The Rockstar Tsaoussis Family


The success of the 2013 Gabby Awards weekend was largely because of the dedication of the volunteers who supported our efforts. And of these volunteers, none were more amazing than my rockstar Tsaoussis family from New York.

Mom Liz, son George and daughter Evangelia were– for the Greek America Foundation– the epitome of dedication and service to our organization.

The first time I met Liz– at Michael Psilakis’ Kefi Restaurant in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, she looked at me and said– “Let me tell you something. We don’t have a lot of money but we have a lot of heart. We have a lot of ‘orexi’ to work and we love what the Greek America Foundation does.”

This was in 2011– right before the Gabby Awards at Ellis Island. That year the entire family worked their tails off, working until the wee hours of the night, helping wherever we asked them to help.

Fast forward to 2013– the stakes are higher. The event wasn’t in their own backyard, but across the nation in Los Angeles. Money is tight for most Americans and mom Liz has just completed a second round of debilitating chemotherapy for cancer she was diagnosed with a year earlier.

When Liz called to offer her family’s services for the 2013 Gabby Awards, I was floored. This woman had just fought and beat cancer– a second time. Financial hardship, life– the works. Yet, she told me that she wouldn’t miss the Hollywood Gabby Awards and neither would her two kids.

Eva and George, like their mom, were in Hollywood for the entire weekend, on their own dime, spending hours on end welcoming guests at check-in tables always with a smile and volunteering their little hearts out. Combined, they put in the work of a half dozen people. George also co-curated our “Greeks of Hollywood” exhibition which I wrote about earlier.

In the end, I received an email thanking me for the opportunity to serve the organization. Can you believe that? These rockstars who worked their tails off thanking me. I should be building busts of the three Tsaoussis’ and placing them in our offices in Chicago.

Thank You, Liz, George and Eva.



  1. Nice story and it is good that you present this. One of my issues with your organizations, all of them I’ve lost track truth be told, is that you seem to focus on the established brands out there in the community, for lack of a better term, which seems a little skewed in my opinion. If there is any moral to the story here that you present about this very compelling family and their passion and journey it’s that we shouldn’t, perhaps, just focus on the “best and brightest” and only honor those who have money, celebrity and power, but perhaps also recognize the millions of unsung heros of Greek heritage whose personal stories are as interesting and compelling as that of any Hollywood star or billionaire. My experience with the Greek community is that Greeks see each other as equal, regardless of caste or size of bank accounts. We don’t think in terms of “best and brightest”. Each Greek is unique in his or her own way and has the capacity to excel at whatever they do. And some reach higher than others out of raw ambition, that is commendable, but we should never forget the Taoussis’ of the world, who are really the backbone and glue that keeps the Greek-American community together. More so than some of the other characters you seem to cover to the point of excess. I’m sorry if I am blunt with you, but this is what I see with your model.

    • Thanks Paula for your note and for your constructive critique of “my organizations” which you’ve lost track of. If you believe that my ideas are skewed, I welcome you to undertake something and try and make a difference. I do my best with whatever know-how and resources I have. I am a 100% volunteer for the Greek America Foundation and everything I do, I do with the support of others. Regarding the Gabby Awards– people need role models.

      Our model works… Over 1500 people attended in Chicago (that was the capacity of the theater– we had a wait list). Subsequently in NYC and Hollywood, we had two more sold out events. I’m sorry that you do not see the value of recognizing excellence… I personally (and thousands of others who support this event and this organization) disagree with you.

      Finally, before passing judgement on what we do, I encourage you to read what others have said about our events that as you believe “just focus on the best and brightest”… Finally, if you see a flawed and skewed model, I encourage you to create your own– and I will be happy to support you. Any endeavor that promotes a positive Greek America will have my support. Please let me know when you do decide to do something!! And thank you for the comment. It is always great to hear from people who read my blog. Please stay in touch.

    • and you did as well… thank you and eace to you. And when you do decide to do something, create something, try at something, make a difference at something and try to change your corner of the world, do give a shout. Remember– nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something… even you, “Paula”…

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