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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 10 November 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 10 NOVEMBER 2018 21 COMMUNITY Greek Australian success story in the marketing arena Meet branding whiz Demetri Hughes who was named Certified Practising Marketer of the Year for Queensland ZOE THOMAIDOU For the past three years, Greek Australian marketing expert Demetri Hughes has been celebrating back-to-back wins. In 2016 he won the peernominated award Certified Practising Marketer of the Year for the state of Queensland, followed by a 2017 Lifetime Member recognition from the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) National Board, while most recently he scooped once again the 2018 AMI Certified Practising Marketer of the Year. In this year's AMI awards, which saw more than 200 participating organisations around Australia, Mr Hughes was among those whose achievements and contribution to the broader industry were recognised by the country's preeminent professional association for marketers Accepting the award at a ceremony in Sydney on Wednesday 10 October, Mr Hughes praised the AMI membership for bringing together professionals "willing to be held to account and consistently deliver best practice". After completing his studies in business management at the University of Queensland, with postgraduate qualifications in communications and public relations, the young entrepreneur kick-started his career in the commercial and industrial property development sector. Realising early on the importance of brand consistency led him to running his own business today providing brand counselling services to organisations and businesses, while he also works as a lecturer at the University of Queensland mentoring emerging practitioners. "For a business to thrive, marketing and communications can't be an afterthought, they have to be seen at the boardroom table as fundamental to longterm and immediate shortterm growth," Mr Hughes said during his speech and referred to the skillset of Demetri Hughes being awarded by Australian Marketing Institute CEO Lee Tonitto with Life Member of the peak professional body. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED a successful marketer, as well as the solid educational underpinnings that can help young professionals to tackle challenges in the era of digitisation. But before sharing industry insights, in the fist part of his speech Mr Hughes paid tribute to his Greek heritage as well as to a loved one whose teachings have proven instrumental in the marketing expert's personal and professional trajectory, his late grandfather Demetrios (Jim) Halkeas. Older members of the Greek community in Sydney might remember Demetrios' brother, Stan, a prominent business figure with experience in the printing industry. Demetri dressed in a tsolias costume before a school function, to celebrate his Greek origins. "My Greek ancestral roots are a deep source of pride for me and my family – just like it is for many Greeks, irrespective of whether they were born here or over in Greece," Mr Hughes said while adding with a laugh: "You could say being half Greek and born into a Greek household had its subtle differences from a traditional Aussie household and had its elements of My Big Fat Greek Wedding! For instance, I was told by school friends that I was different after being dressed as a Greek Kandyla any time there was a primary school super hero day or Greek national celebration to be had, and my grandfather had built a house in Queensland which was modelled on the Greek Parthenon with nearly as many columns!" As Mr Hughes explains, it was his pappou who taught him what it means to be a businessman who is ambitious, yet "motivated for success for the right reasons." "He came to Australia with absolutely nothing and as patriarch of our family showed what it is to be hard working and a business owner – his down to earth nature resulted in him commanding respect from all those around. "Pappou Demetri taught me through his example, to succeed in anything you must throw yourself fully into it... "I continue to aspire to live up to his legacy of work ethic and determination." OPINION ELIANA HORN Hidden in plain sight, Melbourne's social clubs tend to fade into the background of the city's clamorous café scene. Most of them have been there for decades, windows obscured by fading drapes and signage telling of their age. But through suburban gentrification and development, they remain, frequented by a monocultural clientele who spend their days drinking coffee, playing cards and staring holes into passers-by. They remain to most, secret spaces. A few years back I decided I wanted 'in' on this secret and paid my local - House of Hercules – a visit. This decision wasn't entirely borne out of a brash need to be a part of something I had nothing to do with. I'm a third generation Greek Australian woman. Outside of direct family, I never had much opportunity to express or explore my 'Greekness', though it was a keen part of my identity. I attended a Infiltrating House of Hercules small high school, so very Anglo in demographic that my olive skin was considered 'exotic'. At university, I studied Philosophy, where, despite the subject's Hellenic roots, I was part of a predominantly Anglo-Celtic cohort. One lecturer took my complexion as an opportunity to discuss 'whiteness'- what is it, was I it? A vote was put to the class. I think I was so compelled to find a social community of Greek Australians- really anyone who shared the experience of growing up between cultures- that these social clubs, despite the average age of members, instantly drew me to them. And so, with my positively mediocre grasp of the Greek language, I walked in and asked for a Greek coffeemetrio. My general presence was met, as expected, with an unapologetic stare down. I didn't feel unwelcome, but I wondered whether my being there was insensitive. Many social clubs are strictly 'members only' and though House of Hercules didn't state this explicitly, it didn't exactly scream 'all are welcome' (certainly not 'young-women-in-theirtwenties, welcome'). In fact, I had no cause for concern. That day, just like every day I have been since, my local Greek social club was nothing but hospitable. I've shared countless drinks, meals and conversations with House-of-Herculeans. They are interested in me - where I'm from, how I learned to speak Greek- and I, in turn, am interested in their stories and advice- why did they come to Australia, where's the best Greek food in Melbourne, what are the rules of tavli again? I had one 'Herculean' offer to put me in touch with his Yiayia friend who could rent me a cheap room in the ever expensive inner North and another offer me a job. On weekend evenings House of Hercules stays open till (Euro) late. We dance to a live Greek band, we get fed and we drink retsina. Things get raucous, plates are smashed and there are always, always Bailey's shots. I often worry about the future of these spaces. Now that Greeks have lived in Australia for several generations, is there less need to create spaces for communities based primarily on shared ethnicity? The experience of a third generation Greek Australian is far closer to the experience of non-Greek Australians compared to the Greek migrant of the 1950s; us third gens can get by, have our own support systems and importantly, a shared language by which we can traverse the world. Clubs like House of Hercules will continue to face the pressure of development and gentrification, particularly if younger Greek Australians don't take over the helm. Still, the value of these spaces is not lost on me. In 20 years' time, I hope I still know a space that feels as transportative and inclusive as my local Greek men's club.
3 November 2018