Three Greek Australians have been named in the Third Sector Awards 2021 for their leadership and innovation within the purpose and impact-driven sector.
Ben Vasiliou from Youth Projects and Elfa Moraitakis from SydWest Multicultural Services have both been named finalists in the ‘CEO of the Year’ category, and Kathy Karatasas from the Multicultural Child and Family Program is a finalist in the ‘Influencer of the Year’ category.
Here’s some more information about the Greek Australian finalists:
Ben Vasiliou, Youth Projects:
Ben Vasiliou is CEO of Youth Projects and is committed to delivering life changing, frontline support to our community’s most vulnerable people. Ben leads from the front and has overseen considerable service growth framed by an industry leading social impact outcomes framework, that now supports over 10,000 people each year.
Throughout the pandemic, Ben has advocated for, and delivered, systemic change in the way people experiencing homelessness and young people enduring poor mental health are supported.
Ben was instrumental in enabling an additional 2,500 people to access support from Youth Projects in the past year, whilst simultaneously driving service expansion into 14 new regions, opening three new social enterprise businesses and leading a team of healthcare heroes to remain open and operational throughout the entire pandemic.
Ben continues to advocate for the elevation of lived experience workforces, harnessing best practice in behaviour change and shifting attitudes from tokenism to genuine action.
Ben is also Vice President of LiverWELL Hepatitis Victoria, former Chair of BGKLLEN, was named as one of the most inspiring and influential leaders in the social economy by ProBono Australia in 2020, and recently graduated from the Executive Education in Social Entrepreneurship program at Stanford University (USA).
Elfa Moraitakis, SydWest Multicultural Services:
Elfa is the CEO of SydWest Multicultural Services, the leading not-for-profit multicultural agency in Greater Western Sydney, providing a range of services to vulnerable and diverse communities.
“I’m delighted and humbled to receive such an acknowledgement, especially if it draws attention to our work with vulnerable communities,” Ms Moraitakis said.
“I also believe that when an individual is recognised for their contribution, it is a credit to having a great team of people working alongside you. Thank you to all of the wonderful, dedicated people who make up SydWest Multicultural Services and work tirelessly for our community.”
Elfa has been involved in the community sector for the past 30 years and has an extensive background in developing services for linguistically disadvantaged communities, with a focus on engaging community and stakeholder participation.
Elfa was awarded 2017 Blacktown Woman of the Year for supporting migrant and refugee women establishing their businesses and was one of the 2020 UNSW Alumni finalists for Social Impact and Service. She is a Director of Settlement Services International and a Director of the NSW Council of Social Services.
Elfa has a degree in Sociology from the University of NSW, an Associate Diploma of Applied Management and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is passionate about social justice and is a strong advocate for the human rights of the elderly.
She is proud of her Greek heritage and was the first Greek female journalist in Sydney’s ethnic media and a member of the Greek-Australian Journalists Association. For her contribution to the Greek media, Elfa was awarded an ΟΕΕΓΑ award for ‘Excellence in Journalism.’
Kathy Karatasas, Multicultural Child and Family Program:
Kathy, a second-generation migrant has worked extensively in child protection, adolescent and women’s health, early intervention and foster care services.
Kathy has a strong commitment to driving services which influence positive wellbeing outcomes. She is a strong advocate for collaborative leadership in influencing sector and community improvements, especially for children, young people and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Kathy is a dedicated, passionate, collaborative leader who values comprehensive strategic and service design, nurturing partnerships across all levels of organisations, collecting and sharing practice wisdom and respectfully showcasing team contributions.
In 2015, Kathy joined Settlement Services International to nurture and lead the then new multicultural foster care program. The program is now recognised as a sector lead in culturally responsive and evidence-based practice, influencing government and non-government agencies.
Kathy is an Executive Director of the NSW Association of Child Welfare Agencies (ACWA), a member of sector advisory committees and tertiary research initiatives.
Kathy’s qualifications include Masters in Social Work, Diploma in Adult Education and Public Sector Management. Her community contributions include 20 years of school community executive roles including the introduction of student recognition initiatives for vulnerable primary students.
Public voting for the awards is now open and will close on October 1. Winners will be announced during the awards night on November 4 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney.
*Please note: These are the Greek people we were able to identify by name.