2021 marks the third year that I am spearheading this incredible project. In the long, glorious history of the United States, a nation of immigrants, there are reasons why Hellenes are among the cream of the crop.
How did they get there?
Who are those Greeks?
We have done a great job of cataloging the great success of the history of our people but there is no reason that it should stop in the modern era. Since our Greek-American fathers and forefathers arrived on the American shores, they have created – through blood, sweat and tears – empires, and amassed great wealth for themselves and their families. They have instilled in us, the younger generation, a great sense of pride and relatedness – regardless of whether we have met these high-net individuals first hand. Their stories, their hardships are familiar to us all. Although many of those on this list have appeared in previous issues, their tales never lose their luster. Year after year, I can’t help but feel a renewed admiration for our people, our culture, our perseverance, and our work ethic. This year has been an especially difficult one, but again, the Hellenes in America today are the gold standard of how a community supports each other and persists no matter the challenges and obstacles faced.
While we may subconsciously think that the American Dream is nothing more than a fairytale from the past, I encourage you to read the biographies of those featured carefully. Many of them were met with incredible hardships along their way to wealth and success; some of them not amassing their fortunes until well into their 50s or 60s.
Among the many things that sets Greek-Americans apart from other cultures is our commitment to family and our principles. It is noteworthy that despite achieving great success, the individuals on this list were able to instill the same ideals that they grew up with in their children – whether or not they were able to make it home for family dinner every night or not. Many of the sons and daughters of these high-net individuals have continued the legacy of their parents – often bringing it to new heights with fresh ideas, but also maintaining a respect for tradition.
America’s genius has always been its ability to attract the world’s brightest minds and hardest-working people and have them live alongside each other to advance the common good – while at the same time maintaining and advancing the history, culture and religion of the countries they came from. Our list proves that Greeks have been contributing mightily to the American success story for as long as they have been coming to these shores in the hopes of a better life for themselves and for their families. This courage is the indispensable kindling needed for the patented American entrepreneurial approach to work, a culture that creates jobs and fortunes.
Our community is blessed to have individuals such as the ones listed below – regardless of whether they hail from Greece, Cyprus, or are ‘homebred’ here in America – as role models. Many of the people on our list are in their 80s and 90s and still go to their offices every day – and frankly, they have no plans of slowing down. So, while the numbers associated with their net worths may be the most ‘fun’ part to skim in this issue, it is by far the least valuable. Contrastingly, what is most valuable is each person’s unique – but also incredibly familiar story. Many of you may be surprised at how much we all have in common and I wouldn’t disregard the fact that you may get some ideas or inspiration on what steps to take next in your own lives and careers, regardless of what stage you might currently be in.
Although countless hours were spent researching the various individuals featured on our list, we are aware that this list is not all encompassing (some individuals do not like to be in the public eye), and that the net worth of the individuals are approximations (i.e., the stock market’s daily fluctuations may cause some people’s net worth to change minute by minute). This is a ‘problem’ that is not unique to The National Herald but also to Forbes, for example, which is widely regarded as the ‘gold standard’ of such rankings.
We as a community of Greeks and Cypriots stand proudly by our fellow countrymen and women and salute their massive accomplishments in a land far away from the homeland as they keep their Hellenic roots strong. We invite you, once again, to enhance this list by letting us know of any information – including, perhaps, a particular Greek-American we may have overlooked – so that this Special Edition can continue to get better and better, year after year.
And so, without further ado, these are the selected 50 Hellenes on The National Herald’s list this year, άξιοι!