The Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry recognized the best and brightest of the Hellenic Australian community, with the 2016 HACCI Excellence Awards.
Recognized as the premier business and community awards for the Hellenic Australian community, the HACCI Excellence Awards acknowledge and reward organizations and individuals that have achieved excellence in various categories.
Hundreds of people turned out for the gala event in Melbourne that was complete with entertainment from across the Greek Australian spectrum.
Award winners included Ange Postecoglou, Australia’s national football/soccer head coach, who recently steered his team to victory in the AFC Asian cup, and has played a role in changing the Australian football/soccer landscape and transforming the way Australians play the sport.
Kathy Tsaples was also recognized. She is a former investment banker, cancer survivor, cookbook author and proprietor of the Sweet Greek.
An emergency nurse named Helen Zahos who traveled to Greece to offer her volunteer services on the island of Lesvos for those impacted any the refugee crisis was honored with the Community Service award.
Con Mylonas, a former neurosurgeon, and current barrister and chairman of the Spinal Research Institute received an award in professional excellence.
Sharing the professional excellence award was Professor Dennis Velakoulis, Head of Neuropsychiatry at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, who has developed an international reputation for neuropsychiatry research, especially in the area of schizophrenia research.
Fotini Karakitsos, a geologist, microbiologist, and researcher received the award for young achievement.
Finally, the evening’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award was given to long-time advocate and supporter of Australia’s Greek community and one of the country’s most successful property developers, Gregory Gavrilides.
Born in northern Greece, Gavrilides arrived in Sydney with his family in the 1960s, where he grew up and became involved in the family steel fixing business.
From his early life and career, he was actively involved in the local Greek community in Sydney, ultimately becoming a pillar and major benefactor and philanthropist.
According to his introduction at the awards gala, “Greg’s philanthropic and community work is legendary in New South Wales and beyond. He is immensely humble, and much of his tireless work has taken place away from the spotlight. He has done so much for the broader Greek Community of Australia that his efforts should be publicly acknowledged.”
Gavrilides has focused his philanthropic work on helping those in need, particularly through his support of the St. Basil’s Aged Care program and numerous other related projects of the Greek Orthodox Church.
Greg is also a Non-Executive Director of Bank of Sydney (formerly Laiki Bank). His standing within the community has been integral to the growth of the Bank since its days as Laiki Bank. The Bank’s headquarters are located in Greg’s iconic Castelreagh Street building, where you can also find the Consulate-General of Greece in Sydney and various other community services. The building is affectionately known as the “Greek Building” and sits in the heart of a revitalized Hellenic precinct.
Gavrilides has turned his success as one of Sydney’s largest and most successful private property developers and investors into good for Greek culture, athletics and philanthropic efforts in Australia.