Business Leadership Profiles from Greek Mythology: Aphrodite (Mighty!)

Aphrodite's business acumen is so mighty that I couldn't accommodate the two-page illustration...
Aphrodite’s business acumen is so mighty that I couldn’t accommodate the two-page illustration…

Valentine’s Day is almost here, therefore: I must create a business leadership profile for Aphrodite, the loveliest goddess in Greek mythology. If this is your first time reading about the power players who ruled Mount Olympus Inc. (back in the mythological day), previous profiles include Zeus, Hera, and Poseidon.

Some of you gentlemen might think there’s nothing to learn from a deity who was the goddess of love, beauty, and sexuality. But you would be wrong. Aphrodite, the queen of modern-day business relationships and sales culture (via Todd Cohen), was so influential that her alter ego from Roman mythology became a heavenly star in our solar system: Venus.

Some Leaders Catch the Wave, but Aphrodite WAS the Wave (Literally): According to the most common myth surrounding Aphrodite’s birth, she came to be from sea foam, with a giant scallop shell as her adult bassinet.

It all sounds rather girly and romantic until you find out this frothy bit of churned-up foam resulted from Cronus, a Titan, castrating Uranus (his daddy!) and throwing his “kibbles and bits” into the sea. She may have been the goddess de l’amour, but that Aphrodite was one tenacious immortal.

Zeus Tried Crating Aphrodite’s Charisma, Yet Love Was Always in the Air: Because of Aphrodite’s reputation as a “hot tamale,” Zeus had concerns. He envisioned all of Mount Olympus’s junior employees disrupting the business of meddling in mortals’ lives by rivaling for Aphrodite’s attention during work hours. So guess what this crafty CEO did?

He forced Aphrodite into a marriage of convenience with reliable, plodding Hephaestus, the god of metalworking. The dude was so enamored with Aphrodite that he crafted her a handmade girdle (belt) of gold. Little did Aphrodite know Hephaestus wove his version of a love spell into the belt’s filigree. But it wasn’t enough to tame the business equivalent of a master sales professional – this goddess could sell heat lamps to Hell’s residents.

Despite her marital status, Aphrodite captured the hearts of many gods and mortals with her words, smiles, and glances. (Some say the Greek god of war, Ares, was her true love.) She also instructed the other goddesses on Mount Olympus in a master class of feminine wiles so they wouldn’t despise her or her beauty. Perhaps this is why she truly was Mighty Aphrodite.

Be as Persuasive as Aphrodite, but Don’t Start a War: Once upon a time, uninvited goddess Eris (discord) threw a golden apple at Aphrodite and fellow goddesses Hera and Athena during a Mount Olympus-style interfaith wedding. The apple had a note on it that said, “To the fairest one.” Head honcho Zeus abdicated his responsibility of deciding who was the loveliest to Paris, a strapping young mortal from Troy.

As Paris couldn’t decide (after a private viewing) which goddess was most beautiful, the ladies pursued the prize using a time-honored method: bribery. Hera offered Paris the rule of two continents (Asia and Europe). Athena offered the lad wisdom and fame/glory as a battling superstar. But Aphrodite, born knowing how to cultivate the look of love, offered Paris the infamous Helen, the most beautiful mortal woman at that time.

Unfortunately, Helen was already married to the King of Sparta, but that didn’t stop Paris from abducting her. This resulted in a little thing called the Trojan War. The next time you attend a business meeting or networking event and an uninvited guest throws a tempting (but tentative) deal your way, don’t be so eager to follow in Aphrodite’s overzealous footprints. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than to over-promise and start a nasty bidding battle.

You’re a Subject Matter Expert if You Have a Cult Following and a Festival: The two islands associated with Aphrodite’s sea-foam birth, Cyprus and Cythera/Kythira, were considered her main “watering holes” and the probable geographic origins for the cult of Aphrodite. Members of the cult celebrated their lovely leader during the festival of Aphrodisia.

The modern-day version of this festival is what lovers and others would call an aphrodisiac. Let’s just say the festival offered its revelers access to fertility rituals and other types of Risky Business. Oh, I almost forgot: Aphrodite’s immortal toolbox contained dolphins, pomegranates (just like Hera), myrtle, clams, scallop shells (hey, it’s her birth trademark), and pearls. Need I say more?


If you have an Aphrodite in the office, learn from her (or his) good example regarding how to work your sales mojo. Just be sure your Chief Enchantress Officer doesn’t take it too far and promise product specs or deadlines that aren’t of this mortal earth. What plans do you have for greatly esteeming your employees and/or clients this Valentine’s Day? Don’t be afraid to summon your “inner Aphrodite,” but steer clear of launching any golden apples…

Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print and web marketing copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or email By All Writes LLC at  for a no-obligation project quote today!

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