NEW YORK -The ballroom of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity was filled with the members of the community’s professional organizations in the New York Metropolitan Area on the evening of January 12.
The popular event which offered fine food, fellowship, and networking opportunities to individuals also fosters cooperation among the host groups for the benefit of the community as a whole and the promotion of Hellenism.
Cathedral Dean Father John Vlahos welcomed the guests and led them in the singing of the apolitikion hymn of St. Basil, for whom the vasilopita cakes are named.
A representative of each group cut a cake, which was then distributed to its members.
Amb. George Iliopoulos, Consul General of Greece attended with his wife Anthousa and was very pleased with the event that promotes unity and cooperation. “The biggest professional organizations have decided to do something together, and are committed other activities for the community’s benefit…In unity there is strength,” he said.
HABA Vice President Fanny Trataros, representing President Demetri Papacostas, was very happy “to see all the professional organizations be able to unite to kick off the New Year” and addressed New Year’s best wishes to all. She was especially pleased to note the mentoring program HABA is developing with some of the other groups.
Hellenic Professional Women founder Maria Frantzis expressed gratitude to HABA for inviting the group to participate for the first time. “It’s an important opportunity for Greek professionals to connect. Look around you! It should happen a number of times a year,” she said. Their next event is a personal and professional development presentation titled “New Year, New You” at the New York Athletic Club on January 30.
Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Nikos Nikoalou said “I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year and let’s do more events like this.”
Attorney John Stratakis, legal advisor to the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce (HACC) told TNH “Every group used to have its own vasilopita cutting and the beauty of this event is that everybody agreed to have vasilopita together and not have “your thing and my thing” but our thing. It’s a wonderful concept…there is an appetite for doing things together.”
HACC is preparing for its 22nd annual joint shipping conference with the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce on February 11 at the Waldorf Astoria, and their next cultural event will be its March 25 celebration.
Hellenic Medical Society President George Liakeas told TNH that the event “is a wonderful opportunity not only to network with the other societies but to plan for the whole year. It’s important for the other societies to recognize our value as we recognize theirs. Our goal is to work with the others and bring on new people to address some of the issues the community has.”
He said one of those needs is helping the elderly and they are preparing a series of talks on elderly issues in the medical, legal, and financial sectors. HMS itself is preparing for its popular apokries-carnival dinner dance.
Hellenic Lawyers Association president Michael Hartofilis was very pleased with the gathering, “Like every year this is a very symbolic gathering,” he said. “The presidents of the organizations are wishing each other a Happy New Year and hopefully they will keep in touch and exchange thoughts and ideas.” HLA will host its kickoff gathering for the year in the first week of February.
Nicholas Chamberas represents New York State Assemblywomen Nicole Malliotakis on a pro bono basis. He conveyed her regards and told TNH the event “It’s an extraordinary time to see how far Greek-Americans have come in this country…everyone is unified and everyone is having a good time and networking.”