United States

THI/TNH Takeover – Polykarpia ‘Kelly’ Maria Kollias

November 18, 2023

Welcome to THI/TNH Takeover! In collaboration with The Hellenic Initiative (THI), The National Herald and THI have begun a partnership to introduce the NEXTGEN of Greek/Cypriot ‘movers and shakers’ to the rest of our Diaspora community around the world. Established to inform its readers about all things related to our homeland and its respective communities throughout the world, TNH is now providing THI’s New Leaders (40-years-old and younger), with a new platform to showcase their ideas and to engage their communities in a deeper, more meaningful way while simultaneously building a bridge to Greece and Cyprus. Our next featured New Leader is Kelly Kollias. Get to know her below!

Last Name, First Name

  • Kollias, Polykarpia ‘Kelly’ Maria

Alma mater?

  • Tufts University BA, JD/MBA Candidate at Villanova University

What city do you live in?

  • Greenville, Delaware

Where in Greece are you from?

  • My mother’s side of the family is from Thessaloniki; my father’s side is half in Patra, half Nafpaktos.


  • Full-time student; part-time fitness instructor

What motivated you to get involved with THI?

  • I love connecting with fellow Greeks and have helped host New Leaders events from Philly to Miami.

Favorite place to take your non-Greek friends when they visit you in Greece?

  • The local bakery in my mom’s hometown of Katerini… it’s been around since 1937 and has the best frappe and desserts.

Go-to Greek dish/drink when you’re missing the homeland?

  • I’ll keep it simple: my yiayia’s spanakopita.

Favorite Greek product you can find outside of Greece?

  • Amita Peach or Sour Cherry – the taste of my childhood!

In addition to THI, how are you involved in/help the Greek/Cypriot community?

  • I am a member of Leadership 100 and I participated in the American Hellenic Initiative’s foreign policy trip the summer of 2016.

How has your Hellenic background helped shape who you are today?

  • “‘Filotimo’ to Greeks is like breathing. A Greek is not a Greek without it.”

The most important value that helped shape me is ‘φιλότιμο’ (filotimo – ‘love of honor.’) The translation is insufficient to convey the constellation of virtues this word embodies: love, kindness, generosity; a second nature to Greeks. It cannot be translated into English; we Greeks even have trouble agreeing on a definition.

Filotimo is when I offer a helping hand without someone having to ask. I saw it working in the courthouse this past semester; sharing my bike as a kid; and teaching barre to stressed students. Filotimo helped shape me because I can put myself in others’ shoes and connect on a deeper level. I do not give up.

Life Motto?

  • You are stronger than the excuses inside your head.


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