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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Leadership 100’s First Woman Director Looks to Visionaries in the Church

David Bjorkgren
David Bjorkgren
David Bjorkgren is a senior editor at the Hellenic News of America. His writings provide the storytelling expertise for an individual, business or organization. The copyrights for these articles are owned by HNA. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of HNA and its representatives.

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Paulette Poulos has a distinguished record of lifetime service to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese and is considered to be a part of a rich tapestry of service for the Church in America for half a century. 

Paulette grew up in a religious family with her beloved parents, Rebecca and Charles, who like many Greek parents worked hard to provide a solid foundation for Paulette and her siblings, Carol and Peter. 

The Poulos Family – from left to right: Charles, Paulette, Rebecca, Peter and Carol

She was involved with her home parish of the Three Hierarchs Church in Brooklyn as a young teenager where she taught Sunday School and served in leadership roles in GOYA (Greek Orthodox Youth of America). In addition to Three Hierarchs, Paulette is a faithful member of the Holy Trinity Archdiocesan Cathedral (New York City), St. Fanourios (Elizabeth, New Jersey) and Church of Our Saviour (Rye, New York).

Paulette has served the Church in numerous capacities since joining the Archdiocese staff in 1965, namely, the Department of Laity, Youth, Stewardship, LOGOS, Administrator to the Office of Archbishop Iakovos, and in her current role as the Executive Director for the Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Fund.

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In 1984 Paulette was appointed as the Administrator to the Office of Archbishop Iakovos and she had the privilege of working closely by his side, witnessing first-hand the numerous challenges and growth of our Church in America. During her career, she visited most of the parishes throughout the Archdiocese and working closely with all the respected Hierarchs. She remained with His Eminence after his retirement in 1996, and established an office at his residence in Rye, New York. 

Patriarch Dimitrios shares a joyful moment with Archbishop Iakovos and Paulette during his 1990 visit.

She attributes her involvement in the Archdiocese to His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos of Blessed Memory, who had great vision and encouraged men and women to offer their time, talent and treasures for the good of the Church.

Paulette is credited with raising significant funds for the Greek Orthodox Church of America, the Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology, the Archbishop Iakovos Library and Learning Resource Center, and Leadership 100.

She has served on several committees and boards, including the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches, the Archbishop Iakovos Library and Resource Center, the Archdiocese National Youth Commission and most recently appointed by His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros as a member of the Senators for Orthodoxy and Hellenism.

Paulette received the blessings of Patriarch Bartholomew during her visit to the Patriarchate.

She received many honors for her work, including the 2006 Honoree of Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee (HANAC); the 2008 Commendation by the City of New York, Office of the Comptroller; 2008 Hellenic College/Holy Cross School of Theology Women’s Vocational Ministry Award; and the 2014 Hellenic Heritage National Public Service Award from the American Hellenic Institute.

Although many refer to Paulette as a role model, she laughs and says, “I am no role model, but rather part of the team working for our Church”. Paulette believes strongly that there is a place for all in the Church who want to serve, and she encourages young people to take a more active role on the local and national levels. One of the highlights of her job is that she loves meeting people “one on one” and promoting the ministries of our Archdiocese, most especially, Hellenic College Holy Cross and youth programs. She is known to be a friend, strong supporter, and advocate for the Clergy of the Archdiocese.

His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios presents George Tsandikos, Chairman, Leadership 100 and Paulette with the St. Nicholas Award in 2014.

Upon the passing of Archbishop Iakovos in 2005, and with the blessings and approval of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, John Payiavlas, Chairman and George Behrakis, Vice Chairman, offered her the position of Development Director for Leadership 100. In 2011 Archbishop Demetrios with the unanimous approval of the Executive Committee, appointed Paulette as Executive Director.  

Under the guidance of Archbishop Iakovos, Leadership 100 was created as an endowment fund of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese through which Greek Orthodox leaders were asked to commit themselves to maintain the life-sustaining ministries of the Church.

His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros attends his first Leadership 100 Conference at The Breakers

Today, The Archbishop Iakovos Leadership 100 Fund, Incorporated, named in recognition of Archbishop Iakovos’ vision, is a 501(c)(3) endowment fund corporation that supports the National Ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in the advancement of Orthodoxy and Hellenism. Members pledge $100,000, which is paid over a period of 10 years or less. Since its inception in 1984, Leadership 100 has distributed more than $65 million in grants. 

Paulette feels blessed to have served under the spiritual leadership of both Archbishop Demetrios and Archbishop Elpidophoros who have provided her with their paternal love, guidance, and support.

She is deeply grateful to the Founders and Chairmen of Leadership 100 who she had the privilege of working with and, most especially, Argyris Vassiliou who presently serves as Chairman. 

Paulette feels blessed to have received so much more from the Church than she has given!

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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