Home Community Pancretan Association of America (PAA) Elects Diane Kounalakis as First Woman President

Pancretan Association of America (PAA) Elects Diane Kounalakis as First Woman President

History was made at the 48th Annual Convention of the Pancretan Association of America (PAA) in Cleveland, Ohio when hundreds of delegates from around the United States gathered together to unanimously elect their first woman President since the organization was founded in 1929.

Diane Kounalakis, who lives in Hillsborough, California, was elected President on July 3, 2023. She has been a member of the Pancretan Association since 1978 and has held numerous positions both locally and nationally over the past four decades. For the past five years she has served on the PAA Board as Vice-President of Communications, overseeing the website, social media sites, and the magazine KPHTH, one of the longest running printed cultural publications in the country. In addition to her roles on the national board, she also served locally as President of the Cretan Youth of San Francisco (1981-85) and the Epimenides/Ariadne chapter of PAA (2001-2006) and was co-chair of the National Pancretan Conventions in 1983 and 2017, both held in San Francisco, CA.

Diane is married to Jeffrey Baxter and has two children, Antonios and Victoria Baxter.

“I am humbled and honored to serve as the first female leader of the PAA,” noted Kounalakis. “I owe a debt of gratitude to my late parents Antonios and Vasiliki Kounalakis who immigrated to the United States in 1954 and were always very proud Cretans. In 1978, they brought me to my first PAA convention in Salt Lake City, UT and that was a turning point for me. From that point on, I devoted my time and energy to the mission of the PAA”.

The PAA is one of the oldest cultural, educational and philanthropic organizations in the United States. It serves thousands of members across the country offering graduate and undergraduate scholarships, cultural programs in the US and abroad, and robust philanthropic efforts that have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for philanthropies throughout Crete and Greece.

In 2022, Kounalakis and the PAA Executive Board organized a successful excursion to Crete. The week-long program brought hundreds of members to Crete, some for the first time, including third and fourth generation children, who traveled together throughout Crete to discover their roots.

 “I have a passion and commitment for the work that we do, for the members that we serve, and for the significant impact that our programs have in the US and in Crete. I also understand the historical significance of my election. The PAA has a long legacy of firsts and I am proud to be the first woman in our 94-year history to be elected President of the PAA. Over the next two years, I look forward to working with my new board to fulfill the mission of the PAA and to accomplish many new milestones that will continue to enhance the legacy of the Pancretan”.

For further information about the Pancretan Association of America, you can visit their website at www.pancretan.org.