Home Forty Under 40: Class of 2020

Forty Under 40: Class of 2020

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Greek America's Forty Under 40: Class of 2020

Loukia Agapis
Shelter Medicine Service Head and Coordinator of International Programs at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Loukia Agapis studied veterinary medicine at the University of Thessaly, Greece. She went on to complete the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program and earned a Master’s in Veterinary Medical Sciences with a focus in Shelter Medicine and a Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Public Health through the University of Florida. She also trained with IVAS in veterinary acupuncture and became a certified FEMA first responder.

In 2016, Dr. Agapis joined the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois and currently serves as the Service Head for the Shelter Medicine Program and Coordinator of International Programs. Each day, Dr. Agapis not only provides training for the next generation of veterinary professionals, but also offers veterinary care to animals that would otherwise not receive it. Her research interests include stress reduction in relinquished cats and the effects of accessible veterinary care for low-income families.

Loukia is an active member of the Hellenic Society “Paideia” and Pan Rhodian Society of America “Apollon” and serves as the Director for Safety and Planning for Paideia’s Study Abroad Programs and Secretary for the Rhodian Professional Association. With every opportunity that Loukia travels back to Greece, she makes time to provide free veterinary care for animals in need. Earlier this year, she launched ΑγάπηVet on the island of Rhodes and has partnered with a German-based non-profit organization, Flying Cats e.v., establishing seasonal spay neuter projects to help reduce the island’s homeless population.

As much as Loukia keeps busy, her greatest work starts when she returns home each night. She and her husband, Gianni, work together to raise their two young children with the same Greek-Orthodox values that their parents instilled in them.

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Kalliope (Kelli) Almiroudis
Executive Director of The 1 Love Organization

Kelli Almiroudis graduated from Cleveland State University, and began a career in NYC pursuing her passion in the beauty industry. She soon later meet her husband Kosta Almiroudis (co-founder of the 1love Brand), and decided to set roots back in Cleveland Ohio, where they now live raising there 3 beautiful boys (Georgio, Tino, & Stefano).

As a wife and mother of 3, she has put her career aside, and decided to give 100% attention to her family. Kelli stated “raising kids in todays world is the hardest job ever. I have noticed the world becoming more and more polluted with hate, and the news and media feeding us stories about one another that simply aren’t true.”

As a family decision, Kosta and Kelli have made it their mission to show their children a world where boundaries don’t exist, where people are all the same, and all are worthy of love and acceptance. With this belief, they created the 1 Love Organization.

1Love is an organization that raises money to help with the needs of others. From autism, to clean water, to providing clothing to those in desperate need. Our vision is to show love through kindness, tolerance and acceptance to all people, because every one of us is worthy of love.

Through the 1Love brand we have one simple mission — to create a family of people all around the world, who are bound together in love, and ready to do whatever it takes to give to and support those who need it most.

Our vision is to LIVE BEYOND BOUNDARIES. We envision a world where there is no division between people, only love and acceptance. The 1Love brand represents all people, beyond religion, beyond nationality, beyond stereotype – we are all brothers and sisters and no walls divide us. We do this by spreading a message of love through charity.

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Bobby Awadalla
Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon

Dr. Bobby’s kind and caring personality is why medicine was his natural born career path.

He is a board-certified dermatologist performing general, cosmetic and surgical dermatology with a subspecialization in Mohs micrographic surgery, a highly specialized tissue sparing procedure that has the highest cure rate for skin cancers while removing the least amount of tissue. He then performs facial plastic reconstructive surgery resulting in little to no scarring.

Annually, 5 million Americans are affected by skin cancer and Dr. Bobby has made it his mission to make a difference with over 15,000 people cured. He goes to remote underserved areas in Nevada, Arizona and California where there’s a high demand for Mohs surgery but no Mohs surgeons.

Dr. Bobby has saved countless lives, and in cases where insurance cannot help, he does it out of the goodness of his heart.

He is also a researcher, speaker, author and and inventor of a revolutionary vitamin supplement to support your skin health from the inside out.

Dr. Bobby mentors six physician’s assistants, and spends time in his community lecturing for the Laguna Beach Lifeguards to educate them on protecting their skin.

His personal office is Skincredible Dermatology and Surgery in Mission Viejo, CA. He was featured twice as a top doctor in Orange Coast Magazine, is a Leading Physicians of the World and was voted Top Doctor in 2019 and 2020 by Findatopdoc.com.

He aspires to save as many lives as he can by curing cancer, treating skin disease and educating people.

His parents brought him from Greece with humble beginnings but supprted him to become a doctor, give back to the community and the church, and become a better role model for his nieces and five godchildren.

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Marielena Balouris
Emmy Award-Winning Anchor & Reporter

Marielena Balouris is an Emmy-award winning anchor and reporter at WAVY-TV, the NBC affiliate in Norfolk, VA.

A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Marielena attended Penn State University and double majored in broadcast journalism and political science. She was active on campus, being selected for the Presidential Leadership Academy and serving as an officer for the Lion Ambassadors of the Alumni Association. She volunteered countless hours during her four years for Penn State's Dance MaraTHON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world. She sang in the Essence of Joy Choir, performing throughout the United States and Europe.

After graduation, Marielena began her professional career as an anchor, reporter, and producer at WTAJ-TV, the CBS affiliate in Altoona, PA. After one year at the station, she moved to WAVY-TV, where she has been since the summer of 2016. Marielena has held multiple positions in the newsroom, and is currently a general assignment reporter and weeknight anchor.

Her anchoring of WAVY-TV’s coverage of the tragic mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center in May of 2019 earned her a Capital Emmy, the premier television production award from her peers. Marielena is also part of a team that will be covering the Tokyo Olympics.

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Kostas Biliouris
Biotech Equity Research Associate at Morgan Stanley

Kostas received his diploma in Chemical Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, wherein he graduated first in class in 2008. Following that, Kostas pursued his PhD degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota (UMN), which is consistently ranked in the top 5 Chemical Engineering departments in the US. While at UMN, Kostas received the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, a University-wide distinction that is awarded to the University’s most accomplished PhD students.

Following the completion of his graduate studies, Kostas pursued postdoctoral research at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in OH, and the Center for Pharmacometrics and Systems Pharmacology in FL. Collectively, Kostas’ research findings have been published in various scientific journals, including Nature Immunology, and were presented at multiple national and international conferences.

In 2016, Kostas joined Novartis in Boston, wherein he was leading the quantitative pharmacology efforts for all early stage clinical trials in Neuroscience. While at Novartis, Kostas played a catalytic role in the development of drugs for the treatment of debilitating diseases of the central nervous system, such as insomnia, depression, and schizophrenia.

Since 2018, Kostas has been an associate in Biotech Equity Research at Morgan Stanley, wherein he has been conducting equity research for a spectrum of biotechnology companies.

Beyond his academic distinctions, Kostas has significantly contributed towards giving back to the community through a range of volunteering activities wherein Kostas served as (1) President of the Hellenic Association of the University of Minnesota (2011); (2) General Secretary (2012-2014) and Vice President (2014-2016) of the Hellenic Bioscientific Association in the US; and (3) Member of the Advisory Board of BostonQSP (2016-2018).

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Anastasia Bottos
COO & Chief Strategy Officer of My Alarm Center

Anastasia Bottos currently serves as COO and Chief Strategy Officer for My Alarm Center. In this role, she oversees all operations, strategy, legal licensing/compliance, and M&A activity of the nation's 6th largest residential security and home automation company. With a strategic focus on innovation, the customer experience, and cost controls across all growth platforms, she has been instrumental in increasing annual revenues from $6 million to over $100 million and expanding the business from 25 employees to over 600 nationwide.

Recruited to join My Alarm Center's management team in 2005, she began her career establishing internal procedures and its merger and acquisition process efficiency. This included creating and implementing an innovative acquisition boarding platform that has broadly influenced the home security and automation industry.

Before assuming COO's role in 2015, she successfully negotiated, conducted valuation diligence, and implemented integration strategies resulting in more than 500 successful acquisitions. As a result of these accomplishments, she has received several awards, including Drexel University's "40 under 40" – 2018, Security Systems News "Top 20 under 40" – 2012, and was awarded the 2014 SmartCEO Executive Management Award for demonstrating outstanding leadership and crafting and executing innovative strategies.

Anastasia has actively contributed to many philanthropic projects over the years. The two most notable are the scholarship fund she established to be used to benefit undergraduate students in financial need enrolled at Drexel University and her annual participation in the Covenant Houses Executive Sleep Out for homeless youth, raising over $40k.

She currently serves as an Advisory Member of Drexel University President's Council and previously served on the Board of Enterprise Security. She is an avid impact and angel investor and holds a B.S. from Drexel University.

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Lia Bozonelis
Screenwriter, Producer & Development Consultant

Lia Bozonelis is a Greek-American screenwriter, writer, producer and development consultant who is successfully navigating a 20-year career in film and television. At the center is her mission to help women rise within the entertainment industry during the important movements for gender equality.

Recently, when production was all but shut down, Lia co-wrote and co-produced a pandemic-themed thriller, SAFER AT HOME, shot entirely in isolation during lockdown. She co-wrote and will next produce on GHOSTED, a psychological thriller. Last year, her romantic comedy feature EAT, DRINK & BE MARRIED debuted worldwide. Lia was also head writer and consulting producer for 24 episodes of SORRY NOT SORRY, a feminist sketch comedy television series.

Lia has been a story consultant for industry titans including New Line Cinema, HBO, Ridley Scott, George Clooney and Netflix, where she analyzed and built a slate of original movies up to $35MM. Lia also served as a staff writer for FORTUNE magazine, covering hard news across the globe, and as a speechwriter for the Managing Editor. Lia is a graduate of George Washington University School of Media and Public Affairs in Washington D.C. with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Music Composition and Theory.

Born and raised in New Jersey to Greek-American parents who instilled the culture and religion from birth, Lia leans on her faith as a moral compass and finds fulfillment as a pro bono mentor and advisor to young Greeks, Greek-Americans and women. As a member of Women in Motion Picture Sciences and the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival for more than ten years, Lia utilizes her strengths within these organizations to advocate for young, diverse voices to be heard through storytelling.

Lia is determined to bring film and television production to Greece and is currently packaging an American feature film to be shot there to spotlight Greece within the worldwide entertainment industry.

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Billy Calve
Assistant United States Attorney

William (Billy) Calve is an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Texas. Before becoming a federal prosecutor, Billy was an Associate Attorney with a global law firm in San Antonio, Texas, where he practiced commercial litigation.

Billy holds a bachelor’s degree in Government and History from the University of Texas at Austin, and graduated second in his class from St. Mary’s School of Law. During law school he won three national championships in moot court, including back-to-back years at the American Bar Association’s National Appellate Advocacy Competition in Chicago.

After law school, Billy moved to the Rio Grande Valley, where he completed a federal clerkship for the Honorable Ignacio Torteya, III, in Brownsville, Texas.

Billy dedicated significant time to pro bono legal work while in private practice, participating in local legal aid clinics and representing clients on pro bono matters in Texas courts. He is a regular volunteer with his law school, where he serves as a guest coach for law students honing courtroom advocacy skills.

A third-generation member of the legal community, Billy draws inspiration from his mother, a court reporter, and late grandfather, an attorney. He attends St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in San Antonio.

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Alexandra Constantinou
Social Impact Strategist & Partnerships Manager at GOOD Worldwide; Founder & Curator of Greeks for Humanity

Alexandra Constantinou is a seasoned international strategist and marketer who brings a global perspective to branding and communications. She currently heads up business development and impact partnerships at GOOD | Upworthy - a mission-driven media and social impact company where she works on campaigns that uplift humanity and push the world forward. Her past lives include managing Fortune 500 accounts at a boutique language consultancy called The Writer, managing a Refugees Welcome dinner program with UNICEF at Purpose, and doing all things global brand marketing at TOMS in both London and LA.

During her academic career, she interned at social enterprise Brides Do Good (London), CARE International (Geneva), and both the Center for American Progress and the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus (DC). She holds a Master's in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies from the London School of Economics.

Outside of work, Alexandra enjoys filling up the pages in her two passports, dancing, and becoming a coffee shop fixture in her Lower East Side neighborhood. This year, she also founded an Instagram community called @GreeksforHumanity that strives to help Greek people become changemakers in their communities and create a more equitable world - for everyone.

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Catherine DiGiorgio
M.D., Board-Certified Dermatologist; Laser & Cosmetic Dermatologist

Dr. Catherine DiGiorgio is a Board-Certified Dermatologist at the Boston Center for Facial Rejuvenation in Boston, Massachusetts. She is an expert in aesthetic dermatologic procedures and laser and energy-based device treatments and is passionate about improving the quality of life of her patients. Improving patient confidence by naturally improving appearance is at the core of her treatment approach.

After graduating with honors from Loyola University New Orleans, she earned a master’s degree in Human Genetics and a medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine. She completed an internship in Internal Medicine and residency in Dermatology at LSU New Orleans. She completed training at the Harvard Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Wellman Center for Photomedicine. She conducted research studying the application of lasers to prevent and solve medical and cosmetic dermatology problems.

She has received several awards recognizing her dedication to medicine including being inducted into the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society for exemplifying the society’s values of human interests, values, and dignity. She participates in federal and state advocacy efforts to improve patient access to care.

She is actively involved in dermatology resident education and is regularly invited to lecture at medical schools. She is particularly devoted to the education of young physicians and has served as a mentor to medical students and residents.

She is an active member of several professional organizations including the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, Society for Investigative Dermatology, and Women’s Dermatologic Society. She has been an invited speaker at many national medical conferences, has numerous peer-reviewed publications and textbook chapters, is currently co-editing her first textbook, and was selected as Program Co-Chair for the 2023 ASLMS annual meeting.

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Yanni Dimoulis
Designer and Founder of 54thirty Designs

Yanni Dimoulis was president of the Hellenic Students Association of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and a member of the National Hellenic Students Association.

After studying Mechanical Engineering and working for a Chicago lighting manufacturer, Yanni eventually decided to put his career on hold and pursue his passion for a more creatively fueled career, returning to UIC in 2016 for a Master’s in Industrial Design, which he finally earned in May of 2019.

Throughout the course of his graduate studies, Yanni dedicated his free time to building a side business known as 54thirty Designs. It started as a novelty t-shirt company but has grown into a broader media design studio built around a growing audience of 21,000 on Instagram and other social platforms. Through 54thirty, Yanni uses his platform to support Greeks across the world in pursuit of art, design, and all forms of business. He also uses it to draw attention to important social issues affecting both Greek Americans and Greek Diaspora as a whole, often using humor as a way to convey his message through a subversion of Greek social norms and customs.

Throughout his Master’s studies, he focused his thesis project on helping cancer patients, a very personal subject for himself and his family. Through Design he identified, highlighted, and communicated the less tangible scars inflicted by the experience of cancer, using each project as a vehicle to share both his personal story and to help heal future patients. After graduation Yanni was in talks with a children’s psychiatric clinic based in Athens, Greece to repurpose his thesis for their patients. Unfortunately, this pursuit has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Mark Hall
Founder & Nurse Practitioner at Mark Hall NPP PLLC

Mark Hall (he/him) is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner living in New York with his French Bulldog puppy, Vivienne.

Mark graduated from The Ohio State University in 2013 with a Master of Science in Nursing. He is dual board-certified in Psychiatric-Mental Health and Adult Primary Care, specializing in both mental health and infectious diseases. He received the faculty award as top of the class in his discipline. He is also a mentor and preceptor to nurse practitioner students at Columbia University.

After years of working in community mental health, Mark saw the need for affordable psychiatric care and started a private practice specializing in LGBTQ and BIPOC folx. Over the past two years, his practice has expanded and thrived while providing the highest quality care to those that do not qualify for public assistance and cannot afford a cash-only provider.

Prior to starting private practice, Mark worked at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, an organization founded shortly after the Stonewall Riots and which grew in the 1980s during the AIDS crisis in New York. While at Callen-Lorde, he expanded their services, opening a satellite clinic that provided substance use treatment.

Despite his name, Mark is a third-generation Greek American, with great-grandparents hailing from Asia Minor, the Dardanelles, and Mytilene. He loves to serve his friends authentic Greek food, spending hours in the kitchen buttering layers of phyllo for spanakopita and baklava.

Outside of the office and kitchen, Mark enjoys staying active and traveling; in the summer he can often be found on the beach of Long Island. He hopes to visit Greece in 2021 for his birthday. He is a participant and supporter in the Black Lives Matter movement and local LGBTQ youth organizations. He is committed to anti-racist work, dismantling systemic racism, and raising awareness to those around him.

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Andrea Holland
CEO + Founder at DialedPR and RemotePRJobsc.om, International PR Influencer/Author for LinkedIn Learning and Life Coach

With family heritage hailing from Chania, Andrea Holland is nothing short of a Cretan force for good.

After college, she spent the better part of a decade in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and New York at some of the world’s top international PR firms. She’s placed clients on the cover of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and helped them achieve “Most Innovative Companies” status in Forbes and Fast Company. She’s guided startups through the world’s biggest tech startup competition TechCrunch Disrupt and placed executives on the stages of the world’s biggest technology shows, SXSW and CES.

In 2014, after nearly a decade in Corporate America representing the likeness of Intuit, PayPal and LegalZoom, she became a renegade entrepreneur and over the last 7 years has built multiple PR businesses. Notably, the first PR consultancy on the CA central coast focused on early stage startups (DialedPR.com), as well as the leading jobs list for remote PR and Communications professionals nationwide (RemotePRJobs.com). In 2016 she became a leading PR author/instructor for LinkedIn Learning (the world’s biggest e-online learning platform), an acclaimed speaker and in 2020, an accredited life coach. She is currently pursuing a M.A. in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University.

Her work has taken her all over the world. Aside from the homeland where she advised one of the top fertility clinics in Chania to help them educate and attract more American women to the IVF and Egg Freezing Process abroad, she has been everywhere from Bangkok to Marrakech to Ho Chi Minh City to Mexico, advising international startups, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists on how to work with the media and tell their story.

Andrea handles all PR, social media and marketing for the Saint Barbara Food Festival pro bono and also makes sure to volunteer a few hours at the bar with the Young Adult League! She has been recognized by the parish as an instrumental part of the festival, as her efforts have raised festival attendance by nearly 15% in the past five years.

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Tony Kariotis
Founder of Greece Media, Director of Teddy K Classic Foundation

Tony is the Director of the Teddy K Classic Foundation, which hosts an annual memorial fund raising basketball event for the Greek diaspora in America called the Teddy K Classic. The tournament was founded in 2009 after the passing of his father Teddy. The goal of the event is to bring the community together in remembrance of Teddy and to use the proceeds to help a student heading off to university. Since 2009 Tony has handed out over 40 scholarships to participants of the Teddy K Classic that qualified to apply. The tournament has gone on to become to largest Greek American of its kind in the world, hosting 30 teams over a 5 day event.

Tony gives his time back to his local Greek community through sports as the coach of his church's basketball team, having won most outstanding coach on several occasions, including helping the teenagers he coaches reach their goal to win championships 12 times, including helping players who have never touched a basketball, finish their senior seasons having won the Most Valuable Player award. His main goal through this is to help translate the efforts his players give in basketball and teach them the lessons that can be translated into real world situations as they embark on adulthood.

Tony is also the Founder of his latest endeavor, Greece Media, a new company dedicated to presenting Greece to the world through modern digital media. He spends his entire summer traveling all around Greece, creating content such as photography, films, documentaries and podcasts about Greece, building relationships, building his social media brand — which has reached 150,000 followers — and exploring the country. Tony hopes to dedicate a portion of the companies offerings to charitable initiatives around Greece. He hopes to have the company officially up and running in 2021. Tony also hosts a weekly Greek talk show on KefiFM.

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Anna Katogiritis
Emergency Veterinarian & Animal Welfare Expert

Anna Katogiritis is a Greek American veterinarian originally from Karpathos island. She holds a degree in molecular biology from the University of Crete (Greece) and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (USA).

Anna has over 17 years of animal advocacy experience in Greece and internationally. She has volunteered pro bono for various organizations in Africa, Europe, Asia, and the USA. During these volunteer activities, Anna has treated thousands of animals among domestic and wildlife species including chimpanzees, orangutans, and other species of monkeys to name a few.

Dr. Katogiritis is the only Greek American veterinarian to work closely with the Jane Goodall Institute and Dr. Jane Goodall (PhD, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute) since 2014. Through this work, Anna founded Dr. Jane Goodall’s official office in Greece, while still attending veterinary school in the USA. She was the lead coordinator of the renowned primatologist’s tours in Greece in 2016 and 2018 and oversaw the development of Dr. Goodall’s free educational program, Roots & Shoots, throughout the country.

Anna works as an emergency veterinarian for a number of specialty hospitals in the US and offers her knowledge and services to nonprofit organizations around the world. She has also made contributions to the advancement of veterinary medicine through the authorship of scientific papers and book chapters covering various topics.

In 2019, she led the restructuring of a volunteer animal advocacy group on Karpathos island. This effort developed into a new nonprofit organization named Animal Welfare Karpathos in 2020; honorary members of which are Dr. Jane Goodall and Katerina Sakellaropoulou, President of the Hellenic Republic.

As an ardent advocate of the concepts of One Health and One Welfare, Dr. Katogiritis views her philanthropic work as an extension of her pro bono veterinary work which emphasizes the interconnections of animal health, human health and environment conservation.

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Dora Konomi
Commercial Litigator; Radio Producer

Dora Konomi is an advocate, with Speigel Nichols Fox LLP, whose practice involves a broad range of civil litigation and a two-times award-winning radio producer.

Dora graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College with high distinctions earning a B.A. in Criminology and Classical Studies. She then went on to earn her Juris Doctorate degree, cum laude, from the University of Ottawa. While completing her degrees, Dora received several scholarships & awards for exceptional academics and outstanding community involvement.

While in law school, Dora was a member of the international mooting team (i.e. legal debating team) that won the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna. Thereafter, Dora has coached several mooting teams. Dora also co-authored, “Trade and Gender: Exploring International Practices that Promote Women’s Economic Empowerment,” which was published by the International Trade Centre in Geneva.

Dora is the creator and host of the very popular “Doralicious Show”, which has aired on Agape Greek Radio in Toronto, Ottawa and online since 2013. The Doralicious Show has also been the recipient of the prestigious Canadian Ethnic Media Awards for Journalistic Excellence for 2019 and 2020.

Dora has devoted herself to Canada’s Hellenic community. Notably, Dora spearheads and chairs the hugely successful Agape Greek Radio Music & Fashion Show raising funds for the various charities. The Music & Fashion Show promotes local Greek-Canadian artists and brings together a community of 100+ models of Greek descent from 2 to 66 years old. Dora is also an ambassador for the Hellenic Heritage Foundation (HHF), a Canadian charity devoted to promoting Hellenic language, education and culture within Canada. Dora sits on HHF’s PR, Next Generation, and Gala Committees. Dora has been vital in modernizing the HHF through social media, attracting young leaders, and engaging Greek Canadians to be involved.

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Alfred Koritsaris
Partner at Argionis & Associates, LLC

Alfred Koritsaris a civil litigation attorney that focuses his practice in the areas of Personal Injury and Workers Compensation law. He attended undergraduate studies at Marquette University and attended law school at Valparaiso University School of Law.

While in law school, he externed with the Northern District of Indiana Federal Public Defenders Office and served an internship with the Hammond Legal Aid Clinic. The internship with the Hammond Legal Aid Clinic was very rewarding for Mr. Koritsaris as it was a non-for-profit entity that provided pro bono legal services to indigent residents that could not afford counsel for civil disputes.

Over the course of his career, he has tried over 100 cases. In June of 2019 he obtained a record jury verdict of $12,352,872.51 for his injured client who developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) following a crush injury to his foot. This verdict is the highest documented verdict ever in the United States for a CRPS injury. In 2018 and 2019, he tried more workers compensation cases than any other lawyer in the State of Illinois. He also provides pro bono Probate legal services for all of his clients bringing lawsuits on behalf of their minor, disabled or deceased family members.

Many of his clients are immigrants and have limited means, therefore he decided that he would perform the Probate legal services related to the aforementioned claims pro bono.

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Vasilis Kostas
Composer, Educator, Laoutist

Vasilis Kostas is a composer, educator and Greek laouto player as well as a member of 'Global Messengers,’ the group launched by Grammy Award-winning pianist and UNESCO Artist for Peace, Danilo Perez. A graduate of the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute Masters Program in Boston, where he studied on a full scholarship, he serves as the Founding Director of the Epirus Ensemble at The Greek Institute in Boston.

Vasilis has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the Panama Jazz Festival and WOMEX while touring and introducing the Greek laouto to international audiences around the world. He is the recipient of the Artist Fellowship in the Traditional Arts Award, which was given to him by the Massachusetts Cultural Council based on his efforts to promote Greek traditional music in the United States. His recent duo album “The Soul of Epirus” with the legendary Greek clarinetist Petroloukas Halkias was voted as the Best Album of 2019 by the Balkan World Music Chart and was presented in successful tours in the United States and Greece.

Vasilis is the Founding Director of ‘Kalesma,’ a humanitarian/music educational project that was inspired by the beliefs that a child’s life can be transformed through the power of music. This ongoing project provides the youth in Greece with permanent music educational programs and scholarships for further music studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The first two scholarship recipients from 'Kivotos tou Kosmou' in Athens traveled to the US and studied at the Berklee Vocal Summit Program in June of 2019.

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Jonathan Kountis
GM and Head CAD/CAM Design Specialist (DK Dental Lab)

Since Jonathan was a young man he has excelled in baseball as well as remained very close to his Greek roots. His family is from Hania, Crete. He attended Firestone High School in Akron, Ohio. His passion for baseball continued to grow and grow and he played at the highest Collegiate levels for Ohio Dominican University, where he led his college team to an NAIA College World Series second appearance in school history. Jonathan was elected as an All-American three times during his four-year college career. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians Major league organization, but remained true to his goal of finishing his education before pursuing his athletic career.

In 2010, he was then drafted again in the 19th round by the New York Mets out of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Jonathan played seven years of professional baseball throughout many levels and leagues including a season with the Toronto Blue Jays minor league teams. He set many records that still stand today. In his off-seasons through baseball camps and philanthropic endeavors he volunteered his time to coaching several youth organizations including little league baseball and high school baseball.

Jonathan has always been driven in the Greek community through his efforts as a member with AHEPA, and also the Olympic National Baseball Team of Greece, in which he has still participated during the past five summers.

He currently is the GM in his family business, DK Dental Lab, which has been around for over 40 years. He works alongside his father who has taught him many valuable life lessons and has given him a standard of hard work in which to follow. Jonathan is married to his wife Konstandina of five years with whom he has a two-year-old son named Demetrios.

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Matthew Lianides
Founder & CEO of Cacao Juntos

Matthew Lianides is a social entrepreneur and founder of Cacao Juntos, a superfoods startup and chocolate factory dedicated to building thriving smallholder farming communities and sharing their sustainable harvest for the world to enjoy. Matthew also co-founded a vanilla startup in Costa Rica dedicated to providing a network of assistance for smallholder farmers.

While traveling to isolated cacao farms in the Peruvian jungle, Matthew learned firsthand the difficulties smallholder farmers face in accessing markets to sell their harvest. In response to this need, Matthew founded Cacao Juntos to build a sustainable platform that provides microfinancing, promotes innovative techniques in cultivation and quality, and shares fair value for smallholder farmers. Matthew also partnered with local municipalities in the Cuzco jungle to support in facilitating cacao aggregation among smallholder farmers and the preservation of the native cacao “chuncho” variety. In its chocolate factory, Cacao Juntos manufactures and exports final product chocolate and superfood goods to the US, Canada, UK and Australia.

Matthew started his first philanthropic efforts developing a crochet fashion line that supported women artisan communities in Peru providing stable fair jobs and focusing on the development, process and sharing of new skills to ultimately help the role of women in rural villages to become more financially and socially independent.

Matthew graduated from the University of California, Davis with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and went on to obtain a Masters in Business Administration at Florida International University. Matthew also participates in the Startup Greece community and hopes to help bridge more startup opportunities between Greece and the Americas.

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Zachary Lountzis
Vice President at Lountzis Asset Management, LLC

Zachary Lountzis is a Vice President at Lountzis Asset Management, LLC, a registered investment adviser that operates as a multi-family office serving families, business-owners, high-net worth individuals, institutions, and retirement plans, with fully customized portfolios.

He previously spent nine years on Wall Street as an investment banker and equity research analyst at Barclays, Credit Suisse, and Jefferies, LLC.

Zachary is a proud member of the National Hellenic Society, where he was privileged to be selected to the organization’s inaugural Heritage Greece Program in 2010. His involvement in NHS helps him to spread the organization’s mission while paying tribute to his heritage.

Zachary serves as a PAL Champions Board Member for the Police Athletic League, which together with the NYPD has supported and inspired underprivileged NYC youths to realize their full individual potential as productive members of society since 1914. In his volunteer capacity with PAL, Zachary drives awareness of this renowned organization and its efforts across over 25 youth development facilities within the 5 boroughs and dozens of programs, as well as aids in fundraising efforts.

He also serves as a New Leader for The Hellenic Initiative, whose mission is to support charity organizations and economic development in Greece and is a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC) and a brother of AHEPA’s NYC chapter.

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Christopher Malagisi
Political Advocacy & Civics Education Leader

Malagisi is one of the most influential Greeks in American politics today, having been recognized for his prominent work in politics, education, media, and business. Campaigns & Elections magazine described him as a leading “Mover & Shaker” in Washington, D.C. and was awarded their “Rising Star Award,” and recently received the “William F. Buckley Jr. Leadership Award” from America’s Future Foundation for his significant work in political advocacy and civics education.

He previously served as CPAC Director & Director of External Relations at the American Conservative Union organizing the Conservative Political Action Conference – the most influential annual gathering for conservatives. He’s led and worked on five U.S. presidential campaign youth coalition efforts, and has trained over 10,000 candidates, activists, and youth in civics education and political activism at The Leadership Institute and the USAID-funded International Republican Institute – even travelling to Afghanistan and the Middle East to train students how to build pro-democratic coalitions.

He currently serves as Executive Director of Outreach at Hillsdale College – a prominent liberal arts college, and was instrumental in the launch of their groundbreaking new Graduate School of Government in our nation’s capital, with its primary focus teaching future statesmen about American constitutionalism. Additionally, he is a noted political writer, speaker, podcaster, and has been a re-occurring analyst on Fox News, CSPAN, and The Mike Gallagher Radio Show with the Salem Media Group.

He is equally committed to his philanthropic work with numerous Orthodox initiatives. He helped raise awareness of the Syrian refugee crisis by organizing a high-profile event at the Greek Embassy on behalf of the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC). He also served five years on the board and was President of the Young Adult League (YAL) at Saint Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Washington, D.C., and helped it grow into one of the largest and most active chapters in America, with over 3,000 participants attending events. He also helped start Saint Sophia’s popular Orthodoxy 101 Boot Camps, in partnership with the Orthodox Christian Network (OCN).

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Alexandros Malaos
Actor, Writer & Improvisation Instructor

Alex came to New York from Cyprus, pursuing a career in TV/Film and theater. Upon earning his degree at Hofstra University, he began contributing to Greek and Cypriot theater with years of successful theatrical productions. His own original autobiographical play, With Over Two Pieces of Luggage, a glimpse into the life of a modern-day New York immigrant, premiered to rave reviews, enjoying sold-out shows and an extended run at the Greek Cultural Center.

Today, in addition to participating in TV/Film, online and stage productions, Alex is among the most established commercial actors on national television, collaborating with Oscar-nominated directors and taking part in numerous award-winning ads. He has worked on such projects as the American Express Blue Cash campaign with Tina Fey, and in the most recent OIKOS Greek Yogurt campaign as spokesperson Ares, Greek god of war.

Alex is an instructor at an on-camera TV/Film youth acting school in New York. Having studied extensively at the Upright Citizens Brigade, one of the country’s top improvisation comedy institutions, he joined Actors Technique New York (ATNY) as a youth improvisation instructor and audition coach. His classes aim to encourage students to express themselves truthfully and fearlessly through heartfelt spontaneous interactions.

As part of his charitable involvement through the school, he has headed fundraiser musical events where kids and teens perform, with proceeds going to such organizations as the New York chapter of the Make-A-Wish foundation, granting wishes for children with critical illnesses.

He continues to share his passion and drive as a motivator and inspiration to young artists who dare to take the path of most resistance, and to fellow Greek Cypriots and immigrants who take a chance on their own future.

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Kyriakos Manoli
Chemical Engineer, Researcher & Artist

Dr. Kyriakos Manoli excelled and contributed to the world both as a professional and as an artist. He is a wastewater treatment specialist who is championing to advance the water industry to protect the environmental and public health.

After completing the military service in Cyprus in 2007, Kyriakos obtained a five-year degree in Chemical Engineering from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, where he received a scholarship by the Hellenic Republic for excellence in studies and ethics, as the top student among his third-year undergraduate fellows.

During his studies, he started his music band as a lyricist, singer, composer and guitar player, and he volunteered as producer at the university’s radio.

In 2013, Kyriakos was awarded the Graduate Research Scholarship of the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in Canada, from which he obtained a PhD in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering (CBE) in 2017. He was then appointed as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Trojan Technologies during 2017-2019, while mentoring and supervising UWO graduate students. In 2020, at the time of nomination, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Texas A&M University.

Kyriakos is dedicated to science and engineering with particular interest in educating others. He was awarded the “Best Graduate Teaching Assistant” for Excellence in Teaching (2015-2016) by the UWO CBE Undergraduate Students Society. Kyriakos’ research was recognized by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) with the “Session’s Best Paper/Presentation Award” (2016 AIChE Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA). The Water Environment Federation selected his conference paper (WEFTEC 2018, New Orleans, LA) for publication in the magazine, Water Environment & Technology. Kyriakos published his work in high-ranked scientific journals, conference proceedings and books, leading the way in future technologies. As an artist, he has recently published a song titled “Small and Bright,” that is available online for free.

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Penny Meletlidis
Founder & Graphic Designer of I La Lu Design; Creative Marketing Director of KefiFM.com; Fitness Trainer & Fitness Competitor

Penny Meletlidis, a Boston native, has been dedicated to the Greek community throughout her life. She has done business with and has donated her time to many Greek organizations, Greek churches and Greek-owned small businesses, and in doing so, she's built strong relationships with clients, some of which became friends. She's also volunteered her services at events such as church festivals and Boston's annual Greek parade.

Penny's role as a graphic designer has evolved into other occupations in recent years. She became a Creative Director at KefiFM, a Greek Internet music station. She also has her own talk show called "Let's Be Real," where she brings in others to talk about health & wellness and offers life advice and opinions and has fun with it.

Penny takes pride in inspiring and empowering others to transform their bodies and minds. She has developed a passion for the world of Fitness, and so she took that passion a step further and had also become a group and personal fitness trainer.

As an entrepreneur and mom of two, she still finds time to put self care first in her life. Since having found her love for fitness, she had won 4th place in a fitness competition in April 2019. In November 2020, during the pandemic, she decided to compete again and won 3rd place. She hopes to win 1st place one day!

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Doretta Mistras
Managing Director, Citi Healthcare Investment Banking

Doretta Mistras is a Managing Director in the Healthcare Investment Banking Division of Citigroup, based in New York.  She has spent her career in financial service advising leading executives of Fortune 100 and emerging healthcare companies.

Doretta began her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs.  While at Goldman, Doretta advised on over $200 billion of financing and M&A transactions for clients in the healthcare industry.  After 15 years, Doretta was recruited by Citi to help lead the group’s coverage of its Healthcare Technology and Outsourcing Practice.

Doretta is highly involved in mentoring both professionally and within the Greek community.  At Citi, she is a member of the Professional Women’s network and also a member of the recruiting effort for the healthcare group.

Doretta is also on the boards of the National Hellenic Society and the PaneHellenic Scholarship Foundation where she has dedicated countless hours assisting other young professions in networking and career advancement.  She also volunteers for the Hellenic Initiative as a New Leader, helping to spread the word about the work of the organization.

Doretta earned a dual degree from the University of Pennsylvania, receiving both a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in Spanish and International Studies from The College of Arts and Sciences.

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Christina Moniodis
Vice President of Business Development & Innovation

Christina Moniodis is an Ivy League attorney who has led and developed multiple business endeavors. Her career has spanned many roles: corporate attorney, Chief of Staff at HuffPost, Head of Strategy at Verizon’s news division, and now VP of Business Development and Innovation for Like Minded Media Ventures.

Christina graduated from Yale Law School, where she was Projects Editor for The Yale Law Journal and a Coker Fellow in Constitutional Law. Christina published on a constitutional right to data privacy, and she is extensively cited by the Supreme Court of India in its landmark decision recognizing data privacy rights. As a law student, Christina served in the White House Counsel's Office on Justice Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination team and also drafted Supreme Court amicus briefs for the White House.

Christina has a passion for building new products and ideas, which led her to apply her legal background to forming new ventures. As an attorney at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP she did this through specializing in investment fund formation. With a drive to become more immersed in the business side, Christina moved beyond her legal practice to become Global Chief of Staff at HuffPost. She was then promoted to Head of Strategy for Verizon’s news division, which included HuffPost, Yahoo News and Aol.com.

The continued drive to build products led Christina to work with startups. She moved to Greece in 2019 and served as an Executive-in-Residence at VentureFriends. She was then recruited to join Antler’s inaugural Accelerator cohort in New York to continue her passion for digital media innovation. From there, it was a natural fit to join Like Minded Media Ventures as Vice President to oversee partnerships, monetization, and special projects, including A Starting Point -- a groundbreaking, non-partisan civic engagement platform.

Christina serves on the Board for The Hellenic Initiative’s New Leaders, where she also is a startup advisor.

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Marily Nika
Senior AI Product Manager at Google & Co-founder at Geekettes

Based in San Francisco, Marily Nika works for Google as a Speech AI Product Manager, where she works in Speech technologies that enable voice recognition capabilities. Marily is also a part-time Teaching Fellow for Harvard Business School’s Analytics where she runs a forum series on Product Management.

Dr. Marily Nika was the first Greek woman to receive Google’s prestigious Anita Borg scholarship in 2011, which allowed her to pursue a PhD in Computer Science at Imperial College London’s Computing Science department where she worked with epidemic modeling. Moreover, Marily is a member of British Mensa High IQ Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a leader with a vision about making the future better by using technology.

Marily is not only an outstanding researcher; outside of her day job, she dedicates her life to supporting and championing the Women in Tech community and has as a life goal to aspire the current and next generation of women to pursue a career in technology. Marily is a co-founder of the Geekettes, a platform dedicated to helping aspiring and established women in tech.

Marily delivered three TEDx talks and has received international recognition for her work including the: Woman of the Year Award in 2018 (everywoman), Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Influence Award in 2015 and medal of Outstanding Excellence by Imperial College London in 2015.

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Kosta Papasideris
Lead Applications Engineer at Enchanted Rock, LLC; Co-Founder & Executive Director of The Houston Greek Film Festival; Co-Founder of GreekinHouston

Kosta Papasideris is an entrepreneur and leader in Houston’s Greek community. Kosta was born and raised in Houston, the son of Greek immigrants from the Aegean islands. Having grown up in his family’s restaurant business, Kosta developed a strong foundation for a life of hard work, early mornings, and serving others.

At age 27, Kosta was elected to the Parish Council of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the largest parish in the Diocese of Denver, having over 1,000 families. Kosta remains the youngest person ever elected. He has served successive terms in offices of consistently increasing responsibility and now, at age 37, is the Treasurer of AGOC’s Parish Council, responsible for handling a parish budget of over $2 million.

Kosta has created several ventures designed to benefit the Greek-American community in Houston. In 2011, Kosta co-founded GreekinHouston, a multi-platform source for Greek events, news, and the only searchable directory of Greek businesses and organizations in the Houston area. In 2018, Kosta co-founded the Houston Greek Film Festival, where he serves as Executive Director. In its fourth year, it is the only home for Greek film in the Gulf Coast region.

Kosta is extremely active in church youth programs and its Greek Festival, serving as Altar leader, youth basketball coach, youth group leader, and Greek dance leader for many years.

Kosta received a BS degree in Electronics Engineering Technology from Texas A&M University and is a US patent holder. He has worked as an Electrical Engineer and team leader in the offshore oil and gas service sector and most recently in electrical power generation for Enchanted Rock, LLC, which provides natural gas resiliency microgrids to commercial and institutional customers. The company was the recent winner of Ernst & Young’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year (Technology Sector) Award.

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Sophia Papoulias
Owner of Sugarista

Sophia has a very diverse background in business and art, two vastly different industries that she would eventually bring together. She studied graphic design at the Art Institute of Los Angeles, which allowed her to begin working as a part-time freelance designer while also working as a property manager overseeing multiple large single-family communities. When Sophia was ready to start a family, she decided to leave property management and focus more on freelance design.

Sophia’s passion, however, is art. Growing up, she was always drawing, painting and being creative. Sophia also enjoys baking, and in her free time would concoct desserts that were not only delicious, but visually stunning. Her desserts were always admired at social gatherings, and Sophia was always encouraged to start her own business. Her appetite for art wasn’t being fulfilled as a freelance designer, so in 2017 Sophia decided to marry her two passions, baking and art, and started Sugarista.

Sugarista is a boutique baking and catering company based in Orange County, California, specializing in decorative and craft desserts - with an emphasis on sugar cookies. What makes Sugarista stand alone is Sophia’s ability to decorate a cookie like a piece of art. The attention to detail is immaculate, which is why professional sporting organizations, celebrities and Fortune 500 companies have all hired her to provide cookies and desserts for various events. She has also been contracted by Disney for various projects.

Throughout the years, Sophia has been actively part of the Greek-American community, and continues to support many Greek-American organizations however she can. In the past, Sophia has volunteered her time as part of the management team of the annual Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival, and now through Sugarista, she currently supports many of the organizations at her church in Long Beach, CA. Having Cretan roots, Sophia also makes it a point to support the local Pan-Cretan chapters here in the greater Los Angeles area, and is a supporting sponsor of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival every year.

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Paul Pavlakos
Associate, International Tax at KPMG

Paul Pavlakos, is currently a Tax Associate in the International Tax Department of KPMG LLP in New York, NY. In this role, he specializes in tax compliance, consulting, and other tax services for large multinational corporations, assessing the international tax consequences of multinational operations and international transactions.

With a brief background in computer science and technology, Paul also leverages the intersection of tax law and technology to create scenario modeling tools, data analysis programs, and automation services for clients. Paul received a Bachelor's degree in International Affairs from Florida State University, graduated Magna Cum Laude from FSU College of Law, and received an LLM in Taxation from New York University.

Paul has been heavily involved in philanthropic efforts in the Hellenic community throughout the years, serving as President of his local GOYA chapter as a teenager, teaching Hellenic dance for ten years to multiple age groups in multiple parishes, and being an active leader and member of the Sons of Pericles and AHEPA family at-large. He served from 2019-2020 as the Supreme President of the Sons of Pericles, after spending several years resurrecting the organization throughout the state of Florida and forming its first State Board/District Lodge in decades.

During his tenure as Supreme President, Paul strived to continue expanding the international nonprofit organization and succeeded in doubling the SOP’s international membership, instituting digital infrastructures for membership tracking and payment processing, and advocating for Hellenic issues including Greek Genocide recognition, mitigating the European migrant crisis, and protecting the security of Greece’s territorial and economic borders.

As of 2020, Paul now serves as the founder and co-chair of Greece 200, a program created and designed to empower Hellenic youth by giving them a leading voice in the upcoming international celebrations of the Bicentennial of Modern Greece in 2021.

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Pamela (Panagiota) Rizos
Director of Strategic Alliances at Merck

As Director of Strategic Alliances at Merck, Pamela manages scientific collaborations for the discovery and development of novel medicines. After completing her undergraduate studies at St. John’s University with a double major in Biology and Chemistry, Pamela established a long-standing career at Merck, where she started as an analytical chemist. She later took on project management roles and led drug development teams through strategy development, operational execution, regulatory agency approval, and commercialization. Pamela has supported research and development of several important medicines for debilitating diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis C, Oncology, Alzheimer’s disease, amongst others. Most recently, she played a key role in quickly establishing a collaboration to develop COVID therapeutics.

While working at Merck, Pamela obtained a Master of Science in Chemistry from Lehigh University, an MBA from Rutgers University, and project management certifications. She is passionate about continuous learning and shares her own knowledge and experience through scientific publications, participation in industry conference panels, and mentoring her colleagues.

Pamela was selected for a highly competitive volunteer assignment and worked with Population Services International, a non-profit organization to reduce maternal mortality rates in developing countries. She and her colleagues traveled to clinics throughout Nepal to assess challenges and developed comprehensive training that enables healthcare providers to inform women about safe contraceptive methods.

She also actively contributes to her community through various roles and causes. In addition to volunteering at food banks, hospitals, and other organizations to help those in need in her local and Greek communities, she is a member of the Board of Directors for her residential association, where she has focused on taking measures in response to COVID-19 as well as other quality-of-life improvements.

Pamela is committed to improving world health and bettering communities, as is reflected by her professional and personal endeavors.

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Eleni Saltas
Author & Blogger

After earning a degree in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Utah in 2014, Eleni Saltas, 29, became a sought-after personal trainer, specializing in care for elderly clients. She created a blog to share her passion for health and fitness, but which also focused on lifestyle, travel and healthy eating. That journey led her to explore her own Greek dietary roots.

She began collecting recipes—plus the anecdotes that went with them—and self-published All You Can Greek: Food, Life, Travel in August 2019. Many of the book’s Greek recipes were gleaned from Eleni’s yiayias, of course. But it also has chapters on travel, positive messaging and overcoming adversity. Importantly, her book speaks to her own millennial generation—and TikTokers!—as they embark upon their own search for their Greek roots, and thus serves as a bridge between the generations.

Thousands of Greeks on every continent have come to know this Salt Lake City, Utah native, a fourth-generation Greek American. Her great-grandparents hail from Roumeli, Olympia and Megara—however, Eleni feels the pull of her Cretan roots most strongly. She’s performed in Greek and Cretan dance groups and is a former Cretan dance instructor. She was editor of Kri-Kri in KPHTH Magazine and served as West Coast Vice President of the Pancretan Youth Association (PYA). While twice serving as a counselor at Ionian Village she finally fell in love with vegetables.

When she’s not rolling dolmades, look for Eleni hiking to the highest peaks of the Wasatch Range overlooking Salt Lake City. You can also find her tending a garden that provides her family and friends with months of herbs, greens and vegetables. Eleni is currently working on her next two books: a second Greek cookbook and a life lesson and story guide.

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Lena Saltos
Associate General Counsel, Global Director of Intellectual Property at Urban Outfitters, Inc.

Lèna Saltos is a lawyer whose transnational practice is focused on the interface between intellectual property law, technology and advertising in the fashion and lifestyle industries. She is currently the Associate General Counsel, Global Director of Intellectual Property at URBN Urban Outfitters, Inc. and is responsible for managing the intellectual property, licensing, brand strategy, and social media matters for URBN’s brands. Prior to URBN, Lèna was a Senior Associate at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP where she focused on complex commercial litigation and intellectual property law and represented a wide range of clients in the financial, art, and retail industries. Active in the intellectual property bar, she serves as a trustee of the Copyright Society and is a voting member of the NYC Bar Association Fashion Law Committee. Lèna regularly speaks publicly and publishes articles on cutting edge topics related to intellectual property law and policy related to fashion retail and the international art market.

Currently, Lèna is also a candidate in Columbia University’s Executive MBA program, where she is a member of the Student Leadership and Ethics Board, which is focused on promoting principled leadership throughout the Columbia Business School community.

Lèna is committed to preserving New York City as a production center of art and serves as a member on a number of arts-related non-profit boards. Of note, she serves as a trustee to the International Studio and Curatorial Program, a Brooklyn-based international residency program, where she has worked to bring Greek artists to residency in New York. Lèna is also a member of the board and secretary of the American Friends of the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum. She is also a founding trustee of the Art and Antiquities Blockchain Consortium, an organization exploring digital solutions to track provenance and facilitate restitution of cultural objects.

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George Scandalis
Actor, Playwright, Producer & Author

As a first generation Greek Canadian, George has a deep rooted passion for Hellenic culture and art that was fostered by his parents and the Greek diaspora in Toronto, Canada. By the age of four, George was dancing with the Cretan Association of Toronto Knossos, and then joined the renowned Nefeli Theatre Arts group within the Greek Community of Toronto. By his late teens he taught Modern and Greek Folkloric dance as well as continued to perform.

He followed his passion for Greek culture and arts to Greece in 2004 to work as a professional actor and entertainer, and found success on Alpha Channel’s Dream Show. This granted him the opportunity to tour broadly in Greece in many different theatrical roles, as well as perform on network television as both actor and host. In the span of his career on stage, he has performed in over 30 theatrical shows.

His time in Greece created a strong and lasting foundation for which to launch his “second act” as a playwright, director and producer a decade later in Toronto. In 2016, George wrote his first original modern Greek play, “Η ΕΠΙΛΟΓΗ”; he also founded Ten Tone Productions which subsequently staged the play to sold-out audiences. This was followed thereafter by sold-out productions of two additional original works, “ΤΟ ΟΝΟΜΑ ΜΟΥ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΕΥΑ” 2017 and “ΟΙ ΕΡΩΣΥΛΙΕΣ” in 2018. In 2019, George continued to support Greek community engagement in the arts through the production of the first Greek Artist Expo 2019 title “She”, with a focus on showcasing Greek diaspora female artists and performers. His latest endeavour was the launch of “LMGAO – Laugh My Greek Ass Off”, a stand-up comedy event with a focus on the Greek- Canadian experience.

His proudest accomplishment is the publication of his first original book of poetry in December of 2019 based on his most recent stage play, “Οι Ερωσυλίες της Ερωφίλης” by Εκδόσεις Λογότυπο, Athens.

His love for his culture and traditions, and desire to create a community that appreciates and supports original art is a driving factor in his efforts. George Scandalis has accomplished what many in our community still find difficult to do - bridge the language gap and unite the first generation and new Greek arrivals to North America. He is inspiring the next generation to engage, perform, and support Greek theatre as a way to keep our traditions alive and promote the Hellenic arts. Since its inception, Ten Tone Productions did not selectively scout its performers, but held open auditions to identify and nurture new talent in the community. This may seem as an unwarranted risk for a production company whose brand and future were based on the success of its early endeavors. However, a founding principle of Ten Tone Productions was to develop new artists and give back to the local community that had supported so much of George’s early experiences in theatre and dance performance.

He has leveraged his production company to promote other Greek talent including graphic artists, singers, dancers, sound technicians and general contractors, and to sponsor or host multiple charity events including Χαμογελο Ζοις, CureSPG50, Reaching for the Stars, and the Hellenic Home for the Aged.

George is working on his next project and is looking forward to staging it in the near future.

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Vasileia (Leia) Sergakis
Host, Motivational Speaker and Comedian

Vasileia “Leia” Sergakis, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to a supportive and loving Greek-American family. Wanting to advocate for those in need, she went to the University of Utah where she received a B.A. in pre-law with an emphasis on Argumentation and Conflict Resolution at the age of 19. Having experienced many tribulations in her young adult life, Vasileia decided to publicly voice her experience to help others navigate through life and created a show named “Table for One” (currently evolving into a new project), where she used humor to tackle pressing wellness topics. Two years later, her show was picked up by a large talk show streaming platform. Then, 26-year-old Vasileia, moved to Los Angeles and started to book credible events that aligned with her mission.

She was a presenter on multiple occasions at BeautyCon, alongside A-list celebrities, and was a panelist for a crowd of 60k+ people. Vasileia has worked the red-carpet at notable ceremonies such as the Oscars, Golden Globes, MTV Awards, BET Awards, and the ESPYS, and later emceed the Oscars’ Luxury Gala. She also hosted for the Greek Reporter at the LA Greek Film Festival.

Vasileia’s lifelong love for animals led her to work directly with PETA, the Gentle Barn, Endangered Species Coalition and Best Friends Animal Society, both with fundraising and caring for animals. As of late, Vasileia has taken an interest in the beauty sector and only partners with cruelty-free/eco-friendly brands. Her high regard for animals inspired her to become 100% vegan, and now educates others on how to properly nourish themselves mind, body and spirit.

Having lost her Papou to Alzheimer’s in 2018, Vasileia became California’s advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association and helps raise awareness and highlights the importance of funding prevention programs. Vasileia aims to use her abilities as a host, speaker and comedian to be a catalyst for change through humor, joy, love and example.

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Matina Stergiopoulos
Assistant Principal at the Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District John F. Kennedy High School, Vice President of the Archangel Michael Greek Language Institute School Board

Dr. Matina Stergiopoulos holds an Ed.D. in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education from the Johns Hopkins University. Her dissertation, The impact of parental involvement on urban high school students’ delinquent behavior: Technology workshops as a pathway to school-based parental engagement, explores the relationship between parent technology workshops and students’ propensity for detentions, suspensions, and expulsions. Matina also holds a Post- Masters Certificate in Educational Leadership from Stony Brook University, a M.Ed. in Secondary Education Curriculum and Instruction from The George Washington University, and a B.A. in English from Fordham University.

Matina has served in various capacities as an educator for over 16 years, working domestically and internationally in the public and private sectors. Currently, she serves as an Assistant Principal in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District. Her consistent dedication to all students, serving as an unapologetic student advocate and champion for student equity and access, set her apart as a true educator.

Aside from her devotion to her profession, she is a devout Greek Orthodox Christian and serves as the Vice President of the Greek School Board at the Archangel Michael Greek Language Institute in Port Washington, NY. Her efforts in this role have led to an increase in registrations; the AMC GLI (afternoon school) has over 250 students enrolled, and the program has expanded to four days. She has assisted in revising the curriculum and offering new collaborations to improve the overall quality of this growing school. As the Vice President of the Greek School Board, Matina combines her professional talents as well as her passion for Greek culture to serve the greater community by consulting with school personnel and volunteering her time.

Matina married Dr. Sotirios Stergiopoulos, CEO of A2A Pharmaceuticals in 2004. She is the proud mother of Georgios (12) and Argyrios (8), both nationally ranked shotput throwers.

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Demetri Themelis
Co-Founder, Knock Inc.

Demetri Gus Themelis is Co-Founder of Seattle-based Knock, Inc., a provider of lead management software to large multifamily real estate companies. By helping leasing professionals remain highly engaged with prospective renters and residents, Knock improves both their customers’ experience and the financial performance of their assets.

Knock has won multiple awards for innovation in real estate technology and has earned recognition several times as a “Best Place to Work” and “Fastest Growing Company” in Seattle. Knock has raised over $40M in venture capital, created more than 100 jobs, and serves over 1.5M apartment units in 6,000+ apartment buildings across the United States and Canada.

Prior to founding Knock, Demetri lived in New York City and worked as an Equities Sales Specialist for the Swiss bank, UBS. He earned his undergraduate degree in business at the University of Washington.

Demetri is a 4th generation Greek-American but his parents and family made sure he participated in every Greek tradition growing up. “When I was 15 my Theo sent me to Greece to spend the summer with my relatives. That experience motivated me to learn the language and develop a deeper connection with Greece and other Greeks.”

Demetri is an active member of the Seattle Greek community. He has served previously on the local Orthodox youth summer camp board and is excited to serve on St. Demetrios Parish Council in 2021. He plans to one day build a “horio” with his friends as both a retirement community and cultural preservation center.

“When I think about it, nearly every positive and affirming experience I’ve had stems from my connection to the Greek community: my closest friendships; the scholarships that helped me pay for school; landing my first job; the families who took me in as a young professional unable to travel home for holidays; the very first investors in my business; and the incredible number of role models who have guided my personal and professional development. You simply can’t grow up as a Greek-American and not possess a desire to pay forward the incredible contributions made by all the Greeks in this country.”

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Fay Vlahu Scott
Director of Strategy at VSA Partners

Curiosity killed the cat, but Fay survived.

As the the daughter of a recent immigrant mother from Greece, Fay was brought up as a global citizen - living in 5 countries, attending 11 schools, and in a household where English was the second language. These experiences lit a fire of undying curiosity to understand societal bonds and examine and predict human behavior and perceptions.

Having worked with many of the world's leading companies over the past 12 years including Google, IBM, Coca-Cola, AT&T and TD Bank, she applies this relentless curiosity to find unseen opportunities for businesses to add new value to their customers’ lives, all derived from a deep understanding of who they are, what they want, and why they want it.

From repositioning a brand with 100+ years of heritage to reversing a 20 year decline in soda sales - Fay doesn’t believe solutions are necessarily found traveling the roads already taken, but with her uncanny ability to trust her gut, she forges new paths following where the data takes her.

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Emmanuel Vozos
Digital Media Producer and Founder of American Octopus Productions

Emmanuel Vozos is an award-winning filmmaker and media producer from New Jersey with experience in broadcasting, advertising and higher education marketing. He recently joined MarchingOrder, an events technology company, partnering with schools and universities around the world to produce memorable live and virtual commencement ceremonies.

As the former Director of Digital Media Production at Kean University, he oversaw hundreds of projects, including video and photography, live events, social media strategy, website redesign and brand development.

He was nominated for a 2020 NY Emmy Award for producing Kean’s Liberty Hall 360: Revolutionary Wedding, an innovative student-driven film that combined historical research with cutting-edge technology to create an immersive virtual reality experience.

In 2016, Vozos started American Octopus Productions, collaborating with clients like McGraw Hill Education and D’Artagnan Food to launch new products and strengthen community ties. This fall, American Octopus unveiled an atmospheric video art installation at the new Whole Foods Market location at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards.

To celebrate his heritage (and his love of food), last year he partnered with New Jersey’s legendary Greek Store to produce a video highlighting tsoureki, Greek Easter bread, making thousands of viewers happy and hungry.

He is active with the Pan-Karpathian Foundation, a group focused on preserving the traditions of Karpathos, his family’s home island. He served on the organizing committees for the annual Scholarship Awards and Memorial Mnimosino Program for several years.

He is an honors graduate of Seton Hall University, where he continues to serve as an alumni mentor, and an 18-year veteran of Camp Fatima of New Jersey, a volunteer organization dedicated to providing no-cost programming to children and adults with developmental disabilities.

As a tribute to his late grandmother, he is committed to fighting Alzheimer’s Disease. His team, Yiayia’s Flyers, has raised thousands for the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

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