Co-Founder of Nicola Solutions
Co-Founder of Leash Links
Career change can be an uphill battle, but if you’re like Demetra Santos, all you need is an inspiring idea and a can-do attitude. After working for Verizon for 30 years, Santos made a major life pivot when she joined forces with Joe Lamparelli and founded Nicola Solutions, a partnership based on helping people by solving everyday problems. With a few pending ideas in the works, she signed on to be co-founder of the startup company, Leash Links. Based on the South Shore, the business is poised to launch a patented anti-chew leash attachment for dogs later this year.
With a degree in electrical engineering, an MBA, and expertise in project management and operational efficiencies, Santos handles the day-to-day business at Leash Links. The company was inspired by a leash-chewing English bulldog named Walter, whose owners, Rick and Nancy Vazza, came up with an initial design prototype before turning to their friends at Nicola Solutions to help refine the product.
Santos is a first-generation American whose parents came from Greece and didn’t speak English. “A lot of girls I knew were married off young, but my dad always told me I could do anything I wanted,” says Santos, who credits her father’s forward-thinking mentality for giving her the freedom to chase her dreams. Santos hopes her story inspires more young girls to study math and science in school. “I want them to know they don’t need to be defined by cultural or social boundaries,” says Santos, “and not to be afraid to try something, even if others are telling them to play it safe.”