Class of 2012

Panos Bethanis
CEO, nSphere Inc.
Panos Bethanis is a builder. This Athens-born entrepreneur with the unique ability to bounce back in difficult times, started creating and running successful businesses while still in college. The 37-year-old is currently chief executive officer at nSphere, a local data and search company. Last year, he successfully led the acquisition of Peekaboo Mobile, a mobile coupon startup that enables local businesses to connect to customers. He also led the acquisition of Survey.com, a 20-year old pioneering firm in market research and data management. Bethanis, who moved to the United States when he was 16 to attend university, is also the co-founder of Alkemy Ltd, a green technology firm with patents designed to provide the world’s largest cities a longterm alternative to landfills. He also sits on the boards of Hireyard, a data aggregator for employment recruiting and the marketing organizations Elevage and Clear Ally. Bethanis’ entrepreneurial spirit also stretches all the way back to Greece where he is the majority owner and Chairman of Opinion SA, one of the country’s leading market research firms. He has also combined his love of sports and business by purchasing the regional soccer team Korinthos FC in August 2011. And when he is not building companies or funding startups, Bethanis is looking for new ways to give back to the community. In 2005, he founded the New Life Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization that helps orphans in developing countries get an education. He is also funding the creation of a software innovation program at Brandeis University, his alma mater.
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Ariana Bostian-Kentes
Co-Founder, Military Partners and Family Coalition
Ariana Bostian-Kentes helped to change how the United States treats gays and lesbians serving in the military. This 28-year-old learned the hard way that relationships under the military’s 1993 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibited homosexuals from serving openly in the military, are extremely difficult to maintain. But Bostian-Kentes helped convince policymakers that it was time for change. She was invited to make her case heard before the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Working Group on the matter. They listened and so did the current administration. President Barack Obama repealed the controversial policy in December 2010 and signed into law a landmark bill allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. Meanwhile, Bostian-Kentes is also the co-founder of the Military Partners and Family Coalition, the first organization of its kind in the United States to provide support, resources and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families. The five other founding members elected her as the president, a position she continues to hold. In December 2011, Bostian-Kentes was invited to attend a holiday reception at the White House in recognition of her work. She currently works at the Spectrum Center, an office serving gay, lesbian and transgender students, faculty and friends at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Her partner, Nicole, is a US Army Officer who has just recently returned from a deployment in Afghanistan.
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Yianna Bouyioukou
Partner, Your Building Here
Award-winning architect Yianna Bouyioukou has built her career around designing highly crafted modern residences, commercial, and institutional buildings, while always abiding by the strictest environmental standards - she is a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professional. Bouyioukou earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Southern California Institute of Architecture and a Master of Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles, on a full scholarship. Her work at UCLA landed Yianna an Associate position at Barton Myers and Associates. The Los Angeles-based architecture and planning firm is internationally known for their cutting edge work in glass and steel structures. Most recently, Bouyioukou served as Project Architect for the firm’s Montecito Residence in California. It was selected by Architectural Record Magazine (May 2011) as one of only six houses from all over the world demonstrating innovative design. The 36-year-old has won three AIA (American Institute of Architects) Los Angeles Design Awards, two of which were awarded for projects undertaken by her own firm, Your Building Here, which she co-founded in 2008. The third AIA award was for her work on the Montecito Residence. When not designing, Bouyioukou volunteers for the Voices and Faces Project, a non-profit national survivor network that gives voice and face to rape survivors. She is currently developing the country’s first Spanish-language, survivor story-focused website. She has also been a supporter of the Habitat for Humanity as well as the American Hellenic Council of Southern California.
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Nicholas J. Chakos
Executive Director, FOCUS
Nicholas Chakos, 39, is strongly committed to charity work. He has managed emergency aid and sustainable development programs worth more than 100 million dollars and helped more than 9 million people in the United States and around the world. He was recently appointed Executive Director of FOCUS, the Orthodox domestic services and charitable agency. While working for the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), the largest Orthodox philanthropic and charitable organization in the world, he designed and managed an HIV/AIDS awareness and treatment project in Ethiopia that currently cares for more than 20,000 adults and orphans affected by the disease. He undertook a similar initiative in Tanzania. In Romania, he worked with the government to home some 3,000 orphaned children in order to shut down the country’s notorious orphanages. For his work, Chakos was bestowed the Patriarch Miron Cross, the highest distinction given by the Romanian Orthodox Church to civilians for outstanding social service to Romania. His lifelong commitment to helping others in need also took him to the West Bank. This is where he designed a job creation program employing more than 50,000 unemployed Palestinians in projects for the construction of new schools and park facilities in destitute and conflict-ridden villages. Here in the US, he led the IOCC’s emergency response to Hurricane Katrina providing 400,000 people with emergency assistance and evacuation from New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas. He is currently teaching graduate level courses at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. His lessons focus on the logistics behind designing, implementing and managing foreign aid programs.
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Maria Christofilis
CEO/Founder, Anthousa Collection
Forget chemical air fresheners. Maria Christofilis can make your home smell like a white blossom blend featuring notes of bougainvillea honeysuckle and lotus blossom. The founder and creative director of Anthousa, a popular and luxurious brand of scents that are reminiscent of Greece and the whole of the Mediterranean.  An innovator in her field, Christofilis brought the home fragrance diffuser to the US luxury market in 2003.  Her signature line of fragrances, diffusers and candles are sold nationwide and around the world in some of the most high-end boutiques and department stores, including Neiman-Marcus, Barneys New York and Harvey Nichols. Last year, Christofilis launched her home fragrance flagship boutique in Seattle.  Currently, she is developing and launching an eau de parfum collection which she has collaborated with French and American master perfumers, and bringing the collection to market this fall. She also teamed up with the British company De Gournay, the source of the world’s most famous hand painted wallpapers and fabrics, to produce a limited edition scent. Bottles and packaging were both hand painted by De Gournay artists. Success in business is one thing. But those who know Christofilis will also know just how keen she is to give back to her community. Maria helped raise more than $150,000 for a fellow Greek friend from Athens who could not afford and receive proper treatment in Athen's for his fight against cancer.  Maria is also involved with supporting the annual auction at her parish, in Seattle, WA.
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Chris Diamontopoulos
Actor
Chris Diamantopoulos will be starring as Moe Howard in the upcoming feature film The Three Stooges. This 37-year-old actor made his film debut in the starring role in The Adulterer 12 years ago. His feature credits also include the titles Drop Dead Roses, Into The Fire, Wedding Daze, Three Days To Vegas, and Under New Management. In 2001, he appeared on Broadway as Ethan Girard in the popular Tony-nominated musical, The Full Monty. Diamantopoulos is also well-known for several diverse character portrayals on television. He was the interior designer, Rodney, opposite Debra Messing on the Emmy-nominated drama, The Starter Wife. He played the role of Frank Sinatra alongside Greg Kinnear’s title role on the recent Emmy-nominated The Kennedys. He was Presidential Chief-of-Staff Rob Weiss on the eighth season of 24. He also played the role of actor-comedian Robin Williams in the 2005 NBC telefilm, Behind The Camera: Mork& Mindy, for which he earned Gemini and Prism Award nominations for his performance. Other television credits include guest-star roles on Law & Order, Frasier, The Sopranos and CSI, as well as a recurring role on the hit NBC television show Up All Night. Most recently, he starred opposite his wife, Becki Newton, in Jerry Zaks’ Encore! presentation of the Gershwin musical, Girl Crazy at New York’s famed City Center Theater. Acting has always been a part of his life, starting from when he was a child. Diamantopoulos, who split his childhood between Canada and Greece, began appearing in Canadian TV commercials at the age of nine. He also played the lead in several high school musicals in Toronto.
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Helen Dimaras
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
While teaching genetics to budding scientists, Helen Dimaras is also researching childhood eye cancer, running a full marathon (and a handful of half marathons) and blogging. This 32-year-old is one of those people who always finds the time to do just about everything they set their mind to. Dimaras is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences at the University of Toronto and affiliate scientist at the Toronto Western Research Institute. She also teaches undergraduate courses in genetics and global health in the department of Human Biology at the University of Toronto. In 2007, she completed a PhD in the department of Molecular & Medical genetics at the University of Toronto, where she studied the molecular genetic development of the childhood eye cancer called retinoblastoma. Her PhD thesis work filled a 25-year gap in knowledge and was cited over 50 times, spurring related research from other research groups around the world. After graduating, she declined an offer to teach at MIT, and shifted her research focus from the laboratory to global health and clinical trials. Her dream is to one day eradicate the health inequalities that result in poor outcomes for children with retinoblastoma in developing countries. Dimaras also served as a steering committee member of the Canadian National Retinoblastoma Strategy Guidelines for Care. These guidelines were not only adopted by Canada, but by several countries around the world including Kenya where she is a member of the Kenyan National Retinoblastoma Strategy group. Dimaras has worked in Egypt and India developing several research initiatives. She has also coordinated a major international clinical trial with sites throughout Canada, Singapore, India and Chile. Dimaras was also just awarded a Canada's Rising Stars in Global Health" grant from Grand Challenges Canada.
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Dimitri Peter Eliopoulos
Vice President, Senior Wealth Manager; RMB Capital Management, LLC
Dimitri Peter Eliopoulos has invested 11 years with RMB Capital Management, a company that he helped grow from a small office of five in Chicago to one with a staff of 65 and offices in Chicago, Denver and Jackson Hole. He also helped to develop nearly $200 million of new assets and turn the company into one of the fastest growing independent wealth management firms in the country. The firm has been recognized in publications such as Chicago Magazine and Barron's Magazine. Dimitri has also been featured in NBC 5 Chicago's Smart Money segment. Forbes Magazine listed RMB as one of "Top 10 Most Dependable Wealth Managers in the Great Lakes". Though passionate about his career, it’s not all number crunching for this 32 year old. Eliopoulos is a member of the Young Leaders Fund at the Chicago Community Trust, an organization that he co-Chaired from 2009-2011, which tries to nurture the philanthropy gene in young professionals. He has been part of a team that helped numerous non-profit organizations in underprivileged areas of Chicago secure much-needed funding and grants. Eliopoulos is also on the board of his alma mater Koraes Elementary School - one of the oldest parochial Greek Orthodox day schools in the country. For the past several years, he has also volunteered his thoughts and ideas to the Greek America Foundation for projects related to the investment management of the foundation endowment money as well as other programs. Dimitri is also a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), and organization designed to promote a renewed commitment to civic involvement, human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world; and to enhance the historic relationship between the United States and worldwide Hellenism.
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Theane Evangelis Kapur
Partner; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP
Theane Evangelis Kapur, 35, is a partner in the Los Angeles office of the global law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Theane is focused on appellate and constitutional law, as well as media and entertainment matters. She is currently representing two gay couples in Perry v. Brown, a lawsuit challenging Proposition 8 – the California constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. On February 7, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark ruling upholding the historic August 2010 decision of the Federal District Court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. It’s a case that is receiving widespread media coverage and is expected to reach the U.S. Supreme Court. She has also handled a wide range of constitutional, media and entertainment matters for Fortune 500 companies and well-known celebrities. Recent wins include persuading the Supreme Court to reverse the certification of the largest employment class action in American history. The case, Wal-Mart v. Dukes, presented important issues of nationwide significance, including those related to the federal law governing class actions. Theane also successfully defended Starbucks Corporation in a lawsuit filed by singer-songwriter Carly Simon. She has also represented pro bono, women journalists from around the world who have been persecuted for their work. Theane has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer “Rising Star” by the publisher of Los Angeles Magazine. Before joining Gibson Dunn, she served as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor after graduating first in her class from New York University School of Law. She is also well-known for her public and community service. She serves on the board of the California Women’s Law Center and the advisory board of the Los Angeles Greek Film Festival. As a child, she attended Sunday school and Greek school at the Dormition of the Virgin Mary Church in Somerville, Massachusetts. She traces her roots on both sides to the island of Lesvos. Theane and her husband Teddy have a one-year-old son, Evangelos.
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Jason Filippou
Executive Director, Greektown Community Development Corp.
Jason Filippou, 30, is building a community in Baltimore. He is the executive director of the Greektown Community Development Corporation. Drawing on his previous experience at the Maryland Governor’s Office of Business Advocacy, Filippou is now working to preserve and promote the identity of his Southeast Baltimore neighborhood known as Greektown. Residents know Filippou as a hands-on community advocate. His passion for Greektown is shown through his greening projects, crime deterring efforts, community organizing, extensive community outreach and major economic development planning initiatives. His ambitious revitalization strategy includes attracting residential and commercial developers to Greektown. He also helps many residents directly, as well as a growing elderly Greek population, with a variety of neighborhood services. And it’s working. The number of new businesses opening up in the area has increased two-fold. Young professionals are also moving to the neighborhood and injecting a new vitality to the area. Filippou is also helping facilitate the developments of both Athena and O’Donnell Square, an ambitious project that includes the building of more than 500 homes in Greektown, many corintheon inspired. In cooperation with the church and local schools, Filippou organizes a variety of educational programs and is trying to secure city grants for children in Greektown. He has also piloted an arts initiative that showcases local talent at various Greektown restaurants. After running for State Delegate in 2010, he now serves on the 46th District Democratic Central Committee. With strong support from the local Greek community, he has great ambition to be part of the Baltimore political arena. He is active in over a dozen local committees and boards, including the Maryland Greek Independence Day Committee, Saint Nicholas Greek Folk Festival Committee, Ahepa, the Bayview Johns Hopkins Community Advisory Board and Johns Hopkins Mental Health Advisory Committee.
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Michael Galanakis
President, MG Development Group LLC
Michael Galanakis is the president of MG Development Group, a company that focuses on single and multi-family residential development and investments in Southern California. Also a licensed lawyer, the 38-year-old served as a deputy city attorney with an emphasis in land-use, redevelopment and public finance law. Galanakis, however, is probably best known for his commitment to promoting the Greek heritage and culture. He wears many different hats in the Greek community: board member of the Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE), president of the American Hellenic Council of California (AHC), member of the Greek Heritage Society of Southern California, board member of the LA Greek Film Festival, and member of the Hellenic University Club of Southern California. As president of the AHC, he has co-hosted numerous fundraisers for members of the U.S. House and Senate; co-sponsored quarterly young professional mixers; advanced cultural performances in southern California; and advocated issues affecting Greece, Cyprus and the Ecumenical Patriarchate during frequent visits with policymakers. As a board member of the SAE, Galanakis had undertaken initiatives to promote volunteerism and participation in the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. He also supported the World Youth Camp for Greeks abroad held annually in Greece during the summer months.
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Nicholas T. Gialamas
President & CEO, Forest Financial Group, Inc.
Nicholas Gialamas, 39, embarked on his career at a nationally renowned insurance company. It is here that he gained a deep understanding of the employee benefits field – not only from the perspective of how a company can offer cost-effective benefits, but also how the benefits can affect the quality of life for the employees of his clients. In 1998, he set off on his own to establish Forest Financial Group, Inc. (FFG), an employee benefits consulting firm headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois. His vision was to provide "best-in-class" employee benefit consulting services for his clients. He currently serves as the company’s president and chief executive officer. From humble beginnings, who with a strong work ethic learned from his parents---made himself into a very successful businessman and a credit to the community. Nick has built FFG into a team of dedicated business professionals and benefit specialists. Guided by Nick’s vision and integrity, the company grew rapidly and expanded both geographically and in its service offerings. He now services hundreds of clients nationally and globally with regional offices in Florida, Indiana and California. In addition to employee benefits, FFG provides wealth management, risk management, and human resource consulting services. The most recent service addition is the development of Forest Advisors, a workplace and domestic violence prevention and intervention division. Meanwhile, Gialamas has become recognized as a thought-leader in the employee benefits arena. He speaks frequently throughout the country, is an active participant on insurance industry trend advisory boards and is a recognized expert on consumer-driven health plans. Clients have become reliant on his insights and expertise to create and provide world-class benefit programs for their employees. Over the years, Gialamas has not forgotten to give back to his community. This is demonstrated in the many community activities, donations and contributions, and board positions he holds.
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Andrew G. Kaffes
President, AG Kaffes & Associates
Andrew Kaffes, 39, is a government relations consultant who enjoys seeing the gleam in an advocate’s eye when they convey their issues to a member of Congress. That gleam is why he started A.G. Kaffes & Associates in 2007 with the goal in mind to help “Main Street” organizations and start-up companies find their voices and navigate through Washington. Kaffes has spent the most part of his busy and successful career devising federal budget lobbying plans, analyzing legislation and organizing meetings with the highest levels of government officials in federal agencies. He has also organized Capitol Hill Day events. Some accomplishments include: executing a legislative strategy that propelled implementation of a Homeland Security policy in support of U.S. - Greece relations, garnering support to restore funding for Voice of America’s Greece Desk, and devising a government relations outreach campaign to create awareness of an energy efficiency technology that led to a business development opportunity. Andrew also has successfully advocated for proper federal funding of medical research at NIH, the prevention of domestic violence, and organized a client’s first-ever congressional briefing on the importance of oral health disparities and cultural competence to the Hispanic population. Moreover, he has organized several public policy forums that included the participation of U.S. and foreign government officials, prominent think-tank organizations, leading academics and non-profit professionals and foreign journalists. During his career, Andrew spent nearly 12 years working for the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA), seven as its public affairs director, and on two occasions he served as the organization’s interim executive director at the ages of 23 and 27. Andrew graduated Valedictorian of his class at The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, earning an M.A. in Political Management. He is a 1994 cum laude graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University where he earned a B.S. in Public Relations. He is excited about the opportunity to help the five-year-old Greek Orthodox Parish of Loudoun County find a permanent home as a member of its Future Planning Committee. One of Andrew’s greatest thrills was being named an Olympic Torchbearer for the 2002 Winter Games. Andrew and his wife, Vasiliki, have a daughter, Maria, 8.
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Barbara Kakiris
Communications Director, Wyle IS/NASA Glenn Research Center
Barbara Kakiris, 37, helped propel NASA Glenn Research Center’s profile to new heights. She had been chosen by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center to be groomed for a fast-tracked career path in various fields. She was actually one of only 10 high school graduates in the United States to be picked up by NASA fresh out of high school. The first in her family to go to college, Kakiris worked at the center throughout her undergraduate and graduate degrees, and stayed on as a fulltime contractor after completing her Master’s degree. She served the center’s research and program management organizations as a media relations specialist, publicizing accomplishments, including those of women and minorities, in the print and broadcast media. All her hard work did not go unnoticed. In 2004, she received a TGIR (Turning Goals into Reality) award for her success in educating the public about NASA’s capabilities and accomplishments. Up until last year, Kakiris was responsible for overseeing as many as five dozen annual conferences and events for a multitude of NASA customers. She also coordinated NASA Glenn’s external awards process, performed technical writing and editing, and served as a reliable consultant to the center’s senior leadership for all of their marketing, outreach, and other administrative needs. Barbara is currently Communications Director for research and technology at NASA Glenn. Kakiris is also committed to improving the lives of those around her. She served as Young Careerist Chairperson for the Business and Professional Women of Ohio, leading efforts to advance the careers of women who are relatively new in their chosen field. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the NASA Public Service Medal (2006) and the United States Congressional Achievement Award (1998).
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Julie Karatzis
Founder, Cartoules Press
Julie Karatzis, 29, is the founder and owner of Cartoules Press, a design + letterpress studio based in Long Beach, California, and publicist at Secret Agent PR, a public relations agency which specializes in design and cultural clients including Dwell on Design, GOOD Magazine, the Los Angeles Design Festival, and the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center in Los Angeles. As a long time paper fanatic and lover of design, Julie always appreciated the art of quality made stationery and the craft of letterpress. Because she and her husband planned to wed in Greece, their invitations needed to be bilingual. After not finding someone to fulfill their invitation needs, Julie designed and printed them herself. Having enjoyed her experience so much, she set up shop. Since then, business has been booming. Her love and appreciation for good design has also allowed her to connect with her design clients and speak on their behalf from a genuine perspective. What sets Cartoules Press apart from a commercial print shop? The fact that she prints on a letterpress – the original method of movable type printing that dates back to the mid-15th century. She hand-feeds each piece of paper on an antique, 800 pound, 1887 Golding & Co. Pearl press, and a 1,500 pound 1926 Chandler & Price press. A public relations guru and entrepreneur, Karatzis has been steadily increasing her own brand's online presence, and those of her clients, through website and social media networks like Twitter and Facebook, and traditional media avenues as well. Proud of her Greek roots, she blogs about Greek culture and design. Throughout the years, she has also been actively part of the Greek-American community at Holy Cross in her hometown of Belmont, California, and through teaching Greek folk dance and Greek school at the Saint Sophia Church in Los Angeles. She's also been part of the management team of the annual Greek Orthodox Folk Dance Festival (FDF).
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Michael T. Kasseris
Founder of Karmichael Holdings LLC
Michael Kasseris is a budding social entrepreneur. The 28-year-old business graduate, who once owned a restaurant in Massachusetts and worked at Fidelity and JPMorgan, wants to feed the world’s poor. Kasseris, who joined a microfinance institution called Kiva.org, is focused on micro-lending in Vietnam. Three months in Hanoi helped him to contextualize all he had learned in the classroom and discover way to apply it firsthand as a vehicle to help improve people’s lives. After returning from Vietnam, Michael got accepted into Babson College where he completed his Master of Business Administration. This is when he invented a product and business plan called, VitaFlavor. It’s an all-natural multivitamin and essential nutrient supplement paired with a flavoring mix for undernourished populations in the developing world. VitaFlavor has won first place at the Babson Next Big Idea Competition, as well as countless other awards and grants across the state and internationally. VitaFlavor has been selected as a semifinalist in the 2012 Echoing Green Fellowship and are competing for the finals. Kasseris was also a grant recipient for Start-Up Chile, a program funded by the Chilean government to attract world-class early stage entrepreneurs to start their business in Chile. He is also working in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam to assess enterprises working to bring consumer product distribution services to rural and underserved populations living below poverty levels that do not have access to stable sources of nutrition and other personal care products. He hopes to open the first VitaFlavor branch in Indonesia and run a pilot program this year. Back home, he volunteers with local non-profit organizations, particularly in the Greek community. Kasseris has chaired the environmental committee of the World Council of Greeks Abroad (SAE) and is a board member of the Taxiarche Greek Orthodox Church in Watertown, Massachussets. He was also a camp counselor for the Metropolis of Boston Greek Orthodox Camp.
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Anthoula Katsimatides
Actress, Producer, Radio Host and Philanthropist
Anthoula Katsimatides, 40, is an actress, producer, writer, radio host, teacher and an inspiration to the Greek community in New York. She worked closely with the Greek community of New York City while serving as former New York Governor George Pataki’s community affairs assistant. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, however, Katsimatides was assigned to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to assist with the massive rebuilding effort. She served as the main point of contact for the families of victims. She is also on the board of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. Many describe her as a driving force behind its opening of America’s Memorial last year. Having lost two of her three brothers – one was killed in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and the other had committed suicide about a year earlier – Katsimatides also launched a charity in their honor. The Johnny and Mikey Katsimatides Foundation for Life or JAM for Life was founded in January of 2002 to promote a diverse set of charitable endeavors, including the arts, music education, cancer research, assistance to underprivileged youth, suicide prevention and the rights of crime victims by donating funds raised through a variety of community events. Katsimatides is also known throughout the tri-state area for volunteering her time to annually prepare for and MC the New York City Greek Independence Day Parade. She also hosts a radio show that draws a devoted Greek audience throughout Greater New York. Acting, however, was always on her mind and she is now chasing her dream. She has auditioned and won parts in major films such as “Taking Woodtsock” as well as television series such as “Big Lake” and “Damages”. Katsimatides is now working on her own one-woman show, which she hopes to complete and produce this year.
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Kostas D. Katsiris
Partner, Venable LLP
Kostas Katsiris, 38, is a litigation partner in the New York office of Venable LLP, one of America’s top 100 law firms. He represents clients in complex commercial litigation, regulatory proceedings and internal investigations. Katsiris’ litany of professional accomplishments is long. He has worked on some of the largest class action litigations in the country and has achieved notable results for prominent companies in a variety of industries, including financial services, retailing, and construction. After graduating cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as the Articles Editor of the Law Review, he clerked for the late Shirley Wohl Kram, a federal judge in New York. He then worked six years at the prominent New York law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell, and later joined the international law firm of Howrey LLP, where he was ultimately promoted to partner. He joined Venable last year. He is a well-known lawyer and active member of the Federal Bar Council and the New York City Bar Association, where he recently completed a three-year term as secretary of the Government Ethics Committee. Katsiris is also a member of the Hellenic Lawyers Association, where he recently sponsored a Benefactor Table at the HLA’s 23rd Annual Gala, which raised $1,000 in scholarship money for a Greek-American law student in New York. Throughout his career, Katsiris has provided legal services to the community on a pro bono basis. Katsiris was born and raised in Michigan, where his father worked at a General Motors assembly plant. His father is from Dorio in the Peloponnese, and his mother is from Nafpaktos.
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Artemis Diane Kohas
Owner, MastihaShop
Artemis Kohas is an ambassador of Chios Mastiha and Greek culture. Born to Chios immigrants in Allentown, PA, she has stayed close to her Greek roots throughout her life participating in philanthropic activities in both the USA and Chios. Over the years, Artemis and her sister Kalliopi cultivated a relationship with the Chios Mastiha Growers Association leading to the groundbreaking opening of the first American "mastihashop" in 2007. Kohas was drawn to the mastihashop concept as an embodiment of her heritage, beliefs and values. Chios Mastiha is a natural remedy for many oral, digestive and skin ailments. Selling a variety of therapeutic products, including cosmetics and gourmet foods, mastihashop is a lifestyle boutique that gives an ancient resin a modern appeal. More importantly, it is a vehicle to educate Americans about Mastiha and Greek products. Artemis conveys the mastihashop concept beyond her store through press and philanthropy. Mastihashop has received recognition from prestigious publications ranging from the New York Times and Vogue, to winning the British Airways Face of Opportunity contest for small businesses last year. She has given presentations at the Experimental Cuisine Collective and the Greek Embassy in Washington D.C. Further, Kohas ensures that mastihashop supports countless charities including Autism Speaks, Voices Against Brain Cancer, the LA and NYC Greek Film Fests, the Archaeological Institute of America, and various Greek organizations. Independent from mastihashop, Artemis champions causes important to her. Since 2005, she has participated in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer's. Her team’s efforts have raised $30,000 to date. Kohas writes regularly on topics of cultural interest for the Goddess of the Hunt. She serves on the board of the Gus Kohas Memorial Scholarship awarded annually in her father’s name and also supports female entrepreneurship through CRAVE NYC. Pre-mastihashop, Artemis earned a B.S. from Lafayette College and M.A. from NYU both in psychology. She is a licensed mental health counselor, and worked with children and families affected by 9/11 at P.S. 150 in Tribeca.
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Tony Koukos
World Photographer
Tony Koukos is a self-taught photographer who has traveled around the world, capturing 38 countries on camera. He is currently just a few snaps away from shooting his 40th country, India and Colombia on the top of his list. The 36-year-old Toronto-based, world-renowned entrepreneur stumbled upon his passion for photography during a trip to Greece in 1998. He purchased a small point-and-shoot Pentax camera and started taking photos. When he developed the film, he was so impressed he decided to continue. Today, he has more than 70,000 photographs catalogued – a portfolio that spans over a decade. He is now looking to publish a book featuring travel imagery from Greece, Italy, France and Spain. Behind the lens, Koukos is a philanthropist. He is an earnest advocate who encourages the betterment of those around him, through health, physical activity and charity. Last summer, he co-organized a cocktail party event Design for Hope that raised more than $7,000 for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation’s Northern Cancer Fund. Over the years, Koukos has donated his artwork and his time to raise thousands of dollars for various other organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Mental Health Association and the Thunder Bay District Memorial Hospital, as well as Aids research. He has always been drawn to charity. Koukos began fundraising for the local regional hospital while at university in Thunder Bay, Ontario. For years, he participated in the Save a Heart ball and Bachelor for Auction. Every year during both events, his efforts of fundraising through raffle tickets and donations of his own photography raised thousands of dollars. His work has also appeared on a non-profit fundraising calendar distributed to over 300 corporations.
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Tina Livanos
Founder/President, Livanou
Tina Livanos, an attorney of law, worked for her family’s real estate management and development business based in New York and Greece. But it wasn’t long before she was bitten by the fashion bug. In 2007, she decided to start her own handbag line, which she called “Livanou”. It quickly sold in boutiques across the United States, as well as Europe and Hong Kong. In addition, Tina has extended her love for fashion into her charity work. Through her travels and work she encountered many communities in need. She also witnessed the amount of excess and waste in the fashion industry production cycle. In 2011, she launched Fashion from Friends, which takes clothes, accessories, make-up and other fashion donations from leading fashion brands and houses and brings it to young women struggling to make ends meet. Tina is an active member of New York’s Greek community and a firm supporter of many charitable organizations. She participates in the fundraising efforts for Greek charities, political candidates and causes. As an expression of love for her ancestral homeland, Livanos recently launched a new charitable endeavor called Helping Hellas (helpinghellas.org) which aims to pair US based goods and services donated by businesses with institutions in Greece that need the items. Through a partnership with Desmos, an Athens-based not-for-profit, Livanos will match American clothing, pharmaceuticals and other non-perishable supplies with Greek organizations in need.
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George Logothetis
Chairman & CEO, the Libra Group
George Logothetis, age 37, has principal executive responsibility for the Libra Group and its 30 subsidiaries which span 20 locations across four continents. The group is predominantly focused on shipping, aviation, real estate, hospitality and renewable energy. George joined his family’s shipping company in 1993, becoming CEO in 1994 at the age of 19. In the ensuing years he presided over the company’s transformation from three vessels into a fleet of 55. George created the Libra Group as a means of diversifying the family’s business which was facilitated by the sale of 67 vessels between 2004 and 2007. Today the group has a collection of over 20 hotels and a global real estate portfolio in prime locations such as Buenos Aires, New York, London, Athens and Singapore. Libra’s renewable energy interests include fuel cell power plants and bio fuel manufacturing in the USA as well as solar, wind and biogas interests across Europe. Meanwhile, under George’s direction Libra’s shipping fleet has grown to almost 40 vessels the group has acquired fixed wing aircraft and helicopters valued at nearly $5 billion. In growing and managing the Libra Group George has been keen to provide opportunity and reward initiative. Epitomising this spirit of opportunity is Libra's global internship program that is specifically targeted at Greek students and at North American students with Greek connections. Outside business George has undertaken numerous charitable ventures globally. Most recently he and his wife Nitzia have established Seleni, a foundation that provides advocacy, mental health care and wellness support for women. George and Nitzia Logothetis live in New York City and have one son.
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John J. Louizos
Partner, Curtis, Brinckerhoff & Barrett, PC
John Louizos is a lawyer with Curtis, Brinckerhoff & Barrett, PC – a firm founded in 1864. He was one of the youngest partners to join the firm. Since earning his law degree in 1997, Louizos has served as a law clerk with the Supreme Court of Virginia and in private practice has counseled clients in the general practice of law. The 39-year-old lawyer has tried cases before the Connecticut Superior Courts and in the US District Court for the District of Connecticut. One of the high points of his career is when he argued before the Connecticut Supreme Court and was involved in the case Aposporos vs Stamford Urban Redevelopment Commission, which was a predecessor to the landmark Kelo eminent domain case in New London that went to the US Supreme Court. He is a former member of the Connecticut Bar Association House of Delegates and a past board member of the Fairfield County Bar Association. Louizos also serves his community as a city-wide elected official. With a population of 117,000, Stamford is the fourth largest city in Connecticut and an economic driver for the state with corporations such as UBS, RBS, NBC Sports, NHL Network, GE, Nestle Waters and Starwood Hotels among others calling Stamford home. At the age of 33, Louizos was first elected to the Stamford Board of Finance and served as its Vice Chairman. He also served as chairman of the Education Committee and the Legal Affairs & Personnel Committee of the Board. Last year, he was elected to another four-year term and was endorsed by US Senator Richard Blumenthal, US Congressman Jim Himes and Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. Louizos immigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of three. He was raised in Stamford where his father worked as an auto mechanic and was the first one in his family to go to college. Louizos is married with a 5 year-old son.
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Nicole Malliotakis
Assemblywoman, New York State Assembly
Nicole Malliotakis, 32, is a member of the New York State Assembly, representing parts of Staten Island and Brooklyn. Her career started as a liaison for the late Senator John Marchi and Governor George Pataki. She worked with civic groups, not-for-profits, and government agencies. She also served as Pataki’s representative in New York City and liaison to the Greek American community. In 2010, she was elected to the New York State Assembly, defeating a two-term incumbent to become the first Greek American woman. She is also the only current female Republican elected to any office in New York City. During her first year in office, Malliotakis worked to stop the closure of local firehouses and senior centers and eliminate a $10 billion budget deficit without raising or instituting new taxes or fees. Malliotakis is also a vocal advocate for freedom of religion. She helped circulate a letter among her fellow legislators, addressed to the Turkish embassy in Washington, calling for the re-opening of the Halki Theological School in Turkey. She also accompanied the Cyprus Federation of America to Cyprus where she met with the Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis. She supported the reconstruction of the St Nicholas church that was destroyed near the World Trade Center in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Malliotakis is also the recipient of numerous awards. She was named a Rising Star by the Capitol newspaper. She also received special recognition at the 2011 Women of Achievement Awards by the Staten Island Advance and an Award of Gratitude by the Order of AHEPA for serving as the honorary speaker at their 2011 Scholarship Awards Graduation, as well as her contributions to the local Greek community.
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Penelope Manis
Executive Producer, CNN International
It all started with an internship which eventually led Penelope Manis to the position of senior producer for AC360, a primetime CNN program which broadcasts to both a domestic and global audiences hosted by top journalist Anderson Cooper. And now, Manis is the Executive Producer of CNN International in New York City. The show covers breaking national and international news related to politics, international developments and social issues. Manis’ hard work has not gone unnoticed. She recently led a team that won two Emmy awards for reporting of the Haiti earthquake two years ago. Other awards include a George Foster Peabody award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina as well as the 2008 Presidential Campaign coverage. Her team also received an Alfred I. duPont Award for reporting of the South Asian tsunami, and an Emmy nomination for the AC360 investigative report: “Highway Robbery?” Manis joined CNN 16 years ago as an associate producer for CNN’s Washington bureau where she covered stories relating to US-Latin American relations. She then transferred to CNN’s Atlanta headquarters to become an editorial producer, booking and pre-interviewing newsmakers and analysts on CNNUSA, CNN International and CNN en Espanol. Manis has worked overseas in CNN’s London offices, selecting and producing stories for CNN’s European and Middle Eastern audiences.
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Stella A. Papadopoulos
Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame
Stella A. Papadopoulos is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture in South Bend, Indiana. For the 2011-12 academic year, she is teaching design studio and advanced drawing and painting at their Rome Studies Program. The Yale School of Architecture graduate is a veteran of several New York and London firms. Papadopoulos is known for her high-end residential designs. As a senior associate and project architect/designer, she worked extensively on residences in the Hamptons as well as hospitality projects in California and New York. She has worked on designing interiors for upscale retail stores like Takashimaya’s former New York flagship on Fifth Avenue, in addition to other boutiques and retail environments. Her international projects include the Grove Quadrangle at Magdalen College in Oxford, England, with Porphyrios and Associates in London. While working at John Simpson & Partners, her projects included the new market hall in Poundbury and the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace. Her work has been featured in numerous books, periodicals and magazines, including most recently Architect Magazine, World of Interiors, Interior Design, Elle Décor, and A&C International. As an active Greek American, she is a member and supports several Greek organizations and foundations. In Greece itself, Papadopoulos worked on the Leventis Residence on the Greek island of Spetses, and the design of the architecture and town planning of Pitiousa, Spetses. She is currently redesigning a public church square and villa in a small village in the Peloponnese. Papadopoulos volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and Architecture for Humanity and runs Poleis Design Architecture, a multi-disciplinary design studio. She is currently researching Greek Neoclassical Architecture and is writing “Classical Design as Thinking.” Papadopoulos is always infusing young architect’s minds with traditional and classical architecture and researching sustainable architecture/urbanism. She hopes to create a more sustainable and beautiful world through the recovery of the traditional practice of architecture.
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Lee Polydor
Founder & Managing Partner, Queen Street Capital Partners
Lee Polydor is Founder and Managing Partner of Queen Street Partners ("QSP"), a private investment firm focused on Property, Media and Technology. Polydor has made an impact, both locally and globally while demonstrating a proven track record of creating value and deploying investor capital into future neighborhoods and brands before they are broadly recognized. The firm's core competencies have included revitalizing urban neighborhoods, investment in digital media and bringing new life to marquee brands. Polydor's projects include purchasing landmark properties such as turn of the century urban department stores and repositioning the buildings into creative cultural and commercial destinations. Another project has been the resurrection of an 1848 newspaper onto a new, award-winning, digital media platform. Other investments have included the latest in bioinformatics and energy efficiency technologies that are some of the fastest growing companies in North America. Companies like CNS Response, which brings personalized medicine to people suffering from mental illness, and SN Tech, which develops the world's most efficient smart electric motor. Polydor is a philanthropic advocate of the arts and a mentor to entrepreneurs. He supports a number of Hellenic organizations such as the Greek America Foundation, Hellenic Canadian Board of Trade and Hellenic Home for the Aged. He was an essential part of the founding of the annual Greek Film & Foto Week and a co-producer on Giorgos Lanthimos’ recent film Alps, winner of Best Screenplay at the 2011 Venice International Film Festival. Outside of film, Polydor is a supporter of art and history as a member of the Young Patron's Circle at the Royal Ontario Museum, and has been integral to the growth of select Canadian fashion designers. Before founding QSP, Polydor worked in investment banking in New York City at BMO Nesbitt Burns working in private debt and equity. Polydor is a graduate of NYU Stern School of Business where he received his BSc in Finance and International Business. He received his Masters from Columbia University in 2006.
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Elle Sakellis
President & CEO, OTRERA
Elle Sakellis is an Ivy League graduate who left a career on Wall Street to pursue her dream: Fashion. In 2004, the 36-year-old launched Otrera as a private label accessories production company working with clients such as Victoria’s Secret, Boston Proper & Spiegel Catalog. After years of designing accessories for other labels, she decided to attempt her own branded line of scarves. After launching her now famous “Evil Eye Scarf”, it took just three short months for her collection to be picked up by hundreds of stores worldwide. Her creations have been worn by celebrities such as Alicia Keys, Rachel Ray, Paris Hilton, Stacy Keibler, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jennifer Lopez. Elle’s designs were knocked off almost immediately after they hit the market and she was featured on the cover of the Life Style section of the Wall Street Journal in an article entitled “The Problem With Being a Trendsetter”. It was then that she decided to capitalize on her personal experience by expanding her business offerings into consulting. She began working with other young designers who needed help launching their innovative designs into the marketplace. She helps them navigate through the process of starting a business and avoiding the costly mistakes generated by their inexperience. She now also consults with retailers such as Scoop & Saks Fifth Avenue and DNA 2050. Sakellis is particularly dedicated to empowering women designers and particularly young Greek women attempting to enter the world of fashion. She helps them prepare business plans and introduces them to manufacturers and distributors. She demystifies the process, propelling them to success. Sakellis’ Greek heritage has played a prominent role in her entrepreneurship. Even the name of her line comes from childhood memories of her grandmother telling her stories about Otrera, the ancient Greek Mother of the Amazons known for her empowering ability to lead a tribe of warrior women. The Otrera brand continues to grow launching various scarves adorned with good luck charms from all over the world both in print and sewn into the accessory itself. The message of positivity, protection and good luck that the brand delivers has had the fashion press label Sakellis as the “Karma Queen”.
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Elena Skardis Saviolakis
Executive Director, Daughters of Penelope
Elena Saviolakis was only 25 when she became the executive director of the Daughters of Penelope, a Greek-American women’s organization dedicated to promoting Greek culture, Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility and Family & Individual Excellence. The organization has chapters across the United States, Canada, Cyprus and Greece. Saviolakis has achieved a lot over the past five years at the helm. Among other accomplishments, she created a website for the organization, started a monthly e-newsletter that is currently sent to 10,000 members, and has modernized their membership system. Saviolakis has also helped to execute civic responsibility campaigns on Capitol Hill aimed to educate Congress and to encourage increased civic participation among Daughters of Penelope members. As such, she helped organize annual Capitol Hill Days, worked to augment the collective voice for victims’ rights, and advocated for the commemoration of the admirable work of Greek American women through a congressional resolution acknowledging the 80th Anniversary of the Daughters of Penelope. As a result of her efforts to transform the Daughters of Penelope through the use of technology and public relations, the organization has received tremendous exposure and continues to grow. Saviolakis also travels annually to Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Turkey to discuss various Hellenic issues with senior political officials in each respective country. The 28-year-old is currently an MBA student at George Washington University. During her studies in Greece at the American College, she also played for a Division 1 Women’s Soccer team in Athens. Saviolakis was also chosen to perform in the Athens Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in 2004.
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Demitre Serletis
Chief Neurosurgery Resident, Toronto Western Hospital
Demitre Serletis, 32, is currently in his chief year of neurosurgical training at the University of Toronto. He has active ongoing research interests in the application of complexity theory and dynamical systems theory to the study of normal and epileptic brain activity. Serletis has devised an array of impressive analytical methodologies for classifying and identifying brain states, specifically in relation to epileptic transitions. He has also developed a set of experimental data in the lab based on in-vitro preparations and neurophysiological recordings from animal and human hippocampal and cortical tissues. Colleagues have described his research as important and innovative. It is also interdisciplinary, spanning a large number of areas including neuroscience, physiology, engineering, physics, and mathematics. In fact, Serletis is launching an entire field in this area. The clinical implications of his work could be remarkable for the treatment of pharmacologically resistant cases of epilepsy, given that his methodology may be used to differentiate between different dynamic scenarios of epileptic seizure generation. Such a revolutionary approach will have profound impact on the diagnosis and treatment of this adverse neurological condition. Academically, Serletis is amongst the best published Canadian neurosurgeons in his age group. He has published over 20 articles in professional journals, presented at over 25 conferences in Canada, the United States and in Europe and has received over 22 different awards and honors. Serletis has great intellectual curiosity, good intuition, as well as good judgment about what is interesting and important. He strives to make the world around him a better place and has uncompromisingly dedicated himself to neurosurgery and to cutting-edge medical research.
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Athan E. Stephanopoulos
CEO & Founder, GorillaSpot, Inc.
Athan E. Stephanopoulos, 35, is the founder and chief executive officer of GorillaSpot, Inc., a New York City-based social media marketing and development company that provides video applications for media and entertainment companies to engage and interact with millions fans across Facebook and other social networks. Having always had the entrepreneurship bug, Stephanopoulos launched the company in 2007 as a response to the effects he saw digital technologies having on the traditional media industry - something he witnessed first-hand while working for a prominent entertainment advertising agency. Today, GorillaSpot boasts an impressive list of companies who utilize their technologies to manage their marketing campaigns across the social web. Clients include Paramount Pictures, HBO, ABC, South Park, AMC, FX Networks, CBS Sports, MTV, Starz, MLB and Saturday Night Live. Led by Stephanopoulos, GorillaSpot has developed cutting edge campaigns for top shows like Entourage, The Walking Dead, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Spartacus, Modern Family and South Park. Aside from running day-to-day management of GorillaSpot, Stephanopoulos also serves as an adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business in New York City, where he teaches courses on Media Entrepreneurship and Social Media. In this capacity, he also chairs a Media Lecture Series that interviews top media executives to examine the effects that digital disruption is having on the industry today. Stephanopoulos is also well-known within the national Greek community. Prior to his endeavors in media and entertainment, he worked for the Greek Orthodox Church raising money for its philanthropic and missionary activities around the world. He spent time living in Hong Kong where he documented the Church’s presence in South East Asia. While in India, he produced a video about a girl’s orphanage built and run by a Greek Orthodox monk and nun. His video ultimately helped raise more than $400,000 to support its efforts.
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Christiana Thanos
Creator, The Lucky Girls Project
After graduating from the University of California Los Angeles in 2004, Christiana Thanos was almost immediately off to India where she spent six months volunteering at the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Girl’s Orphanage in Kolkata. Upon returning to Los Angeles, she worked in a local gang-prevention program. She worked closely with inner-city youth, families and schools to provide middle school children with a safe environment – an alternative to joining gangs. She returned to school and earned her Master’s in social work from Columbia University. She also won the Critical Language Scholarship from the US State Department to study Bengali in Bangladesh. This is when she decided to launch a fundraising campaign to allow her and a filmmaker travel to the orphanage in Kolkata and produce a short film to help the girls. Thanos directed and produced Lucky Girls, which started as a movie and has now grown into an international platform to help the orphanage, which was co-founded by Sister Nectaria, a nun from Corinth, and Bishop Ignatius of Madagascar. The movie has been viewed in 114 countries. Last year, Thanos launched a Lenten campaign called 4,000 Raindrops to raise $4,000 in 40 days to help the orphanage build a well. Thanos exceeded her goal as she and her team raised nearly $10,000. Her future plans include the creation of a non-profit organization that will encourage young people to creatively give back to Orthodox organizations that benefit girls. She has also started a blog called “DIY + Philanthropy”. Thanos is currently the Assistant Director of development at the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work.
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Aliki Theofilopoulos Grafft
Writer & Storyboard Artist, "Phineas and Ferb"
It all started after college when Aliki Theofilopoulos Grafft attended an after-school animation class. A recruiter from Walt Disney was so impressed by her portfolio that she was offered a training internship. Grafft always loved cartoons (she was a huge fan of Popeye and Looney Tunes cartoons, as well as the classic Disney films.) and drawing was always a part of her life. She worked in the animation department on such films as Hercules, Tarzan, Fantasia 2000, and Treasure Planet. She trained under some of the best animators like Brian Ferguson, John Ripa and Eric Goldberg. And she was also fortunate enough to be part of the monthly drawing lessons held by the late Walt Stanchfield (animator on classics like Winnie the Pooh and The Jungle Book). It wasn’t long before Grafft sold an original pilot to Nickelodeon/Frederator where she co-produced Yaki and Yumi – a cartoon about a bat and a dragon (both characters based on her parents). She even found an actor for the Yaki the bat who had a Greek accent. Her second original pilot was Girls on the GO! about a Greek American girl named Katerina Metropoulos. In 2006, Disney hired her back as writer and storyboard artist and writer for the Phineas and Ferb show. She is the voice behind the character Mandy. She has worked closely with the show’s creators Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh to shape the stories, humor and overall tone of the show. Grafft is an Emmy-nominated song writer for the show as well. She has also been developing show ideas for major studios and draws much inspiration from her children, Ruby and Niko. Last year, Grafft participated in an animation conference in Athens. The event proved a unique opportunity to meet animators in Greece and discuss possible future collaborations. Grafft, a member of Women in Animation, has a deep passion for inspiring other women animators. She is also a member of ASIFA Hollywood, an organization dedicated to the art of animation through education, expression and recognition of its members.
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Kristin Thomas
Director of Casting, CBS Television Studios
Kristin Thomas, 31, is director of casting at CBS Television Studios. She is responsible for 16 television series and 11 pilots. During pilot season, she works around the clock to cast the right talent for each role while meeting budgetary and fiscal needs specific to each project. Her success in her role as director of casting has reportedly placed her on the fast track to vice-president status at CBS. When not in the studio, Thomas teaches dance to Greek American children. She was an active member of the St Nicholas Greek Orthodox community in Northridge, California where she grew up. As a young adult, Thomas joined the St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Community in Los Angeles. She is also the Greek dance director at the Cathedral and the co-founder of the Annual Greek Dance Glendi at Saint Sophia Cathedral Parish. The event raises over $20,000 each year. She also plays a major role in the broader fundraising efforts. Each year, Thomas co-sponsors the LA Greek Fest, an annual event organized by the Cathedral. She also operates the loukoumades booth, which raises some $10,000 each year from her delicious sweets. Thomas is also the co-organizer of the annual Zorba Dance contest held on the Friday night of the festival. Thanks to her many contacts in the entertainment world, the contest is judged by celebrities in the Greek community.
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Stavros Thomopoulos
Associate Professor, Washington University
Stavros Thomopoulos, 38, is an associate professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri. Thomopoulos’ Ph.D. dissertation examined the role of mechanical loading on tendon-to-bone healing in the rotator cuff. The thesis demonstrated that protective mobilization, rather than aggressive activity, was beneficial to healing. These results have significantly influenced how clinicians treat rotator cuff injuries. Thomopoulos received the Kappa Delta Young Investigator Award from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in 2009, which is the highest award given in the orthopedics community. He is also a recipient of the prestigious YC Fung Young Investigator Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the highest award given in the bioengineering community. Among the many grants Thomopoulos has received over the years, he is particularly proud of the three National Institute of Health (NIH) R01 grants and the National Science Foundation CAREER award that currently funds his research. Thomopoulos is passionate about science and giving back to his community. He has taken an active part in "Moving and Shaking: An Introduction to Engineering", a learning lab program that encourages middle school students, especially girls, to take an interest in science. Thomopoulos contributes a significant amount of his time to numerous professional societies. He is involved in the Orthopedic Research Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and has chaired several positions, including publications and local arrangements. Besides mentoring students and post-doctoral fellows, Thomopoulos has taken an active role in bringing orthopedic surgeons from Greece to work in his laboratory and learn clinical techniques.
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Christopher N. Tsakalos
Operations Manager, H&S Bakery, Inc.
Baking is tradition for Christopher N. Tsakalos. It actually runs in the family. This 31-year-old is the third generation family member and operations manager of H&S Bakery – the largest privately-owned bakery in the United States. The first bakery was opened by his grandfather, Harry Tsakalos and great grandfather, Isidoros (Steve) Paterakis. Today, H&S Bakery, along with its affiliates, is comprised of 14 divisions operating in seven states with distribution in 23 states. The company is made up of more than 2,000 employees and a fleet of 400 delivery vans. The Tsakalos family also co-owns Northeast Foods, which makes buns for McDonald’s, and a development company which has transformed Baltimore’s Harbor East neighborhood into Baltimore’s premier residential, retail, culinary, and tourism destination. The young Tsakalos joined his family’s business as a teenager in high school. Today he is In charge of orders, production, maintenance, packing, logistics and quality control. He also directs both the Safety and Sustainability Teams at H&S. When not baking, he supports the Lardarius Webb Foundation, which works to help keep young people in Baltimore in school and off the streets. He also assists the organization Helping Up Mission, which comes to the aid of Baltimore’s poor and homeless and assists those with drug and alcohol addiction. Tsakalos is a member of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation in Baltimore. The Cathedral played an important role in shaping his life and identity. He resides in Phoenix, MD with his wife Triantafilia and two children.
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Chrysa Tsakopoulos
Vice President, AKT Development Corporation
Chrysanthy (Chrysa) Tsakopoulos, 25, is the vice president of AKT Development Corporation, the largest land development company in Sacramento based on acreage owned. The company, which was founded by her father, provides real estate development and land subdivision services. Tsakopoulos is also one of the founders of the Pabna Association for General Education (PAGE), which builds schools for the poor in Bangladesh. She is also a member of the local St Katherine Greek Orthodox Church of Elk Grove and the Elios Society which works to preserve and promote the spirit, values and ideals of Greek culture and heritage. Tsakopoulos has been an active member of the Greek American community from a very early age. Fluent in Greek, she spent two summers as an intern at the United States embassy in Athens. She has also published three chapters in Google eBooks. One is titled Venturing in Southern Greece through villages and Vineyards, the other is Venturing in Ireland and the third is Venturing in Puglia.
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William Vastis
Vice-President, RBC Wealth Management - Dominion Securities
Bill Vastis is the vice president and one of the top investment advisors of RBC Wealth Management – the largest investment dealer in Canada and 10th largest in the world. The 40-year-old has over 16 years experience in the financial industry. He is widely known as one of the top investment advisors in Canada. Vastis specializes in Sudden Wealth Management Strategies and has pioneered an approach specifically for business owners who face retirement. When not advising, Vastis is investing in his community. He sits on the boards of the Trillium Foundation, the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. He is also the founder of the Fight for the Girls, a charitable boxing event to raise funds for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada, and Brawl for Cancer, another annual charity event. Both are in honor of his mother, Sotirea Vastis, who died from breast cancer after a six-year-battle. He has helped raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer research.
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Maria Z. Vathis
Principal; Boundas, Skarzynski, Walsh & Black, LLC
Maria Vathis, 35, is a lawyer, a young leader of the legal community's premier bar association, a board member of the American Cancer Society and an active member of the Greek American community. She earned her law degree from DePaul University College of Law. Upon graduation, Vathis became an associate at Clausen Miller. She later joined the law firm of Boundas, Skarzynski, Walsh & Black. She is now a principal at this firm handling complex commercial cases. She has litigated multi-million dollar cases involving contracts, fraud, business torts, professional liability, and insurance claims involving catastrophic losses, environmental contamination and business interruption. She handles cases across the country in both federal and state courts. Vathis was named "Rising Star" by Illinois Super Lawyers in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Super Lawyers recognizes outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Rising Stars is a designation for attorneys under the age of 40. Since becoming an attorney, Vathis has been involved in the Federal Bar Association, the leading bar organization for federal judges and attorneys practicing in federal court. In 2010, she became the youngest person to serve as president of Federal Bar's Chicago Chapter. She is also an active member of the Hellenic Bar Association, serving on its scholarship committee and its external relations committee. Vathis also tries to give back to the community through pro bono work for the American Cancer Society. Since 2007, she has been co-chairing the society’s fashion committee which solicits donations from retailers that are auctioned off at their annual gala to fund cancer research initiatives.
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Charles Voudouris
Executive Sous Chef, Anguilla, British West Indies
Charles Voudouris is cooking up a storm in the Caribbean. He is the Executive Sous Chef at the Viceroy Anguilla, a 35 acre luxury resort on the exclusive island in the British West Indies. Some of his guests include Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Paul McCartney, Ellen Degeneres, Ted Leonsis, and Shaquille O'Neal. The 30-year-old is a classically-trained chef with a Culinary Degree from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. He has extensive experience in Mediterranean, Italian, French, Japanese, and Latin cuisines. From a young age he was very involved with his community at St. Sophias Greek Orthodox Church in Syracuse. Charles served as an altar boy for over 10 years under the Very Reverend Michael C. Harmand, and volunteered each year for the annual Greek Festival's cultural dances. Some of his fondest childhood memories were of him helping his mother, father and grandmothers, prepare the family meals in the kitchen. Voudouris embarked on his professional career at the age of 17, where he trained under Steve Leclair, at Antonio’s Ristorante in Syracuse, New York. After graduating, he was hired as Head Banquet Chef at the prestigious Federal Reserve in Providence, where he honed his skills under Executive Chef John Richardson. He was then recruited by The Kor Group to help reopen The Tides, South Beach in 2007 after a $14 million renovation. At only 27 years old, he held the Executive Chef position at the famed Versace Mansion on Ocean Drive, where he specialized in multiple course tasting menus. Last summer, he competed in an International Culinary Competition in Mexico City where he took first place out of 10 chefs from the Caribbean. He is very involved in local charities, as well as coach/trainer of the Anguillian Culinary Team. Charles continues to represent his Greek heritage on his menus and proudly carries the responsibility of being an ambassador of his culture in the Caribbean.
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