Modern agora: The Hellenic Network Association is a place where Greeks help Greeks

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By Mary Sinanidis.

Property valuer John Katsis was having coffee with a friend one day when he reminisced over the early days of migration. Driven by the memory of a community where language and solidarity fuelled mutual support, Katsis co-founded the Hellenic Networking Association Inc (HNAI). This fledgling group, with just 15 members, taps into a timeless tradition: Greeks helping Greeks.

Hellenic Network Association
Lawyer Paul Antippa welcomes new members. Photo: Supplied.
Hellenic Network Association
Its not all shop talk as bonds are forged over social networking.PhotoL Supplied.

At their recent Chadstone function at Citifields, the experience resonated deeply. Memories flooded back of my Sydney childhood where Dr Giallousis was our family GP, Harry Mavrolefterou handled our finances, Voula Sourlangos styled our hair, and the Andreou family from next door built our home. These were just the first of denizens of Greek Australian tradies, butchers and other professions that catered to my family’s needs growing up. 

The HNAI is taking a slow and steady approach to bringing back that sense of community, carefully curating its membership to prevent any one profession from dominating. Members are also cherry-picked for their good character. 

Hellenic Network Association
Harry Pavlou from The Block is eager to build connections. Photo: Supplied.

“We also actively encourage women to join… and we prioritise them in professions where we have reached our quota,” lawyer Peter Antippa says.

New member Dr Kathryn Theodosis, a chiropracter from Oakleigh, found herself drawn to the group after networking with Katsis on LinkedIn. 

Hellenic Network Association
Dr Kathryn Theodosis is excited to be part of the HNAI. Photo: Supplied.

“Connecting with other Hellenic business owners and professionals across different fields is invaluable,” she says. “While traditional meeting points like churches once served this purpose, their influence has waned.”

Hellenic Network Association
Psychologist Kathryn Astrinakis bookkeeper Effie Frangopoulos chiropracter Dr Kathryn Theodosis and HNAI treasurera Lee-Mitropoulos who is also an accountant. Photo: Supplied.

Building trust is paramount, with the goal of serving the network’s collective interests. 

Katsis shares a recent example: “My insurance renewal wasn’t ideal, so I reached out to a network broker and secured a better deal.”

Hellenic Network Association
Social Selling Warrior- Con Sotidis chats with optometrist Leonidas Vlahakis. Photo: Supplied.

These “little things” happen frequently within this grassroots group, contrasting it with larger, corporate-focused national business chambers. 

Con Sotidis, social selling warrior (social media/marketing), highlights the geographically diverse yet tightly knit nature of the network, united by their shared Greek heritage and community spirit.

Hellenic Network Association
There’s always something new to learn as professions get together. Photo: Supplied.
Hellenic Network Association
HNAI Treasurer Lee Mitropoulos and John Katsis who thought of the network over coffee with a friend. Photo: Supplied.

“The HNAI is more than just a business network; it’s a revival of a cherished tradition, weaving a new tapestry of support and opportunity for the next generation of Hellenic professionals,” he says.

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