Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Interview 1: Harris Davlas means “PR”

Harris Davlas (HD) is the first person who is opening the series of interviews that DUBAI PROFILE NEWS Blog (DPN) will host. Public Relations is his life. Born in Greece, worked along with great names of the International Showbiz such as Mr. Tommy Hilfiger. From a small neighborhood of Athens, to the cosmopolitan London and New York, this person writes his own story together with his brother, when they decided to work together and create the firm “DAVLAS AND PARTNERS” (www.davlaspr.gr), after leaving a sparkling career in the Events and Hospitality industries. A genuine star behind the VIP celebrities, who stuck…only in the Airports! Enjoy his interview!

DPN: Harris, did you have any heroes or role models during your childhood?
HD: Not really. I come from a middle class family that worked really hard to provide our needs, so I guess my parents were my role models.

DPN: As a person from the sparkling events industry what big world events do you remember from the time you were growing up?
HD: I was really obsessed with watching the Oscars. It was a really important night for me. Maybe because I was a cinefile all along from my early years. But it was all about watching the Actors and actresses and less about the glam of it all.

DPN: When you were a teenager, what did you do for fun? Did you have a favorite spot to “hang out”?
HD: Although I grew up in the west and less fortunate suburbs of Athens, I spent most of my teenage years hanging out in cafes and bars in “KIfissia” (a posh suburb in the North of Athens). Our favorite spots were “Musi Café” (a place that of course doesn’t exist anymore) and “Aftokinisi” (a legendary club of Athens).

DPN: Have you ever had any nicknames as a child or as an adult? Where did they come from?
HD: No I did not. I guess even If I did have I would never know as they were probably calling me names behind my back.

DPN: What’s the most memorable phone call you’ve ever received in your life?
HD: My brother calling me to discuss the possibility of doing business together.

DPN: If you had the power to solve one and only one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
HD: I don’t really know which power I need to posses in order to terminate world hunger. I wish I did.

DPN: How do you define a “good life”?
HD: The ‘luxury’ to travel and decide where and when to go next without thinking schedules, appointments and physical presence at the office.  

DPN: Athens, London or New York is the “home” of Harris Davlas?
HD: There were periods of my life that I called different cities as my “hometown”.   I was born in Athens, moved to London for studies and work, returned to Athens and set up my business and now I am dividing my time between Athens and New York (where I continue to study). Technically I live in Athens but my mind is constantly in New York.

DPN: Explain your career path to date? Why did you choose the jobs you have had?
HD: I did not choose my job. It chose me.  I never thought that i will be involved in the P.R & Communications business.  When i was studying in London i was really in need for money and i got a job as a secretary to Mrs. Chrysanthy Lemos (a prominent figure that has been working with various charitable foundations, organising fundraising events). I really liked the job and i worked hard enough to get promoted to events organizer. Then i got a job at the Metropolitan hotel as guest relations manager (where i dealt with VIPS/Celebrities and organising press junkets and more corporate events). On my return to Greece i was hired by Grecotel S.A (the largest hotel chain in Greece) in the communication department. I learned the hard way as the working environment in Greece was totally different from the one in U.K. After 6 years in Grecotel we formed with my brother (that he was already a P.R consultant) our own firm, Davlas & Partners, which started out as an events organising company and today is an upscale 360 communications  agency.

DPN: What’s your typical day like now?
HD: My day starts by looking my emails and messages on my blackberry (usually in bed) and then I go to my office where I start working on current projects. I usually divide my time at the office between current projects, presentations for any specs that my company is involved and last but not least on my company’s promotion and management.  If I have an event to organize, my team and myself will go to the location as early as possible to check every last minute detail and then we start the ‘show”. If I don’t have an event to organize or attend I usually head to the gym and then home for a quiet night or prepare my papers for the next day. I usually work weekends as well as it is the only time that I am alone in the office and that’s when I am more productive.

DPN: One of the most interesting projects you have executed was the “Tommy Hilfiger brand’s 10 year anniversary on the Greek market”, in which Mr. Hilfiger was present, would you like us to describe the experience?
HD: First of all, i would like to say that the Tommy Hilfiger project was the the most important and successful project of my career. I worked with 3 different teams from 3 different countries for 7 months. The knowledge i acquired from this collaboration is equivalent to doing a masters in P.R in any of the most prestigious Universities. We organized 3 different events in 2 days, while at the same time we held 20 interviews with Mr. Hilfiger. Everything had to work on a time limit and run smoothly at the same time.  It was all about punctuality, precision and discipline.

DPN: Describe us the most interesting celebrity you ever met.
HD: Princess Diana, for all the obvious reasons!

DPN: You managed up to now various VIP marriages, which one was the most impressive?
HD: I guess the most impressive was a wedding we organized in Mykonos 2 years ago. It was a big project that we were working on for 6 months. We transformed a beachfront into a nightclub and we worked really hard on every single detail. But it was also important as the bride was one of my dearest friends, so the stress and expectations were really high. It all went well and I guess it was one of the weddings of the decade!

DPN: What 15 years of PR means for you?
HD: Hard work, a lot of experience and many valuable lessons (and a little bit of glamour).

DPN: Share with us an important thing you learned from your work experience.
HD: “You are as good as your last movie”.

DPN: Share with us an idea that just didn’t make it.
HD: Many ideas that we were working on did not materialize. One of them was a grand scale dinner gala for the official launch of Dior in Greece. Unfortunately there were fires in most parts of Greece, that destroyed many forests and villages and a lot of people died. So it seemed meaningless to organize such an event in a time of Grief.

DPN: If you could have three wishes, what would they be?
HD: World peace, end of poverty and personal enlightment

DPN: If you won $1 million tomorrow, what would you do with the money?
HD: As I am addicted to work, I would probably invest some of it at new projects at work and I will buy a condo in Miami.

DPN: What do you see when you stand in front of the mirror?
HD: A man that is getting older gracefully, inside and outside

DPN: In case you were writing the story of your life, what title would you give?
HD: ‘The Terminal’ a movie with Tom Hanks, as I am always stuck in an airport waiting for a connecting flight.

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