“You’ve got youth on your side, you’ve got all your chips,” Barrister Olyvia Nikou told the crowd of young professionals and students at AHEPA and NUGAS’ Business Breakfast yesterday.
That was the feeling many young students and graduates left with on Friday morning after a pep-talk by three of Melbourne’s most successful Greek Australian professionals.
As the sun rose to a cloudy morning in Melbourne, the joint initiative by the youth arm of AHEPA, Achilleas Youth and the National Union of Greek Australian Students brought together a large group of Greek Australian professionals and the new generation waiting to enter the workforce.
The networking event included an informative Q&A session with KPMG’s Chris Leptos, Olyvia Nikou SC and media personality George Donikian, chaired by Achilleas Youth president, Jiannis Tsaousis.
The trio were full of advice for the young crowd and focused their time on stressing the importance of becoming a citizen of the world, not just a walking text book.
“There is no correlation between test results and who you are as a person,” Mr Leptos told the audience.
Working in a company that has a strict internship selection program, he says the ones that make it through to the final interviews are candidates that show global awareness and sensitivity.
His advice to the audience was not to join the Greek clubs at university (to NUGAS president Tass Sgardelis’ disappointment), but rather go and join the Chinese or Indian clubs and learn a different language.
Ms Nikou also encouraged students to become more social and tap into what goes on around them and their community.
“Involve yourself in community affairs, give yourself perspective,” she said.
“It makes you more interested and interesting.”
George Donikian talked from his experience in the media and encouraged people to react to the moment and not try to plan and prepare.
“Don’t try and create a story that isn’t there, don’t stage it,” he remembered saying to new reporters.
Greek Community of Melbourne president and lawyer, Bill Papastergiadis, addressing the audience at the conclusion of the event, stressed having an “analytical, critical and open approach in life” as a key factor in holding down a strong career, but also highlighted the need to relate and empathise with people.
“We see people at their worst,” he pointed out about his legal profession. “They need someone that can listen.”
It is the first year AHEPA and NUGAS have joined together and created a networking event, and both presidents hope the business breakfast can be a regular event in the two organisations’ calendars.