ReGeneration Alumni Ioannis Lagiopoulos and Evi Barouda – Greece’s Next Generation Has Arrived

November 4, 2019

ReGeneration is one of a number of endeavors funded by The Hellenic Initiative which have made a great impact on the careers, lives, and spirit of Greece’s young professionals, enabling them to remain in Greece and to dream of a bright future for their country.

Powered by the Global Shapers Athens Hub, an initiative of the World Economic Forum, ReGeneration enables young professionals to enhance their skills and launch their careers.

ReGeneration Alumni Ioannis Lagiopoulos and Evi Barouda – Greece’s Next Generation Has ArrivedEvi Barouda was a finalist in a cycle of candidate reviews when she was living in England, and ReGeneration inspired her to return to Greece. Once she arrived, companies working with the group began to call her for interviews in her field of HR, and she eventually connected with the Janssen pharmaceutical division of Johnson & Johnson.

I met a lot of young people attending ReGeneration  seminars which featured valuable presentations on things like managing performance, effective meeting strategies, and communications,” she said.

Ioannis Lagiopoulos, a geologist with a Master’s in Sustainable Development was a finalist in the 3rd ReGeneration competition in March 2016. Until then, he was not working in his field. “But by December I made a match with Imerys Greece, a multinational mining company that is a world leader in the mineral sector and has mining operations on Milos and extracts bauxite from Mt. Parnassus.

He began as an intern – ReGeneration develops paid internships with the companies it works with for six-month periods. “After that, finalists are offered an opportunity to continue as permanent employee, which I accepted,” he said.

He works in the Environment, Health and Safety, Quality department and since January 2018 he is an HESQ Analyst. Ioannis is also pleased to be involved with Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

CSR is doing very well in Greece. There are good companies with good practices. The ‘next big thing’ here is integrated reporting – corporate reporting that includes financial and non-financial data, the latter now being very important for the stakeholders and involving issues like inclusiveness and diversity and other kinds of social campaigns.

Evi began at Janssen as an HR Assistant intern where she became responsible for the interviewing processes. “I was able to work with ReGeneration, which has partnered with Janssen, and they send us candidates.

ReGeneration Alumni Ioannis Lagiopoulos and Evi Barouda – Greece’s Next Generation Has ArrivedNot being an HR professional, Ioannis is not a recruiter for ReGeneration per se, but he performs the function informally. “I act as an ambassador and I communicate with friends up to the age of 29 who are candidates for openings at my company – and I also inform my friends that ReGeneration has access to a fine talent pool for their companies.

Evi and Ioannis would like the Hellenic Diaspora to know that they should support ReGeneration because it is a great tool for building a New Greece. Ioannis noted that in its five years of operation “ReGeneration has matched more than 1,100 people with companies and it has provided hope and a future for all of us.

We are not talking only about an internship that expires in six months but about the beginnings of careers because the companies that believe in ReGeneration believe in the quality of the candidates and the ‘behavioral excellence’ they display, so they invest in them,” he said.

The ‘Regenerators’” – the program’s alumni – “are now a community, which we encounter at events where we exchange ideas and share experiences; we talk about personal and professional development so that we create a very good climate and environment for facing employment challenges during the crisis,” Ioannis said.

Evi added that, “it is a very big thing that ReGeneration gives young Greeks the chance to work in their country,” and helps them navigate the process. “It is often the case that when people apply for work in Greece outside the ReGeneration context, the companies don’t even reply,” but the companies cooperating ReGeneration do follow up with candidates. “They keep people up to date about the process so that they have an idea of where they stand,” she said, so that job seekers can make decisions and take proper actions.

Evi agreed with Ioannis that “it is also valuable for young people to be able to share experiences and vent their anxieties and exchange ideas. Young professionals face a tough road – they have many choices and they don’t know exactly what to do, but to know that other people your age are facing the same things and are engaged in mutual support is very important.” She noted that ReGeneration offers both formal and informal mentoring.

Asked about the many news reports that although hundreds of thousands of young Greeks have left their county in search of employment abroad, on a daily basis there are thousands of job openings. Evi said that her HR research confirms there are many unfilled job openings in Greece and explained that one of the problems is that the companies demand two or three years of job experience as a prerequisite, which frustrates the young people. Ioannis emphasized, however, that the companies that work with ReGeneration do not throw up such obstacles. “They invest in the young people, assigning projects to interns that will lead after six months to positions with a future. More than 90% of the interns are offered permanent jobs.

Companies know that despite the candidates not having job experience specific to their needs, ReGeneration does a very good job of screening for both specific and general qualities and talents. Ioannis added that “they also look for people who have a good ‘teamwork mentality,’ ‘behavioral excellence’, and flexibility and openness that enables them to adjust to any professional space and to thrive through innovation and creativity. They are searching for the next generation of people who will occupy high level positions in in Greece.

That is to say, the companies are seeking through the ReGeneration internships to prepare the next generation of leaders by sharing their veterans’ experience and vision with young people whom they see are receptive and recognize to be of high quality.