Monday, April 16, 2012

Interview 27: Dimitris Papachristou-“BuildUp means always challenging”

DPN: Dimitri, you are the Chairman in BUILD UP Company. Share with us the story of it.

DP: BuildUp SA constitutes the “next step” for the construction corporation “Christos Papachristou”, which is a company with a substantial, successful and solid presence since 1970 in the areas of residential and commercial development, utilization of selected privately construction projects.
BuildUp SA was founded in 2006 and its main activity is Real Estate Development and Investment Services.

DPN: In what type of projects is your company specialized into?

DP: BuildUp SA main sectors of the projects: residential, tourism and hospitality.              --     Integrated Resorts, Luxurious Holiday Residences – Complex , High End Luxurious Villas,  all of them in the most privileged areas of the Greek islands and mainland.
DPN: What opportunities arising in the Real Estate sector in Greece during the financial crisis that the country is facing?
DP: We can say…….”Greece’s new era”. Moreover, Greek real Estate prices are decreased. Greece is already a landmark. Also, Greece has the necessary manpower and the know-how to meet all requirements of the investments, and at this time at the lowest cost. In addition, in the past there wasn’t any specific regulation regarding Integrated Resorts and Holiday Residences. But this has been changed because recently the State has created a new legal framework for the above sectors, offering incentives in both real estate development and investment.

DPN: Fritz Kunkel, the famous German psychiatrist stated at the past that “to be mature means to face, and not evade, every fresh crisis that comes”. Comment us that

DP: To mature …. means to take responsibility for your life and to face every difficulty as a challenge

DPN: Your Company participates the last years in the CITYSCAPE Exhibition in United Arab Emirates, one of the most successful real estate events in the region of Middle East. What results are you expecting for those participations?

DP: Greece is the new Hot Spot of the European and Southeast Mediterranean Real Estate Market. Our target is to present the opportunities for Investment and Development in Greece and the Projects of our company, in order to attract new investors

DPN: It seems that you do focus a lot in the market of the Middle East, why is that?

DP: We focus in the market of the Middle East because we believe that there is a lot of experience in the field of International and that has not yet entered in the Greek market. Now is the time, because Greece is a flourishing and promising market in the real estate business
DPN: From which countries are coming from your main target group of clients up to now?

DPN: Describe us one of your latest projects.

DP: Planning and Development of a residential and commercial project in the emerging area of Markopoulo, close to new Athens International Airport, and to the exit of the new urban motorway of Attica.

DPN: Do you believe that Greeks is an educated nation in the field of the Real Estate?

DP: Traditionally real estate was a developing market in Greece; it had however a complicated legal framework. For the last years and especially nowadays and due to the crisis it is gradually forward a more scientific approach. Buildup SA is sharing this approach.

DPN: Share with us the weirdest ever thing that ever happened to you in your working life.

DP: As in all jobs that come in contact with many people…… we have faced some weird situation.

DPN: Which one was toughest moment in your business career up to now and how did you handle it?

DP: Lately we faced a changing situation that required a lot of adaptation.

DPN: Which one was the most important phone call you have ever received and why?

From a very important person in Greece, who was interested to have business with Buildup SA.

DPN: Let us know a dream that never became a reality.

DP: I have hopes that my dreams will become a reality in the future.

DPN: How do you spend your free time?

DP: I like travelling with good friends, skiing and playing golf.

DPN: Give a title in the story of your life up to now.

DP: “Always Challenging”

Friday, March 16, 2012

Interview 26: Thodoris Katsibras-“Luxury vacations no matter what”

DPN: Thodori, you are the General Operations Manager in LUXURY VACATIONS GREECE ( for the last 5 years. Tell us some things about your company.

After the completion of a successful year 2007 in the sector of alternative maritime tourism, by representing worldwide 4 luxury yachts, LVG has decided to invest more in the field of luxury tourism by offering to the elite luxury traveler the opportunity to experience Greece, either in an exquisite villa or a personally selected five star hotel suite. Therefore LVG has activated a range of websites, that refer to luxury and elegance, such as ,, in order to cover all provided luxury services in the Greek territory. These last five years LVG promises and guarantees first class quality and services. LVG is not a travel agency but a unique boutique concierge service in Greece covering all the special demands of VIP clientele. Our highly experienced and enthusiastic team works passionate to make any clients vacation dream a reality.

DPN: You do have a great hospitality background in your career up to now. May you describe us this career up to now?

A career in tourism in Greece sounds like an easy thing, when you keep in mind a picture of Greece with thousands of sandy beaches and paradise islands. Although Greece has a natural advantage and is “on default” a very attractive touristic destination, does not mean that having a career and succeed in the domestic touristic field is an easy thing. I am working the last 15 years in tourism and from the very first years I was forced to pass all sections in tourism, which is not only accommodation but a range of services that are being connected to create the result – “happy client /visitor”. I had to work as waiter or stock controller of a hotel in order to understand how the procedure is and to comprehend the true meaning of hospitality. Facing the client every day and fulfilling his requests, not because you are forced but because you love it, have helped me filter which sector of tourism is the right for me personally. Being an employee in tourism had many advantages and many perspectives in my career but my dream was to open my own company and try to increase the incoming tourism in Greece. Therefore I opened in 2007 LVG, which is a dedicated boutique concierge office operating till today, despite the structural difficulties and problems, everybody faces when he does business in Greece.

DPN: You are talking 4 different languages. Is it a “must” that in your industry?

Languages are a “must “not only in tourism but in all sectors of economy. Handling with tourists all over the world indicates to the future tourism professionals the languages that they are obligated to know. English, French, German and Italian are the top languages needed. Here in Greece the last few years Russian and Chinese become very popular because of the increase of incoming tourism from China and Russia. However the thing that is the real “must” in tourism  , and I mention it because I have seen it all this years from simple people that are not involved professionally in tourism , is the smile and the true desire to serve  the visitors/clients.

DPN: If a young person would ask you if it would be a good idea to start his career in the hospitality industry what will be the first thing you will advise?

First thing is patience and second thing is the follow-up of events. Tourism has radically changed the last few years with the entry of internet and new technologies and anybody who wishes to get involved with the touristic sector has to follow-up all development in the society worldwide in order to create original touristic products. Anybody can understand that creating something original in tourism, needs time but mostly love and dedication

DPN: Greece is facing really difficult moments. Do you believe that a solid solution will come up for the country?
The Greek crisis raises big questions and the biggest is:
Can Greece find a solution, or is it just forestalling disaster? As a professional in Tourism I strongly believe that Greece could give up the euro, but not for good. Instead, it could take a "Eurozone holiday," temporarily sloughing off the obligations of the single currency and returning when the time was right. Being in the Eurozone, Greece is unable to restore its economic competitiveness by devaluing its currency. In this scenario, Greece would return to the drachma at a new exchange rate: one euro would equal one drachma. It would then devalue by nearly a quarter and return to the Eurozone after a few years had passed at, say, 1.3 drachmas to the euro. Such a measure would certainly cut labor costs and boost exports and at the same time make the touristic product of Greece more competitive in comparison with Turkey ‘s for example. Facing the today’s political status and after  Greece has announced it has succeeded in a debt restructuring deal with private sector lenders that this will help the country avoid default. This fact brings me to wonder again:
Is this the solid solution?
DPN: more specifically how do you see the tourism industry in Greece at the moment, especially durin the timing of the financial crisis?
In my opinion luxury tourism will not be affected so much from negativism that comes due to economical issues. From times to times it is also not bad to have a crisis, because visitors might consider a luxury destination cheaper in terms of value for money. What needs to be upgraded in Greece is the ''product'' or ''service''. Take your time and define luxury your way, then bring yourself into the position of the customer-tourist or luxury consumer in general and finally try to seek it in your market. You will then notice that it is not Greece but the separate individuals (not all but in average) that do not offer or care about luxury. Also consider that ''luxury'' might be the very thing you can experience in one and only place and nowhere else... So in conclusion it is in our hands to make our products and services or even our place to look and be understandable as unique and then you will also notice that Greece is quite small and beautiful and could be a very busy luxury destination for 12 months /year.

DPN: From which countries are most of your clients?

Crisis has affected everybody but yes I could say that unique clients that love luxury products are not and this is why I am still running my business! Traditionally my clients come from the UK, Switzerland, Germany and the USA but the last few years Russian clients seem to have a real persistence in any service that is called VIP. Unfortunately Greece has left efforts in attracting the Arabian market and any individual efforts cannot come to success without a central strategic touristic plan from the Greek government.

DPN: Which are the places that are being mostly preferred from your clients? May you name the top 3 destinations that you do facilitate?

Greece is a vacation paradise and every spot especially during summer period has its unique characteristic. However when we are talking about 5 star luxury holidays, few places can cover all the needs of VIP clientele. Mostly they prefer Crete, Mykonos, Santorini, and Rhodes where we can find accommodation that refers to their standards but Greece has the advantage of the maritime tourism. My top clients prefer renting a yacht and create a unique vacation plan that covers places that are not popular or crowded – You cannot imagine how many secret sandy beaches the Greek islands have!

DPN: Thodori, “vacation used to be a luxury, however in today’s world, it has become a necessity”. Comment us that.

 I never use the phrase necessity when I mention vacation. Vacation is something natural and this is why I will bring you a picture in mind: Blue sea -sandy beach – Two chairs- A table and a bunch of Greek mezze. This simple thing is vacation in Greece!

DPN: What’s your definition for “professionalism”?

Professionalism is love for what you are doing without trace of feasibility.

DPN: How is your standard day in the work?

Unfortunately in tourism you do not have a so called standard day in work. Especially in concierge services I feel that I am working 24/7 – ready for action!

DPN: Take us through one of your last projects.

As I told you before internet and new technologies is the future of tourism.  I try to discover the needs of my clients and combine them with internet. Therefore my last project is handling with e-commerce and is the website .  This website aims in helping my clientele discover Greece through google map and allow them understand the unique characteristic of the Greek touristic product.

DPN: Share with us the most important phone call you have ever received.

It was when I received a positive answer of creating a boutique concierge office inside the most luxury resort in Athens -Starwood Astir Palace. It was a phone call that really recompensed all my efforts in my professional career in tourism.

DPN: How do you see the future for Thodoris Katsibras?

I love challenges and I love creating original things- Tourism is my passion and despite the difficulties I face as a professional in tourism  here in Greece, if I could  turn back time I would once again operate in the touristic sector . For the future I really want to expand my work in the Arabian or the Russian market and I am willing to relocate in order to understand & feel the passion the people of those territories share about vacation.

DPN: What title would you give in the story of your life up to now?

A romantic professional of Greek tourism!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Interview 25: Ramy Aziziah-“Lost souls of distant love”

This time in DUBAI PROFILE NEWS (DPN), Ramy Aziziah (RA) takes us through the magical path of music and through that is presenting us some of his major achievements.

DPN: Ramy, originally you are from Syria; tell us some things about your country.

RA: When I talk about Syria i found myself talking about the rich history it has and how ancient Damascus is, but other than that I can’t talk much because I have grown up and spent all my life in Qatar. I would say that a 32 years man who lived in Syria would answer briefly way better than me, I visited there few times only and up on that I can say it was really nice.

DPN: Do you believe that a solution will come up for your country regarding the sad situation that is facing the last period of time?

RA: I don’t have any kind of a believe regarding this matter because am so lost in this entirely new type of situation happening there and there for I can’t think of a solution, I deeply wish that this will end soon and Syrians with our family’s and friends will live in peace in a peaceful country.

DPN: You grew up in Qatar. What this country means for you?

RA: Well just like anyone who has grew up in any place in this world where your childhood is and all memories and dreams have been based as the surrounding is growing up with the person, all these things create strong connections to the place you live in and it only means one word which is “Home”, that despite any other sad fact that any foreigner will experience while living at this side of the world.

DPN: Many people claims that Qatar is the next hot spot around the world, with many events ongoing, especially after the WORLD CUP 2022 to be awarded to the country. Do you agree with that opinion and if yes or not, why?

RA: It’s not that I agree or not. Obviously its booming here but I personally don’t know where it is going and what will happen more from now until that time.

DPN: You studied music in Qatar National Music Institute. Tell us a bit your experience there and some words about the Institute.

RA: I was 7 years old when I joined the Institute; it was quite big and full of all instruments, but no Guitars! So I studied classical music on piano & violin, the place environments was normal but it had a selected collection of music experts from all around the world, I finished my three years there. Then I found later that they closed down for unknown reasons! Not much to say though I had a lot of boring time there spent on practice.

DPN: Do you believe that Qatar is a country with people who have a good educational background in the field of music or still there is room to grow there?

RA: The majority of people in all the Arabic countries, not only just in Qatar, are into their local traditional music. This is the only educational background of the Arabic nation, which understands really well regarding music. This comes from my experience.

DPN: You started playing the classical guitar self-taught at the age of 12 and you turned into a professional at the age of 20. How easy was that?

RA: It was not easy though I had to focus in both my life and my music, and I knew judging from the environment from which I grew up in, in an earlier age that there must be some sacrifices from my life or my musical life. I did those sacrifices wisely because it was important to me to stand where it’s safe in the end, still, there is some life changing decisions I made that have caused some negative marks which remains in my life for the sake of my musical achievements. Still those will be facing me every day. But even thought, those were the best eight years of my life while my music character was created.

DPN: At the age of 16 you managed to become the youngest teacher in Qatar Music Institute, an achievement that took also a lot of publicity in the country. Tell us some words about this achievement.

RA: One day I’ve heard of the “Qatar private music institute”, and I basically wanted to know what do they have for guitar there, so I went there and decided to join them as a student. Then classes started, first day, second day and at the third day the institute manager came to me and told me with a smile on his face that he discovered my secret: “Ramy, why you are here?” Then, I honestly answered to him: “I am just having fun Sir, filling my time”. He replied to me by saying that it would be fun if I will start teaching the other students. That’s how it started and I stayed there to teach for two years.

DPN: Your biggest concert was entitled “The Classical Guitar Evening”. Take us through this experience.

RA: Out of the all the concerts which I did, this one was the most unique thing ever happened to me. One of my best friends surprised me, so he got sponsors and booked a concert hall for me and just announced that to me. Everything went really fast up to the time of the concert but it was the best among all other performances. The way I felt that evening was “magical”. Also the best audience I ever had attended it. You may watch it even in youtube by simple writing my name there.

DPN: You are a big fan of rock music. Which are your favorite bands?

RA: I like almost everything in rock music, even in metal music. My favorite taste of rock and metal is the instrumental side of it and my favorite musicians are, Tony Macalpine, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker and Joey Tafolla.

DPN: If your life was a song what the title shall be and who the performer of it and why?

RA: My life would be a song called “Lost soul of distant love” and the performer would be “the story teller of dimensions”. The reason is that nothing can be more fantasy than that.

DPN: Take us through a dream that never came true.

RA: Not to be a musician is a dream never came true.

DPN: A great project you did was the “Riding The Silence”. May you describe that for our readers?

RA: “Riding the silence” is my musical identification that reflects and show music the way I see it through my eyes. The name Riding the Silenceexplains the human escape from the new world life essentials which i call the forest of concrete that split the man kind from the natural original that God created us to live it. To a place where a human is real again, the mythical title Riding the Silence is that place where a person separate him/her self to find peace in a silent sphere that remind us of our original self in a middle of the hot life we are living which i call “decorated hel, the music in Riding the Silence” explains the suffering of human soul that is trying to find peace. So you ride the silence to go there. This will be always my solo album musical project that I did alone, that is how it is, solo albums is in working title mode to be released soon.      

DPN: Martin Luther, a German famous professor, said once that “music is a discipline, and a mistress of order and good manners, she makes the people milder and gentler, more moral and more reasonable”. Comment on that.

RA: I don’t completely agree with that aside of my respect to Martin Luther, people react with the music they hear as a receiver side. Musician is a sender side which means that the receiver “people” will have different feelings according to what type of music they are exactly hearing that reflect the psychological mode of the sender “musician”. Martin Luther maybe said that after hearing a certain type of music that delivered them this feelings, he might have heart some of J.S.Bach organ pipe etudes. What I want to say there is that music may translate all type of feelings not just the beautiful sensations and manners he experienced. It’s just that people don’t know that music can be dangerous in some levels when it says “mistress of order and good manners”. There is a music that delivers very bad feelings and can be seriously negative, and there is a music that will let you fly in galaxy’s and gives you a fantasy imagination, etc.

DPN: Recently you became also a business man in the music industry. Talk to us a bit about your company.

RA: it’s a 3 years old establishment that I did with my best friend and brother “Rami Hareth” of “Nervecell” based on our experience in musical instruments and music market in the area. Our SHREDDER’S PLANET music store is the house of B.C.Rich guitars / Cordoba classical guitar / Randall AMPS and others. It’s because we are musicians ourselves so we always knew what other musicians in the regions want starting from the brands ending with instrument care and services. It was a dream for both of us long time ago, then it started small and it grows until it became what it is today. A place for all musicians who are looking for the right treatment for their interests and instruments, 90 % of our customers are professional musicians who trust in our abilities and services, which leave us proud and satisfied. We wish more success to come within the years for us and for our friends in the music industry. You may check more in our website

DPN: Do have any words of wisdom?

RA: Wisdom always comes usually too late; wish I could have it the time when I missed judging things.

DPN: Any specific wish for 2012?

RA: Yes, I wish that all the forthcoming time to bring a better future for all the world.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Interview 24: Panagiotis Serdaris-Psychology talks

This time in DUBAI PROFILE NEWS (DPN) we do present a great personality, a Professor in Psychology, Mr. Panagiotis Serdaris. It is a really interesting interview from a person who has loads to say.

DPN: Professor Serdaris you lived many years in Bulgaria, during a difficult time. May you describe us that period of time?

PS: The social – politic ultimate systems do have the power within an X period to create a specific way of thinking and acting for a whole nation. The system of those years in Bulgaria managed to homogenize the society in the fields of finance, culture, education and work in exchange for their personal freedom and way of thinking. Something which we can still spot in some other countries nowadays.

DPN: What are the prospects for Bulgaria nowadays after entering the European Union?

PS: Bulgaria nowadays is living the dream, I could define it as an illusion somehow, and that managed to “open their eyes”. The privatization of everything along with the corruption in the society and in the financial sector changed totally the way of living of the people. When the country will be a 100% member of the European Union the people will turn into poverty as the cost of living will increase dramatically. Hopefully mistakes of mismanagement will not take place but nobody knows about that at this stage.

DPN: You are teaching psychology for many years. What the field of psychology means for you?

PS: Psychology is a field that nobody can claim that knows everything. In my specialty which is the “social psychology of management and personality”, it is quite challenging to understand the changes in the psychology of the society under the pressure of the social and economic trends that governments tend to apply worldwide.

DPN: Up to now you have a great academic career as already you have completed 2 PhD. What means for you this academic career?

PS: There are great psychologists worldwide that I do admire. My career and my work is just a small contribution in the procedure of finding ways to improve the quality of human relationships among the society. My aim is to motivate my students about the social/economical and psychological matters of the modern person so to be focused on that and at the end through their own scientific work to contribute in the society.

DPN: Describe us in few words your business career up to now?

PS: At the early beginning for 15 years worked in a special teaching unit while at the same time I was preparing my first PhD in order to broaden my horizons. During that time it was my worst period as I realized how fake were some people in front of the others that needed their support. After that I did continue my career as a professor and I do hope to remain there and offer as much as I can.

DPN: Your hometown is the city of Kozani in Greece. Describe us your place.

PS: Kozani is a city in the countryside of Greece. It is located at the Northwest part of the country. The city has a number of educational institutions as well. People here are described as “Surdi” which is a local idiomatic word to describe people that have a specific way of humor.

DPN:  During your childhood did you have any hero?

PS: I had a really difficult childhood. I used to work as a child and also I had a walking issue, things that didn’t really allow to me to have heroes in my life. Maybe the only hero I ever had were the dreams I had while I was a child, the dreams which inspired me to become who I am today.

DPN: Which is the most important phone call you have ever received up to now?

PS: The President of the educational institution in which I am a professor today when he called me and he said “tomorrow at 9.00 in the morning you are becoming a professor”. I was speechless as I saw my dream to become true.

DPN: If you had the power to solve one of the global issues which one would be?

PS: Nowadays, we are not talking about one problem only but regarding numerous problems that were created from the humanity. But if I could choose to solve only one problem then that would be the issue of the poverty which I do consider as a major one.

DPN: Professor which is your future plans?

PS: My future plan will still be research and writing about social psychology and management. I am really motivated to do as much work as possible in this field.

DPN: Describe us your daily routine.

PS: Every morning up to afternoon I am teaching and the rest of the day I am doing my research and also writing new essays. In the evenings I do go out with friends and colleagues and having interesting conversations which usually are about philosophical matters. Moreover, quite often I do have many visitors, people who need psychological support without getting paid for that as I do consider my job as that, I need to offer.

DPN: Share with us some wisdom words that life taught you.

PS: Mahatma Gandhi shared with the world in his thoughts the 7 sins, which I do agree with his way of thinking totally on that.

DPN: What exactly you do see when you look at the mirror?

PS: I do see my “alter ego” which criticizes really hard any mistake that I have done.

DPN: Professor, if your life was a movie what the title would be?

PS: “The man made from marble”.

DPN: May you describe us as a psychologist the definition of the term “Success”?

 PS: to succeed all the small targets that each person is having in his life. This daily success will lead into the total success at the end.

DPN: Describe us the most difficult situation in your life and how did you face it?

PS: Life brings us always in front of a number of difficult situations that we do have to face. I do believe that each person shall have trust in his own shelf so to solve all of them. I shall not name a specific experience of mine and how I did solve it as something like that would sound selfish “nobody is getting born as a hero, the situations make him to seem as that”.