NEW YORK – The best community events are both informative and fun, so when Hellenic Professional Women (HPW), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to career advancement for Greek-American women recently hosted an evening of “shopping, styling and refreshments” at the J Crew store at Columbus Circle, there was an educational component.
Ronnie Kratsios, the event’s chairperson, told TNH it was designed to help women put their best foot forward when they present themselves professionally.
There was a fashion show along with informational presentations. “We had stylists speak to us about things to consider when putting ensembles together,” and to advise women about the fashion component of the transition from workplace to after hours to weekend, Kratsios said.
The event belies the rumor on “Mars” – possibly fanned by women themselves, that the residents of “Venus” have some kind of fashion sixth sense.
Lizzie, one of the stylists, explained that “Some women have difficulty building looks so we help them get inspired and motivated.”
She said women often also consult with her because they want to experiment with looks outside their comfort zones, which she encourages them to do. She believes that encouraging women to leave their comfort zones in general is a good for life and career and well-being in general.
The women had a great time and participants received 20 percent discount – three gift certificates were also raffled off.
Valia Glytsis, HPW president, told TNH it was the first time HPW presented an event that was not strictly professional development. “It went great. People were happy to see a holistic side of women’s leadership and development that included style and fashion.”
Like all the group’s board members, including founding president Maria Frantzis, Glytsis brings her professional expertise to discussions about how HPW can help Greek-American women.
Her own company, Paradox of Leadership, is a boutique leadership education firm. She told TNH “The paradox involves the challenge of helping leaders see what makes them tick from the inside out, rather than from the outside-in.”
The outside is their obvious role and its requirements in a company. “We help them unravel that,” she said, and agrees that once they get down to who they are, their strengths, weaknesses and passions, that will point them in the right direction.
“It unlocks everything, like the answer to questions like ‘are you in the right role, are you maximizing your role, how to you make an impact on people in the organization,” she said.
Frantzis is excited about two upcoming events. On June 29 Ioanna Lalaounis will talk about her family’s jewelry museum, and she said “we are in the planning stages if an incredible event, a career forum,” on October 17.
There will be two sessions, one featuring a panel of women sharing lessons learned in their careers, followed by breakout sessions focusing on different career development aspects, including work/life balance.
Glytsis said the Career Forum is the capstone event for HPW’s year. “We bring tighter leaders from many industries for professional development,” she said.
The presentations are geared for everyone from their youngest members just entering the work force to seasoned veterans who are looking to make job transitions or becoming mentors to young women.
HPW is in the process of relaunching its mentoring program, which will include one-on-one and group mentoring. “We are allowing women who will serve as mentors to serve more than one woman at the same time who are interested in the same industry and topics,” said Glytsis.