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.