Rediscover philotimo and revitalize Greece was the key message from George M. Logothetis of the Libra Group to Greeks throughout the world at the Greek America Foundation’s National Innovation Conference 2012. The speech from the Chairman and CEO of the international business group, delivered in New York City on 28 April, focused on The Application of Philotimo in Business and drew on his own personal experience along with that of his family in running an international business group with Greek values at the core.
“The fabric of what we have built as a family and a group has been underwritten by philotimo,” he said to a packed assembly hall.
Mr Logothetis outlined how the financial crisis in Greece is currently dominating the agenda and overlooks the problems people face in their everyday lives.
”We keep hearing about the financial crisis but not the social one. We do not hear about the massive jump in suicides, the rise in homelessness, the practical unwinding of the social fabric of society,” he explained.
He articulated philotimo as something which unites Greeks wherever they are throughout the world.
“To me, the undercurrent of Hellenism, the commonest and starkest theme that unites us all as Greeks, is philotimo… duty, loyalty, integrity, honor, love, trust, faith and, perhaps most important of all, the pride in being decent.”
He identified how philotimo as a value is part of the Greek character and one he has seen over the years in every corner of his family’s business. “
Some of the most innovative, hard-working, dedicated and brilliant people in our group are Greek,” he explained, and suggested the world must have more faith in Greece and trust it in order to move forward as “trust is a fundamental cornerstone of any form of progress”.
Pointing to the future, he outlined a vision of hope for Greece with the rediscovery of optimism.
“Most would say it is unrealistic for Greece to recover and prosper, I would say we should talk about what Greece can be, not continuously moan about how it has failed and what it cannot be. Greece has many industries and people who just need the ceiling of negativity and cynicism to be lifted in order to allow their ambitions and dreams to grow. There are thousands of hugely capable small businesses which can be harnessed and encouraged to grow out of this disaster. They can be the engine room of growth.”
Mr Logothetis even included some personal anecdotes from his years at the helm of a major international business, including a family quote – “As my grandfather used to say: ‘the impossible I will do, it is miracles that take a little longer!’”
Watch highlights of the speech in the video below:
The speech was well received at the conference and has attracted many favorable comments on the internet since it was posted. His conclusion was clear. “Intelligence without wisdom to govern it dilutes over time and to me that wisdom emanates from a capacity to be innovative and adaptive… and however much you adapt, do it from a base of philotimo!”
One of the delegates at the event commented afterwards: “This was so inspirational, it’s a message that everyone needs to hear throughout the world, especially now and especially in Greece.”