“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou
Founder and President
Despina Kartson is the author of Last Night’s Soup Run, a book that shares the poignant stories of the thousands of homeless and the hungry that members of her church have fed in Manhattan during the last 10 years.
Despina serves on the Board of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in New Rochelle, NY and has been an active member of the parish for more than 20 years. She is in her 13th year as a Sunday school teacher, serves on the Parish Council, and on the Boards of the Greek Orthodox Ladies Philoptochos Society at Holy Trinity and for the Direct Archdiocesan District.
In her professional career, Ms. Kartson is the global director of business development and communications for an international law firm and has held similar positions with other global law firms. She is a recognized leader in the legal marketing profession, serving on New York City and national boards and committees.
Despina was inducted as a Fellow of an international legal marketing association and is the winner of a lifetime achievement award by another legal marketing organization given to a long-standing member who has left a distinguishable mark on the chapter.
She is a frequent speaker and moderator at legal marketing conferences. Despina is the author of one book and the co-author of another book on litigation support and the author of a number of legal marketing and technology-related articles.
Board of Directors
Christian is currently an employee at Discovery Communications in New York City. Working within the Digital Research and Ad Sales department he is motivated in teaching his peers about the ever-evolving digital landscape.
In his free time, he enjoys traveling to South America, listening to music and cooking for his friends and family. He is an active supporter of charities and recently participated in the Maine Marathon in which he ran to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s.
Christian serves the homeless during the monthly Soup Run with Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, New Rochelle, NY. His participation in the homeless outreach has shown him that the men and women served are people who have fallen on hard times and need a helping hand to get back on track. He enjoys the conversations and hearing about their past, some good and some bad, but at the end of the day it’s about the fact that they’re conversing with someone who cares about them and has an interest in what they have to say.
Paulette Geanacopoulos, LMSW
Paulette Geanacopoulos, LMSW, is a New York State licensed social worker who serves as Director of Social Services at National Philoptochos, the philanthropic arm of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
In this capacity, she assists Orthodox Christians throughout the United States, regardless their immigration status, to address and resolve issues of income inadequacies; health, mental health and substance abuse disorders; housing and homelessness; family and older adult services; and domestic violence including intimate partner, elder and child abuse.
In addition, she develops culturally sensitive written and interactive training materials to advance the Greek Orthodox community’s knowledge of and response to human service needs faced by its members.
Previously, Paulette served as Assistant Executive Director of Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, a multi-service settlement house in New York City, where she developed and managed a continuum of services for chronically mentally ill homeless adults, and oversaw the expansion of its community based programs of crime prevention, community organizing and advocacy services.
She is Board President of a NORC Supportive Service Program in Brooklyn, and a former Adjunct Professor in social welfare policy and planning at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services and CUNY’s Hunter College Graduate Department of Urban Affairs and Planning.
Alexandra King is a graduate of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, where she studied Health Sciences with a concentration in Speech – Language Pathology. She is currently a Master’s of Divinity student at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, and after graduating looks forward to serving the Church in some capacity.
Alexandra has a great deal of experience in serving the homeless, as she was 12 years old when the homeless outreach program was established at her home parish of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in New Rochelle, NY. She has a compassionate nature and a strong interest in feeding the hungry.
Alexandra has also been a member of many mission trips to places such as Mexico, New Orleans, Nicaragua and Uganda. Through these missions, Alexandra experienced the importance of food to the well being of others and is committed to helping those in need achieve a higher quality of life.
Susan Russon is a Board Member of The Ladies Philoptochos Society of Holy Trinity Church in New Rochelle, NY. She was born in Detroit and moved with her family to New Jersey where she was an active member of Holy Trinity Church of Westfield, NJ. She was a member of the GOYA (Greek Orthodox Youth of America) and was an early participant in the well-known Sights & Sounds Festival in Westfield.
Sue earned a BA in Economics and Finance from Douglass College/Rutgers University and an MBA in Finance at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School of Business and had a 20+ year banking career at JPMorgan Chase Bank. While living in Manhattan, Sue was a member of the Cathedral Fellowship at The Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity. In 1991 she met her husband Manuel Russon, also a Fellowship member, during coffee hour at the Cathedral. They married in 1995 and have two sons.
Currently, Sue is the Regional Administrator for the Northeast Region of the Legal Marketing Association, a national trade organization with over 3,000 members. She is also the Business Manager for the Abingdon Square Conservancy, a local foundation that supports Abingdon Square Park in the West Village in New York City.
Maria Scaros is the Executive Director of The Greens at Greenwich, an assisted living facility for those living with mid-stage Alzheimer’s and other dementias. She is a creative arts psychotherapist, a certified clinical chaplain, speaker, and trainer.
Maria was born and bred in New York City. She received her BA from Hunter College, her MA and MEd from Columbia University, and attended NYU for her postgraduate work in creative arts psychotherapy. She later attended One Spirit Interfaith Seminary in New York, and has since gone on to become a board-certified clinical chaplain and pastoral counselor.
Throughout her career, Maria has worked and advocated for the disenfranchised, including the homeless, the hungry, the mentally ill and those with HIV/AIDS. She became deeply involved when Father Harry Pappas developed the homeless ministry in her parish. It has become a beacon of service and hope for the Parish and an example and inspiration for the National Philoptochos, the national Greek philanthropy that issued a call for a national movement to feed the hungry in 2016.