Joan Menard, Chairperson. Ms. Menard is a former educator in the Somerset, Massachusetts school system. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1967 and a Master of Education degree in 1971 from Bridgewater State College. In 1993, she received a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Education Administration from Boston College. Ms. Menard was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 1999 and served as Majority Whip. Senator Menard was appointed to the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) by the Governor in Sept. 2003. She became Chair of NEBHE at the 2008 Annual Board Meeting in Boston, and currently, she is a member of the NEBHE Executive Board. Senator Menard retired from the Massachusetts State Legislature in 2010, and is now Vice President of Workforce Development, Lifelong Learning, Grant Development, and External Affairs at Bristol Community College in Fall River, MA.
Steven C. Panagiotakos, Vice Chair. Attorney Panagiotakos served seven terms in the Massachusetts State Senate. He was appointed Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means in March 2007. Chairman Panagiotakos was responsible for the oversight and development of the Commonwealth’s $26.8 billion dollar budget. He has a long history of community and political involvement, particularly in the area of education. Before being elected to the State Senate in 1997, he served two terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and two terms as a member of the Lowell School Committee. Attorney Panagiotakos attended Phillips Academy, received his Bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, and obtained a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School. He maintains a law practice not far from his home in Lowell, MA.
Aris Candris, Vice Chair. Aris Candris was president and CEO of Westinghouse Electric Company from 2008 to 2012. Prior to this, Dr. Candris served as senior vice president in charge of the Nuclear Services business unit first in 2000, and then resumed the role in 2004 after completing a special assignment as senior vice president, Operational Excellence, from June 2003 through August 2004, during which he developed the formative stages of the Westinghouse Customer 1st initiative. From 1996 to 1999, Dr. Candris was vice president and general manager of the Nuclear Services business unit; vice president of Nuclear Services operations; director of Nuclear Services projects; and, director of Nuclear Technology. Between 1980 and 1995, he managed Nuclear Technology and Nuclear Services organizations in the areas of operating plant marketing; strategic operations; nuclear safety analysis and strategic development; functional design; reliability technologies; and, reliability engineering. He began his Westinghouse career in 1975 as a senior engineer in the former Advanced Reactor Division. Dr. Candris holds a B.A. from Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is on the boards of NiSource Inc., Kurion Inc., and The Hellenic Initiative, as well as on the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Mellon and Transylvania University.
Donna M. Soucy, Secretary. Ms. Soucy is an attorney and Senator in the State of New Hampshire, with a long history of community and political involvement. Sen. Soucy is a former Chief of Staff of the New Hampshire State Senate, where she was charged with managing and supervising staff and advising members of the N.H. State Senate. In the past she has also served as Legal Coordinator and later as General Counsel of the State of New Hampshire Banking Department. Sen. Soucy received her Bachelor’s degree in Politics from Saint Anselm College, and obtained a Juris Doctorate from the University Of New School Of Law, formerly known as Franklin Pierce Law Center.
Saif Abugulal is founding principal and chairman of Key2MiddleEast, a consulting business that connects European companies with opportunities to expand their efforts in the Middle East. A global business and international relations strategist with expertise in fields such as high-level business development, supply chain management, logistics and procurement, he specializes in launching, expanding and growing European businesses in the Middle East. Dr. Abugulal also currently serves as General manager for the Middle East for GIS International, a leading global procurement service provider for multinational, multisite companies. In the past, he has held leadership roles at the Saudi Aramco Overseas Company BV, which honored him with the Top Award of Saudi Aramco for his contribution to the company’s growth. He has worked at Stahl-Electromach as the General Manager for Saudi Arabia, at the Laureate Education, Inc. as a consultant, aiding clients in over 95 countries with business development solutions. Dr. Abugulal earned a PhD in Government and International Affairs from the University of Durham (UK), where he also completed a Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies. He received his undergraduate degree in International Relations from Webster University (US). He is fluent in English and Arabic, including Gulf-GCC Arabic.
Vassilis Andrikopoulos is Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for Investment and Enterpreneurial Affairs. He started his career at TASTY FOODS S.A. (PEPSICO FOODS INTL) as Credit Control Manager and then assumed the role of Planning & Reporting Manager at HENKEL-ECOLAB S.A. From 1998 to 2012, he worked at DIAGEO Plc. in executive positions in Greece and abroad- CFO Eastern Europe, CFO Western Europe Markets and VP Greece. From 2013 to 2017, he worked at Olympic Brewery S.A., where he started as Deputy CEO, led the Joint Venture formation of Olympic Brewery S.A. with the Carlsberg Group and from 2015 to 2017 served as the COO & Vice Chairman of the business. In 2017 he also served as Vice Chairman and Member of the Supervisory Board for the Joint Venture. He has also served as CEO of NOVAL Property S.A., a Viohalco group company and as Managing Director at Green Cola Hellas S.A. Mr. Andrikopoulos also led the creation of several start-ups, including an e-supermarket (later sold to the Sklavenitis supermarket chain) and GFG Bakery, a US-based Greek bakery chain. He holds a Bachelor degree in Business Administration from the Athens University of Economics & Business and has attended executive seminars at Harvard Business School and INSEAD. He is a member of the Economic Chambers of Greece, member of the Association of Chief Executive Officers and of CEO CLUBS Greece, and a member of the Hellenic–American Chamber.
Anna Michelle Asimakopoulou has studied economics and law in the USA and in the UK and worked for several years as a lawyer in New York, specializing in financial transactions and international banking law. She worked as director of an NGO in Greece, focusing on ICT deployment and regional development. She also worked as an evaluator of projects funded by the European Commission and as a consultant in the private sector in Brussels and Luxembourg. She served as Deputy-Mayor of the City of Ioannina (2010-2012) and an elected member of the Hellenic Parliament (2012-2019).
She was appointed Spokesperson of the New Democracy Party in 2013. She was Head of Fiscal Policy Sector (2015), Head of the Development and Competition Sector (2016) and Head of the Digital Policy, Telecommunications & Media Sector for New Democracy (2016-2019). She is currently a Member of the European Parliament, Vice Chair of the Committee on International Trade, member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection as well as the Committee on Petitions.
Jimmy Athanasopoulos. As Greece Representative of Libra Group’s Social Responsibility, Jimmy Athanasopoulos is responsible for the Libra Social programs in Greece. Jimmy is also responsible for the public relations and liaison with partners, trustees and beneficiaries of Libra’s social responsibility activities. Following an MBA from Northeastern Illinois University, Jimmy began his career in Chicago as a provider of financial and investment services across various asset classes. He later undertook a variety of management roles at multinational corporations including DNV, Tyco Healthcare, and TetraPak before entering ship management as Chief Financial Controller with FreeSeas Inc. preparing statutory reports towards the SEC. He later joined G. Bros Maritime S.A. where he was responsible for financial reporting to the Board of Directors. Jimmy joined the Libra Group, in 2012, as Director of the Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award (now Envolve Entrepreneurship), an award program for Greek start-up businesses funded and operated by the Libra Group. In 2015, he joined Libra’s Executive Team as Head of Social Responsibility, providing strategic oversight of the group’s global responsibility and education programs. In 2016, Jimmy completed the Executive Education Program for Corporate Social Responsibility at Harvard Business School. In 2019, he served as Interim Chief Financial Officer of EuroEnergy, Libra Group’s energy company in Europe. At EuroEnergy, Jimmy managed the company’s economic strategy and was responsible for financial reporting to partners. Additionally, he is Chairman of Envolve Entrepreneurship and sits on the Advisory Council of The American Community School in Athens. He has previously been a member of Board of Directors of the HOME Project, an initiative founded in Greece by the Libra Group to provide a safe haven for refugees, with a special focus on unaccompanied children.
Nicholas Christodoulopoulos is a retired admiralty lawyer. He has been a ship-owner since 1973. He is President of Fidetrust Investments LTD., in London (UK), Vice-President of the Greek Tourist Ship-owners’ Association (2000-2015), and a member of the legal committee of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping for 18 years. He is also a member of the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, New York. Dr. Christodoulopoulos earned a law degree from the University of Athens (L.L.B., 1960), a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Rome (scholarship 1963) and a LL.M. in Comparative Law from Columbia University ( fellowship 1966). He is also chairman of the Orama Foundation, a New York non-for-profit charity institution. He is a Greek- American residing in New York City.
Metropolitan Gabriel of New Ionia and Philadelphia was born in Athens, Greece in 1976 and baptized George Papanicolaou. He was tonsured a monk in 1995 and given the name Gabriel. A year later he was ordained to the diaconate and in 2002 to the priesthood. In 2009 His Eminence became Vicar of the Archdiocese of Athens and assumed a pioneering role in modernizing the Church’s administration and creating social programs in greater Athens area; this social network of aid would become what is known today as “Mission” the non-profit organization of the Archdiocese of Athens. In 2012 His Eminence was elected to the Episcopacy of Diavleia and made Archsecretary of the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. In 2014 His Eminence was elected and raised to his current role as Metropolitan of New Ionia and Philadelphia (Greece). His Eminence has a Bachelor’s degree from the Theological Faculty of the Kapodistrian University of Athens, a Master’s degree from University of Freiburg (Switzerland); he is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Athens. He is fluent in French, English, Italian, and Greek.
† Stefanos Gialamas was President of the American Community Schools of Athens, Greece (ACS Athens, Greece), a position he held for 14 years until his recent death in October 2019. He earned a BS, MA and Ph.D. in Mathematics, the last from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he wrote his dissertation on Knot Theory. Prior to his arrival at ACS Athens he served as the Provost of the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT), Greece. He was a university professor, department chair, dean and provost at higher education institutions in the United States and Greece. He taught graduate and undergraduate courses in mathematics, computer science, management and leadership at universities in Kansas, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Greece. His professional work included research in leadership, faculty development, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and mathematics education. He published more than 120 referred articles in English and Greek and is the author of four books. In response to the educational needs of society due to globalization, he developed an education paradigm, the Global Morfosis Paradigm, a framework for holistic, meaningful, and harmonious educational experience, guided by ethos. The paradigm was implemented at ACS Athens over the past decade.
George A. Gratsos is President of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping since 2004. Before that, he served as President from 1996 to 2000. He is a member of the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors of the Union of Greek Ship-owners (UGS), President of the UGS Maritime Safety and Marine Environment Protection Committee, former Vice-President and current member of the BoD of HELMEPA (Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association), as well as a member of many other boards and organizations. Mr. Gratsos has been President of the U.K. Freight Demurrage and Defense Association, and Vice-President of BIMCO. He holds a BSc in Naval Architecture & Marine Engineering from MIT, and a PhD in Shipping Market Dynamics from the University of the Aegean.
Theodora S. Hancock is President of Hancock International Inc, a company specializing in defense and international business. She served for 20 years in the US Air Force, where she held senior leadership and management positions at the Pentagon and the intelligence community, negotiated international defense agreements, and awarded and managed multi-billion-dollar contracts. Certified at the highest level of contracts and program management, she held unlimited contracts warrant. Ms. Hancock co-founded the Hellenic American Women’s Council (HAWC), a 501©3 national organization for professional women of Hellenic heritage – the first of its kind—leading the organization as its president and vice president. She holds an MBA and a BA in Linguistics and has taught contracting and management courses. She was commissioned by the White House to serve on the Congressionally mandated panel on Technical Data Rights and Intellectual Property. She serves actively on the boards of various commercial companies and non-profit organizations and is active in the Greek American community.
Gerry Kavanaugh is the founder of KSI and DCS, two Internet communications and software companies that provide online services to members of Congress, political candidates, non-profit organizations, and corporations across the country. He currently serves as President of Higher Education Partners, LLC, a venture formed in 2011 to provide expanded allied health programs for community colleges around the country. He served as Senator Edward M. Kennedy ’s Economic Policy Advisor, where he worked on the Senator’s Health, Education and Labor Committee on issues affecting working families. Gerry became Senator Kennedy’s Chief of Staff and helped guide Kennedy to re-election in 1994 and 2000. He also served as the Policy Director for the Democratic National Committee, providing counsel to Democratic candidates and parties across the country. In 2003 and 2004, Gerry worked as a senior advisor to the John Edwards for President Campaign. Before his involvement in national politics, Mr. Kavanaugh served as a city planner for the City of Keene, NH, and for the cities of Quincy and Salem in Massachusetts. He also served as the Chief of Staff for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the largest redevelopment authority in the country. He recently founded South Coast Connected, a non-profit organization that develops and runs education programs to help reduce high school drop-out rates in cities along the South Coast of Massachusetts. Mr. Kavanaugh has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Lafayette College and a Master of Arts Degree in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania.
Nikolaos - Socrates Labroukos earned an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens, an MBA degree from Manchester Business School, and a PhD from London Business School, where he later pursued post-doctoral studies. An experienced senior executive and business consultant, he is founding member, shareholder and Chairman of the business consulting firm BPM SA and Venture Partner in the Odyssey Venture Partner Fund. He serves on the Boards of Quest Holdings SA, Motodynamics SA and various technology start-ups and is a member of the General Council of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV). As a business consultant he advises numerous mid- and large-size companies and organizations in the private and public sectors in a variety of challenging projects mostly related to strategic, business and corporate development. As a senior executive he has served in various senior management positions, including Executive Director of INTRACOM Holdings, Managing Director of INTRACOM IT Services Group, Chairman of Attica Telecommunications, Chairman of INTRACOM IT Services Denmark, Chairman of INTRACOM Jordan and Chairman of Encode SA. He was a Research Fellow at London Business School and Visiting Assistant Professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business and has published scientific papers in refereed management journals. He speaks Greek, English and French and is operational in German.
Thanasi “T.C.” Liakos is President and CEO of The Liakos Companies, which consists of subsidiaries that invest in commercial and residential real estate development, and Chairman of the capital investment company Marcon Ventures. He is also Chairman of Greenleaf Development, the development and construction division of his company. Born in Elassona, Greece and raised in Nashua, NH, he graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1984 and began his career working in public relations and marketing for a large real-estate development company. Mr. Liakos serves on the Board of Trustees of various philanthropic and educational organizations including Leadership 100, the Alpha Omega Council and Rivier University. He lives with his wife and children in Nashua, New Hampshire, whose community he continues to serve as a volunteer basketball and soccer coach, President of the St. Philip Greek Orthodox Church Parish Council and Executive Board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua. In recognition of his dedication to the community and service to the Club’s mission, he was inducted into the Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame in 2012.
Bernie McMahon. A native of Washington D.C., Mr. McMahon graduated from the College of the Holy Cross with a B.A. in Political Science and a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies. While in college, he was a multi-year top finisher in the New England, Eastern and Patriot League Indoor and Outdoor Championships as a pole-vaulter and decathlete. Mr. McMahon was commissioned in the Navy through the ROTC program and served for 21 years as a U.S. Navy SEAL. He commanded and led Special Operations elements of every size and scope, conducting operations and activities across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and South and Central America. While in the Navy, he completed an M.A. in the History of International Relations in the 20th Century at The London School of Economics and an M.A. in National Security Studies at the U.S. Army War College. Since retiring from the Navy, Mr. McMahon has worked at Norfolk Academy – one of the top independent private schools in the United States located in Norfolk, Virginia. Mr. McMahon currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Middle School and Dean of Students. In addition, he is responsible for the creation of the institution’s leadership program and maintains the title of Director of Leadership Development.
Nick Ross. Originally hailing from Colorado, Nick received his B.F.A. in Dance from SUNY Purchase and ultimately graduated from the Certified Advisor of Personal Insurance Program at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. During this college years, Nick was a standout baseball player, eventually competing professionally in the Colorado Rockies’ system. At the conclusion of his baseball career, Nick transitioned to the world of dance. Serving as an adjunct professor at both Manhattanville College and Adelphi University, Nick quickly climbed the ranks in a new professional field. At his peak, Nick was dancing professionally and owned his own company – Nicholas Andre Dance. Nick and his company traveled the globe dancing on some of the largest stages in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. Since settling in New York City, Nick spent time in secondary education before making one last transition to the personal insurance field. After having first served as a Senior Vice President at Krauter and Company Personal Insurance, Nick now works as a Senior Vice President and Certified Advisor of Personal Insurance at Alwek Insurance. He specializes in risk management for high net worth individuals and their families along with professional athletes and celebrities.
Artemis Simopoulos, M.D. is the Founder and President of The Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health, a non-profit educational organization in Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, with a major in Chemistry, and a graduate of the Boston University School of Medicine. From 1978 to 1986, Dr. Simopoulos chaired the Nutrition Coordinating Committee at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Since 1984, her research has been on the evolutionary aspects of diet and the omega-6/omega-3 balance. She is the author of The Omega Diet, now in its second edition. Dr. Simopoulos served as Consultant on Nutrition and Health to Ms. Ester Peterson, Special Assistant to The President for consumer Affairs, from 1978 to 1980. From 1978 to 1983 she was co-Chairman and Executive Secretary of the Joint Subcommittee on Human Nutrition Research, Federal Coordinating Council on Science, Engineering, and Technology, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of The President, The White House, and a member of its successor, the Interagency Committee for Human Nutrition Research from 1983-1986. She has edited over 60 books and journal supplements in addition to publishing over 360 scientific papers. In September 2010, Dr. Simopoulos was appointed to the Greek Council on Research and Technology.
Chris Spirou, co-founder of Hellenic American University. He served as the University’s first President, from 2004 through June 2012. Mr. Spirou currently serves as President Emeritus and is a member of the University’s Board of Trustees. He is President and CEO of the Hellenic American Union, a bi-national, international educational and cultural center, located in Athens, Greece. Born in the village of Porti Karditsa, Thessaly, Greece, Chris Spirou immigrated to the United States in 1956 at a very young age. He attended Saint Anselm’s College in Manchester, New Hampshire and received a Master’s Degree from Goddard College in Vermont. In 1970, he was appointed by President Richard Nixon to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Voluntary Action. That same year, he was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives and soon rose to become House Democratic Leader in the New Hampshire House. In 1984, Chris Spirou was the Democratic Nominee for Governor of New Hampshire making him the highest elected American of Greek origin, born in Greece, in either the Democratic or Republican Party. In 1989, he was elected Chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party and in 1992, as President of US President Bill Clinton’s Electors. As President and Chairman of the Hellenic American Union, Mr. Spirou transformed the organization into a major academic force in Greece and a highly regarded, dynamic forum for addressing Greek-American concerns both in Europe and in the United States. As President of Hellenic American University, Chris Spirou played a vital role in establishing the University as a respected Institution of Higher Education, in New Hampshire, USA and internationally.
Apostolos Tamvakakis is the Chairman and Managing Partner of EOS Capital Partners Alternative Investment Fund Manager, the investment manager of a private equity fund “EOS Hellenic Renaissance Fund”. He is also Vice Chairman of Gek Terna SA, a member of the Boards of Directors of Quest Holdings and of Euroseas Ltd, and the Chairman of the Liquidations Committee of PQH Single Special Liquidation S.A. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of AVIS, non-executive Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Piraeus Bank, Chief Executive Officer of the National Bank of Greece, Head of Strategy and Business Development on the management team of the Geneva-based Latsis Group, Chairman and Managing Director of Lamda Development, Deputy CEO of the National Bank of Greece and Chairman of ETEVA, Deputy Governor of National Mortgage Bank of Greece, Deputy General Manager of ABN AMRO Bank, Manager of Investment Banking at Hellenic Investment Bank and as Planning Executive at Mobil Oil Hellas. He has also served as Vice-President of HELEX (Hellenic Exchanges SA), Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Inter-Alpha Group of Banks, Chairman of Ethnocard (National Management & Organization Co), National Securities SA, President of the Southeastern European Board of the Europay Mastercard group and as a member of numerous boards and committees. Apostolos Tamvakakis is a graduate of the Athens University of Economics and holds an M.A. in Econometrics from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
Symeon Tsomokos is the founder and President of the Delphi Economic Forum, an independent and impartial non-profit organization committed to promoting innovative ideas for sustainable and competitive growth for Southeast Europe. He established SGT S.A in Athens in 1997, and TGI in Belgrade in 2001 and in Brussels in 2016, of which he has been President ever since. He is the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Serbia in the region of Thessaly in Greece. He is also the founder of the Business Council for Greece-United States, the Greek-Hungarian Business Council, and the Greek-Egyptian Business Council, while in 2006 he established the Greece-Serbia Chamber of Commerce, of which he serves as President. In the past he has served as Commercial Specialist at the US Embassy in Athens (1973-1980) and CEO at the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce (1980-1997). He has also served as Secretary General and Treasurer of the Council of the American Chambers of Commerce based in Europe (1990-1993) and as Secretary General of the Business Council Greece-Turkey (1993-1998). He was an Eisenhower Exchange Fellow in 1993.
Nicholas James Vailas, is a healthcare entrepreneur having founded and currently oversees numerous healthcare services including surgical centers, physical therapy centers, urgent care centers, insurance captive, medical co-op, and other healthcare ventures. Nick is a former healthcare educator and football coach, Commissioner of Health and Human Services, State of New Hampshire, Board Chair of the Health Planning and Review Board (CON Board ). Currently Nick is the founder and board member of the Safe Sports Network of the New Hampshire Musculoskeletal Institute and serves on the President’s Council of Plymouth State University. He is also a board member of Primary Bank, founder and Finance Chair of the East West High School All-Star Football Game to benefit Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth. Nick received his MSc. degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his BSc. degree from Plymouth State University.