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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 02 March 2019
4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 2 MARCH 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Debbie Xanthopoulos, BUSINESS My mother/a woman close to me taught me our Greek traditions and values my role as a mum and my contribution to family and work. Here is my tale! I am Woman. Four (plus one) women answer questions posed to them by the female journalists of Neos Kosmos Mary Lalios, POLITICS International Women’s Day is important to me because it’s the day I was born. It’s a double celebration for me. My mother/a woman close to me taught me education is extremely important. A girl with a dream becomes a woman with a vision. One of my biggest female role models is a doctor at the Royal Children’s Hospital who I met through the Williamson Leadership Program because her motto is “Do Epic Shit”. As a woman in my field, one of the greatest hurdles I’ve had to overcome is juggling family life with a role that requires meetings after hours and on weekends Being a woman poses some challenges, but if you’re a Greek woman then you can tackle every challenge that comes your way. What I enjoy most about my feminine nature is the ability to be caring and sharing and walk in the shoes of others to understand what they are trying to convey. Most men don’t know this about women, but we do appreciate it when they give us a hand up. One of the changes I would like to see happening in the future is everyone being treated equally regardless of race, colour, sex or religion. Cr Mary Lalios. PHOTO: SUPPLIED While working creates a greater sense of equality, in the household I am surrounded by three compassionate men. My husband and mytwo adult sons, and we all share in domesticated duties. Thinking back to the recent past, one of the most important shifts I’ve seen happening in my field concerning women is seeing more women in leadership roles. I am the first directly elected female of the Municipal Association of Victoria in its 140-year history. About Cr Mary Lalios Cr Mary Lalios has been a City of Whittlesea Councillor since 2005 and has served as Mayor three times, including during the 2009 Victorian bushfires. In March 2017, Cr Lalios was elected as the first female President of the Municipal Association of Victoria. On a national level, her strong representation continues through the Australian Local Government Association board. A lifelong resident, Cr Lalios is a strong voice and fights for what our community needs. Current priorities include better local roads; addressing the congestion, community safety, CCTV cameras, more public transport; upgrading parks and greening our streets with more trees. She is passionate about supporting and helping those less fortunate. A strong disability advocate, she has been part of successful campaigns to attract more respite facilities to the City of Whittlesea. As Mayor in 2014, Cr Lalios led the successful community campaign to extend the train line to Mernda. Cr Lalios is an Accountant (FCPA) and is a graduate of AICD course. One of my biggest female role models is all hard working mums who have worked since they migrated to Australia and raised a family while working full-time and are still working in their seventies until today without the support of their families back home. In my lifetime I have been honoured to meet these women and have so much respect and will always speak about them to my children and my grandchildren... As a woman in my field, one of the greatest hurdles I’ve had to overcome is learning all aspects of the business i.e truck driving, forklift driving, managing, baking, however this has now given me the advantage of understanding all aspects of my business. Being a woman poses some challenges, but if you’re a Greek woman then... women are often faced with challenges but once again when we encounter them we need to remember our parents that migrated from Greece with no help and had to face bigger challenges but still managed to get through life and we now have all the support to face all the challenges of life. What I enjoy most about my feminine nature is a special gift, it makes a softer, gentler, kinder, nurturing, more compassionate and naturally loving. Most men don’t know this about women, but we are designed to create life, and passed down from generation to generation. I don’t want to lose all the traditions that have been given to me by my mother and grandmother and I strongly feel this needs to be passed on to my children to continue our traditions. Debbie Xanthopoulos. PHOTO: SUPPLIED our soft natural features are designed to attract males. While working creates a greater sense of equality, in the household as a working mum who dedicates many hours to my work, at times this can be very exhausting and we manage quite long days where my housework most times ends at 11pm. Christina and Kayla, my two girls, have had no other choice but to have learned to cook, clean and do the washing from the age of 10, so as to make sure the household work is also complete. My son is also given chores to help around the house but he is only 9 years of age. Thinking back to the recent past, one of the most important shifts I’ve seen happening in my field concerning women is that women today speak about life balance as an ethical imperative and an inspiration that strongly influences how they think about and arrange their lives. In the Nineties women worked at work and worked at home. I am still one of those women that still works at work and works at home. I guess that been Penni Pappas, POLITICS I was six months into my new role, genuinely taken aback by the opportunities I was already exposed to, when I turned to my boss and said: “If I ever become ungrateful or take you for granted, please remind me of this moment, as for the first time in a long time I feel like I’m living.” She turned to me and said: “you still don’t get it do you? You did this; you asked for it and you made it happen.” But the reality was, it wasn’t just me that made it happen – it was the women I have been fortunate to have in my life, that I have chosen to have in my life, that made it happen. It’s because of these extraordinary women, who fill me with courage, who Angie Giannakodakis; and the mentorship and friendship of former NK editor Eugenia Pavlopoulou and current mentor and friend Maria Vamvakinou MP, I say thank you. This is what International Penni Pappas. PHOTO: LINKEDIN inspire me, who allow me to dream and who let me follow them – the unsung heroes are who I owe this to. From the strength of my yiayia; the empathy of my mother; the humour of my godmother; the fighting spirit of my warrior goddesses Helen Marcou and Women’s Day is about for me. Reflecting on the women who paved the way and let me be me, and let me be good at it too. Find these women, hold them close. Ask for advice without fear and trepidation because they are, and will always be, there for you. About Penni Pappas Penni Pappas is a writer, journalist and the media adviser at the office of Maria Vamvakinou MP (Federal Member for Calwell). One of the changes I would like to see happening in the future is to reward, in some way, all these working women who have contributed to working full-time while raising a family, from young women to retirement. These women need to be acknowledged and rewarded. Congratulations to all those woman because it’s a special gift you have provided. You supported your family. About Debbie Xanthopoulos In July 1998, Iakovos and Debbie Xanthopoulos embarked on a project to service the Greek community in Australia by developing lines of products from their parents and grandparents homeland in Greece. Ms Xanthopoulos has been the life and blood of Olympian Specialty Products that takes traditional home made products using recipes that go back many generations. In early 2004, Debbie and her family purchased their first factory, and developed more products under the famous Olympian Specialty Products brand. Olympian products were originally sold through markets and delicatessens specialising in European products and imports. Since this time more people have developed the taste for Olympian and it is now a dominant market player in Greek baked goods available nationally in selected supermarkets. A great part of the success of the company is due to Ms Xanthopoulos’ hard work and business sense.
23 February 2019
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