Project Connect Athens organized its first annual “Meet the Shipping Community” fun-d-raising event on Wednesday, March 9, 2016 at “Plan B” in Athens, hosting more than 220 people. This pioneering event offered students and graduates focused on shipping a chance to hear at firsthand what the industry expects of them, from principals of some very distinguished shipping companies and directors within the maritime industry. Project Connect is an organization that provides concrete guidance and assistance to the new generation that wishes to enter the shipping industry. It encourages aspiring professionals that may be otherwise troubled with the volatile times in Greece.
The organization’s Chairwoman is Ms. Irene Notias and the Honorary Chairman is Mr. George A. Tsavliris.
The guest-speakers at the event, Captain Panagiotis Tsakos, Mr. George A. Tsavliris and Mr. Nicky Pappadakis, participated in an interactive and informative communication with a counseling flavor. Their key messages, for the next generation of shipping, were the importance of gaining sea and vessel experience, to be alert and care about the ship, the company and their continuous self-development. They also confirmed and supported one of the main philosophies of Project Connect which is to encourage the establishment of work-study programs for the young professionals in-the-making to seek opportunities and thrive in Greece and worldwide. Then, they invited Dr. Alexandros Glykas and Mr. Nikos D. Marmatsouris – as they are closer to the next generation – who shared their views and experiences.
Following the inspirational words of the guest-speakers, Project Connect offered tangible chances for work-experience through a lottery process: a 2-month paid Internship and two Office Visits. The winners were: Eleni Christopoulou (University of Piraeus), Maria Sougianni (Athens University of Economics & Business) and Venediktos – Antonios Baltsavias (Athens University of Economics & Business). Additionally, Dr. Glykas of Dynamarine, offered an internship and Mr. Karen Kokabi of Blueship offered five free passes to the “6th Blue Shipping Summit” which will take place on June 6, during Posidonia 2016.
Ms. Notias stated: “ We put this event together to show an example that when we care we do something about it; here all sectors of shipping, from principals, managers, captains, HR and employees united to give hope & courage to a generation troubled about their future. We have a “just do it” mentality vs. just observing the obstacles.”
By being a member of Project Connect, Shipping Companies and the Maritime Industry are offered easy to use, tailor-made internship programs that can be utilized for the interns and candidates at entry level.
The Project Connect initiative is a non–profit organization, created in May 2015 by a team of shipping industrialists, business consultants, HR experts, and students who volunteer their services and time. It is based on New York corporate style office organizational structures, systems and methods. It bridges shipping and business school educated students to the Shipping community. It is a work in progress which welcomes funding so it can function effectively to help sustain excellence in Greek Shipping. The team at this NPO enjoys hosting “fun” events for worthy causes, hence “fun-d-raising”.