Our Founders

Lia Papazoglou

co-founder & executive director

Lia answered President Obama’s call to action for community service during the 2008 financial crisis and signed up as an AmeriCorps VISTA in New York City. This experience instilled a passion for utilising public service as a catalyst for positive social change. After witnessing first hand both the profound personal and community impact of a year of service, this concept became something she wanted to bring to Greece, her other home country.

Lia is Greek American with family heritage in Komotini and Katerini. Born in New York City, she was raised in the tri-state region and studied International Affairs and Environmental Studies at Wagner College in New York City. Upon graduation, she served in AmeriCorps twice – first as an inaugural member of NYC Civic Corps working to build capacity in low-income communities through revitalisation projects, adult and childhood education, financial literacy with New York Cares; and secondly as a Headquarters Development and Communications Fellow at GRID Alternatives focusing on renewable energy education and job training projects. She continued on with GRID Alternatives as a Headquarters Program Manager and after nearly nearly 5 years in the renewable energy sector, she went back to school for an MSc in Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey in England. During her time as an MSc student, she worked as a fellow with IMPACT2030, working to leverage human capital investments to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. She is Currently the Director of Climate Programs at the Business Council on Climate Change in San Francisco, California.

Lia is inspired by her two years of service with AmeriCorps and is eager to bring this concept to Greece. Her motivation is to create opportunities for young Greeks to find meaningful work in Greece while also prioritising sustainable development.    

Erika Spagakou

co-founder & executive director

Growing up in a metropolis with various environmental challenges at a time of rapid economic growth, made Erika extremely aware about the long-term implications of development on the environment and society. Upon realising as a young adult that the 2004 Athens Olympics legacy, the annual summer bushfires all over Greece and the financial crisis of 2008 were deeply interconnected, she swore to take action to one day be part of the solution.

Born and raised in Athens, Erika graduated with a BA in Political Science and Public Administration from the Kapodistrian University in 2010, just as the financial crisis was looming over Greece. That same year she moved to the UK where she pursued an MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development from the University College London. This would be one of the most rewarding years for Erika, as she experienced development from a practitioner’s perspective, undertaking research on policy and development planning across geographies, including in the UK, Ghana, Germany, and Ethiopia. After a year in Brussels working with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for the Environment on the global negotiations for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Erika moved to Abu Dhabi where she supported the local government by devising strategies to increase social sustainability through developing female sports participation. For almost six years, Erika has been working with the International Renewable Energy Agency, contributing to accelerating the energy transition globally by supporting countries to increase the share of renewables in their energy mix.

While pursuing an international career, Erika has been working restlessly to identify a model for moving and giving back to her home country. Inspired by her passion for sustainability, the vast potential of Greece and her love for the homeland, Erika aspires to ignite a cultural shift in Greece whereby social service is seen as a career option and an opportunity to retain young talent in the country while driving sustainable development.