"Did you know that out of all the ethnic groups in the United States, the Greek-Americans have proven to rise above the rest and become number two in business success? Why is that, do you think? Isn’t it about time we start uncovering these Hellenic gems in our society and let their shining glory lead us by example to follow, both locally and in the rest of the world – specifically and most importantly now, in Greece?"
This excerpt comes from an article about the current CEO of an American company by the name of Earth Friendly Products. The interesting aspect is that this CEO, Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, is half-Greek and half African American. Her father, Eftychios Van Vlahakis, had founded the company in 1967. He died in 2014 at age 89.
It really pays to google the background of the family and its company. A classic Greek-American immigrant story: born in Crete in 1935; emigrated to the US at age 18 with 22 dollars in his pocket; odd jobs to survive; clever enough to go to college; eventually PhD degree in chemistry; lost his job at 31 and took this opportunity to start his own business as a one-man show; today the leading green manufacturer of cleaning products in the US with world-wide distribution (well over 100 MUSD in sales and over 300 employees). Below are selected links but there are a lot more on Google:
The family's story is so colorful that even a movie was made about it: A Green Story. One wonders what this family would accomplish if, today, they decided to move the company to Greece and to conquer the world from there (actually, the CEO implied that they might start a manufacturing facility in Greece 'if the incentives were right').
It shows that the CEO, daughter Kelly, had majored in communications in College and that she has broad experiences in PR, international media and publicity management. She presents her family, her company and herself in an absolutely smashing way!
And a small footnote: it wouldn't be a Greek family story if it didn't also include a bit of drama. It took Kelly only 6 months after their father died to part ways with her half-brother who until then had been the company's president. One does not get the feeling that it was an amicable separation. Since her half-brother is about 15 years older, one can only assume that he had contributed more to the company than Kelly. And now Kelly motioned a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction on its claims for trade mark infringement and unfair competition. In short, sister and half-brother are now suing each other. At issue is an alleged trade mark infringement by the half-brother who started his own business after leaving the company (even though he hasn't sold anything yet). The threat to Kelly's company seems limited because at issue is a business section of the company which registered sales of USD 38,300.37 in 2013, USD 47,528.09 in 2014 and USD 40.278,.75 in 2015 (out of well over 100 MUSD in total sales). Kelly, the publicity management specialist, makes sure that this story does not show up in any of the media reporting about Earth Friendly Products and/or the Vlahakis family. Of course.
the leading green manufacturer of cleaning products in the US - See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2012/01/30/van-vlahakis-we-either-become-a-colony-of-germany-or-stay-independent/#sthash.9s2u64kh.dpu
the leading green manufacturer of cleaning products in the US - See more at: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2012/01/30/van-vlahakis-we-either-become-a-colony-of-germany-or-stay-independent/#sthash.9s2u64kh.dpuf