Celebrating Hellenic Australian Women in Leadership

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On Friday 14th September 2018, The Hellenic Chamber of Commerce of NSW in conjunction with the Hellenic Club hosted a Women in Leadership Luncheon, at Beta Gallery in Sydney. 

The luncheon recognised, honoured and acknowledged the many incredible women of Greek Australian descent and those who have also married Greek Australians. 

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MC for the event was Tanny Mangos, General Manager Corporate Affairs, and Investor Relations at the Bank of Queensland, who noted that seeing so many young women at the luncheon was amazing as they are “the future. The future of our community, so a round of applause for the young women who made it here today.”

Christine Kanellakis, one of the Hellenic Club Board of Directors, welcomed officials and guests to the event. This is the second year the women in leadership event has taken place, and after last years success Christine said, “We know it’s going to be a huge success this year and we hope it becomes a permanent picture in our calendar so that it can continue to celebrate Hellenic Australian Women.” 

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On the day, three guest speakers, Melissa Sassine, Betty Ivanoff and Dr. Archondia Thanos, who are leaders in their field spoke about their journey to getting to where they are today.

Melissa Sassine, an entrepreneur, a business owner and multi-award-winning makeup artist, educator, and creator of ‘Melissa Sassine Cosmetics’ shared her story which was “an interesting one” she said. She knew creative arts was her field, and loved inspiring people and after going to a makeup course when she was younger, she knew that this was the field for her. “I set so many goals and didn’t realise how quickly I could achieve them. So to be here today I am now proud to say to myself that I am proud of myself and what we have done. It has been a long journey and hard work but I am so privileged to be here today” Melissa stated. 

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Group General Counsel and Company Secretary of Coca-Cola Amatil Limited, Betty Ivanoff spoke about her career history, noting that at the age of thirty-two, she had the Group General Counsel role at GrainCorp, where she was the youngest to have that position at the time, and even more astonishing that she was one of few females listed in that company to have that role. Remembering that throughout the years she kept on applying for jobs she couldn’t do and worked really hard to get to where she is today. Important advice she gave was that you have to own your life and it is not just important how you see yourself, but how people see you as well.

Dr Archondia Thanos, archaeologist and academic at the University of Sydney stated that “If history and the study of the past does teach us anything, it is that women have come a long way and it’s a great time to be one now….we are mothers, sisters, daughters, life partners, and innovators…. we lead companies, we educate and we pioneer research.” As an educator, it is important for Archondia to remind her students that these freedoms have come at a cost, she said.