The Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry celebrated the best and brightest in the Hellenic-Australian community for the 34th consecutive year on Thursday November 19 in its first-ever digital awards ceremony.
This year has been a year of firsts for everyone – for HACCI it meant the annual Awards ceremony would move to the virtual realm.
The Awards were viewed by thousands of people across the globe via a number of partner platforms, as the Greek diaspora joined in to acknowledge excellence, innovation, leadership and business acumen of the Hellenic Australian community.
Performing at the Gazarte rooftop bar in the center of Athens, Gadjo Dilo entertained the audience with their signature Gypsy-Swing take on classic Greek songs.
Back in Melbourne, the Chris Frangou Trio gave a jazz twist to the melodies of Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis and Manos Loizos, in an elegant performance that closed the event, after a series of emotional Award presentations.
The Woman of Influence Award, presented by SalaryMasters, went to Violet Roumeliotis (top photo). Roumeliotis is a social entrepreneur and a champion of diversity, inclusion and social justice.
As the CEO of Settlement Services International (SSI), a not-for-profit that supports migrants to achieve their full potential, she has created tangible results to strengthen Australia’s status as a world-leading multicultural nation.
Roumeliotis is also a former Telstra Australia Business Woman of the Year, has been named one of AFR’s Top 100 Women of Influence for 2018 in the category of Diversity & Inclusion and was awarded the title of Community Fellow from Western Sydney University for outstanding service to the community.
The Bank of Sydney Business Award was given to Barbara Konstas, the CEO of the Melbourne Seafood Centre, Victoria’s only wholesale fish market.
Konstas, who was instrumental in the formation of the Seafood Centre, now oversees a business with a profit of around $150 million per annum. She has assisted in the formation of Seafood Industry Australia, Stay Afloat (a mental wellness program) and is often asked to provide advice on State Government advisory boards.
She holds a range of directorate positions across a number of industry committees including Seafood Industry Victoria. She is particularly passionate about raising the profile of the seafood industry, supporting women in the industry and mentoring upcoming young women.
The Professional Services Award, presented by Intralot, was given to Dr. Paul Eliadis AM.
With over 35 years’ experience in Clinical Haematology and Oncology, Dr. Eliadis is a dedicated supporter of medical research that explores promising opportunities in cancer care, particularly involving the management of malignant disease and stem cell transplantation. He was awarded an Order of Australia Honor earlier this year.
Dr. Eliadis also donated $1 million for the creation of the academic Chair of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Queensland – the only state university that offers courses in the history, culture, literature and languages of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire.
The Innovation Award, presented by Directed, was won by Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos,
a world-renowned researcher who has been recognized with over 100 awards for the outstanding results of her research. Just to name a few, she received the Order of the Phoenix and Commander by the President of Greece.
Dr. Apostopoulos was the first in the world to develop a novel technique for cancer immunotherapy in the early 1990s; which is used today by hundreds of labs around the world. Using immunotherapy, Dr. Apostopoulos has also developed the world’s first ovarian cancer vaccine.
In response to the current global emergency, she and her team in Victoria University’s Immunology & Translational research group are focusing their efforts on responding to COVID-19, investigating and working on vaccines to prevent and drugs to treat the virus.
The Sports Award, presented by Heidelberg United, was won by Pantelis (Delly) Carr.
For more than three decades, Delly has been narrating the history and mythology of our national sports through his photos. Born in Sydney, to parents Nicolas and Theresa Carayannis, who came from Samos and Castellorizo respectively, he is ranked as Australia’s top freelance Sports photographer.
His 30+ years of noteworthy photography was formally recognized by his peers with his induction as a founding Member of the World Photography Academy
Delly’s long list of awards and accolades includes a place in the 2020 Top 50 Contemporary Australian Photographers of all time; his naming as 2018 Australian Sports Photographer of the Year and his 2017 Service To Sport Award, not to mention being the winner of the Best Olympic Photograph of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
The Community Award presented by PRONIA went to Lilian Gomatos.
Gomatos has been an integral part of the Darwin Greek community for decades, working tirelessly to promote Greek culture to the broader community. Born in Melbourne in 1945, Lilian moved to Darwin with her husband Theo in 1967. When Theo was offered a position in the Greek consulate in 1975, Lilian began working to help Greek migrants who knew little or no English.
Gomatos became the first female president of the Greek Community of the Northern Territory. Through her leadership, the community established “Glenti,” the glorious Greek festival that has been running in the Northern Territory for 32 years.
The Chris Saristavros Young Achiever Award was won by Natalie Kyriacou OAM.
For over ten years, Kyriacou has been endeavoring to drive positive change worldwide, creating inclusive youth education programs and technologies that increase access to wildlife and environmental conservation and sciences.
She is the Founder and CEO of My Green World, the creator of World of the Wild mobile game app, the Australian Director of Sri Lankan-based NGO Dogstar Foundation and a Management Consultant at PwC. She is a Forbes “30 Under 30” honouree, and a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia.
The Spiro Stamoulis Lifetime Achievement Award was bestowed on Nick Polites OAM, who has been not only a champion of multiculturalism but also a living example of how music brings people together.
He was one of the founders of the Greek Australian Welfare Society, now known as PRONIA.
His experience with the Society led to a membership in the Galbally Committee, which reviewed Australia’s multicultural public policy in the late 1970s. It is this committee’s recommendations that shaped many of the components of Australian multiculturalism that we are all familiar with today, including Migrant Resource Centers.
A recipient of the Order of Australia medal, Polites had also been living a bit of a parallel life as a renowned jazz musician. Australia is home to the world’s longest-standing jazz festival, the Australian Jazz Convention. When the first one was held in 1946, 19-year-old Nick Polites was there, playing his clarinet. Since then, he has performed there almost every year. He has not only played with the greatest Melbourne jazz bands, but also with legends like George Lewis and Louis Armstrong.
At 92 years strong, Nick Polites is a true Australian national treasure.
Congratulations to all the HACCI winners for 2020! The full Awards can be viewed on the HACCI Victoria’s YouTube channel.