2013-03-27 / Front Page

Aphrodite Kotrotsios: Leader Of A Cultural Shift

By Catherine Tsounis

Youth is the power to make choices. It is a state of mind. Young people, respectful of their mentors, bring their own life experiences to their jobs and associations. The digital experience of youth is a cultural phenomenon. They are digital natives: people who grew up in a digital world, comfortable with it. They have spent their lives in a faster-paced digital setting than their mentors. This is the perspective of the Hermes Young Professionals Initiative established in 2007, by Stavroula and Aphrodite Kotrotsios. Their members have brought fresh eyes to business and community. There is a coming together of both age groups to create a dynamic “synergy” in the words of Hermes Expo founder Paul Kotrotsios. The mentors are saluted for helping the youth and persons of all ages to acquire the patterns of success.
“Hermes Young Professionals Initiative purpose is to provide young Greek Americans who are aspiring to meet the professional demands of the 21st century,” said Aphrodite Kotrotsios. “It is a forum to connect, interface, and learn. Seasoned Greek-American leaders from various fields including Business, Medicine, Law, and Government are mentors.”
“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,” she believes. “We are the next generation. It is up to us to keep the flame alive, we will pass on the torch to the next generations. It is our duty to promote our Hellenic heritage. Helping one another prosper, grow and make a difference in our communities is our goal. We will fulfill this purpose goal as we unite meeting the professional demands of the 21st century. Our committee believes in our mission. The mission is you.”
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. Aphrodite continues saying, “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.
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. This year HYPI is hosting their fourth annual Professional Growth & Youth Mentorship Conference. This powerful tool serves as a networking and educational platform for our youth and young professionals, were 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. Spiro Spireas (the CEO 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.”
“This year we are honored to have Aris Melissaratos, Maggie Stavrianidis, George Horiates and Sprios Mantzavinos as speakers. They are very excited to be part of the HYPI mission.”
Ms. Kotrotsios believes “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 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”
“Our HYPI Board Members are Christos Christou MD, Elias Degermentzidis Katina Doulis, Stavroula Kotrotsios, Aphrodite Kotrotsios, Despina Siolas MD, Angela Spirou, Alexia Tsikouras Pharm D. and Nikoleta Tzaferos Esq.,” she said.
“To learn more about the Hermes Expo International, please visit their official websitewww.hermesexpo.com and register for the events of your choice.”

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