working, writing on my pc and of course when hanging out with friends drinking and dancing. 

I was the only woman in Greece who smoked cigars in public, and I have experienced insults and offending comments by men and women because of smoking cigars. 

So, envisioning a world free from stereotypes I decided to create a culture for cigars in Greece by empowering women and men and by introducing them to the cigar world, not to the cigar smoking. That’s why on my first advisory board were 2 exceptional anti-smokers and non-smokers ladies.

From day 1, it was a global social organization. From my childhood I used to feel like a citizen of the world.

 

SOTL Global Movement in Greece 

 

Jean: What other women in the industry are involved in SOTL Global Movement?

Anastasia: SOTL Global Movement believes in individual values and in togetherness!

We have a diverse and dynamic group of women and men involved in the Sisters of the Leaf Global Movement, including cigar enthusiasts, industry professionals, and entrepreneurs. 

When we say together… we mean together. The SGM advisory board and leadership team  consists of powerful women such as Cynthia Fuente (Fuente Companies), Janine Perdomo (Tabacalera Perdomo), Amanda Micallef (Micallef Cigars), Leo Abzaradel (Nova Cigars), Romy Kashouty (Hiram and Solomon Cigars), Temi Kinnard-Bing (Serendipity  Cigars), Ana Lopez (Habanos SA), Anna Kontoleon (SOTL Greece), Katja Gnann (Cigar Journal), Patricia Khalaf (Casa aficionado), Karen Berger (KbyKarenBerger, Don KiKi Cigars), Cary Rodrigers ( BAMF cigars), Sarah Saunders (Women’s International Cigar Club), Des Silver ( Drunk Chicken Cigars), Liana Fuente, P la Cangri ( Boss of the Block), Belkys Sanchez ( Crowhead), Eleana Mouskenteri ( SOTL Greece), Sara & Ricky Rodrigeuz ( West Tampa Cigars), Luciano and his team ( Luciano Cigars), Melissa Meerapfel ( Meerapfel Cigars), Carlito Fuente, Nick Perdomo, Raquel Quesada ( Quesada), Takis Karropoulos, Ismael Olivan ( BAMF Cigars), Si Sweeny & Des Hammond ( SOTL & BOTL Committee), Patricia Pineda ( Her Cigars), Zoe & Dailyn ( HABANOS ) and more and more. I would like to shout out to Lefty Karropoulos, our Chief Developing officer and my partner who worked so hard for making this happen too.

 

Jean: What are some of your biggest accomplishments with SOTL Global Movement thus far?

Anastasia: The foundation of SOTL Greece was the first accomplishment. It was a global phenomenon. I created this organization, breaking the stereotypes for cigar smoking in my country. From day one, I had hundreds of members and thousands of followers. Not because they were cigar smokers. But they believe in the vision and the mission of SOTL.

Imagine that HANANOS & Phoenicia (Since then I didn’t know their existence) reached out to me and they offered educational programs to my women members, and they assigned me to organize the 1st ever official launch of cigars (Partagas Maduro Series) in Greece with the participation of the presidency and administration board of HABANOS and Phoenicia 

The other significant accomplishment was the First SOTL Global Round Table in the history of cigar industry dedicated to women.  So many famous and important women around the globe have participated, and I imagine I had (and still have) a waiting list for their participation. 

It is also remarkable how many women who have been involved in or participated in SOTL Global Movement’s projects have made great progress. Some of them have taken the next step in entrepreneurship, running their own cigar store or cigar business, others have founded local and national initiatives for Women in the Cigar industry, and so on.

Also, it’s good to mention that I am very proud of my mentees, women very well known in cigar industry, who they have become the mentors for other ladies.

It’s important to add to the list of our accomplishments that we have inspired and influenced well-known national organizations to copy our programs and to try to create similar projects.

Since the establishment of the SOTL GLOBAL Movement, I have observed that most companies promote the women they have on board, striving to include at least one woman in their representation. I would like to mention the statements that Nick Perdomo & Carlito Fuente made during the first Women Networking event that SOTL Global Movement organized during PCA. They noted that it was the first time women had a platform at PCA, adding this statement: “Because of Anastasia's hard work and dedication as the global leader for women in the cigar industry, the cigar industry began to recognize globally the role of women.”

 

 

Jean: I assume you have also had great support. Can you tell us a bit about some of the support you have received from others? 

Anastasia: Absolutely! I've been incredibly blessed by God, to have such amazing support from people all over the world. It's like having a big, extended family cheering you on through life's ups and downs. Whether it's comforting phone calls, uplifting words of encouragement, or unwavering commitment and loyalty, every bit of support means the world to me. And I must give a special shout-out to my partner Lefty, as well as the wonderful women of SOTL Greece who've been there for me every step of the way. It's these connections and friendships that make this journey so much richer and fulfilling.

 

Jean: That is positive and exciting to hear! Well, before I let you go, do you have anything else you would like to tell the Cigar World audience?

Anastasia: First and foremost, my fundamental criterion for every relationship that I am building is high moral standards. I reject any alternative, even if it appears beneficial to me. Therefore, I would like to reassure everyone that setting up their moral standards based on respect, integrity, and honesty is lifesaving and truly beneficial for our health and endeavors in the long term. I also want to encourage everyone to join us in our mission and declare that we are here to support every individual and initiative that aligns with our missions and ethical values.

 

Jean: Thank you again for your time. We are excited about your initiative and looking forward to seeing what you are going to do next!

Anastasia: Thank you, Jean, for the opportunity to share our vision and work with the Cigar World audience. And best wishes to your efforts to uplift women in cigar industry. Altogether, let’s bring more female elegance to our “Cigar World”. Keep up the great work!

You can learn more about the SOTLGM on their website: https://www.sotlglobalmovement.com/

Follow Anastasia (@anastasia_psomiadi) and SOTL (@sotlglobalmovement) on socials to stay up to date on all new initiatives and events!

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Comments

  • Member Avatar
    (3 months ago)

    What a wonderful article, and what an admirable person is Dr. Psomiadi. A true SOTL. Kudos, Anastacia, on your inspirational ethical motivation and the growing global network in which you so diligently participate. I am beyond impressed.

    I could personally relate to your comment regarding your first time smoking a cigar:

    "...as soon as I smoked it, I felt it was an extension of myself. I was fascinated. As soon as I got back to Greece I started reading about cigars, buying cigars, humidor, lighters, cutters etc. A new world opened in my life. My divine journey to the cigar world had just begun."

    Thank you, Jean, for this. It truly made my day. More please!