Last week, the Greek-Australian Society (GAS) announced its expanded panel of 24 mentors for next year’s Mentoring Program.

The announcement came at a launch event on Thursday, November 16, with NUGAS at the Greek Centre in Melbourne.

Celebrating three years of consecutive growth, it was the first time the annual kick-off was held in Melbourne, where the GAS board delegation met with the Greek Community of Melbourne, NUGAS students and its Melbourne-based members.

The program began during COVID lockdowns with just five mentors in Sydney but has grown to 24 industry and community leaders based in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Athens and the United States.

Headlining the five new Melbourne-based mentors, bringing the tally up to eight, are GCM President Bill Papastergiadis and well-known professor Vasso Apostolopoulos.

Others included Melbourne Victory assistant coach Arthur Diles and founder of The Social Expression Rosa Stathis.

Papastergiadis endorsed attendees on the night, highlighting GAS’ approach to community leadership, participation and engagement and the GCM’s eagerness to support young Greek-Australians.

Attendees also heard pre-recorded presentations from Professor Apostolopoulos and returning 2023 GAS Mentor Chris Leptos AO, who is part of the Rotary-driven Ukraine Crisis Appeal and is currently driving an ambulance through Europe to the front line in Ukraine.

GAS Secretary George Mpliokas told Neos Kosmos that the event showcased its growth in Melbourne-based mentors and was also a way to connect with Victoria.

GAS’ mentorship program will have 24 mentors next year, with five new mentors from Melbourne. Photo: Supplied

“Our expansion into Melbourne has continued since our launch event last year when we had our first social event for guests. We’re excited to partner with historic institutions like NUGAS and the Greek Community of Melbourne,” Mpliokas said.

He added that he was looking for “guidance and stewardship by major historical institutions in the community” and to bring people closer together, even with the “distances and challenges we’ve had in connecting community to community.”

Mpliokas said the program was designed to bridge the gap between generations and Greek communities and that furthermore talked of its importance.

“We’re very proud of our community and what we’ve been able to contribute towards modern Australia, but we want to create a sense of trust by connecting people across the different cities and states so that together we can be part of the future Greek communities across the country that contribute to contemporary Australia.”

Returning mentors for 2024:

Emmanuel Alfieris (Managing Director Ariston Associates)

Katarina Vvitkovic (Information and Privacy Commission NSW)Peter Doukas OAM (Managing Director Denison Toyer)

Eleni Dracakis (Corporate Psychologist)

Peter Filopoulos (Head of Marketing, Communications and Corporate Affairs, Football Australia)

Nick Gonios (Circulist CEO)

George Karagiannakis (Insurance Australia Group, Executive Manager Government Relations)

Vasilios Karagounis (Sovereignty Microsoft Cloud GM)

Chris Leptos AO (Summer Foundation Chairman)

Bill Maloukis (Constructions Specialties CEO/Director)

Harry Mavrolefteros (First Education Founder and Director)

Dr Andonis Piperoglou (Hellenic Senior Lecturer in Global Diasporas Melbourne Uni)

Eleni Tatsis (Director of Learning Senior College St Andrew’s Cathedral School)

Jim Tatsis (National Manager, Operations Brookfield Properties)

Sia Tsoutsas (Head of Talent, Scentre Group)

Greek Community of Melbourne President Bill Papastergiadis giving a speech at the launch. Photo: Supplied

New Mentors for 2024:

Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos (Immunology, Vic Uni)

James Stevens (Founder and CEO, Roses Only)

Professor Michael Lazarou (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Monash Uni)

Dr Spyros Schismenos (Human Engineering, RMIT Uni)

Arthur Diles (Assistant Coach, Melbourne Victory)

Professor Evangelps Pappas (Associate Dean, Intohealth University of Wollongong)

Rosa Stathis (The Social Expression Founder)

Dr Anastasia Hronis (Founder, Australian Institute for Human Wellness)

Bill Papastergiadis OAM (Greek Community of Melbourne President)