Top Greek – Australians for 2015
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Top Greek – Australians for 2015

Every year, HACCI is honoured to present the Excellence Awards that seek to acknowledge the achievements of members of our community in their various endeavours. The award nominees should be generally considered to be highly inspirational and a credit to our Hellenic Australian community.

All nominations are carefully considered by HACCI’s Awards Committee and the winners are decided for the following categories:

The 2015 winners of the HACCI Excellence Awards:

• The Spiros Stamoulis Lifetime Achievement Award – Peter Kazacos.

Peter Kazacos has over 40 years’ experience in the Information Technology industry. He founded KAZ in 1988 and led the company over its 17-year history, guiding it from a small IT business to one of Asia Pacific’s leading IT services and business process outsourcing service providers. KAZ grew from 350 employees at its inception, through to listing on the ASX in 2000, to over 4000 employees as a fully owned subsidiary of Telstra. Mr Kazacos founded and became Executive Chairman of Anittel Ltd, having spent eight years building the company into one of Australia’s leading IT&C service providers, operating outside the major metropolitan areas. In 2010 Anittel was acquired by publicly listed company Hostech, representing a major strategic milestone in the transformation and convergence of the IT&T industry. Anittel was sold to Inabox Group in January 2015. Peter Kazacos holds a number of Executive Office positions and together with his wife Vicki, he founded the charity Your Angel which focuses on providing direct support to disadvantaged people in the community. Through this initiative, Cookability provides support for people with physical, mental and financial disabilities. Your Angel also provides support to the indigenous community through the Koori Kulcha Aboriginal Corporation.

• The Delphi Bank Business Excellence Award – Mary Paidoussi-Revis (awarded posthumously)

Mary Paidoussi-Revis joined Myer Emporium at a young age and immediately rose to prominence as a buyer and astute reader of fashion trends. Such was her impact, that she was noticed by Ken Myer who trusted her to make extensive overseas trips and drive the firm’s stylistic direction. At the time, it was extremely rare for a woman to have achieved such a senior position in corporate retail, let alone a recently arrived migrant woman. Soon afterwards, she established the first ‘Miss Shop’ concept in the Myer Melbourne store, which went on to become a phenomenal commercial success. It was the first time that a ‘shop within a shop’ concept had been tried and the first time that retail focussed specifically on the teenage market. This concept became a national feature of the Myer organisation and revolutionised its retail sales strategy. Within months, the majority of fashion retailers had followed a similar method of marketing their goods to a young audience. In 1979, she was the first woman to be asked to join the Board of Directors of Myer. She continued to hold leadership roles across the industry, including Buckley’s (now David Jones) and Portmans where she drove the business from 10 to 120 stores nationwide. She also transformed Witchery from an obscure brand to one of Australia’s most successful retail businesses, including a public listing and eventual sale in 2006. She was also actively involved in the Greek community, including serving for ten years on the Committee of the National Centre for Hellenic Studies and Research. She was also the first woman of Greek origin to serve on the Council of Latrobe University. Due to her small physical stature and relentless drive, she was affectionately known as ‘the mini with the V8 engine’. During her career, she revolutionised retail sales strategy and inspired generations of women to follow into prominent leadership positions in Australia’s retail corporate industry, traditionally known a male dominated industry. Mary Paidoussi-Revis became seriously ill in 2012 and passed away in late 2013. Her son Michael accepted the award on her behalf, along with his wife Deborah and sons Nicolas and Thomas.

• The Professional Excellence Award – Professor George Varigos

Professor George Varigos is Head of Dermatology at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne. He graduated in Medicine at the University of Melbourne and completed his Fellowship training in Dermatology through the Australian College of Dermatology and then a PHD in Medicine and Immunology at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute. He has been a consultant for 35 years at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and was Head of Dermatology for 25 years until 2012. Professor Varigos was early to develop specialty clinics for both adults and children’s skin diseases to improve the role of multidisciplinary clinics and was instrumental in developing the role of nurse practitioner in eczema at the Royal Children’s Hospital, a first in Australia. In relation to the rare disease Epidermolysis Bullosa, he coordinated and formed the first paediatric multidisciplinary clinic for this group of patients, which continues today. He has developed the only Porphyria Multidisciplinary Clinic in Australia and referrals are widespread. His biologic clinic at the Royal Melbourne Hospital has the largest number of patients in a public hospital in Australia. He has also completed a significant body of work in clinical research.

• The Chris Saristavros Young Achievers Award – Athan Dritsas

Athan Dritsas has just turned 18 and is currently completing year 12 at Salesian College. At the age of 7, he started learning Karate and three years later at the age of 11 he achieved his black belt, followed by his 1st Dan Black Belt at the age of 13. He has been a member of the Victorian State Karate team since 2009 and a member of the Australian Karate Federation team since 2011. After many years of hard work, dedication and perseverance, he has been fortunate enough to be selected for the second time, to represent Australia at the World Karate Federation Junior, Cadet and Under 21 Championship held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Some of his achievements include being National Champion, USA Open Champion, a silver medal at the World Youth Cup and Oceania Champion as well being selected for the last WKF Junior World Championships in Spain. He dreams of one day being world champion. To represent your country in any sport is a rare honour bestowed on very few. To do it twice before the age of 18 is simply outstanding.

• The Community Service Award, presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission – Rena Frangioudakis

Rena Fragioudakis started working with 3XY Radio Hellas from the very first day it began operations and later, when the newspaper ‘Ta Nea’ commenced, she joined their team of journalists. In 2000 she became involved with Channel 31, reporting on various issues relevant to the Hellenic-Australian community. Her contribution to community service in various capacities spans 50 years. She has served in various executive positions with Fronditha Care as well as in a volunteer sub-committee capacity for over 28 years. She has worked as a journalist, reporting on Community Affairs with Ta Nea and Neos Kosmos, as well as Nea Patrida. She was a member of the Federal Government Migrant Advisory Committee and is a life member of the Pan-Cretan Association and Cretan Brotherhood in Melbourne. She is well known as a presenter, announcer and commentator on Channel 31 for Hellas TV, however she is perhaps best known as an announcer on the Greek program for the 3XY Greek Media Group, since 1996. She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the Hellenic Australian community, which represented significant recognition from the wider community.

• The inaugural Sporting Excellence Award, presented by the South Melbourne Football Club – Stella Savvidou

Artistic Gymnast Stella Savvidou arrived in Australia from England 8 years ago. She is the current Australian National Champion and Victorian Champion in her sport. In addition to her Australian standing, she also competes for the Greek-Cypriot National Team at an international level. She was a finalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and participated in the first European Games in 2015. She has just returned from the World Championships in Glasgow held last month where she represented Cyprus. Her goal is to participate in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. She is tireless in her love for her sport, training for over 30 hours a week in addition to her regular school work at MLC. This year she is completing her VCE and is fortunate to have received offers for full scholarships at various prestigious universities in the USA, including the University of Arizona, Yale and UCLA. She is known for possessing an iron will, always being positive and forward thinking despite setbacks, injuries and stress. Her peers describe her as an uplifting spirit, always appreciative and smiling with no complaints.