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Events

HABA Honors Constantine Iordanou as 2024 Executive of the Year

NEW YORK – The Hellenic-American Association for Professionals in Finance (HABA) celebrated its 40th anniversary and honored Constantine Iordanou as 2024 Executive of the Year at its Annual Gala on June 5 in New York City. The sold-out event highlighted Iordanou’s impressive career and also his commitment to the community and justice for Cyprus.

Nicole Petallides, financial journalist at the Schwab Network, served as MC, welcoming everyone and noting what a well-deserving honoree Iordanou is. HABA President Chris Thomas offered his greetings and thanked all those for attending including U.S. Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis, Judge Michael Hartofilis, Judge Madeline Singas, Emmanuel Caravanos, Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Maria Pappas, Nicolas Nicolaou, Dr. George Liakeas, and Dr. Stella Lymberis.

HABA Treasurer Costas Kellas then thanked all the benefactors and sponsors of the event.

Constantine Iordanou was honored as HABA 2024 Executive of the Year on June 5 in New York City. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

PSEKA and Pancyprian Association President Philip Christopher noted that “we will be commemorating the 50th dark anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus next month, July 20,” and HABA chose to honor a Greek-Cypriot executive who represents and exemplifies the best in our community. He went on to share Constantine Iordanou’s family immigration story, how his parents, Philip and Iphigenia, left Cyprus and brought the family to the U.S. for a better life and education, and the family’s success including the honoree in the field of insurance and two brothers who are well-known pediatricians and were in attendance at the event. Christopher then recalled meeting Iordanou who was a soccer player for the Pancyprian Freedoms in his younger days, worked in a deli to put himself through school, and was known for his great memory, keeping track of customers’ orders. Iordanou is from Athienou in Cyprus, as was the late Nikos Mouyiaris who helped with Iordanou’s immigration papers. Christopher also pointed out that Iordanou was the center forward of the Pancyprian soccer team, scoring goals and “every time he scored a goal, he was scoring a goal for freedom for Cyprus.”

PSEKA and Pancyprian Association President Philip Christopher spoke about the honoree Constantine Iordanou at the HABA 2024 Executive of the Year Gala on June 5 in New York City. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

“He has always contributed, through the Pancyprians, he has funneled thousands of dollars to Greek and Cypriot causes,” he continued. “In the village where he was born, he rebuilt the church, he rebuilt the hospital, sponsored many cultural events, he donated the statue of Nikos Mouyiaris that will be unveiled in Athienou on August 5. As he rose on the ladder of success, he never forgot his roots, his heritage, his country, and that is important and that is the key to his success. Of course, he had Marianne [his wife] next to him and their three daughters who always encouraged him and always inspired him, so it’s very important that we are all here today to honor Dinos Iordanou not only for his success but for the many causes that he represents.”

“Next week, he will be with me in Washington, DC, for the PSEKA conference as we commemorate the 50th dark anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus,” Christopher added, noting the presence of Rep. Malliotakis as well as Federation of Cypriot American Organizations President Kyriacos Papastylianou and Cyprus-U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Maria Pappas and Chairman Nicolas Nicolaou. He also noted how Iordanou has helped many young people in the Hellenic community starting off in their professional careers.

U.S. Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis presented a copy of the Congressional Record in honor of Constantine Iordanou. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Rep. Malliotakis presented a copy of the Congressional Record in honor of Iordanou, officially including him in the history of the United States House of Representatives, noting that he “really achieved the American Dream and he’s giving back to the community.”

“He was one of the founding members of the Pancyprian Association of America and he’s worked so hard with Philip Christopher and others and 50 years later we’re still seeing the illegal occupation of Cyprus,” she said. “We must work together to send the message to Congress and to all our representatives that it is not ok that Turkey continues to be aggressive towards Greece and Cyprus, continues to illegally occupy the lands of others and I’m so glad to know that Dino will be in Washington next week leading, along with Philip Christopher, the effort to educate our colleagues in Washington about the need for Cyprus to be free and to be united and for the Turkish troops to leave.”

U.S. Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis presents the honoree Constantine Iordanou with a copy of the Congressional Record. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Greg Hendrick, Chief Executive Officer of Vantage Risk, then shared his greetings, noting Iordanou’s path in business, “AIG, Berkshire Hathaway, Zurich, Arch, and now… Vantage, it is an incredible career,” and his great conviction about education, “the single best thing you can do is get someone a good education and give them access to that and they will make something of themselves.”

The HABA Board then presented the Executive of the Year Award to Constantine Iordanou who began his acceptance speech by thanking HABA and his family, including brothers Michael and George, and his wife Marianne who were present.

He noted that he came to the U.S. at the age of 19 with $200 in his pocket “and the dream of every immigrant, to make it in the United States.”

Nicole Petallides, financial journalist at the Schwab Network, served as MC at the event on June 5. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

In his first call back home to his father, Iordanou said that the first question his father asked him was if he got a job yet and if he had enrolled in school. “He was a person who had very strict principles and he bestowed them upon us… one of the things he taught us when we were very young… he said ‘was when you go home at night you pray to God and thank God for everything He gave you, maybe it was a slice of bread and two olives, whatever it was, be thankful, and then you have to ask yourself two questions, what did you learn today? And what have you done to help another human being?’ That’s the code that I grew up with. And if you haven’t learned anything it was a wasted day and if you haven’t done something to help another human being you didn’t do your duty as a human being.”

Iordanou spoke about his career and the hard work needed to achieve success and how lucky he was to work for AIG for 11 years where he learned a lot and then working for Warren Buffett, noting that he described his years at Berkshire Hathaway as the only university he went to where he was getting paid and learning at the same time. What he learned from Buffett, he said was to “bet on people. If you don’t have good people, nothing can be implemented.”

The Hellenic-American Association for Professionals in Finance (HABA) celebrated its 40th anniversary and honored Constantine Iordanou as 2024 Executive of the Year at its Annual Gala on June 5 in New York City. Photo by Eleni Sakellis

Iordanou also highlighted the importance of teamwork which he learned from the writings of the ancient Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle which describe concepts related to helping members achieve their best for themselves and the benefit of the team. Collaboration is also a key to success, he noted, pointing out that it eliminates the defects in the decision-making process and “allows for the transfer of knowledge from one person to another.”

“At the end of the day, the biggest and most important element of a chief executive is to make sure there is the right culture in your organization that rewards the people, their knowledge, their ability, their expertise, that promotes teamwork and celebrates teamwork, it allows for collaboration to happen within the organization, and makes sure that execution does happen because good ideas without good execution don’t mean anything,” Iordanou said, adding the importance of creating a culture in the organization that includes balance between work obligations and family obligations.

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