While some philosophers love their ivory towers, many thinkers are also doers, working to apply what they have learned to making the world a better place, a small group or one person at a time.
Christine Salboudis is the founder of the Philo4Thought Hellenic Professional Mentoring Initiative. Based on her experience as a college instructor and administrator – she is administrative manager and coordinator at Columbia University’s Center for Genome Technology & Biomolecular Engineering and adjunct associate professor of philosophy at Pace University – and her interaction with a variety of groups, she noticed there was a need for a career development service within the Greek-American community.
TNH: How do you help the people you work with?
CS: I always aim to help get my students and clients to the next level of their academic and professional development. I encourage them to sort out their interests so that they can find the professional path that best suits them. I introduce new students and graduates to more senior-level Hellenic professionals so they can gain a more accurate sense of what their desired profession entails.
The “Young Professional of the Month” articles I write provide young people with examples of successful Hellenes from a variety of fields and the challenges and philosophies that got them to the successful point at which they stand today.
The advisory tutorials, monthly workshops I set up through Philo4Thought and our annual conferences touch upon a variety of topics, including the ways our Hellenic Identity shapes our interests, perspectives, and professional pursuits.
TNH: Has your life path been influenced by your Ancient and Modern Greek and Orthodox heritage?
Yes, of course! Every aspect of what I do can basically be tied to some aspect of my Greek heritage and my faith.
TNH: What’s the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
CS: There are so many things to learn every day, every moment. Perhaps the greatest lesson is to forgive, or to strive to achieve despite naysayers and obstacles. Perhaps it is to just love what you do and believe in it with every fiber of your being. Perhaps it’s just to sit back and laugh, taking in the bigger picture with good spirits.
TNH: Do you have role models?
Oh my, yes. At home, I will start with my mother and my grandparents, who have always served as my greatest advocates and most reliable critics. My lovely younger sister taught me to lead with compassion and humor. At school I considered several of my peers and instructors to be mentors – you learn something from every interaction, of course. Throughout my career I also had the benefit of several excellent mentors and role models. There were also a few less-than-exemplary role models who served the great purpose of showing me the directions that I didn’t want to follow. The combination made me who I am today.
TNH: Share with us some words of wisdom.
There are too many to choose from. Just from my heart, though, I would say: 1) Never let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough to achieve something. Set your mind to it and do your best; 2) Don’t be shy about asking for help. If God wanted you to figure everything out on your own, he wouldn’t have put the rest of us here…. Know your network. Build a professional parea; 3) Laughter really is the best medicine. Approach each new day with a smile, a positive attitude, and good humor; 4) Forgive people readily. We all have our foolish moments. Life is too short to hold grudges; 5) Learn from your mistakes. Never be afraid to make them; 6) Always keep an open mind and heart. It’s the key to true learning; 7) Never lose sight of your own value.