Earlier this month, the Pancretan Association of America (PAA) made history at its 48th Annual Convention by electing Diane Kounalakis as its first woman president. This groundbreaking decision comes 94 years after the cultural and philanthropic organization was founded in 1929.
Kounalakis, who lives in Hillsborough, California, was voted into office unanimously on July 3rd by hundreds of delegates in Cleveland, Ohio. She has been an active and dedicated PAA member for over four decades, holding leadership roles locally and nationally. Most recently, she served a five-year term as Vice President of Communications on the national board.
In her new position, Kounalakis recognizes the significance of being the first woman at the helm of the PAA’s long legacy. “I am humbled and honored to serve as the first female leader of the PAA,” she remarked. “I have a passion and commitment for the work that we do and the members we serve.”
During her tenure, she hopes to continue fulfilling the PAA’s mission of providing cultural programs, scholarships, and philanthropic support in the US and Crete. She also aims to accomplish new milestones to further the organization’s legacy. Notably, she wants to increase the PAA’s outreach to youth and engage the next generation in discovering their Cretan roots and getting involved to ensure the longevity of this storied organization.
Kounalakis credits her lifelong PAA involvement to her parents, Greek immigrants who brought her to her first convention in 1978. She views her election as a tribute to their Cretan pride. Moving forward, she is eager to lead the organization she has devoted over 40 years to. She plans to tap into her depth of experience while bringing a fresh perspective as the PAA’s first female president.
With this historic election, the PAA has signaled a promising new chapter. Kounalakis is ready to pioneeringly guide the organization into its future while remaining committed to its 94-year mission and legacy.