I was born and raised in Chicago. My parents were first generation Greek immigrants who arrived in Chicago in search of a better future for their family. Like most immigrants, they left Greece with almost no resources, but with hope for the future and with a dream of returning to Greece someday.

Like most immigrants, they left Greece with almost no resources, but with hope for the future and with a dream of returning to Greece someday.

I followed my family to Greece after they decided to relocate there, for their retirement. When I arrived in Greece, I initially studied at the American College of Greece, but I had my mind set on studying law. After studying intensively for a year, I took the exams and was admitted to the Law School of the University of Athens. I then completed my post-graduate studies in England, where I received a master of laws (LLM) from the University of Lancaster in International and European Commercial Law. Upon completing my studies, I began to work in law firms and later as a legal counsel to multi- national corporations and Greek banks.

E SPILIOTI

Along with this work, I continued to provide legal advice to ex-patriate Greeks mainly on legal issues regarding their property in Greece. I recently teamed up with Kalliopi Petzetaki and Evdoxia Nastou, two exceptional Greek lawyers of excellent legal backgrounds, to create SPN Law. We believe that our combined and extensive work experience in the demanding corporate world have taught us the values of diligent work and professionalism. But most importantly, the fact that we have all lived abroad, either in order to study or as a member of an immigrant Greek family like myself, has greatly assisted us in understanding the needs of the Greek Omogeneia when dealing with issues of Greek Law. I have found this multi-cultural background has also greatly assisted me with my work as a legal counsel to various corporations.

If there is one thing that I learned from my parents as immigrants, that is importance of perseverance, hard work and “ethos” in all aspects of life.

I always believed that my upbringing in an immigrant family, watching them succeed through hardships and limited resources, has guided me and even assists me today in adapting to the insecurity of the current situation in Greece. If there is one thing that I learned from my parents as immigrants, that is importance of perseverance, hard work and “ethos” in all aspects of life. These are the traditional values that are common in all Greek immigrants, whether they are in the United States, Australia or other countries.

Throughout the years and before the outbreak of the financial crisis, I had met many talented and exceptional young professionals in Greece, but unfortunately I found that many had adopted the negative stereotypes that were prominent in Greece over the past years and overlooked the value of investing in their own hard work. I believe that it is a matter of what you are exposed to- if you are only exposed to one way of working and belief system then this is what you will ultimately choose to adhere to. Years ago I was given the chance of working in the public sector, which at the time would allow me to work considerably less hours, yet I chose the demanding corporate world. Looking back, I believe that I believe that my upbringing in an immigrant family played a great role in this decision.

Being exposed to two cultures has not been easy. When you are exposed to two cultures it is inevitable that you compare them to each other. Adjustment has been an ongoing process especially in these times of financial crisis. I always try to focus on what each culture has taught me and apply these positive aspects to my everyday life.

I always try to focus on what each culture has taught me and apply these positive aspects to my everyday life.

As a woman living in Greece, I cannot say that I faced discrimination based on my gender in the workplace. It should be noted that Greece has laws that significantly protect the rights of mothers in the workplace. I am also grateful to my parents for assisting me during my demanding work schedule with the upbringing of my children. As we all know, one of the positive aspects of the Greek culture is the way the family is united and its members help one another in times of need.

I have found that the most difficult part of living in Greece is the bureaucracy in all aspects of life when dealing with the public sector, whether it be the simple act of obtaining a document from a public office or something more complicated, like starting a company. Although there has been great progress to simplify these procedures, there still is work to be done.

Another difficult situation was for my parents when they returned to Greece. Many Greeks upon returning to the homeland faced a sort of a culture shock. They had assimilated many customs of the countries that they had migrated to and also discovered that modern day Greece was not the Greece that they left in the 1960s.

Many Greeks upon returning to the homeland faced a sort of a culture shock.

I still consider Chicago my hometown and I am grateful for the opportunity that was given to my parents to prosper, while living there. Nevertheless, Greece remains a beautiful country and it is the country of our heritage so we must all work together towards a better future with the recourses that are given to us.

It is true that the lives of many families have been dramatically affected from the crisis in Greece and young professionals have relocated to other countries. There have been many austere reforms and jobs are scarce. In spite of this, I find that now, more than ever, there are many young Greek professionals who are determined, hard-working and hope for a better future. The financial crisis here has caused many to become adaptable to the new situation and in certain ways it has brought out the best in us. During the past few years we have seen that there have been innovative ideas and businesses especially in the fields of tourism, energy and the export of local agricultural goods. These businesses would greatly benefit from the support of our worldwide Greek Community and it is important that we all should have unified approach on promoting Greek products and services to the global marketplace. Let us not forget that history has repeatedly shown us that the Greek spirit can overcome adversities, adapt and succeed.