NEW YORK – The mission of the Association of Greek American Professional Women (AGAPW), which includes the preservation of the Hellenic heritage in America, the promotion of promising young persons, and the recognition of the achievements of Greek-American women, has already generated a rich tradition of excellence, mutual support, and quality events in New York.
The annual “Greek American Woman of the Year” Award Gala and the presentation of the AGAPW scholarship on March 12 filled The Lounge Room of Manhattan’s 3 West Club with guests who love the organization and who wished to congratulate and thank Paulette Poulos, the Executive Director of Leadership 100 who was chosen as Woman of the Year for a lifetime of service to Orthodoxy and Hellenism.
Elena Karavassilis, received the Excellence Tuition Scholarship. She was introduced by Dr. Aphrodite Navab, who evoked applause when she said “I want to thank Olga Alexakos – we don’t do that enough.”
Navab also expressed gratitude to those who have contributed to the scholarship fund and urged the guests to support it, saying “It has a very humble beginning and it has grown to $3000.”
Karavassilis, a sophomore at Queen’s College’s Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, spoke graciously about growing up at St. Nicholas in Flushing and how proud she is to be Greek “for countless reasons.”
Dr. Eleni Andreopoulou-Panzures introduced Poulos, saying “I am honored and humbled to stand here tonight in celebration of a great women like you!” She continued by saying “we are here to honor and celebrate her substantial contribution to the preservation of Hellenism and Orthodoxy in our community. This is the essence of our identity! She has tirelessly devoted and evolved these concepts by organizing and focusing all of us.”
Poulos grew up in a close-knit family, the middle child of the late Rebecca and Charles Poulos, and sister of Carol and Peter Poulos, and a dynamic community, Three Hierarchs in Brooklyn.
Poulos expressed her own essence when she said, “It is with great humility and gratitude that I stand before you this evening. Those who know me know I am not comfortable receiving honors for something that I love doing and hold dear to my heart. I have not viewed by service to the Greek Orthodox Church and community as a professional accomplishment, but rather as a personal and spiritual fulfillment. Nonetheless, I am proud to be among such accomplished women and I have been an advocate of the advancement of women all my life.”
She said she was prepared “by the unconditional love of my beloved parents,” who instilled in their children “faith, ideals and the importance of integrity,” and that “I was privileged to serve with a great leader in the person of Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory… a visionary…who believed in placing women in positions of responsibility…today I strive to carry on the legacy of my mentor.”
She thanked Alexakos and AGAPW, the officers and Board of Leadership 100 and said “I am indebted to Archbishop Demetrios for his trust in me and paternal love and guidance.”
The guests were deeply touched by poem about Poulos’ Church service by an author who wished to remain anonymous.
Alexakos thanked all who contributed to the success of the event In celebration of Women’s History Month held under the auspices of The Consulate General of Greece in New York. Press Secretary Lambros Kazis represented the Greek diplomatic corps.
Anthoula Katsimatides offered introductory remarks and served as the Emcee and Rev. Dr. Robert Stephanopoulos, who was accompanied by Presbytera Nikki Stephanopoulos, offered the invocation and read a message of congratulations to Poulos by Archbishop Demetrios.
Also addressing the guests were Manos Koubarakis, Consul of Greece, George Tsandikos, Chairman of Leadership 100 and Maria Logus, national president of Philoptochos. Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas could not leave the state capitol, but she sent a citation for Poulos.
There was a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception and the guests enjoyed a slide presentation about Poulos’ life and work prepared by her colleague Fran Karivalis, a recital of wonderful Greek songs by soprano Flora Kirou.
Among the dignitaries were Nancy Papaioannou, President of the Atlantic Bank of New York and President of Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, Penelope Tsilas, Judge Harriet Pavles George, Litsa Diamataris representing The National Herald, Anthousa Iliopoulos, spouse of Consul General of Greece Ambassador George Iliopoulos, Maria Allwin, board member of The Hellenic Initiative, Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Kourides representing the Hellenic American Cultural Foundation and Catherine Moutousis, president of the Cathedral Philoptochos.