NAME: Katerina Yannakopoulou
BACKGROUND: UNIVERSITY DEGREE
ACTION/SECTOR: THIRD SECTOR
My Background and Career
I am a founding member and current President of the Board of the Panhellenic Association of Adapted Activities ALMA for children and adolescents with pervasive developmental disorders, mental retardation and autism. Responsible for planning, organization and implementation of educational and cultural programs of the Association. I'm also thwresponsible coordinator and rapporteur of the seminar attendants for camping education programs carried out by ALMA during the summer months.
Responsible for writing, design and implementation through operational programs of the NSRF.
General Supervisor of all cultural and sporting events of the association ALMA with an active role in the conduct and outcome.
In 2011 and for the first time in the history of ALMA I havebeen presented innovative programs for children with and without disabilities in joint sports and cultural activities aimed at the awakening of the community and setting the groundwork for smooth integration of the disabled into society.
I'm also the Scientific Responsible of the Day care Centre for Children and Adolescents with Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, operating under the program "Psychargos" of MoH in Paleo Faliro.
We started out with no financial support and much voluntary work. It was a hobby at first, since we all were otherwise employed. Strong leadership, focus on the goal, establishing strong and sincere relationship with the staff were the reason ALMA still exists. Over 12 months we managed to take ALMA to the next level. We found our place in the mental health market and set our goals straight. My husband has always supported and believed in me. My studies and postgraduate course, as well as the fact that I have never missed a chance for further education, helped. Family, relatives and friends have all stood by me and helped me, each in their own way. To give a typical example: over the past years, the parents of my children’s classmates have taken on the bazaars held by the union. Our philosophy is what drives us still, and we are very happy when we have to change our everyday rules – that shows us that we still work in a positive productive way! In these difficult times for Greece, I strongly believe that ALMA is a vital and optimistic example of genuine and honest Greek social entrepreneurship in the field of social support and mental health sector and I feel very proud of that. A great opportunity was my collaboration with the late Nikos Apergis, Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Athens, who taught me how to plan, organize and assess my work. The institution I was working in for sixteen years viewed that initiative of mine along competition lines and I was thus led to resign. That was fortunate for me, for I then had no choice but turn my hobby into a job. Never have I regretted it.
Among my competences, I easily adapt myself to changes. I am a good communicator. I listen and I pay attention to people’s problems. I like partnership building. My own personal development through my work is important. The individual development of people working with me is important. In case of arguments I look for peaceful solutions. I solve problems and I find solutions. I like to have objectives and to reach my goals.
Among my qualities I’m active, optimistic, trusting, practical, flexible, self-driven, patient, and democratic
Hints & Tips
My lucky phrase is: Never say die! If something is meant to be, it will be. But if not, the time was not right.
My inspiration: The entire project of the union’s is based on the action carried out by the French unions I worked for when I was a student. Every single day is an inspiration to us, every day is different. Perhaps the nicest thing about this whole effort is that we never become bored
My advice to other women: If you have a vision, strong will, patience and persistence, you can accomplish everything. Be open-minded and eager to learn from everybody and everything.
Assets to be developed: Patience, persistence, optimism, listing objectives in the right order of priority, team spirit
Weaknesses to overcome: Selfishness, extreme ambition, greed