Vickie’s father was born in Greece and immigrated to the United States. He was a surgeon and also gave back to his profession by teaching at Emory University. Her mother grew up in Marietta, GA. Vickie says she is one of the few natives left in Atlanta. She has two brothers, one followed in her father’s footsteps and became a surgeon and the other is an attorney. Atlanta was a great place to grow up, Vickie said. She has fond memories of her childhood. At the time of her teenage years it was on the verge of becoming an international city. In the 1960s it was still a big country town. Her family was respectful of and followed Greek cultural traditions. They went to Greece every year and Vickie is still so thankful to her family for giving her the gift of the Greek language. As children, her and her brothers attended both Sunday school and Greek school.
|Vickie with her grandson J.W.|
Mimi was a strong and dedicated member, always trying to make improvements to the way things were done. It was her idea to move the Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon from being strictly in New York City to changing locations throughout the United States so that many organizations across the country could benefit from this great Fund. Dina Skouras Oldknow was the President at the time and she thought it was a great idea and was very supportive. She saw this as a wonderful way to broaden the CMF’s reach and give local Chapters the opportunity to participate and have some input on a National level. The first CMFL outside of NYC was in Atlanta and Mimi Chaired the event with Vickie as her Co-Chair. Planning was done with local Chapter involvement. “The whole point of Mom’s thinking was inclusiveness, inclusiveness, inclusiveness.” Vickie says. It was a great success and the model they created of having a National Board meeting the day before the event instead of having a separate meeting in another location saved and continues to save on costs and carbon emissions. Mimi brought the organization into the 21st Century.
Mimi was appointed National Philoptochos President in 1994 by His Eminence Archbishop Iakovos of blessed memory. She worked to have Philoptochos programs known throughout the country and was in communication with everyone within the organization and without to make it happen.
Vickie was appointed to the National Board in 1991 after her participation in the CMFL. Vickie’s local Philoptochos Chapter has a wide range of ages, personalities and skills – it’s truly dynamic. Vickie said, “It’s not how much money you raise, it’s about participation. This is the key to success.” Both she and her daughter, also a member, have many friends within their Chapter. Her daughter, Mimi, is a prosecutor in Marietta, GA. In 1995 when Vickie was Chapter President they raised $18,000 from their Vasilopita luncheon. It was a milestone year and the ladies of the Chapter have continued to increase their fundraising amounts year after year. Vickie says it is one of their biggest fundraisers, everyone is very committed. The Chapter comes together and puts on a wonderful luncheon and of course they have delicious Easter bread available.
Outside of her commitments to the Church and her Philoptochos Chapter, Vickie has been a member of the Junior League of Atlanta for 35 years. The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women and improving communities.
Vickie is also a member, along with her daughter, of the Forward Arts Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to supporting and fostering the visual arts in Atlanta. Members actively promote cultural programming and individual artists through grants and other programs. Vickie and Mimi held a lecture on Byzantine Iconography. Many women were unfamiliar of this art form that is so closely tied to our Orthodox religion and they marveled at the beauty of it. “I’m very proud of our Church, our religion and our background.” Vickie said.
Vickie received her B.S. in Journalism from the University of Georgia. At that time she was working in her father’s office when a gentleman came in from North Carolina. He had cancer and unfortunately the prognosis was not a good one. This gentleman’s family would come with him on visits and this is how Vickie met her husband, Bill. He was in medical school in Memphis, TN at the University of Tennessee in Memphis and was visiting with his uncle whose doctor was Vickie’s father. Bill and Vickie married and Vickie received her Master’s in Journalism at the University of Memphis.
Vickie’s son Michael is an attorney, like his uncle and is expecting his first child in August. Her daughter has a son named J.W. Vickie is of coursing a doting grandmother and feels so grateful that she has her children close.
Vickie and her husband love to travel. They just returned from a cruise that went from Venice to Greece to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. They went to Ireland last year. But Vickie still loves going to Greece even if she has gone many times. She loves the Greek culture and the people. “Everyone is so nice.” Vickie says. She is so happy that she can speak the language and is cognizant of the fact that it is greatly appreciated in Greece.
Vickie has a can-do attitude and her love of life, her heritage, her religion and her belief in philanthropy are truly what make her a Philoptochos member we should all strive to emulate.
The plate pictured is an Easter plate that was commissioned for the 60th Anniversary of the Agia Paraskevi Chapter in Molai, Greece. Vickie’s paternal grandmother, Vasiliki Skandalakis, was the founding President in 1929. Vickie’s cousin was the President for the 60th Anniversary in 1989. Vickie’s aunt, her father’s older sister, sent it to her when she found out that Vickie was elected President of her Chapter. The plate now hangs in Vickie’s den and is very meaningful to her.