MANHASSET, NY – Markou Global Legal Group presented the Hellenic American Women panel discussion at Lord & Taylor in Manhasset on February 7. The speakers, Markou Global Legal Group Founder and President Maria Markou, Theana Iordanou, and the Honorable Judge Harriet George shared their inspiring stories of success and offered their insights into making the best choices for career and family life today. Their valuable advice for all those present highlighted how times have changed so rapidly in recent years for women in various professional fields. The importance of giving back, networking, and mentoring those just starting out was also touched upon by all the speakers.
Maria Markou gave the welcoming remarks at the event which began with networking, refreshments, and live Greek music. She thanked all those present for supporting Hellenic American Women, the new organization and invited everyone to join and attend upcoming events. She noted that “Good things happen when women connect! In the pursuit of our goals and dreams, we can’t forget to reach back and pull another woman up with us.”
Markou especially thanked the team at Lord & Taylor, Store Manager Georgia Dandolos, Maria Galatis, and Phyllis Papagianopoulos, among others, for helping to organize the event and the use of the space.
In her presentation, Judge Harriet George spoke about her extraordinary journey from married law school student three months away from graduation, pregnant with her first child, and choosing to continue her law career, opening her own practice and through hard work and perseverance eventually becoming a judge. She noted that a friend of hers chose to put off her career for motherhood and then never went back to her career, and Judge George pointed out that she wanted to raise her children herself but also wanted to pursue her law career. “There’s never a right time,” she said, encouraging women to pursue their dreams even if obstacles seem to stand in their way. A supportive husband and family all also vital as well as keeping calm, Judge George said, though not too calm, she added.
Theana Iordanou, President of the Pancyprian Women’s Initiative Network (WIN), noted that when she became WIN President , one of the first things she did was changed the name of the division, from “Women’s Issues Network” to “Women’s Initiative Network.” She also spoke about growing up in Astoria, attending St. Demetrios School and Bronx Science, and then having the rare experience for a young Hellenic-American woman at the time, going away to college, at Georgetown University, where she interned for Senator Paul Sarbanes. When friends asked how she had gotten such a coveted internship for the U.S. Senator from Maryland, she noted the Hellenic connection had helped. Iordanou then spoke about her experience working from age 16 in six jobs, including selling shoes which she said “was the hardest,” before she spent 10 years at AIG, the insurance company. Following three maternity leaves and her husband finally becoming a doctor, she decided to stay home, and then had her fourth child during that time, before eventually returning to the workforce when her eldest went to college. About two years ago, she started her own insurance agency. She noted that whatever you want to do in life, “you’re not going to do it, if you don’t try.”
Iordanou also pointed out the importance of encouraging young women to be independent. “Teach your daughters that they can do anything and be anything they want to be,” she said.
In conclusion, Iordanou invited everyone to attend the Pancyprian WIN’s upcoming Gala on March 6, honoring author and champion of women’s and human rights Tasoula Hadjitofi as Woman of the Year at the New York Hilton.
Maria Markou then shared her own story, noting how she had such wonderful parents who encouraged her and her education which gave her the opportunity to achieve remarkable success in law at a young age in Athens and then coming to the United States where she continued her education and career in law. She eventually moved to Astoria to practice law in the Greek community, working with the Greek Consulate. Her strong work ethic left her with little time for a social life, and some warned her she might “remain on the shelf,” as the Greek expression says, but she soon met her husband Konstantinos Lambropoulos, whom she thanked for all his support. They have two children and Markou noted how thankful she is for all she has in her life. Noting that her mother told her when she was two years old that she had been adopted at six months old, Markou thanks God every day for being blessed and so fortunate, adding that helping others achieve success is a top priority.
Following the speakers, a presentation on the latest fashion and makeup trends with members of the Lord & Taylor staff was held, as well as a raffle for cosmetics beauty baskets.