By Markos Papadatos
Aphrodite Kotrotsios is the Hermes Expo Internationals Young Professionals Initiative (HYPI) Executive Director. “Serving in this capacity, it is my duty to sustain and maintain the organization. My specific duties include contacting high profile professionals from the Greek-American community to mentor and network with the youth; moreover, my duties include promotions of the HYPI and young professionals outreach. These are all included in event planning for the Hermes Expo and separate youth events for the HYPI. This year, we have added a HYPI committee to assist in the expansion of the organization beyond the Five-State area.”
The Hermes Young Professionals Initiative (HYPI) was established in 2007, by Stavroula Kotrotsios and Aphrodite Kotrotsios with the help of the Committee and support of many professionals and businessmen who recognize the need. Its purpose is to provide young Greek-Americans who are aspiring to meet the professional demands of the 21st century with a forum to connect, interface, and learn from seasoned Greek-American leaders from various fields which include business, medicine, law, government, among others.
“Our committee believes in our mission and the mission is you, our fellow young Hellenes in our communities. This platform will serve to promote, unite and support our generation as well as the future generations,” Aphrodite says. “In order for this paramount effort to rise to the next level and reach even more young professionals, we need to combine efforts and work together to move forward. We are the next generation. It is up to us to keep the flame alive and pass on the torch to the next generations. As fellow Hellenes, it is our duty to keep our heritage alive and help one another prosper, grow and make a difference in our communities. We will fulfill this goal as we unite and educate ourselves on how to meet the professional demands of the 21st century.”
Aphrodite states, “Throughout our education we remained very involved with the Greek-American community both on campus and beyond through the Hellenic News of America and the Hermes Expo, the Inter Communications means among our many communities across the Nation. I graduated from Temple University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology. I am currently studying at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine pursuing my Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in biomedical research and will be graduating in 2012.”
Aphrodite continues, “While I was at Temple University, I founded the Greek American Student Association of Temple University in 2007. I was president until I graduated and raised a substantial amount of funding to keep the group active. My sister, Stavroula, attended Villanova University where she too founded the Hellenic Student Association. She was also very involved with SAE Youth USA where she served as a Member of the Coordinating Council. Stavroula presently attends Temple University Beasley School of Law.”
“Through our experiences working with the Hellenic News of America and the Hermes Expo International we have become well acquainted with the dynamism of the Greek-American community and its leaders. Our goal is to give a voice and direction to the youth and give them access to the immense potential and resources contained within our community,” Aphrodite adds.
According to Aphrodite, she remarks, “In the past, we have sponsored booths for Hellenic Student Societies at the Hermes Expo where students from various universities such as St. Joseph’s, Seton Hall, Rutgers, University of Delaware, University of Maryland, Stockton College, Temple, Villanova and Drexel University would attend to promote their clubs and their youth projects. Since 2010, Stavroula and I have hosted the Professionals Growth & Youth Mentor Fair. This powerful tool serves as a networking and educational platform for our youth and young professionals, because they are able to have dialogue with professional leaders in their community as well as meet other students and professionals.”
Aphrodite reveals, “Our speaker and mentors have included Aris Melissaratos (the former Maryland Secretary of Business and Economic Development and currently special advisor to the President of Johns Hopkins), Congressman John Sarbanes of Maryland, Yiorgos Orfanos (Greek Minister of Athletics for Athens 2004 Olympic Games), Nick Larigakis (the President of the American Hellenic Institute), Mayor Papageorgopoulos of Thessaloniki, Greece, Dr. Spiros Spireas (the President and Founder of Sigmapharm Laboratories), Theodore G. Spyropoulos (the President of SAE USA), Dr. Christine Warnke, a lobbyist and humanitarian in Washington D.C., John Sianis-Calamos Investments, Dr. Spiros Mezitis, President of the Federation of the Hellenic Medical Societies and many more.”
“It’s not only about whom you know, but how well they know you,” says Paul Kotrotsios, the President and founder of the Hermes Expo International. “The Hermes Expo serves as a networking platform that unites professionals from all fields and promotes Hellenism in America. The opportunity that this platform presents to us is the prominent members of the Hellenic Society and American Society that gather to show their support of this twenty one year old effort but also guide and support the youth and young professionals. Not only do we have the privilege of associating with successful figures of the world, but we also get to mingle with one another, socialize, share ideas, gather ideas, learn from the a variety of business and educational seminars and symposiums, as well as see what services and products are out on the market right now.”
“The Hermes Expo is both Facebook and Twitter friendly. We post all of our announcements and news on our social media network and our official website; furthermore, a website for HYPI is underway.”
Their next major event is slated to take place on Thursday, March 29, 2012. The Hermes Expo will host the “Taste of Greece- Food and Wine Tasting” event at the Radisson Hotel on 32nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan, New York.
All Greek-Americans, especially the HYPI, are strongly encouraged to attend this networking event in New York.
“Following this event, on March 31, 2012, the HYPI will host its third annual Professional Growth & Youth Mentor Fair at the 21st Hermes Expo at the Taj Mahal Hotel and Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey featuring many distinguished guests,” shares Aphrodite.
“In order to move forward as a community, I believe that we need greater collaboration, Synergy and exchange between the youth and professional leaders. We need to promote our services, talents and most importantly our youth and young professionals. We can do this in two ways: the first is by giving our youth access to the mentors and their expertise. The second is by providing a platform for the youth and young professionals to engage with one another and network amongst themselves. The multifaceted objectives of the HYPI, coupled with the resources and access provided by the Hermes Expo International can help achieve the goal of a greater Greek America for the future,” she concludes.
HYPI Board Members: Ananneas Adamidis MD, Christos Christou MD, Elias Degermentzidis, Gerry Kitsopopoulos Esq, Stavroula Kotrotsios, Aphrodite Kotrotsios, Despina Tsiolas MD, Alexia Tsikouras Pharm D., Nikoleta Tzaferos Esq
To learn more about the Hermes Expo International, please visit their official websitewww.hermesexpo.com and register for the events of your choice.