Alumnus Profiled: John Kollas
Graduated: Deree ‘86
Lives in: Athens, Greece
Current Position: Director, Human Resources – Athens International Airport
Confucius: “Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall”
Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change you want to see in the world”
JOHN KOLLAS graduated from Deree in 1986 with a major in CIS and also holds an MSc in Systems Analysis from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Throughout his 30+ year professional career, John has gained broad and diverse experience in HR Management, having covered senior positions in multinational organizations in the IT (Compaq/Hewlett Packard), Banking (EFG Eurobank) and Heavy Industry (TITAN Cement, BP) sectors. Besides his long professional experience in the field of HR, John also has working experience in IT and marketing roles. From 2003 to 2021, John worked for TITAN Cement International, holding the position of Executive Director, Group HR since 2008 and was member of the Group Executive Committee and the Group Sustainability Committee. In 2022 he joined Athens International Airport holding the position of Director, Human Resources.
John is member of the advisory board and mentor at the” Start-Up Pathways” initiative sharing his experience with start-up founders helping them develop their leadership and people management skills.
John enjoys sports and, in his spare time, often recharges his batteries in the tennis courts. He is married (to Renata, Deree graduate 1987) and the father of two daughters, Alexia and Danai, also Deree graduates.
Q.: What are three enduring lessons you learned during your studies at Deree?
- Self-Improvement – Learning is a never-ending journey and it can be fun!
- Commitment – The more effort it takes to achieve a goal the sweeter it feels when you get there
- Cooperation – By replacing “I” with “We” even illness becomes wellness
Q.: Describe Deree in three words.
Inspiring, motivating, mind-opening.
Q.: One of your favorite Deree memories?
I was totally caught by surprise when Dean Theodore Lyras informed me that I would receive a symbolic scholarship from Deree for my postgraduate studies at the LSE.
Q.: What do you miss most from your days at Deree?
The high energy levels and lively atmosphere in the “oasis” of the ACG campus.
Q.: If you could go back in time, is there anything that would you do differently?
Appreciate more the many opportunities offered at Deree and get involved in more extracurricular activities and student community initiatives.
Q.: Where was your favorite spot on campus?
Q.: Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Dean Theodore Lyras – He was more than a professor; he was my mentor, inspiring me to do my best and helping me build my self-confidence and unleash my potential.
Q.: After graduation, have you maintained a relationship with your school and classmates?
We remain close friends with most of the “parea” which used to “occupy” the right corner of the cafeteria. During the last alumni reunion, it was great to see many classmates; it felt as if “a day hasn’t passed” despite the fact that we had graduated more than a quarter of a century ago!
Q.: Looking back, how did your time at Deree help you become the person you are today?
Deree inspired and enabled me to unleash my potential and build my self-confidence. My studies at Deree helped me develop my judgment and problem-solving skills and appreciate the value of collaboration in meeting goals. It also taught me that if I work smart, I can successfully meet my goals and that the more I give, the more I will get in return.
Q.: What advice would you give a new Deree student?
Grasp the opportunities offered at Deree to enrich your knowledge, develop your skills, expand your networks and build solid foundations for your professional career. Above all, though, develop your personality and make sure you enjoy the Deree experience!
Q.: Where do you get your inspiration from?
There are role models who inspire me for their values, achievements and impact towards great causes, but nothing compares to my daughters, who are a precious source of inspiration, boosting my energy levels whenever I run dry.
Q.: What is your motto in life?
“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
ACG Alumni: We Stay Connected!