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Ilias Tsakiris

CEO, American Hellenic Hull Insurance Company Ltd

Ilias P. Tsakiris is Chief Executive and Chief Underwriter of American Hellenic Hull Insurance Company. He has 24 years of professional experience in the marine insurance sector. Since 2005, he has led the growth of Hellenic Hull Management and its global network. Mr. Tsakiris was trained as a Master Mariner at Hydra Merchant Marine Academy, Greece’s oldest marine college, and he pursued Maritime Studies and Claims Management at Liverpool John Moores University. He regularly lectures on marine insurance topics and several of his articles have been published in the international and Greek press.

Dimitris Tryfonopoulos

Secretary General of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO)

Dimitris Tryfonopoulos was born in Athens, Greece. His 24 years of service with Greek and multinational companies of the private sector included responsibility for portfolios at senior and senior executive level. His expertise is mainly focused on the Banking and Insurance sector, as well as on the automobile & cosmetics market.

He has been appointed as the Secretary-General of The Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) and took office on 1 November 2015.

He holds an MBA degree (Master in Business Administration) from the Louisville Kentucky University, USA. The Secretary- General speaks English and French.

He is married and he has one daughter.

Evridiki Kourneta

Secretary General of Ministry of Tourism

Evridiki Kourneta was born in Athens in 1976, her homeland is Viotia. She is married and she has one son.

She is the Secretary General of Tourism, since December 2016.

From February 2015 till November 2016 she served as a special associate to the Minister of Tourism, Mrs Elena Kountoura. She also served as a Deputy Secretary General of the Hellenic Tourism Organization (EOT) between December 2015 and November 2016. During 2016, she was a member of the Committee for the Recognition of Thermal Natural Resources.

She is an Attorney at the Supreme Court and the owner of the law firm “E.Kourneta & Partners.” Since 2001 she is a member of the Athens Bar Association. She graduated from the Law School of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She holds a Master’ s Degree in Tax Law from the Athens University of Economics and Business and a Master’ s Degree in Public Administration. from the Panteion University   Mrs Kourneta  has an extensive experience as a Legal Advisor in commercial, industrial and technical companies as well as in clubs and associations.

She speaks English, and French

She is a member of the National Commission on Human Rights.

Pafsanias Papageorgiou

General Secretary for Lifelong Learning and Youth

Pausanias Papageorgiou was born in 1978 and graduated Greek public school in 1996. He has a Bachelor degree in Law and a Bachelor degree of the department of Language, Literature and Media of Hamburg University. He continued his studies in the Institute of Ancient Greek and Latin Literature, where he took his master’s degree with honours. He took part in interdisciplinary research programmes and he acquired teaching experience in Germany. Subject of his scientific research is «Law Literature» and especially «Grammatic interpretation and verbal formulation of juridical terminology and texts». Part of his research interests is also the relation between law and linguistic culture. He has practical experience in the designing of programmes aiming at the integration in European culture of multilingual citizens with immigrant background. He had been consultant of the Minister of State and since November 2015 is the Secretary General for Lifelong Learning and Youth.

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Ukko Metsola

Vice President, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd

Ukko Metsola is Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Vice President for government relations in Europe and Asia-Pacific. In this role he is responsible primarily for the development, planning and execution of RCL’s policies and objectives involving legislative and regulatory matters.

He reports to President & COO Adam Goldstein. Metsola has served RCL with similar responsibilities since 2007, first as an outside consultant to the company. He started in his current position at the beginning of 2016.

Ukko is a Finnish citizen who started his political career as Senior Adviser in the Finnish Parliament and then in the Prime Ministers Office (Helsinki).

He is a graduate from the University of Helsinki and from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he studied with a Fulbright scholarship. He is based in Brussels, Belgium, with his wife and four sons.

Xenia Kourtoglou

Η Ξένια Κούρτογλου γεννήθηκε και μεγάλωσε στην Αθήνα.  Σπούδασε στα Pierce και Deree College Διοίκηση Επιχειρήσεων και Marketing, εργάστηκε στον ευρύτερο χώρο της Επικοινωνίας και το 1988 ίδρυσε την Focus Bari, που από τα πρώτα τρία χρόνια της καθιερώθηκε ως μια από τις ηγετικές εταιρείες έρευνας αγοράς στην Ελλάδα. Τον Μάιο του 2014, αναδείχθηκε νικήτρια του Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award με το πρωτοποριακό startup «e-satisfaction», το οποίο ήδη χρησιμοποιείται από τα 200 μεγαλύτερα ηλεκτρονικά καταστήματα στην Ελλάδα, προσφέροντας καταγραφή και ανάπτυξη του 360 Customer Experience in e-Commerce

Μέσα από την δουλειά της, η Ξένια μελετά την ανθρώπινη φύση και συμπεριφορά και φωτογραφίζει όλες τις εξελίξεις της ελληνικής κοινωνίας.  Παράλληλα, δραστηριοποιείται εθελοντικά , εδώ και 28 χρόνια στα «κοινά» του ευρύτερου χώρου της Επικοινωνίας/ΜΜΕ και της Τεχνολογίας,  τόσο μέσω των τοπικών θεσμικών φορέων (ΣΕΔΕΑ, ΕΕΕΤ, ΕΕΔΕ, ΕΙΜ, ΤΟΓΜΕ, ΙΑΒ), όσο και των αντίστοιχων διεθνών φορέων και δικτύων (ESOMAR, IRIS, EMRO, OPTEM).  Με ιδιαίτερη ευαισθησία προς την νεανική και γυναικεία επιχειρηματικότητα, η Ξένια Κούρτογλου είναι ιδρυτικό μέλος του I for U (Greek Mentoring Network), εκλεγμένο μέλος του Ευρωπαϊκού Δικτύου Μεντόρων για την γυναικεία επιχειρηματικότητα, και τακτική Μέντωρ στο Startup Hub  EGG της Eurobank.

Ως διακεκριμένη γυναίκα καριέρας, η Ξένια Κούρτογλου είναι εδώ και πάνω από είκοσι χρόνια καλεσμένη ομιλήτρια σε τοπικά και διεθνή συνέδρια σε θέματα επιχειρηματικότητας, επικοινωνίας και προσωπικής ανάπτυξης.  Η δίψα της για εξέλιξη την οδήγησε ξανά στα θρανία το 2010, και ύστερα από πενταετείς σπουδές πιστοποιήθηκε ως Life & Business Coach με το ICPS Triple Certification in Coaching (MDI, AMA, Coach U), ακολουθώντας την ανάγκη της να προσφέρει σε όσους περισσότερους ανθρώπους μπορεί τρόπους για μια καλύτερη ζωή.

Με κορυφαία αξία την πίστη στην ανθρώπινη δύναμη, η Ξένια Κούρτογλου προσφέρει ουσιαστικό έργο για την ανάπτυξη και την ενδυνάμωση των νέων και των γυναικών, μέσα από τις συνεχείς, αντίστοιχες Έρευνες της Focus Bari, την συνεισφορά της με συστηματική διδασκαλία στο Πάντειο και σε άλλα Πανεπιστήμια από το 1997,  την υποστήριξή της σε σχετικές διοργανώσεις, και κυρίως, μέσα από το προσωπικό της παράδειγμα.

Xenia Kourtoglou was born and raised in Athens.  She studied at Pierce and Deree College, specializing in Business Administration and Marketing, had her daughter while she was still a working student, and in 1988 she created Focus Bari, which became a top market research firm within the first three years from its launch.

Through her work, Xenia Kourtoglou studies systematically human and social behavior and continuously photographs the evolution of the Greek society.  In parallel, she is actively  involved in the Media and Comms business world, both through local and international associations (AGMORG, EEET, EEDE, EIM, TOGME, IAB Hellas, ESOMAR, IRIS, EMRO, OPTEM).  Particularly active in promoting youth and female entrepreneurship, Xenia Kourtoglou is a launching partner of I for U (Greek Mentoring Network), a member of the European Business Mentors, and a regular mentor at the EGG, Eurobank’s startup Hub.

As a business career woman, and a “guru” in the market research science, Xenia Kourtoglou is a regular guest inspirational speaker at local and international conferences on women entrepreneurship, communications, technology and personal development.  Her continuous desire for new knowledge and growth led her to new studies on Life and Business Coaching, and she acquired a triple certification in Coaching (MDI, AMA, Coach U) in 2014.  One of her primary values is her strong belief in the unstoppable strength that exists in every human being, based on which Xenia Kourtoglou offers her knowledge and experience through her teachings at Panteion University since 1997, through her volunteer work in other, similar organisations, and most of all through being a role model herself.


George Xiradakis


George Xiradakis graduated from the Nautical Marine Academy of Aspropyrgos-Athens and he holds a diploma in Commercial Operations from City of London Polytechnic and an MSc  in Maritime Studies from University of Wales.

In his banking carrier (1991-1998) he served as Vice President of Credit Lyonnais Shipping Group and Head of European Shipping finance activities and as Head of Greek, Indian and Middle East Shipping. In 1999 he founded XRTC Business Consultants and since then he has been the Managing Director of the Company. XRTC acted as Commercial Representative of the French Banks Credit Lyonnais (up to 2004) and Natixis (up to 2008). Since 2009, XRTC has been working closely with the Chinese ship finance market. In 2011 XRTC signed a Financial Consultancy Agreement with China Development Bank. XRTC has won the Greek Shipping Financier of the Year by Lloyd’s List Greek Shipping Award 2010.

Mr. Xiradakis is a member of the Board of Directors of Paragon Shipping Inc (NASDAQ: PRGN). He also serves as the President of the Board of Governors of the International Propeller Club of the United States –International Port of Piraeus; he is also the General Secretary of the Association of Banking and Shipping Executives of Hellenic Shipping and a Board Member of the China-Greece Friendship Association. He is also member of Marine Club of Piraeus, HELMEPA, Member of the Mediterranean Committee of China Classification Society, Greece-China Chamber and member of President’s Advisory Council of American College of Greece. Mr. Xiradakis was member of the Board of Directors of DryShips Inc. (NASDAQ: DRYS) from 2008 up to November 2015, also was a member of the Board of Directors of Aries Maritime Transport, which has since changed its name to NewLead Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ: NEWL). Mr. Xiradakis also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hellenic Public Real Estate Corporation and the first President of the National Center of Port Development.


Diogenis Venetopoulos

Partner - Vice President Sales, Variety Cruises

Diogenis Venetopoulos is Partner – Vice President Sales of Variety Cruises since 2016.

He joined the company in 1999 first as Port Engineer Assistant and then as Port Captain. He continued in the company as Sales Manager before serving as the UK Office Sales Coordinator and Managing Director for two years, between 2010 and 2012.

Mr. Venetopoulos holds an MSc in Maritime Operations Management from the SBE – Shipping and Business Education. He speaks Greek, English, and German. Diogenis Venetopoulos is actively supporting and promoting Greek nautical tourism and Greek ship owners’ interests with his role as Secretary General at the Hellenic Professional Yacht Owners Association.

Emmanuel Vordonis

President, POSEIDONION GRAND HOTEL - Ex-Executive Director, Thenamaris

With his roots originating from the center of the Aegean, the blue sea’s life and people have been determining his life since his early childhood.

He majored in Physics focusing mainly in the theoretical realm as well as in philosophy of Science. He continued his post-graduate studies and research in systems analysis, control, cybernetics and complex systems modeling. He participated in cross-disciplinary explorations in the domains of naval architecture, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, socio-economic simulation and planning.

He joined THENAMARIS SHIPS MANAGEMENT INC. about 40 years ago. As its Executive Director and Chairman, he was a member of its core governance team. He concentrated mainly on the continuous improvement of people, systems, relationships and the overall business and social deliverables of the company. The corporate targets for safety, environmental stewardship, high efficiency and the long term trust, as the bonding material with its clients, providers, markets, its own people and community, had a top priority in his professional agenda. A component of his assignments was the engagement in local and international fora, where active presence and constructive participation was a company’s policy commitment, within the wider sense of its corporate and social responsibility.

He was thus and still is involved in discussions of the wider local and international maritime industry and is active in civic groups of social concern. He has particular interest for the stimulation of creative thinking, innovation, and the generation of quality. The resolution of conflict, the building of trust, the improvement of synergies, friendship and peace among diverse stakeholders are highly prioritized in his radar screen.

He has been a member of the INTERTANKO Executive Committee until last November, when he resigned at the completion of his term. Just a few years back he was representing the Greek tanker community in the organization, as Chairman of the Hellenic and Mediterranean Forum.

Within the Intertanko quarters, he was the initiator and founder of the creative team, with the mission to spread the vision, values and the enthusiasm of the POSEIDON CHALLENGE. A global action center created to encourage and support volunteerism, environmental stewardship and companionship within the ranks of the seafarers and the wider maritime family.

On land, parallel to his maritime focus at corporate level, he was instrumental in big scale real estate development projects which involved the master planning and the business structure for  city regeneration schemes within the wider Athens range.

On a personal level, driven by his wider interest for the regeneration of tradition, micro-environments and architectural heritage, his family has created the ECORECREATORS S.A. An organization established to focus on the salvage, preservation and revitalization of deteriorating environmental systems and architectural heritage. The revival of POSEIDONION GRAND HOTEL on the island of Spetses is a materialized dream within this line of activities. The salvage and preservation of traditional classic boats is another focal domain of the preservation initiatives of ECORECREATORS and its individual members.

In the current political and social context he is engaging as a bystander and supporter in positive initiatives of community protagonists or teams. The regeneration of basic Universal Values, as power-energy to restore economies and society has become a high priority goal and a top mission in his personal agenda.

He is married with two children who are well in the zone of their creative maturity in their professional and family domain.

Dimitris Koutsolioutsos

CEO/Founder, INSTAYACHT - Farmers Republic

Dimitris Koutsolioutsos is a young entrepreneur who has founded INSTAYACHT and Farmers Republic of Greece, setting new values in the Greek yachting and farmers’ markets.

31 year-old Dimitris Koutsolioutsos is a graduate in economics from the Athens University of Economics and Business and has worked at the Ministry of Development and at Folli Follie Group. INSTAYACHT is the first online marketplace for boat chartering offering a high level of unique services on transfers and cruising, creating an upscale entertainment on Greek Islands. With instantaneousness and transparency. The instant and longer term boat chartering services for cruising as well as simple transfers are offered via a mobile app which safely connects boat owners with travellers.

Chrissie Palassis

Partner, CTM Hellas

Chrissie Palassis was born and educated in Perth, Western Australia. When she moved to Greece she began a 15 year career in the cruise industry with Royal Cruise Line. There she held a variety of positions in Marketing & Sales, Destination Management, Passenger Operations and Passenger Services.

In 1996 she co-founded CTM Hellas, a cruise consulting firm specializing in marketing, overall cruise product, itinerary & shore excursion planning and destination-port development. For over two decades CTM Hellas has been offering advice and support to a wide range of Greek and international clients in both public and private sectors.

Maria Theofanopoulou

Publisher, Greek Travel Pages

Maria was born and raised in Athens. She lives in the Greek capital with her husband and three beautiful children. She is a graduate of Athens College and holds a bachelor degree in Business Administration and a Master in Marketing.

Today, she owns and runs the GTP – DANAE Travel & Media Group, a company active in tourism and publishing since 1970. The group consists of three companies engaged in media and publishing, travel and tourism arrangements and airline representations.  The network includes award winning online ( and print (Greek Travel Pages) tourism publications; tourism news website (GTP Headlines); management and exploitation of big data for tourism; travel services through its IATA accredited agency (; and the representation of airlines (Danae Airlines GSA of KOREAN AIR in Greece since 1975).

Maria has a passion for active public involvement, which is reflected through her participation on sectorial boards and associations. She is and has been a Board Member of SETE (Association of Greek Tourist Enterprises), Board Member of ECTAA (European Travel Agents & Tour Operators Association), Vice-President of the Board of HATTA (Hellenic Tourism and Travel Agencies Association), member of the Supervisory Board and Public Relations Officer of FEDHATTA (Federation of Tourist and Travel Associations), Member of ASE (Sports Advisory Board of Athens College), Vice-President of the Board of SAAE (Hellenic Association of Airline Representatives), Board Member of PETAGA (Greek Union of Air Travel Agencies) and Board Member of KIPOKA (a citizens’ movement comprised of residents and local business representatives of the Greek capital’s center).

She participates in citizens groups and has taken part in seminars and international conferences of the tourism industry, either as a speaker or a coordinator. Moreover, she has participated in evaluation committees for tourism and technology (hackathons).

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