HACCI celebrated the best and brightest of the Hellenic-Australian community for the 34th consecutive year on Thursday 19 November in its first-ever digital Awards ceremony.
2020 has been a year of firsts for everyone – for HACCI it meant the annual Awards ceremony would move to the digital realm, thanks to the digital strategy implemented by HACCI with the guidance and talent of it’s digital partner Just Gold Digital Agency. This valued collaboration has ensured that HACCI has powered through the pandemic.
The live-streamed event brought the Awards to the screens of 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.
Returning to the role of MC, acclaimed comedian Mary Coustas guided us through the event – held at La Libertine Hair at Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park and Melbourne’s Hellenic Museum, while an array of esteemed Greek-Australian community leaders presented the Awards.
Coustas was not alone in her task – she was joined by her larger-than-life alter ego – Effie Stephanides, who added a perfectly timed comic relief to the event, challenging HACCI Chair Fotini Kypraios for the organisation’s leadership – and flirting with singer-songwriter Foivos Delivorias, who serenaded her from Athens.
One of the musical surprises of the ceremony, Delivorias gave a heartfelt greeting to the Greek- Australian community with his songs, performed at some of the most beloved and iconic Athens locations.
Music has always been an integral part of the HACCI Awards, and this ceremony was no different; performing at the Gazarte rooftop bar in the centre of Athens, Gadjo Dilo entertained us 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 proud and emotional Award presentations.
Every year, the Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Awards acknowledge and reward organisations and individuals that have stood out in eight distinct areas of endeavour.
Bank of Sydney Business Award – Barbara Konstas
Barbara Konstas is the CEO of the Melbourne Seafood Centre, Victoria’s only wholesale fish market.
Barbara was instrumental in the formation of the Seafood Centre. She oversaw its formation and designed and implemented key processes and procedures. The Seafood Centre now sees a turnover of around $150 million per annum created by the collaboration of the businesses that form the market. It is a significant enterprise, with contribution to the local fresh food economy which has been achieved all under Barbara’s leadership.
She has assisted in the formation of Seafood Industry Australia (peak body), Stay Afloat (a mental/wellness program and is often asked to provide advice on State Government advisory boards. She holds a range of director 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.
Barbara is sought after for her leadership qualities, frank and fearless advice that is deeply embedded in her understanding of the entire seafood supply chain and passion for creating a long, sustainable and successful industry.
Professional Services Award presented by Intralot – 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’s been instrumental in founding the Haematology and Oncology Clinics of Australia, but his role in the community goes well beyond his professional field. For his significant service to medicine as a clinical haematologist and to charitable initiatives, he was awarded an Order of Australia Honour earlier this year.
Dr Eliadis 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.
Innovation Award presented by Directed – Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos
Professor Vasso Apostolopoulos is a world-renowned researcher who has been recognised 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, the Premier’s Award for Medical Research, Young Australian of the Year (Vic), Greek Australian of the Year, Woman of the Year, and Gold Cross of St Andrew. She was named as one of the most successful Greeks abroad by the prestigious Times magazine.
Vasso was the first in the world to develop a novel technique for the immunotherapy for cancer in the early 1990s, which the method today is used by hundreds of labs around the world. Using immunotherapy, Vasso has also developed the world’s first ovarian cancer vaccine, which has attracted the investment by a pharmaceutical company. Committed to the wide-ranging benefits of immunotherapy and further modifying her approach, Vasso has applied her innovative ideas to other diseases including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, other cancers, mental health, drug addiction and more recently against coronavirus.
In response to the current global emergency, Vasso 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.
Woman of Influence Award presented by SalaryMasters – Violet Roumeliotis
Violet 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.
Under her leadership, SSI grew from a state-based body to a national organisation and has seen revenue increase from $9 million to $115 million, setting an example of how social entrepreneurship can be the driving force for a better tomorrow.
Violet is committed to achieving equity and advancing diversity and inclusion in all forms. In 2020, she was made a member of the Order of Australia for outstanding service to the community.
Violet 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.
Sports Award presented by Heidelberg United – Delly Carr
For more than three decades, Delly Carr has been narrating the history and mythology of our national sports through his photos. Born in Sydney, to parents Nicolas and Theresa Carayannis, coming from Samos and Castellorizo, respectively, Panteli is ranked as Australia’s top freelance Sports photographer.
Officially his 30+ years of ethics and signature photography was formally recognised by his peers with his induction as a founding Member of the World Photography Academy (and is still the only Australian Member photographer) and he is the only Sport Photography Ambassador for Nikon Oceania.
With a keen eye for detail, particularly when it comes to Olympic and Paralympic sports, he’s always there to capture the exact moment when our modern demi-gods go beyond their limits and demonstrate the power of the human body. His long list of awards and accolades includes a place in the 2020 Top 50 Contemporary Australian Photographers of all-time; acknowledgment as 2018 Australian Sports Photographer of the Year; the 2017 Service To Sport Award; not to mention being the winner of the Best Olympic Photograph of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
When COVID-19 hit, and the Tokyo Olympics were cancelled, Delly Carr still found a way to capture momentum and write sports history; his portraits of the athletes who saw their Olympic dreams shattered, will stay on as a chronicle of our times, and as an enduring reminder of how photos can capture and spread emotions.
Community Award presented by PRONIA – Lilian Gomatos
Lilian 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. It was through him that Lilian found a pathway into community work. When Theo was offered a position in the Greek consulate in 1975, Lilian started working to help Greek migrants who knew little or no English.
Fast forward ten years and many fundraisers later, and Lilian 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.
Anyone who has been to the Darwin Glenti will confirm that Lilian is the heart and soul of the festival and a true ambassador of the Hellenic Spirit.
Chris Saristavros Young Achiever Award – Natalie Kyriacou OAM
For over ten years, Natalie has been endeavouring to drive positive change worldwide, creating inclusive youth education programs and technologies that increase access to wildlife and environmental conservation and sciences. Her approach has been to spark curiosity among young people by creating entertaining learning technologies that are accessible to all.
Natalie Kyriacou 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, a recipient of the Medal of the Order of Australia and a Finalist for the UNEP Young Champion of the Earth Prize.
Natalie has represented Australia on a global stage, and is particularly passionate about wildlife and environmental issues. Through her passion for the environement, she is ensuring access to education, increasing female participation in science, technology and leadership roles and empowering the next generation of young people to participate in issues of global concern.
Spiro Stamoulis Lifetime Achievement Award – Nick Polites OAM
Nick Polites has been a champion of multiculturalism and 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, When they were facing a lack of Greek-speaking social workers, he returned to University to obtain a degree in social work. He would later become a director of PRONIA, a position he held for 15 years.
His experience with the Greek Australian Welfare Society, led to a membership in the Galbally Committee that 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 today – from the establishment of SBS, to the Ethnic Communities’ Councils, to Migrant Resource Centres, the list goes on. Nick Polites’ contribution to multiculturalism was acknowledged in 1981 when he received the Order of Australia medal.
Meanwhile, he had been living 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 almost every year. He has 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 national treasure. Congratulations to all the winners.