WISTA Hellas 30 Years Anniversary Gala & Award Ceremony


Distinguished members, friends, representatives of organizations, and esteemed supporters came together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of WISTA Hellas. Together, they lit the candles alongside the past Presidents in a festive atmosphere at the 30 Years Anniversary Gala & Award Ceremony held on Monday, 4 th December 2023, at Divani Apollon Thalasso & Spa.

Emotion, memories, smiles, joyful spirits, love for WISTA Hellas, pride in the Association’s threedecade-long commitment to women contributing to the progress of shipping, trade, and logistics, and a commitment to continue striving for pluralism, respect for diversity, equal opportunities in advancement and remuneration, and the inclusion of all those sharing the common goal of sustainable development in shipping, were the hallmarks of the event.

All past presidents—Popi Giannopoulou, Eleni Vogli, Charis Kiosseoglou, Vicky Roussou, Vera Chalkidi, Maria Christina Ktistaki, Anna-Maria Monogioudi, Rea Mitropoulou, Angie Hartman, and Elpi Petraki—were honored with a video presented at the beginning of the evening, which captured their memories and experiences during the significant milestones of WISTA Hellas and the achievements made in collaboration with each board of directors. A 30-year anniversary album chronicling the organization’s history and relevant archival material will be published after the event.

The brief series of introductory speeches commenced with Founding President Popi Giannopoulou stating that, from her experience in shipping over these 30 years, the fundamental change she feels has been achieved is that it is now more accepted for women to integrate daily work and career into family life. She emphasized how this helps balance between profession and personal life. She unequivocally stated that, with her older colleagues during their shared journey in WISTA and shipping, they had “beautiful voyages,” and some had the magic and colors resembling the seabed, while she wished the younger colleagues to have determination, patience, pioneering spirit, and mutual support to enjoy the “journey.”

The President of the Hellenic Chamber of Shipping, Dr. George Pateras, emphasized that women have always been a part of Greek Commercial Shipping, undertaking challenging roles, whether on the front lines or in supporting positions. He asserted that the Greek shipping miracle would undoubtedly not have been possible without women. Today, with women participating in all services of commercial shipping, Mr. Pateras believes that our industry benefits greatly from this inclusivity. Manolis Koutoulakis, the General Secretary of the Aegean and Island Policy, representing the Minister of Shipping and Island Policy, Christos Stylianidis, who could not attend due to a trip abroad, spoke warmly about the role and contribution of women in the shipping sector. He praised their successful combination of high work ethic, strong determination, and remarkable efficiency. According to Mr. Koutoulakis, women are not a fraction or subdivision but a crucial link in the productive process for the modern business model of shipping. He highlighted that WISTA’s actions over the years demonstrated that inclusion is a multiplier of performance for the shipping industry.

Visibly emotional and joyful, Elpi Petraki, the President of WISTA Hellas and now the President of WISTA International, thanked, on behalf of the Board of Directors, all the participants in the celebratory event marking the organization’s 30 years. She expressed gratitude to WISTA members and friends who have supported the organization’s purpose for so many years, emphasizing that everyone must contribute to advancing our society. Ms. Petraki recalled WISTA International’s history fifty years ago, when women in shipping were nearly “invisible” and the idea of establishing WISTA Hellas by 21 “wise” women, as she described them. These women were empowered to realize their idea by Nikolaos Vernikos, who, due to travel abroad, could not attend the anniversary event. WISTA faced challenges in its first decade but garnered greater response in the subsequent years, actively participating in public discourse with other organizations in the shipping industry during the last decade. Ms. Petraki underscored that WISTA is not a feminist organization; it is and will remain a professional organization, highlighting the professionalism of its members alongside their male counterparts. She invited all men interested in supporting the organization’s goals to stay close, as they have done in Greece, expressing satisfaction as this is not the case in all WISTA member states internationally. Greece is a strong member of WISTA International, the second-largest in terms of membership, with three Greek members having served as Presidents of the organization so far. The President of WISTA Hellas, also serving as the President of WISTA International, believes that the international organization now has the opportunity, through contacts, recognition, consultative status at IMO and UNCTAD, to strengthen its voice in decision-making centers worldwide.

Next, Mrs. Petraki invited the past presidents onto the stage, and together, they blew out the candles celebrating the 30-year anniversary, opening the “door” to the next decade of WISTA Hellas with new goals and renewed commitment to contribute to the common purpose of sustainable development in shipping.

Since 2021, when WISTA Hellas introduced the Leadership and Hellenic Coast Guard Awards, the ceremony takes place during the association’s annual gala. The Leadership Award aims to reward excellence in leadership and is presented to leaders who stand out in their professional careers, supporting and promoting diversity and inclusivity in their workplace. The Hellenic Coast Guard Award is given to officers of the Coast Guard who have demonstrated outstanding work in the execution of their duties, especially in challenging search and rescue operations. It is awarded under the auspices of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, with the Chief of the Hellenic Coast Guard presenting the honors.

For the 30th anniversary year of WISTA Hellas, the Hellenic Coast Guard Awards were presented to Commander Vasiliki Christoforaki, Coast Guard Harbour Master of Neapoli Voion, Laconia, and Lieutenant Commander Niki Giannakopoulou, Head of the 2 nd Port Authority of Kythira.

The awards were presented by Commandant of the Hellenic Coast Guard (H.C.G.), Vice Admiral Georgios Alexandrakis, who, in his brief speech, congratulated the awardees for their exceptional response in complex and multidimensional roles with outstanding results. He highlighted their leadership abilities, stature, and overall contribution, underscoring the continuously strengthening presence of women in professional domains traditionally considered male-dominated, such as the Coast Guard and shipping. Finally, he proudly mentioned that onethird of the personnel in the Coast Guard are women, and this percentage is steadily increasing.

The Leadership Award was presented to Melina Travlos, President of the Union of Greek Shipowners and President of the Neptune Group, by Maria Syrengela, Member of the Hellenic Parliament of the Western Attica Region and Secretary of New Democracy (ND) Party, as in the two previous instances. Upon receiving the distinction, Melina Travlos delivered a brief address, emphasizing that she did not attend the celebratory event as a representative of the organization she leads or as a representative of her shipping company. Instead, she attended as a woman who began her journey in a field that is truly male-dominated! In a space where women constantly have to prove the obvious, she noted achievements because she firmly believes that when women set goals and work together as a team, they can accomplish anything. She also addressed the stereotypes that women have successfully broken down but highlighted the many challenges they still need to overcome. Nevertheless, she considers any goal achievable and encouraged all women in shipping to continue their efforts.

The entertaining part of the event was taken up with enthusiasm by the Fortissimo Electric String Quartet and DJ Menelaos Koutsakos, while the presentation of the overall program for the 30
Years Anniversary and Award Ceremony was conducted by Artemis Vamvacopoulou.


WISTA Hellas warmly thanks the supporters of the anniversary year, whose representatives participated in the celebratory event:
• Platinum Supporter: Hill Dickinson
• Gold Supporters: Enea Management, D. Koronakis SA, Seanergy
• Silver Supporters: ABS, Bureau Veritas, IRI-Marshall Islands Registry, The American P&I Club, Seaborne
• Supporters: Allied Shipbroking, Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management, Base Blue, Erma First, GAC, Genimar Shipping & Trading, Holland Hellenic Shipping Agencies, Intermodal, Margetis Maritime Consulting, Minoa Marine, Navigator Shipping Consultants, Oceanking, Orion International Brokers and Consultants, SAPLEGAL Law Firm, Starbulk, Swedish Club, Tototheo Maritime, Roussos Shipping, Vilma

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