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The Cypriot Young Professionals Celebrate 1-Year Anniversary
by Laura Neroulias*
This past June, in conjunction with the Cypriot Young Professionals (“CYP”) of the CYPRUS-U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 1-year anniversary event, young professionals and friends gathered for a night at KOPIASTE Taverna in Astoria, New York to celebrate the inaugural year of the organization while at the same time, bringing awareness to the Cyprus Society for the Protection of Spastic & Handicapped Children (“CSPSHC”).
A private non-governmental organization and a charitable institution founded in 1969, the CSPSHC opened its doors of “ANEMONH” as the first rehabilitation center for children in 1982. The first one of its kind in Cyprus to accommodate children of the ages between two and fourteen where most of the those who use the services are born with cerebral paralysis, the CSPSHC helps these children after some time to go into main stream school or special education units after completing their course of treatment.
It is an organization dear to the heart of one of CYP’s founding members, Othonas Argyrou. “One of these children that CSPSHC has helped is my younger brother, Panagiotis Argyrou,” he said. “Panagiotis was born with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral paralysis and spent a few years with ANEMONH before entering grade school. Thanks to CSPSHC’s rehabilitation, a child with spastic diplegia is on his way to attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting at QueensCollege.”
The rehabilitation center’s operating activities are funded through contributions from the Government of Cyprus and charitable donations from fundraising events. Due to the financial turmoil in Cyprus, the decrease in government spending, and the citizens of Cyprus not being able to donate what they could in the past; the rehabilitation center is not able to cover its operating costs. In its effort to remain in operation, the CSPSHC partnered with CYP in order to raise awareness and funds.
Supporting worthwhile and important causes throughout the year including Cyprus Children’s Fund and the Cyprus Society for the Protection of Spastic & Handicapped Children has been one of CYP’s main focuses throughout its inaugural year while building a foundation for success by implementing impactful initiatives such as monthly networking events that highlight and celebrate specific young professionals and their accomplishments to date to, round-table discussions, to meeting the President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades as well as other notables within the Cypriot Community.
A night of dinner, speeches and dancing, the CYP 1-year anniversary event was filled with Cypriot and Greek American young professionals, notable members of the Hellenic community as well as CYPRUS-U.S. Chamber of Commerce leaders, including Mr. Andreas Comodromos (one of the founding members of the CYPRUS-U.S. Chamber of Commerce), Mr. Nicolas Nicolaou, Mr. Michael Hadjiloucas and Mr. Constantinos Leontiou.
“During our inaugural year we have seen a nice growth in our membership,” says Stathis Theodoropoulos, and entrepreneur and one of CYP’s founding members. “When we look back as to what helped us get here, I really do think it’s been the focus of our CYP board to build strong relationships with everyone that we meet and also putting together events and programs that will make the professional lives of members that much better. And we have gotten great feedback so far and there is so much more to come.”
As the Young Professionals of the CYPRUS-U.S. Chamber of Commerce (a non-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting trade and investment between Cyprus and the United States), through its first year, CYP has continued to carry on with its mission to foster business opportunities and create closer ties amongst its members and the great business community in the United States. In addition, the organization has allowed inclusiveness within the board – through CYP hosted events and it has come across great individuals that we have been able to plug into CYP’s leadership. Because of that approach, the first year has delivered a diverse group of leaders; never short of great ideas and the ability to get it done.
Nicolas Nicolaou, Vice President of the CYPRUS-U.S. Chamber of Commerce said: “We are really proud of the work the Young Professionals are doing on behalf of the Chamber. They are really becoming a driving force within the Community and they are being nurtured to become our next generation of leaders.”
“Students are the future, and CYP is well aware of this,” says Petroula Lambrou, an accountant at Ernst & Young, and one of the organizations youngest members. “CYP finds it vital to connect with students just as much as our young professional members. At our events, students and young members have access to resources and opportunities that facilitate success. For example, CYP’s events bring in a vast range of people from all different fields and ages where young members can practice and improve their communication skills, build a large network, and learn about different fields and careers.” Lambrou continues to note: “Growing up, I had many mentors from the Cypriot American (and also Greek American) community. These mentors provided me with valuable advice and resources that played a vital role in shaping the young professional that I have become today. As a member of the Cypriot American community, I think it is important to pay it forward to the younger generation and help them reach their goals too. There is a special camaraderie that exists between Cypriot Americans. Being such a close-knit community provides a huge advantage for Cypriot young professionals (and anyone else who decides to join CYP) to gain and develop from. “
The next generations of Cypriot and Cypriot American professionals are utilizing their natural and innate drive for success and dedicated work ethic to create their own career paths and accomplish new goals, which to past generations may be professions that are more out of the box. CYP looks to continue and push this trend of accomplishment and entrepreneurship in the community by engaging the young generation by launching the highly anticipated CYP Mentorship Program.
“The CYP Mentorship Program taps into the incredible success and professional diversity we see in our Cypriot Young Professionals and creates a structure whereby they can guide and mentor the next generation of aspiring Cypriot Youth,” sights Demetrios Comodromos, an architect business owner and one of the mentors of the program. “Moreover it creates the kinds of personal and professional bonds that reinforce the strength of our community for a new generation, along with our enduring love of Cyprus.”
Launching in fall 2014, the CYP Mentorship Program is intended to offer the opportunity to a university student or a young professional (‘mentee’) to develop a professional relationship with somebody who has several years of experience (‘mentor’) in the field of interest of the mentee. The program will establish a structured and formal relationship where individuals share ideas and experiences within the context of the mentee’s professional development goals.
Mentors are chosen from this pool based on their capacity to represent young professionalism and entrepreneurship in their relative fields or disciplines. The program will launch with ten CYP members of CYP ranging from the following professions: Accounting, Audit + Tax, Architecture + Design, Art + Non-Profit, Education, Finance, Law, Marketing + Public Relations, Music, as well as Politics + Advocacy.
Furthermore the program will provide venues for open discussions and lectures on broader topics that relate to professional development. These discussions will also aim to introduce and to highlight the achievements and experiences of long standing members of the community by inviting those members to engage in discussions and meetings for the benefit of the mentor and mentees. Within the context of the work of the Chamber, this program aims to cultivate lasting relationships between long-standing members of our community, the fledgling Youth Committee and those young Cypriot professionals who are seeking to begin their careers.
“Over the past year, CYP has provided its members with the ability to connect with other young Cypriots with common interest, the primary one being a love for Cyprus,” notes Jovanna Tannousis, an accountant and one of the organization’s newest members. “CYP fosters an environment of acceptance, and determination amongst its members to make a difference.”
A note from Laura Neroulias, President of the Cypriot Young Professionals, as well as a Public Relations Executive in New York: “Since its inauguration in June 2013, the Cypriot Young Professionals have brought the community together both professionally and personally while also bringing important Cypriot and Greek causes to the forefront of the younger generation. After a successful year one, the organization looks forward to the continuing to connect like-minded individuals, as well as an on-going resource for goal-oriented professionals and inspiring entrepreneurs across the United States and abroad!”
For more information about the Cypriot Young Professionals, their website is cyprususchamber.com
* Laura Neroulias is President of the Cypriot Young Professionals (“CYP”) of the CYPRUS-U.S. Chamber of Commerce.