Greek America’s Forty Under 40: Class of 2022
Irene Anargyrou, a proud Hellene who now lives in Toronto, is a banker by day and a radio personality by night.
Irene finished her bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Patras, Greece. Soon after, in 2017, the Greek feeling of migration and her determination for success, motivated Irene to move to Canada where she continued her studies in international business management at Georgian College.
Currently, Irene is an Investment Consultant and a Financial Advisor at the Toronto Dominion Bank, one of Canada’s largest bank organizations.
Irene has being teaching Greek Language in Toronto Greek Schools and has helped coordinate and implement school events and positively develop school curriculum for more than 5 years.
Irene is the co-host of the Doralicious Show on Agape Greek Radio, which airs in Toronto, Ottawa and online, every week, the show has become a staple for the Greek Canadian diaspora. She uses this platform to showcase stories, interview people and give voice to everything that has roots in Greece and needs to be heard. In 2020, Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) awarded the Doralicious Show the best radio show in Canada.
In addition, Irene co-hosts and co-organizes Agape Greek Radio’s Music & Fashion Show that showcases Greek artists and designers, which raises money for multiple charities in Greece and Canada. Irene is also part of the organizing committee for the inaugural Greek International Film Festival of Toronto (GIFFT).
In 2019, Irene joined Toronto’s community theatre scene and played the leading role of Kondylenia. She brought life to a true story that originated in Le;kada, Greece. The live theatre play “Kondylenia Tou Nisiou” which went on to become a sold-out performance across multiple Canadian cities, such as Toronto and Montreal, and it is soon to be performed on the island of Lefkada where the story began.
Teddy's specialty is crafting and executing persuasive messaging strategies to influence government, media and consumer decision-making. His practice includes, but is not limited to, developing go-to-market, branding and sales strategies, sourcing and negotiating strategic partnerships, and leading crisis, government, litigation and media communications.
Teddy’s current clientele ranges from established artists such as Kanye West and Travis Scott to multinational companies and venture-backed startups in artificial intelligence, cannabis, crypto-mining, entertainment, fashion, hospitality and web3. His client work has been featured in over 100 media outlets, ranging from the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone Magazine and Complex.
Previously, Ted served as senior counsel at Wyndham Worldwide, a hospitality company, where he led the Company’s public affairs work, advised on strategic partnerships and acquisitions, and negotiated licensing and distribution deals.
While at Wyndham, Ted founded Politech, a since-acquired non-partisan political technology and strategy firm in 2017, which scaled to over 600 clients in 33 states. Clients included current U.S. governors, U.S. Senators, Members of Congress and state and local legislators. In addition to Politech, Teddy is a partner in two socially-conscious venture firms focused on early-stage investments in the entertainment and cryptocurrency industries, respectively.
Before entering the private sector, Teddy served as one of the youngest executive appointees for the New York Governor, where he was responsible for developing legislation and policies for the state’s emerging fintech, insurtech, and cryptocurrency industries, in addition to being a senior speechwriter. Before his political appointment, Ted served on both President Obama's 2012 and 2008 campaigns and graduated law school on a full merit scholarship.
A first-and-half generation Greek American, Teddy's family hails from Northern Greece - Kastoria and North Epirus - and he has been a committed member of the Greek American community since childhood. He is a founding member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council, served as a political commentator for Kathimerini newspaper, and is now a proud member of the Greek America Foundation.
Antigone Argyriou is a double board-certified physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R), and Pain Medicine. PM&R physicians (also known as physiatrists) treat injuries, illnesses, and disabilities using comprehensive multi-modal treatments such as physical therapy, medications, and lifestyle modifications. She performs minimally invasive procedures using ultrasound and x-ray guidance including epidural injections, nerve blocks, joint injections, and spinal cord stimulation to maximize function and improve one’s overall quality of life. She is also presently training in medical acupuncture.
She holds multiple leadership positions, has authored several chapters in medical textbooks, and has given lectures in her specialty locally, nationally, and internationally.
She currently practices at South Shore Neurologic Associates in New York, where she serves as the Director of Pain Medicine. She trained at Montefiore Hospital, where she served as chief resident her final year. As a medical intern, she was awarded the Intern of the Year Award. During her PM&R residency, she was awarded the Leo M. Davidoff Society Award that honors those who have made significant contributions to medical education.
When not treating patients, she gives back to her community through multiple volunteer positions. She has served as the President of the New York Society of PM&R and went on to serve as the Chair of the National PM&R State Society Council of Presidents. She is also a current Board Member for the Hellenic Medical Society of New York, who honored her with the President’s Award in 2019. More recently, she was selected by the Board of Governors of the American Academy of PM&R as one of only ten physicians nationwide to serve in the National Future Leaders Program.
Despite her extensive professional accomplishments, she remains humble, grounded, and grateful. She is not only a great physician and leader, but a wonderful human being who is always willing to serve her family, her friends, and her community.
Maria Avgitidis Pyrgiotakis is the CEO of Agape Match, an award winning matchmaking service based out of NYC, and the host of the dating and relationship podcast, Ask a Matchmaker. She is also the co-founder of the Matchmakers Alliance, which serves as a trade association to over 300 matchmakers collaborating to better serve their clients.
A trail blazer in the dating industry, Maria provides an intuitive perspective to help guide singles out of dating fatigue and into fun, happy, and healthy relationships. Maria’s dating advice has been featured on The NY Times, The Washington Post, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Esquire, Elle, and many other outlets.
Maria studied at the American College of Greece - Deree College and received her Bachelors in International Business and European Affairs. As a debate team scholarship recipient she traveled to several countries throughout her academic career to represent Deree College at many tournaments including two European Debate Championships. She received her Masters at NYU in Global Affairs.
Before becoming CEO, she worked in the Foreign Commercial Service at the US Embassy in Athens, for NBC as a talent runner for Athens 2004 Olympics and interned for Senator Bob Menendez.
Maria uses her social media and podcast platforms to bring awareness to issues affecting her community, from children experiencing food insecurity to a local shelter needing funds for domestic violence survivors. Her #AskaMatchmaker Wednesdays on Instagram have raised thousands of dollars for causes she cares about. She also volunteers with the youth of St. George Piscataway coaching Greek Theater for their annual Sights & Sounds competition.
She is married to Dr. Georgios Pyrgiotakis, a materials engineer, inventor, and Senior Principal Scientist at Bristol Myers Squibb. They are the proud parents of Yianni (4) and Alexandra (2).
Theofanis found his love for soccer at a young age. At 23 years old, he founded a youth soccer club based out of Lowell, MA, with the goal of providing affordable but professional coaching to the local soccer players. In two years’ time, the club grew to over 200 players. Before turning 26, he had sold the club to another local youth soccer club with the goal of working together to provide an even better experience & learning environment for the players, regardless of financial circumstances or constraints.
In 2017, Theo sent a pair of cleats to a player’s family member in a village in Brazil. The whole village ended up asking for cleats since no one had any. Theo ended up founding a nonprofit organization called “United Through Football.” The organization made it a mission to provide every player in Serra Dos Aimores, Brazil, with cleats, balls and uniforms to be able to play soccer. To further this mission, United Through Football partnered up with MPOWRD, a company that provides these families with a sustainable light source through solar power.
Since then, the foundation has made trips to the Republic of Congo, Mexico, Camp Eleonas in Athens, Greece, and Panama allowing thousands of children the opportunity to dream while distributing close to 1,000 solar lights in communities that needed them. Locally, Theo’s organization has provided free clinics to the youth in the surrounding communities to simply inspire them to love the game.
A recent honoree of the “Heroes Among Us” award from the Boston Celtics, Theo has committed to giving the beautiful game of soccer back to those that need it most.
As a young boy, Theo spent his summers in Greece. When he would walk through the agora with his grandmother and mother, he was influenced by men from fruit stands who would offer food to the without even batting an eye. When he had asked his mother & grandmother why the men were doing this, the answer was simple: “It’s what Greeks do.”
Steven Calakos attended Rowan University and earned his Bachelor of Arts degrees in Elementary Education and Theatre. He is an award-winning teacher and theatre director having taught in Vineland Public Schools in New Jersey for over eleven years. He served as director of theatre programs at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, initiated and developed the Visual & Performing Arts Academy at Vineland High School, and established professional partnerships with community organizations and regional theaters to offer resources for teachers and students. Steven recognized the need for affordable theatre education programs and co-founded his own theatre production company in 2014 to offer programs for socioeconomically disadvantaged families.
Steven now serves as Director of Education at Gulfshore Playhouse where his primary mission is to make theatre education more accessible for students of all ages. He oversees and executes comprehensive, interdisciplinary arts education programs, in addition to leading efforts in community outreach and engagement. He develops and facilitates professional development workshops centered on drama-based pedagogy and serves as a theatre arts education consultant for Collier County Public Schools. Most recently, Steven directed an educational touring production telling the story of a local Holocaust survivor.
Steven is also a professional actor, singer, and model with national credits, including being a member of Actors Equity Association, producing and performing in three solo concerts, and appearing in several television ads and feature films.
Steven was an active member of the St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Church in Vineland, New Jersey where he served as GOYA advisor for nine years. He also served on staff at Ionian Village in 2017. He is now a member of St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church in Naples, Florida. Steven is married to Marina Floratos, previous Program Director at Ionian Village and current Senior Event Manager at Event Strategy Group.
Dr. Eleni Dimitriadis is a board-certified family physician in Canton, Ohio. Born and raised in Albany, New York she grew up with the church being a significant part of her life. Growing up she was involved in many activities with the church such as: Sunday school, Greek school, Greek dance, and GOYA.
She later attended Syracuse University where she received her Bachelor of Science. She taught English as a second language to undergraduate students and served as a role model for at risk youth in the Big Brother, Big Sister programs prior to medical school in New York.
Upon graduation, Eleni pursued her dream of being a physician and attending University of Medicine and Health Sciences in St. Kitts receiving her medical doctorate. During this time, she participated in multiple programs that served to educate future clinicians on the many health disparities that exist around delivery of care including undetected cancers, the AIDS virus, transmission and prevention strategies, and served in multiple food drives. Dr. Dimitriadis’ list of research activities are vast and include: The study of hormones and their role in reproductive behavior, religious orientation, aging, and blood pressure relationship to cognitive stressors, and computer-based interventions for disabilities.
Today, she is actively involved in her parish community of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, in Canton, Ohio where she and her husband, Yianni, raise their 2 young children, Sofia and Niko, and participate in the many activities that the church life affords. Currently, Eleni is an urgent care physician for the Cleveland Clinic hospital system where she loves ensuring her patients receive quality medical care and helping them work towards better health.
“If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This adage has driven Konstandina Dulu since childhood. Her Greek heritage and treasured family histories reinforced the concept of philotimo to inspire her career in philanthropy. Konstandina graduated with a BA in History and Cultural Anthropology with honors from Northern Illinois University (2009). She then received her Master’s in Public History from Loyola University Chicago (2012). Throughout her studies and early career, she worked for various museums, archives, and foundations in and around Chicago. Her philanthropic career evolved into becoming a grant professional. She currently works as the Grant Development Manager for the American Society of Anesthesiologists, a nonprofit medical education society.
During her 15+ years of nonprofit work, she has helped raise more than $13 million in program support and has been privileged to distribute $4.8 million in respiratory related medical research. She has been honored to help create sustainable million-dollar programs to ensure talented people have yearly dependable support.
“I’ve learned that stories of the past, when told well, shape the future. Grant writing in the nonprofit world has given me the honor of telling others’ stories to secure life-giving programs. It’s the story, inherent in any struggle, that draws people and resources together. I get to improve quality of life for patients across the U.S. by providing cutting-edge tech and education to talented physicians. I get to turn past health and equity hardships into future healthy outcomes. I achieve beyond what I can do by myself through securing grant funding.”
Konstandina furthers her impact by serving on the boards of urban organic farms and professional associations. She feels blessed to not “work”-but to use her passion and skills to create change while being lovingly supported by her husband, son, and extended family.
Kosta received his undergraduate degree and MBA from Cornell University. He is currently working with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a global tech consulting and IT services company. As Operations Head of Ohio Delivery Centers, he is managing a leadership team that supports 1000+ TCS associates in 3 facilities.
Understanding the importance of community involvement, Kosta sits on the Board of Trustees for HealthSource of Ohio, a nonprofit primary and preventative healthcare provider with 15 locations for nearly 60,000 unique patients. He also represents TCS in partnerships with the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.
In order to serve the needs of food insecure families in his area, Kosta established the Grow+ community garden initiative. Along with TCS Cincinnati’s IoT (Internet of Things) Innovation Lab, they’ve created a "Smart Garden" solution for remote monitoring and automated watering. This, in an effort to maximize harvest yields in smaller garden plots. In the 4 years since the garden’s inception, and with the support of many co-workers, the campus has donated over 2000 pounds of vegetables to local food banks and to ~500 nearby families.
This year, the Grow+ “garden-in-a-box” kit, is introducing students to gardening in their classrooms with a lesson plan focusing on the intersection of STEM and agriculture. Additionally, Kosta speaks at local Earth Day events on community gardening and its benefit to mental health & wellness.
Kosta is an avid Cleveland sports fan and plays in recreational soccer, basketball, and softball leagues. He recently finished the Brooklyn Half Marathon and has completed the full NYC Marathon. With a personal sense of achievement, he has climbed to the peak of Mount Olympus near his father’s side of the family in Katerini and next plans to conquer the Samaria Gorge, near where his mother’s side is located in Crete.
Panagis Galiatsatos, MD, MHS is an Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and a physician in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He is co-chair of the Johns Hopkins Health Equity Steering Committee and is the co-director and co-founder of Medicine for the Greater Good.
During the pandemic, he assisted in vaccine equity throughout the City of Baltimore, cared for patients in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Units, and assisted in establishing post-COVID-19 care. Further, his community outreach resulted in an international curriculum for youth on COVID-19 and hundreds of townhalls to assist in the global communities understanding of the pandemic and how to play a role in ending the crisis.
His additional clinical responsibilities center on critical care services in adult populations, Director of the Tobacco Treatment Clinic at Johns Hopkins Medicine, Associate Director of The Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia Center of Clinical Excellence, and Physician in The Obstructive Lung Disease Group at Johns Hopkins Medicine and in the post-COVID-19 acute clinic.
He has authored books and over 80 research articles on community engagement and its impact on health and health equity.
John is an accomplished Greek American businessman and corporate executive. At 37, he became one of the youngest CIO’s and top executives of a publicly traded company and has worked under legendary leaders such as Advertising tycoon Sir Martin Sorrell and political strategist, Mark Penn.
He spent his early childhood in Kefalonia and graduated from the Technology Institute of Argostoli, with a degree in Computer Science. He later attended St. John’s University earning a degree in Communications and Business.
After working in Finance, he started his long-term career in Advertising, working for agencies like Y&R and Wunderman overseeing their technology infrastructure. In 2010 he was appointed by the advertising mogul Sir Martin Sorrell to help transform WPP Group, the largest communications and marketing holding company in the world with a $20B Market Cap. After a successful 10-year tenure, he left WPP to join political pollster and strategist Mark Penn to help transform MDC Partners, a billion-dollar holding company that was in turmoil.
He was appointed Global Chief Information Officer for MDC and was responsible for leading the Group’s IT transformation in preparation for the merger with The Stagwell Group. He accelerated the transformation and in less than one year successfully delivered $25M in operational savings and built a state-of-the-art cloud-based office space at One WTC (World Trade Center), which was designed to drive collaboration between 13 of the Group’s agencies and set the standard blueprint on future consolidations and buildouts. His strategy helped the organization navigate challenging and evolving technology demands during a global pandemic and his efforts largely contributed to help position the merger for success, driving the stock price from $1.97 to $9.20, and ultimately grew the company from a $1B market cap to $2B.
He previously served as Vice President of Global Technology at MDC and formed an internship program for the group which onboarded many young students, helping them grow and identify their career path. Many of the interns were Greek Americans, who have now been hired post-graduation by prestigious global organizations.
He currently resides in Long Island NY with his wife Natasha, who is also an accomplished corporate executive having worked for companies such as Barclays, WPP, AOL and Disney. They have three beautiful children, Christos,Tristan and Andriana. When he is not transforming companies, he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling to Greece, and helping his community through charitable donations and philanthropic efforts.
Panayiotis Gialamas is a global, innovative leader with industry expertise in engineering, manufacturing, and supply chain across Fortune 100 companies. His career has spanned roles in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia, where Panayiotis managed influential business transformation projects and led diverse, global teams as an organizational change leader.
At Amazon, Panayiotis is the Global Logistics Program Manager for Amazon Devices, where he is responsible for developing programs in logistics, product placement, and inventory management. Panayiotis began his career as a mechanical engineer for Dow Chemical, a top material science company, where he focused on delivering digital solutions for safer, more reliable operations. He expanded his role to collaborate with teams in India and China to achieve step-change goals in global workshare. In energy technology, Panayiotis led the inbound logistics transformation for the Baker Hughes company by launching a digital logistics product for key businesses across 4 global regions.
Panayiotis earned his Bachelor’s from Northwestern University in Mechanical Engineering and his Master’s from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Mechanical Engineering. In his graduate work, Panayiotis served as Teaching Assistant for both undergraduate and graduate students, and he had the privilege to publish his Master’s work in collaboration with distinguished professors. While working full-time, Panayiotis further expanded his career and earned his M.B.A. at the University of Texas at Austin.
In each academic, professional, and philanthropic setting, Panayiotis has demonstrated the importance of supporting education and career aspirations of young individuals and Greek students. Panayiotis held team roles in Hellenic organizations at the University of California and Northwestern with mentorship roles at the American Community Schools of Athens (ACS Athens) and the National Hellenic Student Association (NHSA). He has been a guest speaker on business leadership and a STEM ambassador for students in the US and in Greece.
As Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Koutsoudakis & Iakovou Law Group (“KI Legal”), Michael Iakovou heads the Firm’s Transactional Department with the goal of giving businesses and their principals the requisite comprehensive legal representation necessary to navigate daily issues and foresight strategy to avoid legal pitfalls when dealmaking. Michael’s entire representative ethos revolves around delivering high-value representation to small businesses, historically reserved for much larger corporations. In just three short years, the Firm has managed to grow from two to thirty employees while simultaneously establishing a multitude of divisions and recently completed a full build out and expansion of a new 10,000 sq foot office on Wall Street.
Notwithstanding his legal experience, Michael’s business success has paved the way to give back. Over the years, he has hosted a plethora of legal seminars, free consultations, and holiday coat drives for underprivileged community members of Astoria and Long Island City in New York. Extending his philanthropy, he led pro-bono work for Holy Trinity St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church of Staten Island (“Holy Trinity”) when it was approached by the Hellenic Classical Charter School. Aided by his Transactional team, Michael lead negotiations on behalf of Holy Trinity culminating with the execution of a 50+ year long term ground lease development deal which all but ensured the parish’s financial security for the next 65 years, while simultaneously perpetuating Hellenism in the greater Staten Island area.
Michael has conducted hospitality advocacy for years with the NYC Hospitality Alliance, alongside KI Legal Co-Founder Andreas Koutsoudakis. Upon discovering that Miami suffered from the same extortionary obstacles, he decided to expand that advocacy by launching not only a KI Legal Miami office but also the Miami Hospitality Alliance, a non-profit entirely dedicated to fighting for hospitality businesses.
Michael’s professional and philanthropic achievements are nothing short but invaluable to his community and the others he serves through his many roles.
Effie Koliopoulos is a writer and arthritis advocate. She was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis at the age of 18, with no prior family history of the disease. Effie graduated with a B.A, in communication (journalism, public relations and screenwriting), from DePaul University in Chicago. During that time, she worked for The Arthritis Foundation- Chicago Chapter. After a seven-year hiatus from arthritis advocacy, Effie returned after undergoing a total knee replacement at 29.
She felt compelled to share her story and thus created her blog. A year later, she was a recipient of the WEGO Health Rookie of the Year Award in Boston. Since then, she has continued to work with the foundation and other top organizations such as, Creaky Joints, Arthritis National Research Foundation, and AiArthritis, to raise arthritis awareness. She’s been featured in Good Housekeeping, Everyday Health, and NewLifeOutlook. As a freelance health writer and digital creator her work centers around arthritis-related topics. This past year she received a grant from the HealtheVoices Impact Fund created by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, to support projects aimed to create change within a community. Effie is currently working on collecting short stories from individuals in the arthritis community, to create a first of its kind photoblog and book.
Effie is also a children’s picture book writer. Her personal challenges and small victories inspire her to write soulful and meaningful stories for kids about self-love, transformation, and empowerment. She incorporates spiritual and religious symbolism within her writing too and is working on pieces that reflect Greek culture. As a first-generation Greek American, Effie has noticed that many in the Greek diaspora, don’t openly talk about their health challenges. She hopes to change that taboo narrative by shining a light on the importance of having these discussions, no matter what people may say or think.
Andreas Koutsoudakis is Co-Managing Partner of Koutsoudakis & Iakovou Law Firm (“KI Legal”). KI Legal gives small businesses the comprehensive legal representation they deserve. Andreas achieves this by using his civil rights, employment defense, and restaurant management experience to successfully represent his clients. Andreas is committed to working for restaurant operators, and the industry as a whole - most notably exemplified in his drafting of the legislation capping 3rd party delivery company fees.
Andreas is the owner of Marathi Greek Bistro - previously “Tribeca’s Kitchen” - which his father owned before tragically passing away from Covid-19. Per his promise to Andy Sr., Andreas has kept his legacy alive by giving back to the Tribeca community - such as raising over $50,000 for protective gear for neighboring hospitals - and leading by example.
Andreas has always fought for restaurants’ business rights. Not only did he help create the New York City Hospitality Alliance, but he is also co-founding the Miami Hospitality Alliance with KI Legal Co-Managing Partner Michael Iakovou – a nonprofit giving Miami operators the industry resources they need - and shares legal resources via his role as President of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce.
As can be seen from Andreas’ business and philanthropic pursuits, he never forgets his roots. For example, he and Iakovou executed a deal to build a school and community center on Holy Trinity St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church grounds in Staten Island - where he was baptized and attended Greek school. His pro-bono work will ensure financial security for the church for 65+ years and bring Socratic education to Staten Island.
Andreas relentlessly leverages his roles and commitments to offer opportunities to those who need it the most - and that is the sign of a true leader and entrepreneur.
Andie has always been intrigued by science and used that passion to guide her studies, career, and philanthropy.
As a second-generation Greek American, with family from both Ikaria and the Kozani region, Andie was heavily involved in the Greek community, from national youth organizations like GOYA and Maids of Athena to Cleveland-area activities such as Hellenic dance. Andie and her husband, Arry, have a one-year-old daughter, Eleni.
Andie’s academic career focused on the intersection of environment, lifestyle, and neuroscience. She attended Kenyon College and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Loyola University Chicago. Her research on the long-term implications of teenage binge drinking was featured in several scientific journals and news media outlets, such as Forbes. Her findings uncovered how habits and environmental exposures can have lasting effects on the brain through molecular mechanisms that are still not fully understood.
This research helps Andie jumpstart conversations about health and the importance of science in our everyday lives. Her goal is to improve the scientific literacy of non-academics by expanding the ways we communicate cutting-edge science to outside audiences. During graduate school, Andie developed several unique programs for trainees, from high school students to public school teachers, looking to gain experience in a research lab. She also helped to grow the Chicago Council on Science and Technology whose mission is to help scientists share their research findings with the community. After becoming a professor at Kenyon, she worked to incorporate unique community engagement opportunities into her courses. She also serves as community advisor to city council on recreation policies.
Andie recently combined these passions into management consulting, where she uses data-backed decisions to help clients solve complex business problems in technology-centered markets like telecommunications, healthcare, and consumer electronics, which allows her to continue learning exciting new things.
Born April 15th 1982, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Peter Liokareas’ roots and family history originate in the remote region of Mani, Greece.
Peter is a fifth-generation olive oil producer and founder of Liokareas Olive Oil, importing the world’s best olive oil to the United States. He is Vice President and second-generation owner of Liokareas Construction Company, Inc. a large commercial general contractor in Pittsburgh, PA.
For over 20 years, Peter has been serving as an advisor/coach for the Holy Cross GOYA of Pittsburgh. He continues to take an active role working with the Diocese of Pittsburgh Youth Athletics.
With an extensive construction background, strong orthodox faith, and love for history, Peter has taken on several charitable church renovation projects in the US, and three historic restoration projects of 14th Century Byzantine churches in Mani, Greece.
In 2015, Peter created the Fair Trade Program in Western Mani. This program helps hundreds of hard working, economically distressed farmers who historically have been taken advantage of by large European trading companies. He implemented this by working hand-in-hand with farmers creating strong demand for this unique olive oil, focused on quality, innovation, health and wellness. Collaborating with the University of Athens, Oleocanthal Society, and UC Davis California, Peter has achieved 85 international quality olive oil awards within the last 3 years. Most notably “The Worlds Healthiest Olive Oil” taking 1st place in the world in Malaga, Spain.
In 2019 Peter created a program to inspire Greek agrotourism in Mani, hosting a trip from the United States to the family farm.
While Peter wears many hats both professionally and philanthropically, his commitment to his family is unparalleled. His favorite moments are spent with his wife, Jessica, and their children in Pittsburgh or on the family farm in Greece.
Born and raised in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Gus Malliaras grew up in the hospitality business as his family owned and operated the iconic New Hellas Café in Detroit’s Greektown, which was opened in 1901 by his great-grandfather.
After years of working in the restaurant, Gus opened a successful Detroit-style Coney Island restaurant in 2008 in Warren, Michigan, which he operated for six years. Aspiring to create a unique wing-focused concept of his own, Gus carefully crafted the Detroit Wing Company brand, offering customers all-natural chicken wings, boneless wings and tenders with a selection of 20 preservative-free, house-made sauces and from-scratch sides.
Since opening its first location in Eastpointe, Michigan in 2015, Detroit Wing Company now has nearly 20 restaurants across Michigan, with an additional 20+ stores in development in Michigan, Ohio and Florida this year.
Under Gus’s leadership, Detroit Wing Company has emerged as Michigan’s #1 destination for chicken wings as ranked by national media outlets such as Esquire, Men’s Health, Delish.com, MSNBC, and INSIDER.com. The brand was also named to QSR Magazine’s 40/40 List in 2022 and has been regularly voted “Best Chicken Wings” by the readers of HOUR Detroit Magazine as well as by the viewers of WDIV-TV Channel 4 (NBC) and more.
Gus has been recognized on the Crain’s Detroit Business 40 Under 40, DBusiness Magazine 30 in the Thirties, and Greek America’s Forty Under 40 lists of top business leaders.
Gus resides with his wife and two sons in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and remains very involved in the thriving metro Detroit Greek community.
First-generation Greek-American Maria Plakoudas Marshall is a Senior Vice President at CRC Advisors, a public affairs and project incubation firm located in northern Virginia. Maria works on projects that advance the rule of law and protect U.S. constitutional freedoms. She has worked with clients and external campaigns on U.S. judicial confirmation battles that have reshaped the U.S. federal judiciary.
As a member of CRC Advisors’ executive leadership team, Maria ensures the execution of company strategy and oversees a wide range of operational and strategic functions that are essential to the success of CRC’s clients, with particular emphasis on the management of non-profits that advocate for the rule of law and religious liberty. She organizes and represents the company at special events, manages conferences on behalf of clients, oversees project-specific operating budgets, and handles the day-to-day operations for the Chairman. Previously Maria worked at the Federalist Society and spent eight years working at the U.S. Senate for U.S. Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME). Maria was recognized by Politics.com in 2009 as one of the "Ten Best Pennsylvania Capitol Hill Staffers.”
In her personal capacity, Maria serves on the board of Orthodox Christian Network and as an advisory board member of The Philos Project, a community of Christian leaders who advocate for pluralism in the Near East region. She is a parish council member of St. George Greek Orthodox Church, and liaison to the St. George Greek Preschool and Gala Committee, the Hellenic Association Women's Council (HAWC), the Capitol Hill Hellenic Association, as well as a member and former four-term president and priestess of the Daughters of Penelope, Hermione Chapter 11. Her leadership roles in Greek-American community have focused on demonstrating the importance of including women in the Greek-American community’s faith, cultural, and professional organizations, and supporting Greek-American youth to ensure the next generation of Greek-Americans have a strong community to support them.
Maria resides in McLean, Virginia with her husband, Alexander, and their two daughters, Fotini and Nikoleta. They attend church at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Bethesda, MD, and St. Demetrios Church, Wildwood, NJ.
Kostapanos is characterized by his passion for innovative ideas, social impact, and entrepreneurship. When he was 20 years old, Kostapanos realized that there was a gap in Greek society. Because of the Greek economic crisis, many nonprofit organizations in Greece needed support, and most young people couldn’t use their skills due to high unemployment. So, he co-founded ethelon, an organization promoting volunteering in the Greek society and creating the adequate framework for cooperation between volunteers, NGOs, and companies, aiming for a more active and equal society.
Since then, more than 15,000 volunteers have supported more than 350 nonprofits with more than a million hours of volunteering, evolving ethelon as one of the fastest-growing networks of volunteers. Through his work, he has collaborated with top Fortune 500 companies, such as Mercedes, received a Fellowship from the United States Department of State, international recognition from Ashoka Foundation as a Changemaker, spoke in TEDx events, featured in international media, such as The Guardian, CNN, Huffington Post, and in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, in the category of Social Entrepreneurs. He holds an MBA degree focused on FinTech and Global Sustainability at Gabelli Business School of Fordham University in New York.
Kostapanos now, answering his calling to move from linear to exponential, is the Director of Nudge the Good initiative of RW Institute and applies behavioral insights to the practice of employee giving and volunteering, designing Nudges that can lead to a sustained pro-social behavior in the workplace, working with a few of the best companies in Corporate Citizenship in the United States such as Starbucks, Nike and others in their social impact, diversity equity, and inclusion efforts.
Kostapanos has explored 47 countries & 20 states, run two marathons (Athens & New York) and if you ask him whom he admires the most, he will say his wife Eleana for her work ethic!
Alexandros Papadopoulos is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Papadopoulos Group, Inc., a multinational holding corporation founded in 2020 and headquartered in New York City. The Papadopoulos Group specializes in the acquisition of luxury goods companies and made its first investment in 2021 by acquiring EteoGoods L.P., an exclusive, ultra-premium luxury olive oil company based in Greece. Some iconic partners of EteoGoods include Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club (officially licensed by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars), Hotel Grande Bretagne, St. James’s House and more. In just one year, under Alexandros’s leadership, the company was restructured, and for the first time expanded to New York, Los Angeles, Palm Beach, and Miami.
Alexandros started his career in technology where he ran the EMEA business development division for a technology startup, which was later acquired by EMC Corporation. Shortly after joining EMC, Alexandros was awarded Americas Top Newcomer and subsequently became one of the youngest sales managers in the history of the company at age 24. After EMC was acquired by Dell Technologies for $67B, Alexandros was promoted to Global Account Executive, where he spearheaded the sales strategy and execution of $50M+ in annual revenue for some of Dell’s largest clients on Wall Street.
Alexandros was born and raised in Athens, Greece and immigrated to the United States in 2009. He attended Boston University, where he received a B.A. in Economics and a Minor in Business Administration and Management. He is very passionate about giving back and is very active within the Greek American community. He serves on the board for the Hellenic American Bankers Association (HABA) and The Hellenic Initiative’s (THI) New Leaders. He is also a Co-Chair of the National Hellenic Society, Co-Founder of ΣΑΚΑ USA and a member of the 2030 Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC).
Lia Papazoglou is the Co-Founder and Program Director of ecoGENia, a nonprofit organization in Greece with a mission to mobilize Greek youth through civic service to accelerate sustainable impact for Greece.
As a Greek-American faced with limited employment options when entering the job market during the financial crisis in 2008, Lia has always been able to relate to her peers in Greece facing similar financial and professional development challenges. Her experience in AmeriCorps ignited her passion for civic service and kickstarted her work in the social impact and renewable energy sectors. Through her service years, she leaned into the intersectionality of civic engagement and sustainability, which inspired her to start ecoGENia with the goal of creating opportunities for young people in Greece while also advancing the sustainable development agenda for the country at a local level.
Before starting ecoGENia, Lia worked in the nonprofit sector for over 15 years, and as a sustainable development practitioner for over 8 years. Her experience ranges from working at New York Cares, the city’s largest volunteer institution, where she built capacity in under-served communities through revitalization projects, adult and childhood education, financial literacy projects, etc.; to working at GRID Alternatives, where she started a service-learning program for students as well as advancing GRID’s overall mission to increase renewable energy access, education and workforce development offerings in several states, Mexico, Nicaragua and Nepal.
In addition to her professional work, she has always found time to volunteer in the communities she has called home, such as: coaching a basketball team in Brooklyn, a high school track program in Oakland, advising small nonprofits and social enterprises, installing solar panels in underserved communities across the country and abroad, canvassing for environmental and political campaigns, planting trees in areas devastated by wildfires in Greece, etc.
Linda is the Fashion & Footwear Supply Chain Lead at Sourcemap, the leading software provider for supply chain mapping, traceability, and transparency. If you own a luxury handbag, trendy sneakers, or a collared shirt, it is likely that Linda helps the brand understand how and where the products are made.
Linda works with some of the largest global brands to improve standards and help bring visibility to worker communities. Together they trace where products are sourced, often down to farm levels, where companies typically lose visibility and cannot assess the impact of their production on local communities or effectively calculate business risk. Linda leads a team at Sourcemap that trace clothing, shoes and home goods supply chains covering commodities such as cotton, leather, rubber, polyester, wood, and conﬂict minerals.
Linda has always aimed to deliver impact to vulnerable communities and affect systems change in a big way. She built out her career as an international development practitioner at BRAC, one of the world’s largest non-governmental organizations that operates throughout Africa and Asia. The women in Bangladesh’s garment sector, the backbone of the fast fashion industry, inspired her most. Linda has led multi-million dollar programs that support traceability and garment sector workers’ access to healthcare, legal services, skills and leadership for women, and urban improvement projects in slums where many garment workers live. Linda has also worked with some of the world’s leading government agencies and foundations to manage projects that address modern slavery, including forced and child labor.
Despite Linda’s work on a global scale, she still maintains a strong love and connection to her Greek heritage and the island of Chios, where her parents were born. She has served on the Executive Board of the Chios Mesta Society of America Educational Fund and was lucky enough to connect more deeply with her roots, culture, and community during a six month stay on the island last year.
Dr. Pediaditakis is an accomplished investigator with a skillset spanning from molecular biology and pharmacology to stem cell and Organ-on-Chip technology. Currently, he holds the position of Associate Director at Vesalius Therapeutics. Dr. Pediaditakis' ongoing research focuses on creating models that can support decision-making for the development of drugs and personalized medicine.
Prior to joining Vesalius, he was Associate Director of Research at Emulate Inc., a Harvard spinoff, where he led the neuroscience team to develop next-generation tissue chip models of neuroinflammation and Parkinson's disease. His research also focused on sending human Brain-Chips to the International Space Station to study the impact of microgravity on human brain physiology. Previously, he completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical School of the University of Crete and the Institute of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas, where he spearheaded the development of a new family of synthetic, Blood-Brain Barrier-permeable neurotrophic receptor agonists as a potential treatment for a wide range of inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.
Dr. Pediaditakis has authored several research articles and patents. In addition, his work on the human Brain-Chip has been selected as one of the top ten innovations for 2021 by The Scientist for its impact on neurodegenerative disease research and drug development. Dr. Pediaditakis earned a bachelor's degree in Biology from the University of Crete and a master's degree in Molecular Basis of Human Diseases. At the University of Crete, he also completed his Ph.D. in Neuropharmacology.
He is an active member of the alumni student exchange program (AASEP) of the University of Crete that supports Greek medical or graduate students to be exposed to the US education system. More recently, he joined Parkinson's disease Foundation to generate awareness and advance the Parkinson's Foundation's mission of making life better for people with Parkinson's disease.
Ashley Perri, Founder and CEO of Skinprovement Medi Spa & Laser Clinic, has been an inspiration to many in her local community and beyond through her philanthropic spirit and desire for success.
In 2013, Ashley’s business was born in the basement of her home while pregnant with her second of three children. Knowing that there never is a good time to start a business, she took a chance and purchased her first laser machine. In 2017, her business expanded and she opened up her first storefront. In 2018, Ashley was honored with the ‘Young Entrepreneur Award’ and her business won ‘Small Business Award’ in 2019 at the Vaughan Business Achievement Awards. More recently, Ashley opened up her second storefront location.
Knowing the importance of giving back, Ashley started an initiative called ‘Brows for the Brave’ which gave those that have suffered from various illnesses such as cancer, an opportunity to receive free Microblading treatments to help them build confidence after their hair loss.
Skinprovement has donated over $100,000 worth of free microblading treatments to those in need.
Ashley also pledged $150,000 to a local hospital, which fully funds a Critical Care room. Ashley has donated to Hospice Vaughan, local women shelters in Toronto, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Sick Kids Hospital, St. George Greek Orthodox church, among many others. Because of her philanthropy, Ashley was honored with the ‘Pillar of the Community’ Award by the Canadian Spa & Wellness Awards in late 2021.
Ashley has been an industry leader, inspiring many people to reach for their dreams. As a great role model for her children, Ashley continues to set an example of hard work and determination while showcasing the importance of giving back. As Ashley Perri once said, “What’s scarier to me than failure is not knowing what you could have done with your life, with your success, with your own story. Because if you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”
Petros works as the Vice President of Global Customer Success & Product Support of Cutover, a London and New York based fintech startup. Under his leadership, the company has exceeded its expansion revenue targets and continued to delight its customers. Prior to Cutover, Petros set up the New York office of the public company Qualtrics and served as the Head of Customer Success of the US Northeast and Canada region. Petros started his career in investment banking at Citi in London where he worked on major deals in the power and energy sectors.
Petros is a graduate of Stanford and Brown Universities in the USA. As a student, he co-founded the National Hellenic Student Association of North America (“NHSA”) and served as its inaugural Treasurer for the first 3 years - NHSA serves as an umbrella for Hellenic student organizations of universities throughout the United States and Canada.
Petros is a results-oriented leader, who is known for his focus on execution and respect for his teams. Having lived, studied and worked in 4 countries (Greece, USA, UK, Hong Kong) he values cultural diversity and pluralism. He is sought after by tech investors, hedge fund analysts, and entrepreneurs of Greek heritage for his expertise in go-to-market strategy, new product launches, account management, and scaling teams.
Petros has a long history of volunteering and community leadership - he is currently serving as the Brown University Class of 2010 President, the Co-Chair of the Class of 2010 Brown Annual Fund fundraising committee (contributing $325m towards the $3bn BrownTogether campaign goal), and the Treasurer of the Brown Alumni of Class Leaders organization. Constantly seeking opportunities to give back in any way possible, he has been a regular donor of the Greek America Foundation, The Hellenic Initiative, and other charitable causes.
Dr. Keli Pontikos Paragios holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University and a master's degree from University of Tampa. She began her teaching career in Florida for Plato Academy (a Greek charter school) and currently teaches at Cleveland State University, where she completed her doctoral degree in Education. She has numerous publications in academic journals and has presented her work at conferences domestically and internationally, most notably at The Athens Institute for Education and Research in Athens, Greece (2017, 2018, 2022).
Her ongoing academic pursuit to serve and enlighten stems from her appreciation of her own culture. Her dissertation: "Are we Barbarians?" Immigration & Language Loss: The Greek Language (2021), provided insight on maintaining heritage through language and was dedicated to her daughter, Vasilia, and all third-generation Greek Americans and beyond. This study drew responses from over 1,660 Greek Americans from all 50 states, providing a wealth of information and highlighting promising practices, such as validating cultural identity in youth. In response, she developed an innovative curriculum for a Greek Culture Summer Camp emphasizing faith and heritage, featuring language lessons, local musicians, cooking classes, traditional dance, painting with a Greek twist, and even live animals native to Greece.
Her devotion to the Greek American community was instilled in her from early on, through working church festivals, volunteering at St. Herman's House (an Orthodox homeless outreach), and teaching Sunday School. Additionally, she is director of the Greek Summer Camp, co-chair of Vacation Church School, co-chair of Acts of Kindness committee, and member of Philoptochos. The civic affiliation that is closest to her heart is the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. She manages a team of family and friends, “Team Bill” in memory of her father. With their support, she has raised over $40,000 to end pancreatic cancer.
James Pristouris is the founder/CEO of Super League Athletic Academy based out of New York. SLAA is an athletic organization founded in 2013 whose objective is to keep our youth engaged and active in a safe, nurturing environment. In 2020, James was recognized as the Brooklyn Nets Jr. NBA Coach of the Year.
James has hosted camps with prominent Greek athletes such as NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brother Thanasis, Euro 2004 champions Giorgos Karagounis, Aggelos Basinas, and Giourkas Seitaridis along with many other current and former professional athletes. James annually hosts Greek Heritage Night at the Barclays Center and gives children the opportunity to participate in on court activities before, during , and after the game.
SLAA coordinates an annual tour of Greece for boys and girls ages 13-17. The tour includes visits to the Acropolis, Syntagma Square, the historic city of Sparta, the ancient Olympic stadium and other cultural landmarks. While there, SLAA organizes the Hellenic American Basketball Tournament in conjunction with PAO BC Academy, where their teams compete against the premier clubs in Greece.
In 2020, James established the SLAA scholarship program. The program recognizes youth who have demonstrated remarkable conduct through achievement in academics and athletics. The winners of the scholarship receive either an all expense paid trip to our Greece Tour or a $5,000 college scholarship. The winners are determined by the SLAA Leadership council which is comprised of prominent predominantly Greek or Greek American individuals in the sports world. They include Olympic Gold Medalist Katerina Stefanidi, NBA agent Alex Saratsis, the aforementioned Calathes, Basinas, and many more.
In 2021, in conjunction with one of the members of our leadership council, George Galanopoulos, who coaches for the Texas Legends and the Uganda National Basketball Team, SLAA organized a fundraiser to help the Uganda National Team. Through this fundraiser they were able to purchase twenty FIBA game basketballs that the team desperately needed in their quest to qualify for Africa’s Olympic Qualifying tournament.
Evangelia grew up commuting between her grandmother’s farm on the island of Crete and her parents’ home in New Jersey - two completely different musical worlds, both of which influence her style. An Evangelia song blends modern pop music with sounds from her Greek roots, honoring her ancestors while also creating a legacy of her own.
Evangelia’s path to becoming an artist was as unique as the music itself. It started by putting together open-mic nights at Rutgers University and later performing at clubs in NYC (all while holding down a full-time teaching job). After three years of teaching, she was laid off due to budget cuts. She decided to take this as a sign from the universe to pursue her dream, and within 6 months, she landed a global record deal with Sony Music. In the last 2 years she has organically grown a devoted following on social media, generated tens of millions of impressions, featured in Madame Figaro, Marie Claire, and Protothema, appeared on both Greek and Cypriot national television, and is now a brand ambassador for Korres. She recently collaborated with the iconic Eleni Foureira who features on Evangelia’s signature song “Fotiá,” which they not only performed live at the Mad Walk in Athens, but is now a top 5 radio hit in Greece.
Although Evangelia no longer works in Education, she has dedicated her time to supporting organizations that enrich the lives of schoolchildren, as well as participating in Pan-Cretan Association of America philanthropic initiatives throughout her life. Evangelia is becoming a household name in Greece, in the Greek diaspora, and she is positioned to bring Greek culture to pop music in the way Shakira or Rosalia have done the same for their countries. This is just the beginning.
Mike is an entrepreneur and business leader who has spent the majority of his career in the consumer packaged goods industry, specifically in food. In 2012 he started a brand called Philia, that produced a line of spreadable feta products modeled after a traditional tirokafteri. The business grew to regional grocery distribution throughout the United States and was acquired by Land O’Lakes in 2017. He worked as the Philia brand leader and entrepreneur-in-residence at Land O’Lakes for 3 years. In 2020, he was recruited to his current role at high-growth food start-up: Wicked Foods. Wicked creates chef curated plant-based food products for grocers in London, Finland, the United States and Thailand. Mike is the VP of Finance for the company, and in addition to leading the day-to-day finance operations, has helped successfully lead the company through a Series A venture financing round in 2021.
Giving back to his local Orthodox community is also a big part of Mike’s life. He recently finished a term as Treasurer at his home parish St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox church in Minneapolis. He also participates as a chanter, choir member, festival leader, and god-parent to three children in the parish. He is active in the broader Orthodox community in Minnesota in the Greek, Antiochian, Russian, Romanian & Ukrainian parishes through participation in a local Pan-Orthodox Choir that leads worship services held throughout Minnesota during Lent.
Mike received an Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting with a minor in Music from St. John’s University in Minnesota, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management.
Maria Simon is an award-winning attorney who serves as the Geller Law Group’s Managing Partner.
A Detroit-area native, Maria has always wanted to help people — and believed, from an early age, that the law was the best way to do it. Following her graduation from the Honors Program at the University of Michigan, Maria moved to Washington, DC to attend law school at American University and has been a Washingtonian ever since. Maria now resides in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and three sons.
Maria joined The Geller Law Group in 2013 and has driven its fast-growing transformation from a two-woman shop into a one of the top rated mid-sized law firms in the region. The firm was founded on the notion that it should be possible for partners to also be parents. The New York Times profiled Maria in 2015 for helping devise and implement this principle — something that is still considered novel in the legal field.
While Maria’s practice is quite versatile, she specializes in family law, divorce, custody disputes, business law, and litigation. She helps families navigate the complexities of separation in a humane way, represents businesses (both large corporations and mom-and-pop enterprises) and individuals in their tort and contract disputes, drafts appellate briefs, and has several favorable decisions published on Lexis, an industry legal database, exemplifying her achievements.
Maria has been continually recognized as Virginia Business’ Legal Elite and selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star for Virginia and the District of Columbia. She speaks frequently at events about work-life balance and the challenges of being a working parent.
Stylianos is the CEO and co-founder of Lelantos, a tech startup spun out of Columbia University that develops next generation sensors for air quality, environmental monitoring and medical diagnosis. He received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA).
Following that he moved to the US to pursue a PhD in Electrical Engineering at Brown University where he performed state-of-the-art research in the field of semiconductor sensor and solar cell technologies. During his time there he was actively involved in mentoring more than 20 undergrad and graduate students belonging to underrepresented minority groups in STEM. Stylianos holds two patent inventions, has co-authored 10 scientific articles in the field of semiconductor devices for sensing and energy generation and currently serves as a peer reviewer in 6 scientific journals.
He is an avid music enthusiast, multi-instrumentalist, music producer and DJ, while also enjoying mountain climbing and sailing.
At the start of her career, Elena Sophocleous moved to Washington D.C. to intern for a political Think Tank and Public Relations firm. She became the Director of Operations to (former) Congressman/Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. She then joined the Government Relations team at Valero Energy Corporation to assist in political fundraising and other lobbying efforts. She supported various non-profit organizations such as Fight for Children, Coats for Kids, Global Down Syndrome Foundation, and Chance for Life.
Elena is a seasoned marketer and strategist who brings a political perspective to branding and event communications. She is currently a Senior Brand Strategist at SplashThat, an event marketing software company, where she works with top accounts. Finishing at #1 for the 2021 fiscal year, she successfully implemented integration strategies which led her to reach 125% of her goals.
Elena studied Diplomacy & Global Politics at Miami University of Ohio with a concentration in East Eurasian/Russian Studies. She was the Vice President of Member Development of Panhellenic Conference which included granting $5,000 of scholarships to Greek Leaders and planning a Women’s Empowerment Week on campus. She grew up in Cleveland, OH and has always had a passion for her Greek-Cypriot heritage.
Outside of work, Elena enjoys filling up the pages in her two passports, running triathlons, trying new restaurants and meeting other Greeks in Astoria, Queens where she lives. She is an active member in the Greek community and has a passion for bringing people together and taking part in philanthropic projects. She enjoys attracting new young leaders to serve in the Greek community.
Rania is an award-winning design leader, who started as a graphic designer in Athens, Greece, studied and worked in London, and is now an Executive Design Director and an IBM Inventor at IBM Consulting based in Manhattan, New York. She is a keynote / TEDx speaker, guest lecturer, and industry mentor at some of the world’s best universities and has been invited to judge and mentor across the world. Rania aims to help bridge the gap between design and business and empower more women into the world of design & technology. Her work at the intersection of design, business, and technology got her on the list of Business Insider 2020 “Top 40 Rising Stars of Madison Ave” who are revolutionizing advertising. In 2021, Rania was also recognized as a Rising Star by Consulting Magazine, an award that highlights professionals under 35 who are redefining the consulting profession globally.
At the beginning of COVID-19, Rania took part at the global initiative ‘creatives against covid’ where design posters of hope, optimism and resilience helped raise much needed funds for women and children in need. The posters were sold online with all proceeds equally donated to ISPCC Childline and Women’s Aid.
Rania is officially a mentor in initiatives that support the Greek society, such as Endeavor Greece, GreekTech, ReGeneration, US Embassy of Athens, Women on Top, and unofficially, every time a young talent approaches her for career advice. More recently, she was a judge on the nonprofit organization “48in48”, that hosts events to build 48 free nonprofit websites in 48 hours.
Rania believes in designing for humanity and not for the sake of technology.
Born and raised in Crete, Erini is a US-based vocalist and educator. Erini performed with the Cirque Du Soleil show, Kurios, from 2014-2017 as the only singer, completing 1074 shows. In 2017, after concluding her stint with Cirque, Erini completed her Master’s Program with a full scholarship at the Berklee Global Jazz Institute where she is now a professor.
Erini has collaborated with Grammy winning artists such Danilo Perez, Terri Lyne Carrington and Luciana Souza as well as Daniel Hope, Simos Papanas, Christos Zotos, Vasilis Skoulas, Harris Lambrakis, Mario Frangoulis amongst others. For the biggest part of her career she has made it her mission to preserve and promote the musical heritage of the Greeks of Asia Minor by organizing and presenting concerts for the Greek communities and holding workshops for children at US Greek schools. She has presented this music in universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, MIT, Berklee, and Tufts. She was recently awarded with the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship 2022, for the Singing of Asia Minor music.
Currently, Erini just finalized the recording of her debut album, a collection of modern arrangements of Asia Minor Standards, accompanied by a documentary of her ancestors’ story, as her grandparents were refugees from Smyrna. Erini wishes to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the Smyrna Catastrophe and will perform concerts as well as teach this music with the goal of preserving her cultural history, passing this tradition to the future generations but also fostering intercultural dialogue through music globally.
Via storytelling and with her intercultural collaborations and concerts with artists from all over the world, she raises awareness of the past ongoing refugees crises over the world, aiming to cultivate empathy towards refugees and immigrants, beyond stigmas and stereotypes.
George M. Tsiatis is CEO and Co-Founder of Resolution Project, a New York City based global nonprofit. Resolution funds, mentors and supports young people starting social enterprises in their home communities around the world, and has built a community of 600 young leaders in over 80 countries who are solving the most pressing issues facing the world today. Through their work, Resolution Fellows have impacted over 4.6MM people. George has quadrupled the organization’s staff and budget during his 5 years as CEO, and built partnerships with top foundations and corporations to amplify Resolution’s support for young founders and their impact. At the center of a broad array of entrepreneurial activity, he mentors dozens of entrepreneurs and serves as an advisor for numerous for-profit and nonprofit enterprises.
George also founded Group 113, a brand management business and B Corp which serves impact-focused small and mid-size organizations. George previously worked at a major New York City public relations firm. George received his BA from Harvard University in Byzantine Studies and his JD from St. John's University. He has been published or featured in Forbes, Vice, Huffington Post, and others.
Raised in Queens, NY and now living in Manhasset, George remains connected to the Greek-American community as a member of the Archangel Michael Church in Port Washington and as a Board Member of the Hellenic University Club of New York.
Eleana grew up as the youngest of four children in a large, loving Greek family, as her parents worked to instill in her certain values like kindness and caring. She soon realized a need to extend those values beyond her immediate family through service to others and the alleviation of pain and suffering. Choosing a future path as a physician would allow her to positively impact people’s lives.
Eleana is currently a Pediatric resident at SUNY Downstate and will be starting her Pediatric Infectious Disease fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) at the University of Pennsylvania in July 2022.
She received her Medical Degree from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She then engaged in basic science research at Emory University in the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology. She was involved in research studies to develop new therapies and identify previously unknown mechanisms involved in the pathophysiology of pediatric cancer. She has published numerous articles in scientific magazines and presented her work at conferences such as the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting.
During her pediatric residency, she was at the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic in one of the hardest-hit and most impacted neighborhoods in the United States. In her senior year, she received the “Resident of the Year” award by the Department of Pediatrics in recognition of her outstanding dedication, service, and professional excellence.
Eleana will always prioritize the needs of others and, while achieving professional accomplishments, continues to devote herself to the needs of the community.
She enjoys traveling with her husband, Kostapanos, and spending as much time as possible with her family, especially her beloved nephew Stathis.
Dr. Plousia Vassilaras was born in Karpathos, Greece and immigrated to the United States at the age of 15. Despite her lack of English, she received prestigious scholarships and was a Summa Cum Laude/Honors graduate of Baldwin-Wallace University where she received a Double Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry and Physics and a minor in Mathematics. As a student, Plousia worked at NASA Glenn Research Center, where her work was published, and she received the Best Student of the Year Award; the highest award given to interns. She went on to earn a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry/Materials Science at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU).
During Dr. Vassilaras’ time as a doctoral student, she was granted an international patent for her work developing alternative synthesis methodologies for inorganic materials. She placed first out of 1,200 students for her research work and received numerous accolades for her dedication to science and engineering. During her teaching time at CWRU, Plousia received the Dean’s Excellence in Teaching from the University; the highest award given to teaching instructors.
Dr. Vassilaras’ began her career with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Her resume boasts publications and multiple national presentations during her employment. She was appointed as a research associate of MIT, upon departure. She is currently a senior electrochemistry leader at BASF, the largest chemical company worldwide, where she is responsible for project management and leadership teams on battery materials for electric vehicles and customer applications. She served as President of the Greek School Board of Education in Cleveland until 2021. She was the keynote speaker for Cleveland’s Greek Letters Day Program, a prestigious luncheon that emphasizes the work around Hellenism, education, and philanthropy, of which Plousia embodies. Plousia inspires other scientists by pushing them to follow their dreams.
Marianthi Vlachos is the founder of Hellenic Aesthetic, America’s first store dedicated solely to Greek fashion. A second-generation Greek American, Marianthi grew up in Clearwater, Florida, and received a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Louisiana State University.
In founding Hellenic Aesthetic, Marianthi has created the shopping platform for Greek brands in the USA (and beyond) by making Greek-made products more accessible while promoting Greek craftsmanship, travel, and culture. Products range from clothing to jewelry, accessories to footwear, housewares to pantry items, all made in Greece. Marianthi designs much of Hellenic Aesthetic’s fine jewelry and other items, all inspired by her time spent in Greece. Notably, the site was featured in Conde Nast Traveller Magazine as a top place to shop during the pandemic.
After four years of exponential growth and increased demand on HellenicAesthetic.com, Marianthi opened Hellenic Aesthetic’s first brick and mortar store in Astoria, New York in June of 2021. The first of its kind, Hellenic Aesthetic NYC is the only shop in New York City to exclusively carry Greek brands. Hellenic Aesthetic NYC is much more than a store. Its beautiful and unique design transports visitors to the Cycladic Islands, and the store serves as a cultural hub for the Greek American community. In store, Marianthi hosts events highlighting Greek artists, authors, and brands, as well as networking opportunities for NYC’s Greek American community.
Philanthropy has always been one of Marianthi’s core values. Most recently, in the wake of the devastating wildfires that ravaged parts of Greece in the summer of 2021, Marianthi designed and sold Hellenic Aesthetic’s “Ellada Mou” Tees, donating 100% of proceeds to fire relief. Over $26,000 has been raised to date.
Marianthi is always looking forward, finding new ways to share her love of Greece, its culture, and its products with Hellenic Aesthetic’s community and beyond.
Sia leads the overall global Environmental Sustainability and Climate Strategy at Mastercard. She first started at Mastercard in 2016 with the responsibility of developing their environmental sustainability program and soon established the first Science Based Targets in the payment technology sector. Since the development of Mastercard’s first target she has been responsible for the continuous progression of the climate strategy including the realignment of the targets and the creation of a Net Zero target. In the beginning of the 2021 Mastercard announced a Net Zero 2050 target and has recently update the target to 2040. She currently is spearheading Net Zero 2040 goal and developed associated long term 1.5˚C Scenario decarbonization strategy, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, supply chain strategy, decarbonization strategies, resource management, zero waste, and other projects.
Sia’s zeal and passion for sustainability extends to her commitment in outreach and education. She was a founding member of the board directors for Plant Chicago, a non-for-profit whose mission is to bring circular economy and sustainable food education to the southside of Chicago. She is also currently serving on the young leadership board for the Missouri Botanical Garden with the primary goal of bringing sustainability to local communities, supporting the biodiversity of Midwest and the world. She is also involved in the green building community and volunteers regularly for local park, community and river cleans up.
In addition, Sia is tied to her Orthodox and Hellenic roots. She is currently serving on Metropolitan of Chicago Junior Board and remains an active member of her local Philoptochos Chapter at St. Spyridon parish. She is especially committed to her work of feeding our hungry communities, through the local Feed the Hungry program. She implemented a new program at St. Spyridon where all the left-over meals and supplies after events are brought directly to homeless community members living in camps throughout Chicago. As pandemic begins to resolve, Sia is focused upon bringing sustainability programing and education to her local parish.
Sia received her engineering Degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her MBA at Washington University in St. Louis.