NEO magazine - October 2022

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2022 $4.95OCT RANIA SVORONOU IBM Design Principal/Executive Design Director at IBM Consulting: Humanizing Technology through Art

IN 2005 BY

Demetrios Rhompotis Dimitri Michalakis Kyprianos Bazenikas

Publishing Committee Chairman Demetrios Rhompotis (718) 554 0308


Director of Operations Kyprianos Bazenikas info@neomagazinecom

& Advertising Director

Tommy Harmantzis (347) 613 4163

When I lived in Greece I r e m e m b e r m y grandfather had an old Army trunk from his days fighting in the Balkan wars. And inside were all his treasures: all the books he had used to teach himself how to read, including children’s work books, and his most prized possession: a biography of Plastiras, the Greek general who had fought the last stand in Anatolia. My papou wore flannel shirts and jackets most of his life, even in the heat of the summer, because the family said he had served in the trenches and had lost his health.

where the fighting took place, standing at attention when the general pinned the medal on him for resisting the enemy and bringing his men back to safety after an ambushinarailwaytunnel.


ATHENS - GREECE Public Relations & Marketing Director Rita Despotidis rdespotis@gmailcom

NEO Magazine

published monthly by Neocorp Media Inc PO Box 560105

College Point, NY 11356

Phone: (718) 554 0308

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Prominent in Yiayia’s “sala,” was also a dresser with the gold canisters of two cannon shells on top, with wheat stalks sprouting out, as decoration, and in the dresser was the complete dress uniform that my father had worn during the five years that he fought as an officer in the Greek civil war.Helefthomein1945,ayoungmanwith a little baby, and came back in 1950, a grizzled veteran with the baby grown—who cried when he tried to hug her, because she didn’trecognizehim.

Growing up, I remember all the photographs scattered in our photo albums, of my dad on parade in military uniform, posing on tanks with his men, posing at machine gun positions, sitting with the priest from the local village on the hills

And I remember the story of my dad getting leave from the front to visit the widow and little girl of the man who had been his master sergeant and been killed, and now his wife was not able to get his pension to support herself and her daughter—because the clerk at the pension office was flirting with her. “Which one is he?” said my dad when he went down to the pension office with her, and when she pointed him out, he walked over to the clerk and put his gun down on his desk. “I just came from the front,” hesaid to him. “Eitheryour signature willbeonthesepapers,oryourbrains.”

The war had seared my dad, as it had most young men of his generation, who spent the best years of their lives fighting in the mountains. My grandfather spent the best years of his life fighting in the wilds of the Balkans. They were the true heroes in our country’s history, who put their lives on the line in the continuing struggle of Greece to survive and endure against all invaders, including the heroic defiance of OXI day, of which Churchill said memorably: “Until now we used to say that the Greeks fights like heroes. Now we shall say: Heroes fight likeG eks.”

Editor in Chief: Dimitri C Michalakis info@neomagazinecom

Western Region Desk - Los Angeles Alexander Mizan director@americanhellenicorg

West Palm Beach, Florida Desk Vassilios Kukorinis skopelitis@hotmailcom

Baltimore Desk Georgia Vavas gvavas@comcastnet

Photo/Fashion New York: ETA Press fpapagermanos@yahoocom Los Angeles: Nick Dimitrokalis (951) 764 5737 photobynikos@hotmailcom

Graphic Design NEOgraphixus Adrian Salescu

Athens Desk Konstantinos Rhompotis (01130) 210 51 42 446 (01130) 6937 02 39 94


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National Hellenic Society's Heritage Weekend: Celebrating Hellenism and Uniting Philhellenes

This year ’ s National Hellenic Society’s (NHS’s) most memorable event, the Heritage Weekend, continued the organization’s string of successes when it convened from October 6th to 9th at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort and Club, in Dana Point, CA, right by the water, with attendees of all ages andprofessions.

During the 4-day celebrations, guests heard from acclaimed speakers who shared their expertise on democracy and the roots of Hellenism They also participated in

discussions with renowned scientists, doctors, and giants of classical Greece. Among them were keynote speaker Alexandra Papadopoulou, the Ambassador of Greece to the US, Debra Wince-Smith, the President and CEO of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, Bill Antholis, the Miller Center Director and CEO of Emeritus Managing Director at Brookings, Josh Ober, the Constantine Mitsotakis Professor of Classics and P o l i t i c a l S c i e n c e a t S t a n f o r d University, George Nounesis the Director and Chair of the National Center for Scientific Research "Demokritos" and Dr. John Camp, the Niarchos Foundation Classics Professor and Randolph Macon College and Emeritus Director of the AgoraExcavations.

Attende es a ls o enj oye d recreational activities such as the Dana Point hike with

terrific views of the Pacific Ocean, kayaking, surf lessons, and bike rides on the famous coastal boardwalk of Newport beach while taking in the sun, sand, and surf Friday’s lunch was at the Grand Lawn, a sprawling outdoor space with stunning views of the Pacific located below the two sweeping staircases and fountain and just in front of the Resort’s main pool The day ended with a Blue and White Heritage night and an afterparty at Aveorestaurantandterrace.

On Saturday, golfers participated in the Dr. George Korkos and Telly Savalas Memorial Golf Tournament at the evergreen Monarch

Beach Golf Club with ocean views The highlight of the weekend was Saturday’s night dinner,awardspresentation,andperformance by one of Greece’s top entertainers and his band, Giorgos Tsalikis. Attendees danced to Greek songs to their heart’s content, enjoyed a fun photo booth, and connected through their passion for Hellenism. NHS also celebrated and honored Michael Chiklis, one of Hollywood's most accomplished actors and celebrities, and Dr John Camp and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Fisher, renowned archeologists, and classicists who have contributed to the study and understanding of modern archeology.

The celebrations brought together Greek Americans and Philhellenes from across the

The National Hellenic Society Board Honoring John Camp and Elizabeth Fisher. George Marcus is on right and Peter Parthenis with John Calamos on left John, Stelios, Lia & Maria Frankis, Jimmy & Emy Belesis, Marilena & Niko Katopodis, Christina & Nick Pashalis, Julie & Paul Tsoumpariotis Honoree Michael Chiklis addressing the event. On left are Demetrios Logothetis, George Marcus, John Calamos

US to what they’ve described as: “the best Greek event,” a day to celebrate their heritage and have the time of their lives. Among the attendees were also students who participated in the Heritage Greece Program and reunited in California to reinforce theirfriendships and connections.

The National Hellenic Society will continue offering the Greek American community events that celebrate, perpetuate, and disseminate Hellenic Heritage For 13 years now, the Heritage Weekend has given every attendee a feeling of “liveliness,” reminding themtohave“kefi”

The three honorees are from left, Michael Chiklis, Elizabeth Fisher and John Camp Drake Behrakis, National Hellenic Society Chairman

From Tax Receipts

Patty Cakes Popsto Sweet Treats:

Former CPA and Bronx native Petroula Lambrou turns her passion for baking into an art. Now a full-time baker, Petroula, who also goes by the name Patty, came up with the idea to launch her baking business while she was t a k i n g a n Economics class in high s c h o o l i n 2009. One of h e r assignments w a s t o conceive of h e r o w n b u s i n e s s model Her n a t u r a l entrepreneuri a l s k i l l s kicked in, and the idea just popped up like her own shop, which started out as a lollipop theme “Patty Pops” has now morphed into a full time baking venture where Petroula’s creativity and business acumen are well served into her stunning collection of designer cake pops and desserts, available for pick-up at her Pelham baking shop in Westchester County, and shipping online

This December will mark the three year anniversary of Patty Pops. Patty knew it was time to leave her job as a CPA at a Big 4 firm and take her baking passion to a full-time operation. She left her job 3 months before the covid pandemic hit, and opened her shop in December 2019. She and her team of dessert designers and bakers went to work and adapted to the changes taking place Patty Pops provides an array of desserts with unique designs While her focus is on using traditional flavors in her cake pops, like vanilla, chocolate, and funfetti, Patty a d d s s p e c i a l t y seasonal flavors like carrot cake, red v e l v e t , d a r k c h o c o l a t e peppermint, and pumpkin spice to her extensive collection.

Her baklava cake pops offer an homage to her Greek Cypriot roots. Her cake pops are the perfect bite s i z e d t r e at s f o r children, satisfying their sweet tooth with portion control and fun creative

designs. Busy moms also love them. It’s always better when someone else does the baking and they don’t have to It’s just the right treat for a classroom birthday party with its no mess, no fussapproachtocakeindulgence

All of Patty’s creations are made from scratch and hand crafted by herself and her talented team of bakers and designers. She’s not only a baker but an artist where she can express her love of baking and creativity at the same time


Petroula Lambrou and some of her creations

Though she likes to keep a presence in her Pelham shop a couple of days a week to keep in touch with the community, her emphasis is on continuing to build a nationwide e-commerce model for online ordering and shipping. She credits her inspiration to savvy investor and entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran, who is also the Founder and Executive Producer of Shark Tank. Patty was featured as a guest on her podcast. Barbara encouraged Patty to take her baking venture to the next level by scaling up and going big, a standardized yet unique shop availablefornationwideshipping.

Patty also creates large volume orders of her signature desserts for big companies and corporations Her clients have included Target, Bloomingdales, P e p s i , M e d i d a t a Solutions, and her Alma Mater Fordham University With the “work perks” business line booming, large c o m p a n i e s a r e i n t e r e s t e d i n supporting small w o m e n o w n e d bus i ne ss e s and offering free food and snacks as an incentive to bring employees back to the office since the pandemic affected in office employee presence Patty has created edible logos for corporate events and holiday gifts boxes for corporate employees. Whatever your corporate catering needs are, Patty’s creations will dazzle and delight in flavor andaesthetics.

When she is not baking, Patty is actively engaged in community service. A motivated leader and self-starter, she is a founding member of the Cypriot Young

P r o f e s s i o n a l s , a division of the Cypriot U S C h a m b e r o f Commerce, where she has also served as treasurer for the past 8 years She is very g r a t e f u l f o r t h e s u p p o r t s h e h a s received from the community It’s her great pleasure to give back with her sweet treats that keep on growing and giving and put happy smiles onfaces.

To place your order, visit Feel free to pop into her shop located at 321 5th Avenue in Pelham, NY anytimeon Fridays andSaturdays between the hours of 10am-5pm to enjoy her selection of pops and treats. The holidays are coming up fast. Patty will be busy designing and creating in the art of baking, but she’ll make the time to pop in and out with a warm welcome and hello. It’s recommended that orders are placed inadvance


The Hellenic Initiative to Honor Dr. Albert Bourla

that 10 Anniversary Gala

The Hellenic Initiative (THI), the leading group uniting the Greek diaspora and philhellenes internationally, will host its 10th Anniversary New York Gala on Saturday, December 3, 2022, in New York City Funds raised will be deployed in Greece to support humanitarian programsand nurture Greek economicandentrepreneurialdevelopment.

THI’s new “Plant a Tree in Greece” campaign will be featured at the event. The program offers the opportunity to memorialize special life events while helping to reforestGreece and restore the livelihoods many lost in the wildfires of 2021. Since its founding, THI has become the largest Greek diaspora organization in the world, with supporters in over 45 countries. The New York Gala, THI's largest annual event, will host over 800 dignitariesandgueststhisyear.

For the 10th Anniversary Gala celebration, THIwill honor Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Dr Bourla was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece. He now lives in

New York and remains deeply connected to hisGreekJewishroots.

As CEO of Pfizer, he oversaw the development of the world’s first safe and effective COVID19 vaccine. During more than 25 years at Pfizer, he has held senior positions across a range of markets and disciplines, which has informed his understanding of the needs of patients and deepened his commitment to helping ensure equitable access to medicines and vaccines. He is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and holds a Ph.D from the Aristotle UniversityVeterinarySchoolofThessaloniki.

In 2022, he was named the Genesis Prize Laureate in recognition of his leadership during the pandemic. In 2021, he was named CEO of theYear by CNN Business,included in Insider Magazine’s Most Transformative CEOs list and inducted into the Crain’s New YorkBusinessHallofFame.

Serving as emcee at the event will be James N. Gianopulos, Ret. Chairman and CEO of

Paramount Pictures. A pioneer in the evolution of new entertainment media and technologies for more than 30 years and a celebratedindustryleader.

One of the most popular singers in Greece today, Athens born Greek superstar Elli Kokkinou will perform She has just completedasuccessfulU.S.andCanadatour.

The 10th Anniversary Gala will be held at the historic Cipriani, Wall Street. Both luxury and charitable auction itemswill be offered in a silent auction. Greek artists, food and wine purveyors, luxury destinations, and fashion and jewelry designers from around the world have cometogethertodonateitems. A bidding website will be available two weeks prior to the event.

Formoreinformationandtobooktables,visit: c-initiatives-10th-annu-1

Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer

Perhapsyou ’ vereadhistorical fictionbythe late Harry Mark Petrakis, among others. Even Jeffrey Eugenides delved into some Greek history in his acclaimed novel, Middlesex. But did you know there are many contemporary Greek authors writing compelling historical fiction? Here are sometocheckout.

Natalie Bakopoulos: A Michigan native, this author and educator’s debut novel, THE GREEN S H O R E ( S i m o n & Schuster, 2012) opens in Athens on the evening of t h e 1 9 6 7 c o u p SCORPIONFISH (Tin House B ooks, 2020) revisits the military dictatorship and its effectonmodern-dayGreece.

Alexander Billinis: Among the books by this Greek-American lawyer and educator is HIDDEN MOSAICS (CreateSpace, 2015), about two young men, one Greek, one Turk—doppelgangers—who meet by chance and delve into the complicated history of their countrymen and the possibility that they are part of the same mosaic.

Soulla Christodoulou: Greek Cypriot Brit Soulla Christodoulou typically writes women ’ s fiction; however, THE SUMMER WILL COME (Independently Published, 2018) is set during the 1974 invasion of Cyprus and follows two families as they escapethehorrorsofwar.

Gus Constantine: New York native, Greek Cypriot Gus Constantine is the author of ESCAPING CYPRUS (Create Space, 2015), based on true accounts of the invasion. ESCAPING CYPRUS II (Create Space, 2016) revisits the families when the past comes crashing in on them 40 years later

Christopher Cosmos: ONCE WE WERE HERE (Arcade, 2020) by this Michiganbased screenwriter is based on true accounts. The story follows three young friends in WWII Greece who risk everything for a chance at survival, love, andabetterlife

Billy Cotsis: This Greek Australian documentary filmmaker has authored several non fiction books, plus THE AEGEAN SEVEN TAKE BACK THE “ELGIN” MARBLES (Thorpe Bowker 2022). Set against the backdrop of the

Historical Fiction byContemporary Greek Authors

looming Greek revolution, it traces a range of historical milestones from 1801-1817. Think of it as “Ocean’s Eleven” to rescue the Marbles. He’s also the author of 1453: C O N S T A N T I N O P L E & T H E IMMORTAL RULERS (Independently Published, 2020). Based on actual accounts and facts, the emperor ’ s secretary tells the historyofConstantinople/Byzantium.

Nanc y Econome: This Northern California Greek paid homage to her family’s diner, The Classic Grill, in her debut novel of the same name (Kafeneon Productions, 2021). George, now elderly, recounts his story, beginning just before WWII about growing up in his family’s diner and in his older brother’s shadow with a group of young immigrants who work in a fast food restaurant. Though they are from different backgrounds, they relate to the immigrants’ plight, strong family values andexpectations.

Sylvia Leontaritis: Also known from her blog, ‘Orthodox Mom’, the Ohio native is the author of several Orthodox books and devotionals. Her first n o v e l , S T E A L I N G FREEDOM (September House Press, 2022), set in Greece during WWII, is about a young woman on Kalymnos who joins the Resistance and convinces her friendstostitchsecretmessagesintodoilies to help the movement to liberate the island—andGreece

Yvette Manessis Corporon: This international bestselling author and Emmy Award–winning producer calls New York home. Her stories are set on Corfu and nearby Erikousa, a tiny island from which she has roots. Her latest, WHERE THE WANDERING ENDS (Harper Muse, 2022) takes us back to Corfu in 1946, during the war She’s also the author of WHEN THE CYPRESS WHISPERS (Harper, 2014) about war, survival, and familysecrets.

Lena Manta: One of the best selling authors in Greece today, Manta has published several books, but to date, only two have been translated into English. In THE GOLD LETTER (Amazon Crossing, 2019), after her estranged grandfather’s death, a woman learns her merchant family wasforced fromConstantinopleandfled to Athens. A generation later, secrets confront

them there, when fate draws together families linked by heartbreak and betrayal In THE HOUSE BY THE RIVER (Amazon Crossing, 2017), we meet a mother in a tiny Greek village, who survives WII, her husband’s death, and a changing Greece, but the hardest thing she faces is her daughters’longabsence

Theodore Pitsios: Born in Greece, this Alabama based author’s stories delve into the experience of illegal immigrants. His latest, WALKING IN THE LIGHT (Koehler Books, 2021) follows Seaman Kostas Karaoglou, who jumps ship in America in the1960sinsearchofhisAmericanDream. But nothing goes the way he thought. When he’s about to give up, a woman—a Cuban immigrant—offers him a way to get what he wants. But only on her terms. He’s also the author of SEARCHING FOR ITHAKA (Cosmos Publishing, 2013), the prequeltoWALKING.

Yorgos Pratanos: The Athens based journalist’s first novel is called, THE UNWANTED DEAD: The Shocking End of Zorba’s Heretical Author (Black Rose Writing, 2021) Nikos Kazantzakis was revered everywhere but his home country The story chronicles the 10 days following his 1957 death, when his wife battles for a proper burial for him. Pratanos has stated that the book is 80% factual— only the dialoguesarefictional.

There are more, plus many PhilHellene authors who also pen historical fiction, but this should get you started! See you next time formoreofMnemosyni’sMusings.

Maria A. Karamitsos has been a positive voice in Greek media since 2002. She's the founder & former publisher/editor of WindyCity Greek magazine. For 10 years, she served as associate editor & senior writer for The Greek Star newspaper Her work has been published in NEO magazine, GreekCircle magazine, The National Herald, GreekReporter, Harlots Sauce Radio, Women Who Wr ite, KPHTH magazine, XPAT Athens, and more. Maria has contributed to three books: Greektown Chicago: Its History, Its Recipes; The Chicago Area Ethnic Handbook; and the inaugural essay collection, Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal. She recently completed her 1st novel, called FindingEleftheria.


"True fulfillment for me is making peace with your life choices and being unapologetically your authentic self. It’s a tough self-discovery journey to truly know what you want in life and to be yourself."

For the past two decades or so o u r w o r l d h a s b e e n transformed by the digital revolution. Technology and AI are at the core of our daily lives, from using an app to hail a ride to buying a pair of shoes at the click of a button. Behind all these functionalities lie the hundreds of hours of creative brainstorming by designers. In a way these designers have done their job when it appears “invisible.” When we engage with a product or interface and find it easy to navigate, fun to use, and aesthetically pleasing, the designer has earned a muchdeservedshoutout

Meet Rania Svoronou, one of the rising stars in the international design scene. She’s currently a Design Principal and Executive Design Director at IBM. She makes the human side of technology, well, human. Her numerous accolades have included Business Insider’s Madison Avenue Top 40 Under 40, Consulting Magazine’s Global Rising Star award, and a Top 100 Women in Tech UK just to name a few In addition, Rania has shared her experiences and successes as a keynote TedX speaker and mentortothose juststartingout.

NEO sat down with Rania for a chat about a remarkable journey that has taken her from GreecetoLondonandnowtoNew York.

For those of us



executive design director atamajor

There are many different roles an Executive Designer Director can perform based on the company and department they are working at. I am with the Consulting division of IBM; I work for our clients’ using design to help bridge the gap between emerging business and technology needs. I can sit in either the delivery or sales side based on theneedandmaturityoftheproject.

OCTOBER 2022 NEWS & 16NOTES RANIA SVORONOU IBM Design Principal/Executive Design Director at IBM Consulting: Making the Human Side of Technology, ...Human!
less tech
Rania with best friends, Aspa Lekka and Emma Androulaki

My focus is to make human-centered design integral for our Industrial clients across automotive, manufacturing, oil & gas, aerospace, high tech & electronics. I lead major client design engagements and part of my role is to build the design eminence of the IBMUSIndustrialmarket.

I also had the honor to be recently appointed as an IBM Design Principal, which is an IBM distinction for design leaders who've made s u b s t a n t i a l i m p a c t a n d h a v e l e d transformational change within the company IBM Design Principal are exemplars of design practice, craft, and leadership, and we are an integral part of IBM’s industry standard designprogram.

There are only 64 appointed Design Principals inIBMglobally.

Take us to the beginning. Did you always know you wanted to be an artist? To work in a creativespace?

The short answer is Yes! What I do and who I am,havealwaysbeeninterrelated

I love both art & design, but I separate the two Design needs functionality, whereas art can only exist. I knew I wanted to be surrounded by immersive creative spaces and an abundanceofvisualcreativity

My design journey goes back to when I started drawing at the age of 7 years old. I was drawn to the visual world of shapes and colors from a very young age My parents saw that I was so enamored in the moment every time they gave me coloring books and crayons. This led me to learn more about art & design as I grew up and by the age of 15 I knew exactly what I wanted todo;Iwantedtobeagraphicdesigner

How has technology transformed the creative process for designers? For example, in photog raphy shooting on f ilm a mechanical/chemical process was the primary format up until 25 years ago or so. And then the digital revolution changed everything.

Te c h n o l o g y h a s brought mainly a lot of speed into the creative process, which is great and provide us with faster results which adds business value As an e x a m p l e , w i t h modern tools you can rapidly iterate on a design, and you can move much faster to the development phase. In addition, c o l l a b o r a t i o n between designers has also become way more efficient In overall, technology haspositively affected the design industry by helping designers improvetheirskills.

Saying this, I have experienced the mechanical/chemical process in photography as part of my Foundation Degree on Art & Design, and I believe that the wait teaches patienceandrespectforthecreativeprocess.

Thinking of the future ahead, we have already entered the AI Revolution and that will be fascinating to see where it takes the creative process. There are already debates on copy writing rights regarding artworks that are being generated by AI algorithms Who really owns an artwork if AI is involved? Technology will keep enhancing the creative process as long as we don’t end uprelyingsolelyonit.

You've worked on so many varied projects and clients. Is there one that challenged you? Thatyoufeelmostproudof?

Every project I have worked on had its charm and challenges. The one that challenged me the most and I was very proud about it, was Written in Sand,whichwasaphysical interactive installation for my master’s Thesis We were a group of four and had to think of a strong concept and bring a lot of different technologies and materials together I have a huge respect for anyone that works on ‘live’ interactive installations and events. Anything and everything can go wrong at any time Users will try to outsmart your installation, so you must thinkofeverysinglescenariopossible

Written in Sand was an interactive installation that aimed to demonstrate that nothing exists longer than an instant, except the thing that we hold in memory

It creates several instances of this memory, archiving it in the form of sand drawing, a postcard as well as a digital feed and critically questionsthepermanencyofthesemedia.

You've been recognized as both a leader and a woman in the design field. How had that inspired you? You've obviously given back as aspeakerandmentor.

Design for me was never just an option – it is my passion – it is a way of life. There is a quote from Tony Robbins that states “People are rewarded in public for what they practice for yearsinprivate”andthatcouldnotbetruerfor anyrecognitionoutthere

I want to represent that no matter where you are coming from, hard work with resilience and passion can be a powerful combination. Spread the word on the importance of being resilient and embracing change, which is one of the hardest things to do I want to make a

“I truly believe one of the strongest assets we Greeks have is that we can be very resourceful and we work really hard. Give us one problem and we’ll find 100 different ways to solve it. I believe it’s the main reason we succeed in all parts of the world."
With the Rising Stars winners, We Are Tech Women, London, UK.
On the far right is Vanessa Vallely (CEO & Founder, We Are Tech Women)
Family photo in Spetses island From left, Nikos Svoronos (father), Alex Svoronos (brother), and Seti Svoronou (mother)

positive difference and to inspire more women, more designers, more people to followtheirtalentsandpassions.

I’m a keynote / TEDx speaker, guest lecturer, and industry m e n t o r a t some of the world’s best universities and I’ve been i n v i t e d t o j u d g e a n d mentor across the world. I am both a mentor and a mentee; my mentors were crucial to my life and shaped my design path. Good mentors can give you sound advice, great mentors show you the way I’m always trying to give back. I see mentorship as asacredchainthatyoushouldneverbreak.

You've also created many beautiful works and installations as an artist. Is that something you continue to pursue outside of thedesignworld?

Unfortunately, not anymore! These were my more artistic and exploratory years during my studies and where time was in abundance The truth is I do miss it and I always aim to incorporate more artistic elements into my creative process and to my team. I would love one day to be my own artist again and do art collaborationsalongsidemydesigncareer

What artists and designers have inspired you?

My first inspiration and exposure to Graphic Design was from Paul Rand, ironic since I work for IBM, but this whole concept that you could communicate visually, for me was mind-blowing and that is why I decided to pursuedesign.

Picasso also had a big influence on me, and I would take any chance I could to see any of his

original works around the world. My research thesis for my graphic design bachelor’s degree was on Picasso’s masterpiece ‘Guernica’ Picasso was the embodiment of an original great artist. I admire artists and designers whom their life’s journeys are reflected in their work. It takes a lot of courage and guts to dedicate your life into your profession and passion – no matter what that is, and this philosophy is a way of life that has always inspiredme

Your journeys have taken you from Greece to London, to New York and places in between. These experiences must shape you in wonderfulways.

One fundamental thing I would say throughout my Greece – UK ¬– USA journey was my exposure to so many cultures and skills. I witnessed the rise of my confidence levels as it was hard for me to find my voice andconfidence, especially in foreign countries But all the experiences I’ve gained along the way have shaped me into who I am. I’ve built a strong voice not to shout, but so thatthosewithoutavoice c a n b e h e a r d a n d represented

I also built an incredible support system and I always made sure I aligned myself with the leaders that I believed shared the same values. I would alwaysaskthemto be my mentors and I would learn from them. The design world is p r e t t y s m a l l , a n d everyoneisconnected!

I encourage creatives to

get international experience as it really opens your horizons and it’s a growth acceleration bothprofessionallyandpersonally.

I would not change a thing and I’m incredible grateful for all the experiences I gained along theway–thegoodones–andthebadones!

How has your Greek background shaped you bothcreativelyandprofessionally?

I’m culturally a loud Greek, bold on my statements and continuously challenging the status quo. I grew up with an abundance of natural light and beautiful landscapes. Colors are part of my identity and personality. I’m all aboutbrightcolors.

I’ve been called multiple times a force of natureandIbelieveinlivinga ‘colorful’lifefull of experiences, setbacks, failures and wins. I believeinbeingresilientandrelentless.

I truly believe one of the strongest assets we Greeks have is that we can be very resourceful and we work really hard. Give us one problem and we’ll find 100 different ways to solve it. I believe it’s the main reason we succeed in all parts of the world

W h a t ' s y o u r e s s e n t i a l philosophy for achieving success and fulfillmentinyourworkandpersonallife?

The love and quality of your relationship with yourself and others will define the quality of your life I do expect my philosophy though to keep evolving and adapting to my life’s changes as the only constantinlifeischange.

I attained some success without rest and only now I get to really understand that any success cannot be sustained without rest. Sustainable success and fulfillment are the real goal. True fulfillment for me is making peace with your l i f e c h o i c e s a n d b e i n g u n a p o l o g e t i c a l l y y o u r authentic self. It’s a tough selfdiscovery journey to truly know what you want in life and to be yourself Who we become throughout this process is more important that the successitself.

All I know is that I’m a lifelong learner and I love giving back and supporting others when I can.


Avra Estiatorio Breezes in to a New Hot Spot in Miami, 150 Feet from the Ocean!

It’s been twenty two years since Avra EstiatoriosweptintotheGreekculinaryscene, like a fresh island breeze, when it first opened itsdoors.Greekfoodiscertainlynostrangerto the world of fine dining. It’s come a long way sincegyroandsouvlaki stands,andtraditional Greek offerings of moussaka and pastichio at diners across the country Avra was one of the trendsetters that would start a new emergence of Mediterranean and Greek cuisine that is nowattheforefrontofepicureanfoodculture

It all started at the 48th street location in the Cosmopolitan Building of NYC, where rustic chicmeetsurbansophistication.Ascofounder Nick Tsoulos described it, “it’s like going into Grandma’s livingroom or house”, but with a grandma who has a keen eye for design, combining the casual allure of wooden beams, moldings and fixtures with white table cloth elegance. Minimalism is key here, where the highlight is baskets of colorfully stacked fresh produce and “catch of the day” displays on ice Seeing is believing, and when that grilled dorado you just eyed and ordered for dinner has just emerged, like a goddess nymph, straight from the ocean, your Greek island vacation is just a block away with lunch or dinnerinNYC.

Avra’s latest venture takes us to Miami for a dramatic scene at The Estates at Acqualina Villa, in a luxury condominium complex located at 17883 Collins Ave in Sunny Isle Beach. With 10,000 square feet of space and just 150 feet from the ocean, this is the ultimate volume restaurant experience. Here you get an iconic combination of all the Avra restaurants with ocean views and al fresco dining. Pergolasintheindoordiningroomare designed with the jewel of Mykonos, the bougainvillea flower, and various greenery is strewed throughout the dining area in big clay

pots that resemble Grecian urns. Cornucopias of fish vitrines, breads, olive jars, fruits, vegetables, and basil herbs enhance the dramatic décor. Avra Miami will make her grandentranceinNovember2022.

Avra has come a long way from the Greek coastal village of Nafpaktos where Nick Tsoulos was born and raised. He, along with his father and uncles, would go fishing regularly for local seafood and spent many nights dining on fresh fish drizzled in olive oil from the family farm. Nick kept these traditions close to him when his family immigrated to NYC, and he remained committed to bringing a taste of Nafpaktos to New York withhisrestaurantvision.

Meaning breeze in Greek, she derives its name from ancient Greek mythology, and like the breeze that she is, Avra graces each space with her free flowing presence After taking the 48th street location by storm, it was time to breeze her way into a second location, which would have a larger seafood market type of display and more of those artfully designed signature baskets of fresh fruits and veggies in a bi-level space with a downstairs pool and two private rooms for events and functions. Nick had his sights on Madison Avenue and 60th Street, once home to the famed nightclub Copacabana, and thirteen years later the second outpost of Avra was born. Nick wanted to keep the same minimal elegance that inspired the 48th Street location, but instead of walking into Grandma’s beautifully designed livingroom, you are walking into a modern, swanky, designer’s livingroom with a lounge like feel thatboastsfourcabanasupstairstogiveyouan elevated beach resort feel with accents of cream, matte gold, and white. Free standing trees weave in and around the dining area to add a simple touch of natural beauty What is Avra’s breeze without the breath of trees? When you walk in, you are transported to a space that’s warm, open, and inviting, and entices you to reminisce about the setting sun over your favoriteGreekisland

While NYC is known for its great restaurants, and busy New Yorkers do like to dine out a lot, Avra changed course and headed out west to bring a breath of fresh Greek ocean air to Beverly Hills. And like New Yorkers, in LA, they like everything big, or it’s time to go home Five years ago, Avra opened her doors to the sunny streets of LA, where year round outdoor dining is common, and she’s there to stay Avra Beverly Hills offers ample outdoor dining on their sidewalk patio with an indoor dining area to match NYC 60th Street location. It’s LA chic with a healthy dose of Greek swag. We especially like the centerpieces of gourmet olive oil and vinegar, a basic staple of Greek ingredients, that create a simple table design where the emphasis is on thefood

Avra’s success did not stop there Despite the covid pandemic, Avra was not done with NYC. Nick Tsoulos still had plans to open yet another location at one of the most toured and travelled places in the world Rockefeller Center would be the new hot spot. He waited 6-8 months, after the pandemic hit, and took a chance. He signed the lease, and in May of this year the largest of the Avra restaurants was born with three levels, an enormous outdoor space, an all glass private room, a bar on the ground floor, and a waterfall with a pool Like all the Avra restaurants, it features an open kitchenconceptandfishmarketdisplayonthe mezzaninefloor

AVRA Madison, New York AVRA Rockefeller Center, New York AVRA Midtown, New York

The main attraction, of course, beyond Avra’s magnificent ambience at any one of its locations, is the food. An array of fresh seafood and vegetables are the star attractions here, using simple and pure ingredients of olive oil andsea salt. Avra’s menu isinspired by the tavernas along Greece’s coastline and the several islands that make up a predominantly seafaring nation. Look for notable items like grilled sea bass and a rare collection of fagri, lithrini, and wild branzino, flown in straight from the Mediterranean, charcoal grilled and dressed in a sauce of lemon andolive oil. Being able to choose your own fish from their market display is an experience to be savored

ceviche with lime juice, sesameoil,srirachaoil,extra virgin olive oil, jalapeno, sesame seeds, green and red peppers,andendive.

Though seafood might be the thing to get, if you are in t h e m o o d f or a l a n d specialty, they offer l a m b , chicken, and beef d i s h e s , j u s t a s delicious as t he i r s e a f o o d m e n u O n e o f their signature dishes is the American wagyu cote de bouef, a 30 day dry aged snake river farms bone in 32 oz cut of beef served with housemadeonionringsand trufflefries.

Andthentherearethesides. Traditional favorites like lemon roasted potatoes, spinach and rice, and steamed wild greens called “horta” are the perfect companion to their main course dishes. You’ll definitely want to try an appetizer for the table They are known for their “Avra Chips”, crispy zucchini a n d e g g p l a n t chips thinly sliced with a side of refreshing yogurt sauce infused with s h r e d d e d cucumber and garlic perfume, more commonly known among Greeks as “tzatziki s a u c e . ” D o n ’t

Avra, as if it’s been kissed by the sun and embraced by a breeze. It’s open, airy and spacious to give you a clean and opulent dining experience where you can enjoy exquisite Greek dishespresented in a beautiful palette of colors and flavors that keep your palate dancing on its toes. Avra sets the scene for the pace and the place to eat, see, and be seen.

And for those who like it straight from the ocean, uncooked, and cracked open, Avra offers an extensive raw bar of oyster and clam varieties, and shrimp and lobster cocktail Or how about tuna and salmon carpaccio with micro-herbs and olive oil, or ceviche served with giant white beans in Greek known as “gigantes”?

Feeling more adventurous? Their sashimi and ceviche dishes come in colorful and spicy flavors, like Hamachi with micro parsley and cilantro, red peppers, sea salt, jalapeno and extra virgin olive oil. There is also Lavraki

forget to leave room for dessert! Olive oil walnut cakes, and baklava and custard are all baked in house daily One of their most popular sweet treats, available in all locations, is a French vanilla ice cream flecked with Tahitian vanillabeans.

From the food, to the ser vice, to the décor everything flows together at

AVRA Beverly Hills AVRA Miami AVRA Beverly Hills AVRA Miami

Endy Zemenides is the Executive Director of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), a national advocacy organization for the Greek American community. To learn more about HALC,

The Lessons and Spirit of “OXI” are Needed more than ever Today

Last December The Atlantic featured a cover story entitled “The Bad Guys Are Winning”. Just two months later, much of the world seemed resigned to Russia quickly occupying and dismembering Ukraine But against all odds, Ukrainians resisted, fought and denied Putin a quick - and perhaps anyvictory This December, “the bad guys” –including Putin, Xi, Erdogan, Iran’s ayatollahs – don’t look much like winners anymore.

82 years ago, another set of bad guys (the Axis Powers) also seemed to be inevitably winning. And once again, a smaller state that looked to be a push over stood up. Greece’s “OXI” also changed conventional wisdom in the 1940s. President Franklin D. Roosevelt observed that “when the entire world had lost all hope, the Greek people dared to question the invincibility of the German monster raising against it the proud spirit of freedom.”

Chicago columnist Sydney J Harris once said, “History repeats itself, but in such cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is done.” We took the victories of World War II and the Cold War for granted. When the Cold War ended, scholars declared the “End of History”. We moved around Western societies as if hate had been eradicated, some declaring that Barack Obama’s election as President was proof America had reached a “post-racial”phase

But we were all wrong. The last few years, the public debate has shifted dramatically Insteadof“TheEndofHistory”,wenowhave “The Return of Marco Polo’s World”. Instead of liberalism and capitalism drawing us closer to together, nationalism pulls us further apart. Another “ism” – fascism – is becoming normalized. Its proponents have donned cunning disguises, trying to convince us that their movements are all about “family values”, or only against

“illegal” migration, but their penchant for political violence and ignoring the rule of lawcomesthroughquicklyenough.

The triumphalism of May 8, 1945 (VE Day) or November 9, 1989 (the fall of the Berlin Wall) has dissipated – maybe disappeared altogether The lessons and spirit of October 28, 1940 are needed more thanevertoday

OXI Day and the Greek resistance it kicked off are not remarkablebecauseofsuccess indeed, after initially defeating and pushing back Axis invaders, Greece fell to a Nazi blitzkrieg and endured a brutal occupation. Greece’s resistance in World War II is noteworthy because of how a typical it was. At the time of OXI Day, Britain could credibly claim that it was fighting the Nazis “alone” The U.S. was still on the sidelines. The rest of Europe was falling quickly and installing collaborator regimes. The Soviets were bound by a non-aggression pact with Hitler. But as of October 28, 1940 – it was Britain AND Greece vs the Axis. When Captain America was still selling War Bonds in the U.S., Captain Ellada was exacting a high price from the Axis for the invasion of Greece.

On this OXI Day, let us recall that heroes in 1940’s Greece and in today’s Ukraine made a choice to defy the most overwhelming of odds As Prime Minister Mitsotakis emphasized in his speech to a joint session of Congress, “the heroism of the underdog” and the “importance of friends” can be seen today in Ukraine as it has been time and againinGreece’shistory.

The “importance of friends” is more critical than ever. Russia, China, Iran, Turkey all believe that Western democracies do not

have the patience, fortitude or discipline for a protracted struggle. They see our elections, consistent polling and free public debate as a weakness in dealing with inflation, higher energy prices in the winter, and the increasing toll of war They are betting on us notbeingabletosustainthespiritofOXI.I’m bettingtheyarewrong.

Russia’s invasion hasawoken theWest from a slumber. Putin will be remembered one day for accelerating the renewable energy industry (so Europe no longer relies on petro-dictatorships) and for the expansion of NATO (and banishing the term “Finlandization” from the lexicon of internationalrelations).

VE Day was made possible because of the resistance of the Greeks. Imagine if the German divisions that were pinned down in Greece and Yugoslavia had been on the beaches of Normandy instead. The worst nightmare for Putin, for Xi, for Erdogan is that all Western democracies and the people living in them – to show that we will honor the spirit of October 28 We are fighting for more than a temporary drop in gas prices, and when we win those will come down to If we live up to the heroism of OXI Day, The Atlantic will soon be featuring a cover story entitled “The Bad Guys are Losing.”

strategy σ τ ρ α τ η γ ι κ ή

A long time ago, in a place quite far away, a young man embarked upon an epic galactic quest for truth that saw him embroiled in an interplanetary war. Compelled to choose sides, he befriends doughy fighters who command three-headed vultures, giant fleas, and space spiders and traverses landscapes inhabited by grass-bodied birds with wings of giant leaves, half women half grapevine beings from whom a kiss would send one “reeling drunk”, and men who sweat milk of such quality “that cheese can actually be made from it by dripping in a little of the honey,” which runs from their noses. George Lucas on performance-enhancing stimulants? Hardly likely Instead, the plot of this bizarre story, entitled True History (Ἀληθῶν διηγημάτων) was concocted some two millennia prior to Lucas’ earthly manifestation, by Lucian of Samosata, an ethnic Assyrian author of the second century, who wrote in Greek. As such, it can safely be stated that the first work of science fiction was written in the Greek language

Unlike the epics of Lucas, which take themselves just a tad too seriously, the work of the eerily similarly named Lucian, are delightfully cheeky. Indeed, rather than being constructed as a dualistic moral tale, Lucian weaves, throughout his racy tale, innumerable and skillfully rendered send ups of the philosophersandauthorsofhisday

Thus, in passing, the iconoclastic Lucian mentions the tales of Ctesias, Lambulus, and Homer, and states that “what did surprise me was their supposition that nobody would noticetheywerelying.”Indeed,theverytitleof his work is provoking. Ancient readers would have known the paradox of Epimenides who stated that “All Cretans are liars” – if he is

telling the truth he is lying, but if he is lying then he is telling the truth. Thus, as Aaron Parrett explains, when Lucian calls his fantastic tale (which makes fun of liars) a “true story,” he references one of the key paradoxes ofphilosophyanditsinabilitytobecompletely self-grounding.

Charmingly, Lucian takes a swipe at the tale spinners of his day, especially his rival Antonius Diogenes’ now lost Of the Wonderful Things Beyond Thule, whose protagonistalsoreachedspace,statingthatthe story recounted in True History is about “things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all So my readers must notbelieveawordIsay ”

Caricaturing philosophy is one thing. To do so in a breathtakingly interesting way is quite another. Lucian’s space adventure features a group of travellers who leave Earth when their ship is thrown into the sky by a ferocious whirlwind Eventually they arrive on the Moon, only to learn that its inhabitants, the Selenites, are at war with the people of the Sun for the most Lucasian of reasons: both are vying for control of a colony on the Morning Star. As Endymion, King of the Moon relates, in pure science fiction fashion: “The king of the inhabitants of the Sun, Phaethon,… has been at war with us for a long time now. Once u p o n a t i m e I gathered together the poorest people in my k i n g d o m a n d undertook to plant a c o l o n y o n t h e Morning Star which w a s e m p t y a n d u n i n h a b i t e d Phaethon out of jealousy thwarted the c o l o n i z a t i o n , meeting us halfway at t h e h e a d o f h i s dragoons. At that time we were beaten, for we were not a match for them in strength, and we retreated Now, however, I desire to make war again and plant thecolony”

The warriors of the two celestial orbs travel throughspaceonwingedacorns,withgigantic turnips as ammunition. Anticipating the mass slaughters brought about by colonialism, by almost two millennia, blood “[falls] upon the clouds, which made them look of a red colour; as sometimes they appear to us about sunsetting” Of course, the mood is lightened someone by the fact that Lucian casts one class


o f k i l l e r s a s t h e G a r l i c Wa r r i o r s ῾Σκορδομάχοι,᾽ another as the Millet Throwers, ‘Κεγχροβόλοι and yet another as the Ostrich Slingers ‘Στρουθοβάλανοι, while the imperial battleships of George Lucas, take theformoftheLettuceWings‘Λαχανόπτεροι.

In lampooning Aristotelian views of the natural world, Lucian makes some novel imaginings that would arrest the attention of gender scholars of the modern age In particular, he envisages upon the Moon a society in which women are completely absent and men are by necessity, self-procreating. Thus babies are born from men ’ s swollen calves, delivered dead but brought to life “by putting it in the wind with its mouth open ” . Another people known as the Arboreals employ a different method of propagation: a man ’ s right genital gland is cut off, planted, and from it “ grows a very large tree of flesh, resembling the emblem of Priapus”, and from itsfruitofenormousacornsmenare‘shelled.’

Lucian’s imagination even embraces technological advances, in particular, conceivingofatelescopicmicrophone:“There is a large mirror suspended over a well of no great depth; any one going down the well can heareverywordspokenonourEarth;andifhe looks at the mirror, he sees every city and nation as plainly as though he were standing close above each. The time I was there, I surveyed my own people and the whole of my

native country; whether they saw me also, I cannotsayforcertain.”

Eventually, Lucian’s protagonists return to Earth, and become trapped in a giant whale. Inside the 200-mile-long animal, there live many groups of people, including, Robinson Crusoe-like, a self-sufficient father and son team that farm the fish entering the whale’s stomach. They also reach a sea of milk, an island of cheese and the isle of Elysium. There Lucian meets the heroes of the Trojan War, and other key characters of Greek mythology, and literature, including Homer The god


Rhadamanthys arbitrates disputes between Alexander the Great and Hannibal, Theseus and Menelaus and certain philosophers are also to be found there: “I heard that Rhadamanthys was dissatisfied with Socrates, and had several times threatened him with expulsion, if he insisted on talking nonsense, and would not drop his irony and enjoy himself Plato was the only one I missed, but I was told that he was living in his own Utopia, working the constitution and laws which he haddrawnup ”

Tellingly, we learn t h e r e t h a t Herodotus is being eternally punished for the “lies” he published in his own Histories, which is amusing, considering that Lucian ends his story abruptly, p r o m i s i n g t o continue it in later books, and never doesso.

I n c o m b i n i n g science fiction and parody in equal p r o p o r t i o n s , L u c i a n ’ s remarkable work, also notable for the fact that it constitutes an early expression of the idea of crossing the Atlantic and exploring lands which might lie on its other side, some 1400 years before Columbus,anticipatestheFrenchphilosopher Voltaire’s Micromegas and the writings of Douglas Adams Significantly, astronomer Johannes Kepler’s 1634 novel Somnium which describes a trip to the moon and the view of Earth seen from far away, was partially inspired by Lucian. He picked up True History intheoriginalGreektomasterthelanguage.

English critic Kingsley Amis has remarked “that the sprightliness and sophistication of True History makes it read like a joke at the expense of nearly all early-modern science fiction, that written between, say, 1910 and 1940.” In producing a tale concerning itself withexceedingthemarginsofthepossibleand the plausible, Lucian manages to lampoon the hallowed tradition of his world, while imagining the infinite permutations of others. If there is any regret, in reading his remarkable work, it is that he did not prove immortal, in ordertohaveseenandsatirized,GeorgeLucas’ puerile Rogue One Had he done so, arguably, he would have given him a slightly more abrasive treatment than that which he gave Pythagoras, in the aftermath of an Elysian war victory: “From this Pythagoras alone held aloof, fasting and sitting far off, in sign of his abhorrenceofbean-eating.”

Tothemanthattaughtustoreachforthestars, and take the mickey out of them, we are eternallygrateful

*) Dean Kalimniou (Kostas Kalymnios) is an attorney, poet, author and journalist based in Melbourne Australia. He has published 7 poetry collections in Greek and has recently released his bi-lingual children’s book: “Soumela and the Magic Kemenche.” He is also the Secretary of the PanepiroticFederationofAustralia.

2022 National Hellenic Museum Gala

NHM Chairman John P. Calamos, Sr., Princess Tatiana, HRH Prince Nikolaos and NHM Gala Chairman John S. Koudounis at the National Hellenic Museum Gala on September 10, 2022.

(l-r) NHM Trustees Andrea Darlas, Jim Logothetis (seated), George Tsetsekos, NHM Gala Chairman John S. Koudounis and NHM Chairman John P. Calamos, Sr.; Princess Tatiana and Prince Nikolaos; NHM Trustees Dr. George Bovis, Peter Parthenis, Kenneth Kondraros and Yanni H. Sianis (seated); NHM advisor Louis Apostol; and NHM Trustee Bill J. Vranas at the National Hellenic Museum Gala on September 10, 2022.

The National Hellenic Museum (NHM) raised over $1 million at its 2022 Gala on Saturday, September 10 at the Hilton Chicago, in support of its mission to share Greek history, art, culture and the Greek American story NHM Chairman John P Calamos, Sr. and Gala Chairman John S. Koudounis were joined by more than 650 civic and cultural leaders and philhellenes from across the country to celebrate the museum ’ s grand reopening this month Attendees enjoyed a spectacular dinner and live auction led by auctioneer Keith Jones,andfestivities continued late into the evening with Gala After Dark, featuring an energetic performance from popular Greek singer Thanos Petrelis as hundreds of additional guests packed the Hilton Chicago ballroom. Originally founded in 1983, NHM opened its permanent home in the heart of Chicago’s Greektown neighborhood just ten years ago, and has become the premier national institution dedicated to sharing Hellenic and Greek American culture in r e l e v a n t a n d meaningful ways, i n c l u d i n g a n extensive collection of more than 10,000 artifacts, hundreds of oral histories, e x h i b i t s a n d e d u c a t i o n a l programs.

The National Hellenic Museum Gala at the Hilton Chicago on September 10, 2022.

NHM Gala Chairman John S. Koudounis speaks at the NHM Gala. Photo by Gold Grid Studios HRH Prince Nikolaos speaks at the NHM Gala. Photo by Gold Grid Studios NHM Chairman John P. Calamos, Sr. speaks at the NHM Gala. Photo by Gold Grid Studios NHM Executive Director Marianne Kountoures speaks at the NHM Gala. Photo by Gold Grid Studios Terry Halikias, Michael Halikias, Frances Halikias and NHM Trustee Aristotle Halikias. Photo by Gold Grid Studios Greek singer Thanos Petrelis performs at the NHM Gala. Photo by Gold Grid Studios Greek singer Thanos Petrelis performs at the NHM Gala. Photo by Gold Grid Studios

KI Legal Celebrates Firm Expansion and New Office on 40 Wall Street, NYC

Among those present for the celebration were New York City Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie, Zoe Koutsoupakis of Signature Bank, DJ/Music Producer Jack ‘Jus Jack’ Trantides, Greg Pappas of The Pappas Post and Michelin Star nominated Chef, Christos Bisiotis. Music was provided by DJ Evans.

putting all of our clients in 1 room so they can end up making connections with other great companies and people to help expand their business. And ultimately it was a great celebration. It was an honor to see so many people supporting us and if we could’ve fit a 1,000 we would have invited them all! Now, we justcan’twaitfortheholidayparty!”

KI Legal welcomed 250 guests to celebrate the opening and office expansion onto the 49th floor of 40 Wall Street in NYC. Co-founded by Andreas Koutsoudakis and Michael Iakovou, since launching in 2019, the New York City basedlawfirmhasgrownfromjusttwotoover 30 people (impressive achievement considering that most of that growth happenedduringthepandemic).Thebusiness law firm focuses heavily on real estate and hospitality within three practice areas; general counsel,litigation,andtransactions.

Co Managing Partner Andreas Koutsoudakis explains that, “the goal from day one, when we built the firm, was to create an environment where people don’t dread calling their lawyer. That’s why we took a hospitality approach to our office’s design, and general ethos, that makes getting a call from or visiting your lawyer, or vice versa, not this dreaded moment! The culture

In a similar vein, Co Managing Partner Michael Iakovou shares that, “the outpouring of love and support certainly did not go unnoticed by us. I wou l d b e re m iss i f I d i d n ’t acknowledge how our core client bases, of restaurant hospitality and real estate operators, were very well balanced and represented at the event Having the collective opportunity to connect in person was something sorely missed from our societythelasttwoyears,andwehope to do this for our clients, friends, and family multiple times a year moving forward!”

Prior to the arrival of the guests, Father John Lardas, presiding priest of the Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church of Port Washington, blessed the firms’ office space, which was then followed by tours of the office for the invited guests. Next up, guests were guided downstairs to enjoy a lively reception in ‘The Vaults’ with food catered by Marathi NYC (which is owned by co-founder Andreas Koutsoudakis).

we ’ ve created is how we can help you, not only from a legal standpoint but also a business one. We always are thinking about who can be connected, who is best for you to meet, and so on because we always think about our clients, whether or not we drive an immediatebenefitfromit.”

He goes on to say that “the party ended up being a reflection of this goal. Like many other events we host or attend, the party was just about

:Call to Action: For all of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact KI Legal and find out what we can do for you With a process rooted in education, personalization, and execution, we work hard to offer a Big-Law-scope of services while retaining a small-firm-style of communication,”heconcleded

For more information KI Legal's website is

by Laura Neroulias George Giannopoulos, George Zapantis and Jeffrey Znaty Michael Iakovou, Socrates Xanthopoulos, Andreas Koutsoudakis Peter Athanasopoulos, Laura Neroulias Bisiotis, Christos Bisiotis Michael Iakovou, Zoe Pilios, Andreas Koutsoudakis Speeches at The Vaults at 40 Wall Street Guests with Andreas Koutsoudakis, including Darden R Livesay III, Greg Pappas, Jack ‘Jus Jack’ Trantides, and Andrew Rigie KI Legal Party in The Vaults at 40 Wall Street KI Legal office blessing with Father John Lardas

HABA Honors Dr. Costis Maglaras, Dean of Columbia Business School that 38 Anniversary Event

HABA was established in 1982 to promote the professional and educational interests of Hellenic Americans and Philhellenes involved in finance. Its active membership includes executives involved in finance from b an k ing , ass et management, f und management, financial risk, technology, law, property, to insurance and more HABA serves its membership through sponsoring lectures, seminars and opportunities to create fellowship

HABA (Hellenic American Association for Professionals in Finance) honored Dr. Costis Maglaras, Dean of Columbia Business School (CBS) and the David and Lyn Silfen Professor of Business at Columbia University, as its 2022 ExecutiveoftheYear,heldattheUnionLeague ClubofNewYork.

A cocktail and networking reception took placeduringwhichDr.Maglaraswashonored. Greek dignitaries were in attendance as guests ofhonor

Since 1992, HABA has honored prominent Greek American Executives in business, private and public sectors who have d i s t i n g u i s h e d themselves Prior to becoming Dean of Columbia Business School, Dr Maglaras served as chair of the Decision, Risk & Operations division at CBS, Director of the C B S ’ d o c t o r a l prog ram, and as m e m b e r o f t h e executive committee o f C o l u m b i a University's Data Science Institute Outside of CBS, his experience has focused on financial technology, asset management and digitaltechnology

Dr Maglaras received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Imperial College, London, and his MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering fromStanfordUniversity

HABA Officers are: Robert Savage, President, Chris Thomas, Vice President, Costas Kellas, Treasurer, and Panagiota Mahendru, Secretary The Board of Directors is comprised by Emmanuel Caravanos, James P. Gerkis, Nick Lionas, Demetri Papacostas, A l e x a n d r o s P a p a d o p o u l o s , Kondilia Parissi, Loukas Tasigianis andFannyTrataros.

F o r m o r e i n f or m at i on on HABA, its website is

From left, Eugenia Valliades, Alexandros Papadopoulos, Fanny Trataros, Emmanuel Caravanos, James Gerkis, Costas Kellas, the Honorre Dr. Costis Maglaras, HABA President Robert Savage, Niki Kouri-Maglaras, Demetri Papacostas, Maria Vassalou, Kondilia Parissi, Chris Thomas Niki Kouri-Maglaras, Costis Maglaras Alexandros Papadopoulos, Loukas Tasigianis James Gerkis, Ariadne Panagopoulou, Keith Goggin

chapel size and costs,” according to Mike The Assumption parish granted them a very suitable building site The chapel would be built next to and under the same roof as AssumptionCathedral.

“Early on, we decided that we would build a chapel unlike any existing Greek Orthodox Chapel in America. All iconography would be done in mosaic-type. In searching, we found that completing mosaics is very costly and there are fewer iconographers that do mosaic,” addedMike.

Master planning of the entire site began in 2010 with the engagement of Eidos Architects of Greenwood Village, Colorado After a lengthy study, the chapel location was selected, and the design process began Construction of the building began in April of 2014 and was completed in July of 2015. The Johnsons then selected Bruno Salvatori as the iconographer. He was able to finish a part of the dome and chapel but because of health issues had to resign. To find a replacement, Metropolitan Isaiah and Mike traveled to Nashville during the Clergy Laity Congress in 2018, looking for an iconographer They


When Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver blessed the Chapel of Saint Basil the Great at Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral, the Greek Orthodox Metropolis Cathedral of Denver, on May 21, 2022, the idea of Michael and Katherine Johnson to build a chapel in Denver became a reality. That idea began more than a decade ago, in July of 2010, when the Johnsons, active supporters of the Greek

Orthodox Church for more than 60 years, tookatriptoColumbus,Ohiotovisitfriends.

“They had just finished building a chapel in their parish in Columbus. We took the idea homewith usandthought it over carefully and decided to go forward. Among items that we needed were structural plans, a good builder, an experienced iconographer, architect and

found George Papastamatiou, were impressed with his work, and hired him. Progress in completing the chapel was slow due to health issues, previous commitments by the iconographer and the pandemic. The chapel was finally completed in 2022. Michael and Katherine Johnson and Family financed the entireproject.

& Katherine Johnson Family Gift Chapel of Saint Basil the Great to Assumption of the Theotokos Cathedral of Denver, CO
Michael and Katherine Johnson with Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver Interior of Saint Basil the Great Chapel, Platytera Icon

The chapel, named after Mike’s mother, Vasiliki, seats sixty people in cushioned pews and has a beautiful baptismal font. Highlights of the life of Jesus Christ are shown in 16 large mosaics accompanied by 69 other mosaic figures. All the figures in the chapel are the samescale.

Michael S. Johnson was born in 1926 in Maryville, Missouri, of Greek immigrant parents. His interest in the oil business began when his family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1931, then called the Oil Capital of The World He graduated from The Ohio State University with a B.Sc. degree (1947) and a M.S. degree (1949), bothingeology.

radiation-filled cloud moved away from them anddissipated.

In 1958, Johnson became Rocky Mountain Exploration Manager for Apache Oil Corporation in Denver He resigned from Apache in 1963 to become an independent oil and gas geologist. In 2008, he was awarded the Explorer of the Year Award by the oil industry for his part in discovering the Parshall Oil Field in North Dakota, one of the largest oil fieldsinNorthAmerica.

Mike said he was not aware of any Greek Orthodox Chapels in the U.S. done entirely in mosaicstyle.

Mike gives special thanks to Metropolitan Isaiah of Denver, Rev Fr Chris Margaritis, Rev Fr Dimitrios Kyritsis and Mr John Johns for their love, prayers, and support, which made it possible for the Chapel of Saint Basil the Great to become the beautiful house of worshipthatitis.

He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950 during the Korean War. Because of his college background, he was assigned to The Armed Forces Special Weapons Project ( A F S W P ) Wh i l e t he re, he e x p e r i e nc e d one of the most exciting times of his life. For the first time in history AFSWP, together with T h e At o m i c E n e r g y Commission, would detonate several atomic bombs at The Nevada Test S i t e . T h i s program would provide the very first measurement data on the effects of surface and underground nuclear detonations. For the blast, his group stood nine miles away from ground zero The flash heat from the blast was like opening an oven heated to 350 degrees F The white,

He served on the Archdiocesan Council from 1979 to 1997. He is presently a member of The Board of Trustees of Leadership 100 and FAITH. He became an Archon in 1979. He currently lives in Denver with his wife, Katherine, of 63 years. They have two children, Alicia and Mark (wife is Judy), two grandchildren, Justus (wife is Bettina) and Hunter,andonegreat-grandchild,Katherine.

John and Angela Johns Exterior of the Chapel of Saint Basil Interior of Saint Basil the Great Chapel, The Baptism of Christ Icon Interior of Saint Basil the Great Chapel, The Resurrection of Christ Icon

Icons in the Chapel of Saint Basil the Great by John Johns


As Saint Basil the Great wrote, “For this is the nature of the icon, to be the image of the Archetype” In other words, as our Most Eminent Shepherd Isaiah, Metropolitan of Denver, hastaught us,icons are, “reflections of the prototype.” In his book on the Holy Spirit, Saint Basil emphasizes that “the honor paid to theimagepassesontotheprototype”

For the believer, the icon is not simply a work of art or religious picture As a window to heaven the icon is the point at which our soul encounters and unites itself to the depicted person. Saint Gregory of Nyssa described an icon as, “A tongue-bearing book which when read benefits thefaithful andbuilds him or her up in various ways. For, the silent art on the


Saint Symeon of Thessaloniki explains the symbolism of the human characteristics given to the Holy Angels. He says the eye lashes and eyebrows symbolize the “guardianship of the God- revealing designs.” Their youth-like age is, “the flourishing and eternal life giving vigor” The wings manifest, “the elevating height and the heavenly.” Their staff is “the royal and sovereign and the divine end of all

light expressed in an icon is not subject to physical laws, as in the case of Greek sculpture or Renaissance painting. On the contrary, it is a light that does not necessarily follow the law of direct illumination... This is the light which makes bodies, buildings and mountains seem weightless in Byzantine icons... In short, the light in a Byzantine icon introduces a sense of freedom, of nature’s liberation from natural causality, it introduces, that is, the element of incorruptibilityandeternalexistence

Archangel Gabriel is depicted above as a person with priestly garments. He is depicted as a man, because as many times as Angels haverevealedthemselvestous,theyhavedone so with a human form. “The ‘ en face’ angle plunges the subject’s gaze into the observer’s eyes and establishes a direct bond of communication and love. The Archangels encounter the observer and impart their inwardstateofprayer Theyarealsoshown ata three-quarter angle to the right to inspire the observer with the sense of communion and love What is of value is the communication with the observer, the one praying, the unity throughprayer Orthodoxiconographystrives to create a loving relationship, a substantive relationship between the one depicted in the icon and those who will stand before it and be calledbyit.


The Pantocrator Icon in the dome has the meaning of Creator, and Savior, and Impartial Judge.

It is simultaneously both austere and kind. Christ wears an inner robe, chiton, which bares one side of His chest, and over which is wrapped a covering, himation, with many folds, reminiscent of Psalm 104 that says, “You covered it with the deep as with a garment.” From His himation, which enwraps Him, as

wall knows how to speak and brings benefit for greater things.” There are specific techniques as well as particular rules by which the Byzantine icon is, “written” (iconography =Greek“icon”+ “graphia”writing).

Mosaic icons raise us to another realm and speak to us with a “silent voice” The mosaics’ clarity and brilliance give such a strong sense that a divine concord permeates everything. The small glass components with their ability to reflect light make the colors shimmer. When the faithful enter a Church with mosaic icons they enter into a homogeneous environmentwherethedeepandbrilliantgold of the mosaics give the impression of broadening and dematerializing the area. In this way the mosaics match up to Byzantine ar t’ s pur p os e of expressing man ’ s transcendencethroughrepresentedevents.

things.” In addition, Saint Symeon says the Angels are usually represented with dark hair that is tied with a ribbon whose ends hover in the halo The ribbon represents the pure mind of the Angels; is regarded as a crown for their perfect innocence and signifies that their mind is concentrated only on the divine and essential.

The element of light, an iconographer introduces into an icon by means of bright colors and especially of gold The concept of

Archangel Michael, George Papastamatiou Archangel Gabriel, George Papastamatiou Pantocrator Icon of Christ, Bruno Salvatore Saint Basil Icon, George Papastamatiou

does a cloud hiding the sun, pours the majesty of all creation. His right hand is raised in blessing and the left hand holds the Gospel, the divine law, tightly to His breast, giving rest to those who are heavy laden. His neck and chest are thick and strong which express mercy and compassion. Blessing and uprightness are shown by His right hand The Pantocrator is the True Sun, the Source of Life, the Giver of Life. In the light of the glory of Yourfaceweproceeduntotheage

The gold background symbolizes the peculiar light of the icon that shows everything as illumined and recreated in a harmonious area and time that is figuratively expressed with the uniformity of the gold. Interpreters tell us that the light of the Byzantine icon is not of this present age It is a light, “coming down from above” and radiating, “from within.” The Byzantine icon presents not only the transfigured person, but all creation in its eternal perspective. In Byzantine iconography the people and all the world are spiritualized andilluminedwiththelightthatisnotnatural, but ageless and uncreated, that light which Christ radiated on Mount Tabor of the Transfiguration and that will shine on the EighthDayineternity


In the apse of the Chapel the icon of the Theotokos is shown as supplicant with Christ in the icon known as Platytera Ton Ouranon, “Wider than the heavens.” The Virgin Mary unites the dome that symbolizes heaven, with the earth, which is symbolized by the floor, the placeofthefaithful.

The Theotokos is therefore represented as being between heaven and earth because She

intercedes for our salvation and is the one who united things above with the things below through the Christ child who is between Her arms. As Saint Gregory Palamas writes, “the Mother of God is the prelude of the Church triumphant.”


In the Church, all the events of divine economy are ahistorical, “Today the Master is born as an infant Today born from a Virgin...”Timeisnotperceivedaspast,present and future The Church lives the event of the divineIncarnationasacontinuouspresent.

In the icon of the Nativity of Christ different times are collected into one today, into a collective presence of events which took place atquitedifferentanddistinctplaces andtimes. For instance, in thecenter is thedarkcave with the newborn Babe in swaddling clothes Outside the cave the Theotokos is shown on a clearing, reclining. In the left corner is a multitude of Angels chanting the “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good willtowardmen!”(Luke2:14).Intherightside of the icon is represented the Angel that evangelized theshepherds. In thelower part to the right the elderly Joseph, the betrothed, is representedindeepthought,whiletotheleftis the scene of the bathing of the small Christ. The star shines from above and into the cave The animals, the ox and ass bend over Christ’s manger warming Him with their breath (Isaiah 1:3). This copy of the famous Nativity icon from the Monastery of Christ at Chora which was in northwestern Byzantine Constantinople The well-preserved mosaics andfrescoesofthesurvivingKatholikonofthe monastery are important examples of art of the Late Byzantine period dating to the early 14thcentury.


“And immediately, coming up from the water

He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:10,11) The Icon of the Baptism of the Lord is an exact reproduction of this Gospel testimony

The Baptism of Christ has two fundamental aspects: on this day, the full dogmatic truth of God in three Persons was revealed to men. This mystery of the three Persons in one Godhead, which is beyond all understanding, was here made manifest not spiritually but plainly, in sensory forms. John the Baptist heard the voice of the Father and saw the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, confirming this voice both of them testifying to the appearance among men of the Son of God in thePersonBaptized.

On the other hand, Christestablished the New Testament sacrament of Baptism. As a sign of the fact that here the initiative belongs to Christ, that He, the Master, came to the servant and asked to be baptized, the Savoir is represented as walking or making a movement towards John the Baptist, at the same time His head is beneath John’s arm. With His right hand He blesses the waters of the Jordan, which cover Him, sanctifying them by His immersion. From then on water becomes an image not of death but of birth intoanewlife.


One cannot glorify the triumph of God incarnate, His victory over death, without at the same time exalting the Cross of Christ. Christ Himself declares that He came, “for this cause... unto this hour” (John 12:27) The real victory of Christwas His apparent defeat, for it is by death that He overthrew the power of death The Cross is then the concrete expression of the Christian mystery of victory by defeat, of glory by humiliation, of life by death.

The architectural background behind the Cross represents the wall of Jerusalem. This detail not only corresponds to historical truth but expresses at the same time a spiritual precept: just as Christ suffered outside the confines of Jerusalem, Christians must follow Himandgowithoutwalls.

Christ is represented naked, having only a whiteclothwhichcoversHisloins.Theflexion of the body towards the right, the bowed head, and the closed eyes indicate the death of the

Platytera Icon, Bruno Salvatore Nativity Icon replicated from the Monastery of Christ at Chora, George Papastamatiou The Crucifixion of Christ, George Papastamatiou

Crucified. His face, however turned towards the Virgin Mary, preserves a grave expression of majesty in suffering, an expression which makesonethinkofsleep.

The gestures of the persons present at our Lord’s death are restrained and grave. The Theotokos, accompanied by holy women is on the right of Christ. She holds herself upright, drawing closer the mantle on Her shoulder with a gesture of the left hand, while Her right hand is raised towards Christ. Her face expresses a grief contained, dominated by intrepid faith It seems that in addressing herselftoSt.John,theMotherofGodcallshim to contemplate with Her the mystery of salvation, which is accomplished in the death ofHerson.


As Paul Evdokimov has written, “All is joy since the Resurrection exists.” The Orthodox icon of the Resurrection of Christ also known as, “the Descent into Hades,” combines two events. The one event is the historical one and the other is the eschatological one: The Resurrection of Christ “in time” and our own resurrection, the general resurrection of us all onthelastday

beneath the doors of Hades, which are being victoriously trampled upon by our Lord and lay in the form of a cross. Adam and Eve depict the entire human race. The Lord delivers from the bonds of death all the righteous who await HiscomingasRedeemerandMessiah.


In remembrance of the miracle wrought by God as a result of Saint Basil’s love and defense of his people, Orthodox Christians have observed the tradition of the Vasilopita each year on January 1st – the date on which Saint BasilreposedintheLordintheyear379.

blessed and cut the “pita,” giving a piece to eachperson.Wondrouslyeachownerreceived in his piece of Vasilopita his own valuables. They all joyfully returned home, giving thanks to God who had delivered them from abject poverty and to their good and holy bishop, St. BasiltheGreat.


The Pendentives are the curved triangles of vaulting formed by the intersection of the dome with its supporting arches. Here we find the four Evangelists, Sts Matthew, Mark, Luke,andJohn.

Their Gospels hold up the Orthodox Church astheirlocationsholdupthedome.

The role of the Evangelists in the Church is similar to that of the icon. “The icon,” says Iakovos Mainas, “is not merely a practical aesthetic method for approaching the mystery of faith. Icons are not simply books for the uneducated, as if the educated have no need of them. They teach us all not because they inform us, but because they lead us to Heaven.”


One year, during a time of terrible famine, the emperor levied a sinfully excessive tax upon the people of Caesarea. The tax was such a heavy burden upon the already impoverished people that to avoid debtors’ prison each family had to relinquish its few remaining coins as well as pieces of jewelry, including precious family heirlooms. Learning of this injustice against his flock, St. Basil the Great, the Archbishop of Caesarea, took up his bishop’s staff and the book of the Holy Gospels and came to his people’s defense by fearlessly calling the emperor to repentance By God’s grace, the emperor did repent! He cancelled the tax and instructed his tax collectors to turn over to Saint Basil all of the chests containing the coins and jewelry which had been paid as taxes by thepeopleofCaesarea.

What Do You Know About Icons?, Holy Monastery of Saint John the Baptist, Kareas, Attiki, Greece 2001 The Meaning of Icons, Leonid Ouspensky and Vladimir Lossky, St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press Crestwood, New York1989.

In the Mirror, A collection of Iconographic Essays and Illustrations, Styamatis Skliris, SerbianWesternAmericaDiocese 2007.

Vasilopita story from Orthodox Church in Americawebsite.

In the center of the Resurrection icon reigns the Victor of death, Jesus Christ. He wears brilliant and glowing garments and is surrounded by bright blue glory of the mandorla, the almond shaped bright cloud. Simultaneously this represents His transfigured body and the never-setting light of the future age. His radiant garb and the triumphant expression of His all-holy face are harmonious with the significance of the feast of the Resurrection as it is expressed in the victorious Paschal Apolytikion: Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling upon death! And to those in tombs bestowing life! The destruction of the power of death is symbolized by the broken chains and locks

But now Saint Basil was faced with the daunting and impossible task of returning these coins and pieces of jewelry to their rightful owners After praying for a long time before the icons of our Master Christ and His All holy Mother, Saint Basil had all the treasures baked into one huge “pita ” He then c a l l e d a l l t h e townspeople to prayer at the cathedral, and, after Divine Liturg y, he

The Resurrection of Christ, George Papastamatiou The Philanthropy of Saint Basil the Great Icon, George Papastamatiou Evangelist Luke, George Papastamatiou Evangelist Mark, George Papastamatiou Evangelist John, George Papastamatiou Evangelist Matthew, George Papastamatiou

OXI to Bullies and Aggressors, then and now!

This month we celebrate the victories of Greece against the Italian invaders, the first victories actually of the Allied troops in World War II. Once more, tiny, poor and numerically inferior Greece showed humanity that when it comes to freedom you take a stand and if you believe in what you are doing, chances are that you will win! As it's happening in Ukraine right now. Military might isn't the main factor against people who fight for their country and what they consider sacred enough to give their lives for This lesson shouldn't go unnoticed by the main bully and aggressor in Greece's neighborhood, the supposed NATO ally Turkey or Turkiye as they changed it to now, making an already bad name worse! Day by day they are testing Greece's nerves by provoking and chipping on her sovereignty, boasting about their military prowess and their willingness to use it in order to take what it's not theirs. Mussolini did the same mistake, guys and he was defeated and ridiculed! If you think you are better, just look at the mirror A badmodelcanonlymakeyouworseafterall!

as potential food supplement which can offer multiplehealthbenefits.

Three more universities are in the process of planning similar studies, one of them entitled “Olives for Health,” at the School of Public Health at Yale, already published on the wellk n o w n s c i e n t i f i c d a t a b a s eClinicalTrials gov which covers 50 American States and 220 more countries and is kept in the National Library of Medicine at theNationalHealthInstituteUSA.

“Olives for Health” is a new research study on human health at Yale, and is about the daily consumption of table olives, with the purpose of evaluating their value as a Dietary Supplement on the blood serum levels of LDL cholesterol, the ratio LDL/HDL, glycated hemoglobin HbA1c and the C reactive protein CRP, in approximately 226 volunteers aged18-23.

“The choice of these specific organic olives was made by the Yale scientists because of their very high contents in polyphenols, exceeding by almost 500% the average level of polyphenols in table olives in general. More specifically these olives contain high concentrations of two phenols, tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol, substances with health protective antioxidant and cardioprotective properties”Sakellaropoulosexplains.

He says these organic olive oils are being evaluated by the Harvard School of Public Healthinathree-yearresearchprojectentitled “ Interventional Study on Mediterranean Diet,” in the daily food intake of 1000 volunteersin44firebrigadestationsinUSA.

The aim of the 3 year Harvard School of Public Health Study is to show that changing dietary habits, using evidence based interventions, in high-risk groups, especially with regard to heart attacks during the

performance of demanding duties, as in the caseoffiremen,significantlylowersthisrisk.

“One thing is certain,” says Sakellaropoulos, “there are no fixed hours of work in my job. It is a total lonely journey without compromises and with long hours of work. This is inevitable when embarking on such a demanding endeavor especially when taking the first steps.'

‘Being different' is a lonely path after all demanding a positive attitude and acceptance of 'errors' on the way I try to see the positive side of things and I firmly believe that there is always something to learn from whatever happens.Thisstanceandphilosophyinlifeled to the development and evolution of my products, continuously striving for excellence in quality, simultaneously expanding my olive grovesandexportsin16countriesofveryhigh standards.”

OCTOBER 2022NEWS & NOTES 41 continued from page 42

Giorgos Sakellaropoulos: the Award – Winning farmer from Sparta

acidity, specialized premium gourmetoliveoils,organicnatural slightly-salted table olives, as well asgourmetandunsaltedolives.

In a d d it i on , t he pro du c t collection includes cold-extracted olive-oil, natural cosmetics, wax creamswithSt.John’swortoil,and organic olive oil, and natural body oils.

“Our vision has always been to strive for the highest quality and I am ver y pleased with the international recognition of our products ref lected in the hundreds of awards we have received to date,” he said in an interviewwithNEOmagazine

“Of very special significance to us are also the 15 awards we received in our 15 entries at the international London Olive Oil 2022 Competition,” says Sakellaropoulos, who took part for the first time in an international competition in London in 2012, after twenty years of preparation and several awards on the way “There, after ten years with ratings of our products that exceeded 98%, we reached the top with more t h a n 5 0 0 awards, which r e f l e c t o u r consistent high quality over the years.”

One more top international a w a r d f o r Sakellaropoulos represents a huge satisfaction, given that he started his agricultural enterprise in Sparta in 1992, at a time where organic farming was totally unknown in our country. At the age of 27 then, he studied the soil and climatological

Solon, the ancient philosopher and lawmaker, one of the Seven Sages of ancient Greece, said about the olive tree – “A precious good for all life’streatment.”

Today, over two thousand years later, hundredsofscientistsfromeverycornerofthe planet swear by the nutritional value of this “blessed” fruit, while equally-numerous and dedicated producers strive to deliver its best qualitytotheconsumer ’ stable

One of them is Giorgos Sakellaropoulos, an organic farmer and producer from Sparta, who to date has received 579 awards for his products,“breaking”everyworldrecordinthe field

Among his most recent awards, several new and exclusive ones stand out, for their quality and taste, in the gastronomically high-standard world of olive oil and olives in major and important international competitions, where Greek products have never before received such distinction.

The palette of his specialized organic olive oil products in a limited edition includes organic cold pressed extra-virgin olive oils with low

These include the Monte Carlo, Verona, Paris and Tokyo international competitions, and more recently the competition in London and Mendoza Argentina Especially in Verona, Sakellaropoulos characterizes the distinction at the international competition, AIPO D'ARGENTO 2022, as “ a rare and historic event in international olive-tree cultivation,” because a whole category (first place and six finalist olive oils awards) had the distinctive flavor of Spartan olive oil and its organic olive groves.

features of the area and proceeded with the cultivation of the Koroneiki and Kalamata olivetrees.

“Despite the fact that I was very young, I had a very concrete goal – I did not start with an approach of ‘let’s do it and see what happens.’” he explains “Today, thirty years on, the distinction of my products keep getting recognized and our exports exceed 90% of our production.”

The award-winning olive-oil producer gives special attenton to the health benefits of his products, besides the emphasis on innovation and developing new tastes and aromas. For this reason, his collaboration with researchers andscientistsisofprimaryimportance

A typical example is represented by Spartan organic olives, which are being studied in Americanuniversities’researchprograms,not just as a simple or organic food ingredient, but

Giorgos Sakellaropoulos
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