Young Professionals Gather at HCHC for a Summit on Leadership
On March 20-21, 2015, more than 80 young professionals came together from the Metropolis of Boston and across the country for a two-day interactive summit on leadership on the campus of Hellenic College Holy Cross. “Called to Lead: A Summit on Leadership at Work, at Home, and in the Community” was hosted by the Office of Vocation and Ministry at HCHC in collaboration with the Metropolis of Boston. Leadership 100 made the summit possible through an Emerging Leaders grant to the Metropolis of Boston. This initiative responds to needs identified in a series of Parish Leadership Forums and a broad survey.
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, gave the keynote address, which provided a firm theological grounding for the weekend. In his talk, he articulated an Orthodox Christian perspective on leadership and how vocation in Christ can guide the leadership responsibilities of young professionals. His Eminence discussed the ten Greek words used for leader in the New Testament and directed participants’ attention to service as the essence of Christ’s leadership.
Other speakers and panel members leading the summit were senior executives and professionals from Fidelity Investments, Comcast Cable, Chick-fil-A, and International Orthodox Christian Charities. This esteemed group of top executives came together to give young professionals in attendance the opportunity to learn from their experience and understanding of faith-life connections.
Tim Tassopoulos, Executive Vice President of Operations at Chick-fil-A, led an interactive session on “The Top Ten Challenges for Young Professionals,” followed by dynamic sessions that addressed concrete leadership practices to address those challenges.
A panel of professional leaders included Catherine Avgiris, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Comcast Cable; Jim Speros, Executive Vice President of Communications Services at Fidelity Investments; and Dean Triantafilou, Executive Director and CEO of International Orthodox Christian Charities. These three presented their own stories of vocation, sharing their own leadership experiences, practices, and wisdom, and then fielding questions from participants. Participant Jimmy Heraclis noted, “The Leadership Summit helped me reevaluate my leadership style and be able to continue on my path towards my vocation, to honor God through my efforts not only personally, but also professionally. I feel excited and rejuvenated to continue forward and strive to a higher standard of excellence.”
The weekend also offered many informal opportunities for networking, sharing, and fellowship at receptions, meals, and worship in the Holy Cross Chapel. Participants, panelists, and speakers alike came away moved by the experience. In the words of participant Sofia Lingos-Papaliodis, “Filling the room with like-minded professionals, with the common goal to lead through service, facilitating discussions by the leaders of our business and church community, resulted in the most successful interactive workshop I’ve ever experienced.”
The Office of Vocation & Ministry was delighted to welcome many of its CrossRoad alumni to the event to continue to explore the topics of vocation and leadership. On Sunday afternoon, the CrossRoad Alumni Advisory Board met in Dowd Hall and set out an ambitious agenda for its year ahead.
The summit was a great success, as participants left with a wealth of inspiration for a new set of practices to raise their level of leadership at work, at home, and in the community. Hellenic College Holy Cross, as the educational and spiritual center for the Greek Orthodox Church in America, was pleased to host such an important event. Videos of talks from the weekend will be made available online within a month’s time, giving hundreds, if not thousands, of others access to the important ideas and perspectives articulated during this truly special weekend.
Ann M. Bezzerides
Director of Vocation & Ministry