On Friday, June 3, at The Plaza Hotel in New York City, the Greek America Foundation will honor three outstanding individuals who, while being leaders in their respective fields, have also made the world around them a better place through philanthropy.
The Gabby Awards, since their inception, have been a celebration of Greek America’s Best and Brightest Stars. Past honorees have included some of North America’s most successful executives, creatives, athletes, artists, scientists and other leaders in their fields.
In keeping with the tradition of recognizing the very best and brightest, we’re proud to introduce our 2022 honorees, who will be present to receive their awards.
This year’s honorees are Amed Khan, humanitarian; Niki Leondakis, CEO of CorePower Yoga and John Varvatos, fashion icon and philanthropist. Read more about these special individuals below.
1. Amed Khan, Human Rights Advocate
Amed Khan has had an active career in both the public and private sectors, including a wealth of experience from political campaigns, government service and international relief work. Mr. Khan currently directs Paradigm Global Group, a private international investment firm with a focus on Commercial Real Estate, Energy and Technology.
He is the founder of Elpida Home, a public private initiative based in Thessaloniki, Greece that provides refugees the humane international protection they are entitled to. He also serves as Senior Advisor to the ClintonGiustra Enterprise Program, an innovative project of the William J. Clinton Foundation.
In August 2021, he began planning and implementing rescue operations of hundreds of people out of Afghanistan after Kabul fell to the Taliban. Among those rescued were female judges, parliamentarians and aid workers and their families who had been targeted by the Taliban for their ties to the United States.
Thanks to Khan’s efforts, hundreds of people are now safe, in Greece, where they are awaiting the processing of their immigration papers to the United States and Canada.
Click here to read his full bio.
2. Niki Leondakis, CEO of CorePower Yoga
With more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry, building lifestyle brands and creating award winning work-place cultures that drive innovation and customer loyalty, Leondakis has consistently built and lead some of the most diverse employee and customer centric teams in the industry. Most recently as CEO at CorePower Yoga, the largest yoga studio chain in the United States with over 200 studios.
Prior to joining CorePower Yoga, Leondakis was President at The Wolff Company, a multifamily-focused real estate private equity firm. Prior to joining Wolff, Niki has been CEO of multiple companies including Equinox Fitness Clubs, Two Roads Hospitality and Commune Hotels & Resorts.
Leondakis’ goal of creating a workplace culture that facilitates personal and professional growth, instills pride, self leadership and ownership among employees has led to numerous awards and accolades including Commune Hotels & Resorts being recognized as one of the “Best Places to Work” by Crain’s New York and rankings on both the San Francisco Business Times’ “Best Place to Work” and Chicago Tribunes’ “Chicago’s Top Workplaces” lists.
Individually, Leondakis has received numerous industry awards, including being cited in 2015 by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Bay Area’s Most Admired CEO’s. A recipient of the Leadership Excellence award by HR.com and LEAD2016, Leondakis has been named one of the “100 Most Influential Women” by the San Francisco Business Times repeatedly since 2002 and in 2016 she was honored as one of the top CEO’s in the Bay Area with their corporate “Trailblazer Award.”
Click here to read her full bio.
3. John Varvatos, Fashion Designer & Entrepreneur
John Varvatos launched his namesake brand in 2000 after heading up design for both Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. At Calvin Klein he was appointed head of menswear design and oversaw the launch of the men’s collection and the cK brand. He also pioneered a type of men’s undergarment called boxer briefs, a hybrid of boxer shorts and briefs. Made famous by a series of 1992 print ads featuring Mark Wahlberg, they have been called “one of the greatest apparel revolutions of the century.” At Ralph Lauren, he was head of menswear design for all Polo Ralph Lauren brands and created the Polo Jeans Company.
Since then he’s created a universe that expands way past fashion and has a steadfast and growing following. Throughout his career music has been a cornerstone of inspiration for his designs and ad campaigns which eventually led to a record label, John Varvatos Records, a book, John Varvatos: Rock in Fashion, and a docu-series PUNK.
He also uses his passion for music to help others, raising over $50 million producing benefit concerts for Stuart House, God’s Love We Deliver, Why Hunger, VH1: Save the Music and the David Lynch Foundation.
Most recently, John launched OTD – On This Day, a multi-gender fashion brand of clothing, footwear, jewelry and accessories steeped in pop culture with flagship locations in Soho, NY, and Sunset Plaza, LA, as well as online.
Click here to read his full bio.