By Victoria Raschi, HG 2017
A few months ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the Hellenic American Women’s Council’s (HAWC) Annual Conference. HAWC is a nationwide network whose mission is to identify and harness the tremendous talents of Hellenic American women. HAWC’s goal is to empower members and assist them to assume leadership positions in the nation, communities, and respective fields of endeavor. HWAC works towards this mission by focusing on education and networking, both of which were emphasized at the conference. Among HAWC’s membership are impressive, strong, and dedicated women, many of whom attended the conference. The air was filled with a fresh feeling of female motivation, leadership, and empowerment.
There were three panelists each very inspiring and influential. One of the panelists was our very own Noël Demetria Giglio, HGAN National Co-Chair and 2013 Heritage Greece Alumna. Noël is in-house Legal Counsel at Philips North America. She focuses her practice on anti- bribery and anti- corruption in the healthcare-medical device space. Among her responsibilities, is managing the US healthcare compliance acquisition work-stream from due diligence to integration, which was the focus of her presentation. As an attorney, she spoke about the behind the scenes preparation and factors evaluated when buying and selling a start-up business. It was an amazing atmosphere to be surrounded by so many female Greek leaders and to be able to support Noël. This was the first HG event that I have attended other than the actual trip, it was a 5 minute walk from my college campus and it really proved to me that HG and NHS are everywhere. I was interested in attending this event because as a woman in the arts, it is easy to feel overlooked, but attending this conference was a great reminder and boost to my confidence reinforcing that women are getting the recognition that they deserve. I am also currently minoring in entrepreneurship, so I knew the conference would be relevant to my studies.
The other two panelists were very informative as well, Giorgos Zacharia, CTO of Kayak, and Andrew Demakis, Director of Foodservices at Old Neighborhood Foods. Giorgios was an inspirational speaker! Not only did I learn a lot about when to purchase airline tickets, but he is a classic example of coming from a big family and working hard. Andrew Demakis provided a different perspective as a Director at a family business in the food industry that got its start with loukaniko, deeply rooted in their Greek culture. Although I’m a vegetarian so I don’t eat loukaniko, it was a great reference to illustrate the importance of education, family, and hard work.
All three panelists conveyed the two foundational pillars of HAWC, education and networking, very well. I was not only inspired by the panelists but by the women who attended the event, leaving me with hope that I can become a leader as well.
By Dimitri Roumeliotis, HG 2015, NY Chapter HG Co-CHair
The New York NHS Chapter, together with New York Heritage Greece alumni, recently hosted a dinner and film night for Heritage Greece alumni and friends. The group met for dinner at the Greek Kitchen followed by a showing of the New York Greek Film Festival’s “The Boy on the Bridge” at the New York Institute of Technology.
This was the 11th year of the New York Greek Film Festival, which shows films produced by Greek filmmakers. The New York Greek Film Festival is supported by the Greek National Tourism Foundation and the Consulate General of Greece in New York, along with Greek cultural groups including the Onassis Foundation. This year, total turnout was over 6,000 people across the two week span of films. Our group saw the film “The Boy on the Bridge” which was about a Cypriot boy who found himself in the middle of a murder investigation in his village and uncovered secrets that changed his life forever.
The film presented a different view of cinematography than some of us are used to in Hollywood films, exposing us to an additional aspect of Greek culture through inherently relatable characters. The dinner and film brought together Heritage Greece alumnae from the 2014-2017 classes and also featured friends from other Greek organizations in New York which our chapter is interested in partnering with in the future. We were encouraged by the turnout and hope to continue the momentum by increasing connectivity in the New York region around NHS/Heritage Greece topics.
This event was shared on the recently created public Facebook page @HGNYAlum, and will showcase events in our region.
The U.S. foster care system is home to over 400,000 children many of whom have entered the system with few or no possessions of their own. While foster parents are provided a stipend to cover basic needs, it is often not enough to cover all necessities.
The Ticket to Dream Foundation, a recognized 501(c)3 non-profit, was launched in December 2015 to make a positive impact on the lives of thousands of foster children in need. The program is designed to provide both in-kind and monetary contributions to non-profit foster care organizations.
A 2011 Heritage Greece Alumna held her second annual collection drive for donations of new shoes in any size or style. Christina said, “Most of the kids have never had a new pair of shoes to call their own, accustomed to only “hammy downs.” For children who have lost their families or have been separated
from their siblings, these donations can mean the world- helping to boost their self-esteem and giving them hope for a brighter future.” She collaborated with Pittsburgh based foster care organizations to improve the lives of foster children raising 200+ of pairs of shoes and over $3,000. Ypapanti Presentation of Christ Greek Orthodox Church and Pittsburgh’s Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church made generous contributions, all matched by Christina’s employer, BNY Mellon. The collective generosity helps kids to “walk in confidence” all year long.
By Lexi Nikolopoulos, HG 2015
Boston’s second annual Greek Heritage Night took place at TD Garden on December 4, 2017, at the Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks NBA game. Over 2,000 Greek Americans attended, turning the game into a celebration of Greek culture. We were also lucky to see basketball phenomenon Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukie Bucks, known by fans as “The Greek Freak.” The stands were an ocean of blue and white, with dozens of flags displayed proudly throughout the night. In attendance were several NHS members, most notably, NHS Boston Co- Chair, Costa Sideridis. Mr. Sideridis led the committee that made this event possible. Thirteen Heritage Greece alumni traveled from across the east coast to be together for the game.
Prior to the NBA game, Eirini Tornesaki sang the National Anthem and the halftime performance featured the Sons and Daughters of Alexander the Great, who performed Greek dances in traditional dress. Although Milwaukee lost 100-111, Antetokounmpo had an extraordinary performance, earning 40 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists. The energy and pride felt throughout the stadium was a true testament to the power of Greek culture to bring us together. Giannis Antetokounmpo expressed his appreciation for the tremendous show of Greek support with a post-game Tweet:
BY TIM CLARK, HG 2013, NORTH CAROLINA REGIONAL CO-CHAIR
This past April the Heritage Greece Alumni in North Carolina held our first organized meeting as a chapter. For our kickoff event in this region we met at Kipos, a Greek restaurant located in downtown Chapel Hill. As most of us were spread across the different years of Heritage Greece this was a great chance to connect and forge new and lasting relationships with each other based on our shared experiences.
It was wonderful to have the opportunity to come together, but more importantly to be able to reinforce the idea that Heritage Greece does not end once you return from Greece. The alumni that were present ranged all the way from the inaugural trip to the most recent trip back to the beautiful place we all share roots to.
BY KENDRA SCRUGGS, HG 2014 www.kendrascruggs.com
I‘ve been passionate about the environment for as long as I remember, but it wasn’t until college that I realized it was something that I wanted to further integrate into my life. While teaching myself more about living sustainably, I simultaneously started working in retail, and it was then that I discovered how interested I am in fashion, more specifically, sustainable fashion. Sustainable fashion encompasses fashion that puts sustainability at their forefront by reducing waste, using recycled fabrics, reducing water consumption, using low energy manufacturing methods, and the like. Sustainable fashion can also include fair trade fashion, sourcing material responsibly, as exploitation is a significant problem within the industry.
The importance to turn to sustainable fashion is supported by the staggering waste and pollution statistics attributed to the fashion industry. Greenpeace has noted that it takes 2,700 liters of water
to make just one t-shirt; that an estimated 400 billion square meters of textile are produced annually, of which 60 billion square meters are left on the cutting room floor; that three out of four garments will end up in landfills or be incinerated; and that hazardous chemicals used in manufacturing end up in water pipe discharges, as well as emissions in air and solid waste. In 2011, Greenpeace launched a
Detox campaign to challenge companies to become more transparent about their manufacturing processes and to remove hazardous chemicals from all steps of production by 2020, with the hope that this will reduce toxic water pollution around the world.
BY ALBERT SCERBO, HG 2014
In the 1997 film GATTACA, Ethan Hawke lives in a futuristic world where genetic testing and editing allows parents to ensure that their children will be born without the risk of serious hereditary genetic disorders. Nervous parents are able to secure a future where their children are not at risk for heart disease and can even ensure that their children might grow up to be Olympic champions.
In March, NHS’s Boston chapter hosted a talk by Dr. Robert C. Green, Director of the G2P program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who suggested that not only is this sci-fi world possible, it’s actually already here. The Genomes to People program (G2P) – a joint initiative between Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical University and Partners Healthcare – conducts research around the medical, behavioral and economic outcomes associated with the implementation of genomic medicine.
BY ALEXANDRA PAPOUTSIS, HG 2017
We come from a people that live by the water. The mountains are daringly beautiful and cascade into
the sky to tower over everyone. But they are not monstrous, they are scaled to perfection
with low towering plants to show off the beauty and shape of the mountain. The houses are clustered and scattered and never overbearing. They all have little orange rooftops. The water extends into forever and is flat and gorgeous, and in the distance you can still see the next mountain. Pictures will never describe what I am trying to explain.
By NICOLE VOURNAZOS, HG 2010
This year, I am excited to announce that we have launched a peer-to-peer mentoring program for the Heritage Greece (HG) students. The goal of the program is to create assets within the HG community. Every first Sunday of the month, HG alumni “mentors” have 30-minute Google hangouts (video chats) with other HG alumni. Mentors offer open office hours to discuss topics such as class schedules, resumes, and the internship and full-time recruiting process.
Potential questions include:
Mentors range from pediatric residents to investment bankers to MBA/MPH students. HG students can participate in as many open office hours as they would like.
A big thank you to our mentors for volunteering their time. We hope to continue expanding the program by adding mentors across a broader spectrum of industries.
BY NICHOLAS AMOROSO, HG 2012
One of our ongoing initiatives is the Frank S. Kamberos Oral History Project with the National Hellenic Museum (NHM) in Chicago (available here). For those that are not familiar with the Oral History Project, it is an initiative created by the NHM with the purpose of preserving the history of Greek Americans by collecting the recorded interviews and memoirs of individuals and/or groups. Persons of Greek descent, the spouses, or relatives of Greeks are all invited to tell their story.
Over last fall’s Heritage Weekend in Las Vegas, we were able to capture four interviews with members of the NHS and have collected six interviews to date. We currently have four sets of recording equipment with one set located in each of the following locations: east coast, mid-west, and west coast. We are seeking out individuals interested in conducting oral histories.
If you are interested in conducting an interview or would like more information, you can contact Nick Amoroso or Laura Calamos. More information about the Frank S. Oral History Project can be found on the NHM website.