Constantine “Chris” Pavlides (1946 – 2009)
“Chris” Pavlides was Founder, Chairman and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group, from its beginnings in the spring of 2002 until his untimely death in November of 2009. The Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c) 6 PA corporation. GPSEG is the largest C-level executive networking organization in the tri-state region.
Prior to his passing, Chris was an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the General & Strategic Management Department of the Fox School of Business of Temple University. For several years, he served as the Executive Director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute and was a member of the Steering Committee for the Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures of the Fox School of Business, during which period he elevated the ranking of IEI to the top 10 entrepreneurship programs in the nation.
Previous positions included COO & CFO of Edison, NJ-based StrikeForce Technologies Inc, a software development ,internet security company; and CFO of a VC-backed, high tech start up, Electron Direct LLC, in Wilmington, DE. Before that, Chris held several senior management positions at such companies as Conoco Inc, AT&T Capital Corp., Kidder Peabody and Chase Manhattan Bank.
Chris received a BA in Economics from Kutztown University and an MBA in Finance and International Business from City University of New York. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers. He was also a member of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Chairman of its Global Entrepreneurship Interest Group; the Small Business Institute; and the International Council of Small Businesses.
Chris was also a member of the Partners Board of BioLaunch 611 + Keystone Innovation Zone/BioStrategy Partners and the Advisory Board of the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship - Philadelphia Chapter. He held memberships in the Mid-Atlantic Capital Alliance, the Eastern Technology Council and the Association for Corporate Growth. Chris frequently shared his knowledge and enthusiasm as a frequent speaker and moderator for regional and national entrepreneurship and networking conferences.
Only weeks prior to his untimely death, Chris was asked to submit the following as a part of the “This I Believe” series for WHYY –FM public radio. We at GPSEG believe that all who read this treatise will be inspired by Chris’s own words.
This I Believe
I believe in two simple ideas: America has always been and continues to remain the land of opportunity and that “giving is better than receiving”. My whole life has followed suit.
Born in Athens, Greece, I yearned to fulfill my dreams of good education and business success in the United States. In 1969, after high school, with 73 dollars in my pocket, I came to America. It was hard work but “love at first sight”.
The second child of a police officer, I was the only one of my three brothers and sisters to immigrate. And, I found boundless opportunities.
After settling in Pennsylvania, I worked during the day and studied English and public speaking at Penn State at night. I later focused on economics and graduated from Kutztown University, followed by an MBA in Finance from CUNY. Early on, I learned that networking is the cornerstone of opportunity. It opens doors. It’s how I landed my first job and every job since then.
Networking took me from New York City to Europe to Washington DC to Stamford CT to Houston and finally to Philadelphia. Philadelphia is now home for me and my wife. My career journey included executive positions in international banking, corporate America, entrepreneurship and academia. Finally in 2002, I followed my life’s passion and founded, and still chair, the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group whose motto is “Networking for Life”.
GPSEG with close to 1000 top executive members in several states is a power house for business development through networking.
What I didn’t anticipate, was how much pleasure and pride I received from helping others. Over the years I had numerous personal experiences from referring colleagues into new executive careers, to coaching young executives or entrepreneurs starting new ventures to mentoring students launching their businesses.
As a proud American, I have come full circle from practicing to teaching entrepreneurship… giving back and helping others appreciate opportunities right here in my beloved Philadelphia. The simplest lessons are sometimes the hardest to learn. Creating opportunities for others will create opportunities for you. “Giving is better than receiving”. It always comes back to you. THIS I BELIEVE.
Founder & Chairman