Yiorgos Boudouris: Today’s Notable Young Entrepreneur

Imagine your title as the CEO of Acts of Greatness. What an intro. That’s exactly what Yiorgos Boudouris is able to call himself, with a mission to find ways to meaningfully support and contribute back to the LGBT community. Here’s how he does just that…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
As the Founder and CEO of Acts of Greatness, my mission is to find ways to meaningfully support and contribute back to the LGBT community.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I launched Acts of Greatness in January 2014. Through ongoing research, I recognized a gap in what’s out there for the LGBT community. While awards and scholarships exist for at-risk minorities across Canada, there are few for the LGBT secondary school-aged population specifically. I’ve made it my goal to change this.

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of my day is interacting with various LGBT members across the world. There are a lot of folks who are doing work that I’m very inspired by. The challenge at times is understanding what everyone is doing and where I can best be of help. I’m focussed on collaborating and partnering with others and it takes time to do this effectively.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
A year ago, I was in a job where I was told to work long hours on projects and tasks that provided me no personal satisfaction. I dreaded going into work every day. As a result I felt off-balance and everyone around me could see it. The most visible sign was that I gained weight. I didn’t have the time or energy to take care of myself the way I wanted to. I’ll never let myself fall into that situation again. For me now the focus is less on work/life balance and more on work/life integration. I’m not looking to separate one from the other – instead, I want to be myself (and take care of myself) at all times.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’d like to be at the premiere of a documentary I produced. Just putting that out there gives me shivers!

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
A major challenge has been staying true to myself. I know that sounds like a pageant answer but often times in work environments, I’ve been told to look and behave a certain way. There’s very little room for negotiation. Earlier in my career, I would change myself to fit in. Now, not so much. I’m certainly attentive to who my audience is and what they’re looking for. But in the end, authenticity matters. And I can only be this if I stay true to myself at all times.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
I only consider myself a success if I’m meaningfully contributing back to my community. If I’m not out there volunteering with local organizations or working on grassroots projects, then I’m doing something wrong.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
Recently, I started working on a project called Fabulous Alberta. It’s a photo and video journalism project that shares the stories of Alberta’s fabulous LGBT community. Part of the project will be a video series. You can watch the first video in the series here:

It’s important to capture these stories to give voice to a community we don’t often hear from. Watching this video for the first time made me feel such joy. It’s my new milestone, that’s for sure.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Ask questions. Don’t hesitate to figure out how the people you admire navigated their own paths. Send off those emails, coffee invites, etc. – just get in touch. If I didn’t do this, I couldn’t imagine being where I’m at today.

Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
Now this is a legitimately tough question to answer. We’re spoiled in Calgary – delicious Italian at Mercato, Mediterranean goodies at Aida’s, and a new restaurant called GreekTown that reminds me of my parents’ cooking. And all this fine cuisine is just in one neighbourhood! But there’s one place I think is just perfect. It’s called Wurst. It’s a restaurant that also has a beer hall in its basement. Everything about the place is awesome. If you’re in Calgary, be sure to visit. We can cheers over a Boot!

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
As a Calgarian, I’m supposed to say the mountains. And they’re indeed outstanding. But I can’t lie – I love an occasional night on the couch watching back-to-back episodes of a TV show. RuPaul’s Drag Race, anyone?

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
San Francisco. Hands down. I feel like myself there. It’s a city that’s got so much going on that it’s easy to find where you fit. I can’t say I feel that way about anywhere else I’ve visited. Every time I go to San Francisco, I feel recharged.

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
George Michael’s “Freedom! ‘90.” I can listen to this song on repeat for hours on end. “All we have to do now is take these lies and make them true somehow.” So good!

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I grew up in the restaurant industry. It tempts me every now and then. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up running a quaint little Cafe. 

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
I try to help out as much as possible. I’m always keen on working with youth, especially when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Currently, I’m a Voting Member with Greenpeace Canada, I’m serving as an Advisory Board Member with Zaypo, I’m a Youth Organizer with Amnesty International and I’m Guest Speaker with the United Way of Calgary’s ‘All In’ For Youth Initiative. I’ve also served as a Youth Advisor for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as well as a Youth Advisor for Parks Canada.

What to you is notable?
You’ve probably heard the quote, “Courage is being yourself everyday in a world that tells you to be someone else.” For me, this is actually an act of greatness and is indeed notable. Being yourself in an environment that may not fully support or understand you is something to be praised. 

Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
iPhone – though I secretly wish I used an Android.


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