Our Board of Directors

Despina Papadopoulou is the President of AIPFE Cyprus. A graduate of Imperial College of the University of London, with a BSc Degree in Biochemistry and an MSc Degree in Biotechnology, Despina has devoted 25 years to teaching, both in the private and government sectors.

She was a Biology teacher for 25 years, and for the last seven years of her career she served as a Deputy Headmistress. Despite a rather demanding post, she found that working with youth kept her young at heart and always on the go.

Being a mother of two and the wife of a husband with a challenging career, Despina always has her hands full but still manages to find time for the various organisations she belongs to, pursuing all that she does with great passion. AIPFE Cyprus is of great essence to her as it is a tool which promotes women’s values, rights and achievements in today’s society. Despina has been a Board member of AIPFE for the last twelve years, having held the post of Vice President for nine years.

On December 1st 2022, Despina has been elected a member of the Cyprus Red Cross Society Council which she feels is a meaningful and honourable role for her, as charity has always been an important part of her life.

Despina is looking forward to her new role as AIPFE’s President in the upcoming term and will work hard, fuelled with passion and determination so that AIPFE will continue its ascending path.

Despina finds inspiration in Maya Angelou’s quote ‘Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.’

Thalia Iacovou has been working in the field of design, branding and communications for the last 25 years. A graduate of Reading (BA) and Middlesex (MA) Universities, Thalia spent the first 16 years of her professional career in London, where she worked in the design industry with global clients on branding, communications and digital design projects.

She became head of digital branding and communications at UBS Investment Bank in London in 2002, where she also served on the e-commerce steering board, responsible for the design and user experience of the Bank's trading and banking platform. She was involved in 2 global rebrands of the business and managed all the digital brand training globally.

After returning to Cyprus in 2007, Thalia became co-director of Navajo, a creative agency with expertise in branding and digital communications, working across the corporate, music, entertainment and hospitality industries. She also advises in the fields of Corporate Social Responsibility and Public Service.

Thalia is involved in #TEDxNicosia#TEDxNicosiaWomen, is a mentor for the Cyprus Centre for Entrepreneurship (C4E) and the Junior Achievement Program, a member of the first Nicosia LeanIn circle and co-launched the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Day in Cyprus.

Her motivation in life is driven by a passion to approach everything with creativity and collaboration. She believes that we all have a responsibility to explore new ways of thinking in order to find solutions to the issues of our generation.

This is Thalia’s third term on Aipfe’s Board of Directors and now holds the post of Vice-President. She hopes to help drive the organisation’s mission to empower and connect women in business and civil society to a new level.

Christos Lazanias is a graduate of the Department of Greek Philology (Classical Direction) of the University of Patras and he is also a graduate of Journalism and Communication from the Laboratory of Professional Journalism.

He has worked as a professor of philological courses as well as a journalist in electronic and print media.

He currently works for the Cyprus Bar Association as a press officer and he is a part- time radio producer at POLITIS 107.6 Radio.

In 2016, he published his first book entitled: "ΗΧΩ - ΙΣΤΟΡΙΕΣ ΖΩΗΣ" (ECHO- Life stories), which features 22 real-life human stories.

Christos was elected on AIPFE’s Board of Directors in December 2021 and hopes to be able to contribute in the organization’s collective effort to strengthen female participation in positions of responsibility, trade unions and decision-making bodies. He is an avid believer that the male perspective is fundamental.

‘We have a long way to go, as long as words, announcements and good intentions are translated into daily practice, without dogmatic formulations and meaningless slogans" he says.

Christos’ personal mottos are: "After every sunset, a new sunrise will always be waiting for us" and "Wishing to meet beautiful people in your journey".

Maria Hadjimina holds a degree in Mathematics from the University of Patra, an MSc in Teaching and Methodology of Mathematics and a Master’s degree in Business Administration with distinction from the University of Cyprus. She also holds a professional Business and Life Coaching Diploma from Blue Sky.

Maria is involved in European programs regarding STEM and her mission is to help young girls improve their positive attitude towards STEM disciplines through teaching Maths, Physics and Chemistry. She believes women and girls have the right to experience life free from exclusion and discrimination and her vision is to help them eliminate barriers so as to achieve equality and live more fulfilling lives.

In her free time Maria enjoys painting and taking part in sports activities.

Maria was elected on AIPFE's Board of Directors in December 2021 and she hopes to help the organisation to add value to the lives of contemporary women by empowering them through various initiatives.

Mahi is the Press Officer of AIPFE Cyprus. A graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania in the USA with a double major in Journalism/Public Relations and French, Mahi has extensive experience in the field of public relations and communications.

During her career span, Mahi organized numerous corporate and other events, managed press and celebrity visits from Cyprus and abroad and acted as press liaison with prominent publications such as the Sunday Times, Condé Nast Traveller and others.

Mahi worked for Lanitis Development’s Aphrodite Hills Resort Cyprus from its conceptual stage to its successful materialization as Cyprus’ first integrated golf, leisure and real estate development. She was responsible for the planning, organization and implementation of Aphrodite Hills’ communications campaign in Cyprus, the UK, Germany, Russia and the UAE.

Mahi has also worked as a PR Consultant, having worked on a diverse portfolio of clients ranging from hotels to energy and entrepreneurship to sports events.

Corporate social responsibility and volunteerism have always constituted an integral part of Mahi’s work and personal pursuits, aligning organizations or herself with ethical practices and meaningful causes.

Mahi is in the organizing team of #TEDxNicosia and #TEDxNicosiaWomen and is also a member of Cyprus’ #LeanIn Circle.

This is Mahi’s third term on AIPFE’s Board of Directors and she hopes to continue to act as a creative communication channel between the organization and its audiences, portraying what she considers to be a noteworthy effort for the promotion and empowerment of women, in the best possible light.

Andri Prodromou has been working at the House of Representatives as a parliamentary partner of the Member of Parliament, Chrysis Pantelides- Democratic Party since June 2021. She participates in the Committees of Finance, Foreign and European Affairs, Energy and Trade, Control and Public Expenditure and Human Rights.

Andri studied Political Sciences and Public Administration at the University of Athens-Faculty of Law, and Economics and also holds a Master’s Degree in European Union Law (LLM European Union Law) from the University of Essex in the UK.

Andri constantly monitors developments in her field of interest, in a constant effort to remain a reliable and effective associate.

She holds the position of Municipal Councilor in the Municipality of Engomi, Nicosia and is also the Vice-President of Engomi’s Municipal Youth Council. Andri participates in the Higher Education Council as a representative of the Union of Municipalities.

She is also the President of the board of JCI Cyprus-(Junior Chamber International).

She is secretary of the board of Karaiskakio Foundation Volunteer Committee since March 2018 and an elected member of the Board of Directors of the Nicosia Division of the Cyprus Red Cross since March 2019.

Andri is Deputy Chairman of the board of GODIK-Nicosia since 2018. She represents GODIK in the Committee on Media & Social Networking in the National Mechanism (Ministry of Justice & Public Order) for women's rights.

Andri was awarded the 2nd prize of Active Citizen Volunteers / Private Sector Employees organized by the Office of the Commissioner for Volunteering and Non-Governmental Organizations in 2019.

She has been an active volunteer for charitable organizations such as PASYKAF, The Pancyprian Anti-Leukemic Association “LIFE , Europa Donna, assisting with event planning, fundraising and conferences.

Andri strongly believes that there is a need to improve the model for the strengthening of Youth and Women Entrepreneurship and that AIPFE's role in shaping the future of Cyprus is fundamental.

Myria Avraamidou is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University and holds a degree BA (Hons) in Business Studies and Marketing, as well as a MPhil in Human Resource Management.

Myria is a results-driven professional with proven business development and project management experience. She brings in a wealth of experience in Human Resource Management and acts as project coordinator between AIPFE and the Employers and Industrialists Federation (OEB) for OEB’s training seminars. She is also the project manager for Women Fit for Business, a scholarship program for unemployed, female university graduates.

Myria is a Trainer approved by HRDA, an HR people specialist and a Management Lecturer. She teaches Management, Marketing, Innovation Entrepreneurship and Organizational Behavior at the University of Nicosia Business School. She also teaches Management Consultancy, People and Organizations, simulation case study, Innovation and HRM at the Alexander College/ UWE Bristol University of the West of England.

Myria presented a paper in collaboration with the University of Nicosia on gender diversity in decision making positions at the International Women's conference at the University Pantheon Sorbonne. She has a great interest in research, especially in the areas of gender equality, coaching and female leadership.

Myria is a strong believer in innovation, commitment and change through the exchange process of knowledge and learning experience. She is a firm believer that we can rise through life's challenges, serve the society and become better humans by inspiring and empowering others.

Myria is an executive director and a BoD Member of a family business M. Avraamides & Co. Ltd.

Eva Papadopoulos holds a BSC (Hons) in Psychology and Pg Dip. in Counselling and has worked with NGOs both in Cyprus and the UK, in an attempt to contribute in improving people’s lives.

In latest years, Eva worked in the Corporate world in the UK, within the Corporate Social Responsibility field, whereby she was able to apply strategies with large scale impact for the third sector and local communities.

She carried on her studies in Corporate Sustainability Management through Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership and aspires to peruse the UN SDGs overall and more specifically Gender Equality in various spheres. Eva currently works at American International School Cyprus as a student Counsellor.

Eva’s approach in her personal and professional life is one of empowering people to reach their full potential through mentoring and collaboration. Via the platform of AIPFE and as a new member of the Board of Directors (2021), she aspires to address the issue of underrepresentation of women in leadership positions and politics.

Panayiota Polykarpou holds a degree in Business and Public Administration from the University of Cyprus. Following her graduation in 2019, she was nominated as one of the European Leaders representing Cyprus to the United States as the recipient of the S.U.S.I Program Scholarship that focused on Social Entrepreneurship and Leadership.

Her interests focus on gender and equality, diversity and inclusion, and in 2020 she co-founded the first digital awareness campaign for gender equality in Cyprus called “Thkio Logia” and thereafter co-authored “A book about equality – A few words for a big change”.

One year following the campaign launch, she co-founded the ‘Be an Ally Foundation’, a newly established foundation that aims to promote and encourage the mobilization of the civil society through awareness.

Panayiota has acted as a mentor for students and young girls at Junior Achievement Cyprus and STEMi Africa. In February 2021, she was a finalist for the Greek International Women Awards in the Young Star category. This year, she’s one of the members of the Youth Parliament in the Committee of Human Rights & Gender Equality.

Panayiota is currently a Research Fellow/ Gender Expert at the Cyprus University of Technology and is responsible for the implementation of the Gender Equality Plan and the management of the pan-European project Gender-SMART that aims to transform the university into a gender-friendly organisation.

Panayiota firmly believes in the empowerment of young girls and in December 2021 she launched a new initiative in Cyprus called “Girls in STEAM Academy” which aims to inspire the next generation of women leaders in STEAM fields.

This is Panayiota’s first term on AIPFE’s Board of Directors (2021) and she hopes to tap onto her skills and passion for equality issues in order to advocate for civil society, create new opportunities to support women, and empower the next generation of women leaders in Cyprus.

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