top of page

YOUTH & YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY AGENCY PUBLISHES ROSTER OF DIRECTORS

WASHINGTON, DC – At its inaugural meeting on December 3, the Board of Directors of the newly blessed Youth & Young Adult Ministry Agency met to begin this important work in the life of the Church. The members of the Board are as follows:

Bp. Thomas Joseph, Episcopal Liaison | Charleston, WV

Personal Bio: Bishop Thomas (Joseph) was born in Pater-son, New Jersey in 1953. He attended John F. Kennedy High School in Paterson, graduating in 1970. He went on to college at William Paterson College, graduating in 1974. After college, he worked in the Department of Community Improvements in Paterson, then served as a teacher for the Paterson Board of Education. Church Ministry: Bp. Thomas was recruited by Fr. John Namie to serve as one of the original camp counselors at Antiochian Village from 1979 to 1982. In 1979 he be-gan studies at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Semi-nary. He continued his studies until the spring of 1983, and on August 28, 1994 he ordained to the priesthood. Bp. Thomas was elevated to the rank of archimandrite, and on December 5, 2004, he was consecrated to the episcopacy in Damascus, Syria. Bishop Thomas was en-throned as Bishop of Oakland and the East at St. George Cathedral in Pittsburgh on May 6, 2005. He has been chair of the Assembly of Bishops Committee for Youth since its inception in 2010.

Educational/Professional Background: August of 2006, Bp. Thomas graduated summa cum laude with a Doc-torate in Education from California Coast University. He sits on the editorial board of the journal Christian Bioeth-ics, which is published by Oxford University Press.

Hopes and Prayer for our New Agency: “That it be-comes a hospital for our sins, especially those of our youth, and those who have been charged with the re-sponsibility of leading us in the ministering to our youth, God willing,”


 

Eric Namee, Board Chairman | Wichita, KS

Parish: St. Mary, Wichita, KS

Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Personal Bio: Eric and his wife Tracy reside in Wichita, Kan-sas. They are blessed with three adult sons and six grand-children. Church

Ministry: Eric serves as President of the Virginia H. Farah Foundation, a private foundation dedicated ex-clusively to supporting the work of the Orthodox Church. Both as an attorney and a philanthropist, he has assisted hundreds of Orthodox organizations and ministries. He is the founder of Orthodox Ministry Services, a nonprofit or-ganization dedicated to helping Orthodox organizations, parishes and ministries improve their operations and ef-fectiveness. He serves on the board of Orthodox Chris-tian Prison Ministry and is a trustee emeritus of St. Vladi-mir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary.

Educational/Professional Background: Eric holds a B.B.A. in Accounting from Wichita State University and a J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law. He is founder and managing member of Hinkle Law Firm in Wichita, Kansas, and practices in the areas of employee benefits, taxation, tax litigation, and nonprofit law. He is also a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the National Advisory Council of the Wichita State University Endow-ment Association, and a guest instructor on tax proce-dure at the University of Kansas School of Law.

Hopes and Prayer for our New Agency: “This agency was unanimously approved by the Assembly of Bishops reflecting their collective commitment to our youth and young adults. With the support and encouragement of the Assembly, this agency will do transformational and unprecedented work to make our Orthodox Faith alive and relevant to the next generation.”


 


Dn. Justin Bosl, Board Vice Chairman | Hayward, CA

Parish: Resurrection, Castro Valley, CA

Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Personal Bio: Dn. Justin is married to Annmarie, and they have four children ages 12-18. He is deeply involved in the Boy Scouts of America, having served as a den lead-er, cubmaster, merit badge counselor, and now as Dis-trict Chair and Council Executive Committee for the Golden Gate Area Council. Dn. Justin is also a Trekkie, as well as a 49ers, Oakland A’s and GS Warriors fan.

Church Ministry: Converted at Resurrection in 2004. He served seven years on the Parish Council, two years as president. Ordained a Deacon April 2021. Member of Leadership 100, Archdiocesan Legal Committee, SF Metropolis Parish Support Team, and the Board of St. Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center. Also on the Board of FOCUS North America. Currently completing a M.Div. through the Antiochian House of Studies.

Educational/Professional Background: BA from Francis-can University of Steubenville, JD from University of San Francisco. Partner at Kazan, McClain, Satterley & Greenwood, Oakland, CA. Serves on the Board of his firm’s charity Foundation and on the Board of the Ala-meda County Law Library.

Hopes and Prayer for our New Agency: “That we will be able to work together as an Orthodox Church to assist our parishes in creating vibrant ministry that will result in faithful Orthodox Christians for generations to come. This will have a transformative effect not only on those young people, but on each of their families as well.”


 


Nick Lekas, Secretary | Hudson, OH

Parish: Annunciation, Akron, OH

Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Personal Bio: Nick has been a business owner 20 years. His first wife died of cancer, but is now married again, to a wonderful, crazy Orthodox convert. They have five kids between them, dozen grandkids, one of which (wife’s) is HCHC grad along with her husband.

Church Ministry: Nick left the church for a decade, but back through prodding of first wife, to the Akron parish, found a home, and never left. Past parish president, festi-val co-chair, project manager for $1MM parish atrium and $2MM centennial parish improvements which in-cludes 2Ksqft for foodbank program. Currently serves as an archon, member of L100, vice-chair of metropolis council, member of GOA Finance Committee, and pro-ject manager for new metropolis center. Longtime finan-cial supporter of Y2AM, Metropolis Summer Camp, OCF, YAL, OVM/Crossroads, Hellenic College – Holy Cross.

Educational/Professional Background: MS in engineering from Case Western Reserve University. Worked as engi-neer for years, eventually project management and product/process management, mostly for GE Lighting. Served as VP of manufacturing for smaller companies, then purchased small manufacturing company 20 years ago. He has volunteered for over 20 years as an outplacement counselor for the newly unemployed.

Hopes and Prayer for our New Agency: We are so over-the-top pleased with any/every effort that is made for the sake of our youth, having personally suffered the lack of connection growing up… [we are passionate about] a Christ-centered experience, of Christ-centered faith”


 

Drake Behrakis, Treasurer | Sudbury, MA

Parish: St Nicholas, Lexington, MA

Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Personal Bio: Drake Behrakis resides with his wife and three children and dog, Lola, in Sudbury, Massachusetts. His personal interests include traveling, golf, skiing and wine collecting Church Ministry: Raised at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lowell, MA. Involved with GOYA, Youth Bas-ketball and served as an Altar Boy.

Educational/Professional Background: Drake is President of Marwick Associates, a real estate investment and development company located in Lexington, Massa-chusetts. Marwick is the real estate arm of a family owned privately held investment company. He is also active in the Behrakis Foundation, the family’s philan-thropic vehicle. Prior to establishing Marwick, he held various positions with Muro Pharmaceutical, Inc. and the Gillette Company. He has a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Boston College and an MBA from North-eastern University.

Hopes and Prayer for our New Agency: That we will “bring together all pan-Orthodox youth to strengthen the bond of Orthodoxy.”


 


Neno Djordjevic, Board Member | Park Ridge, IL

Parish: Holy Resurrection Cathedral, Chicago, IL

Jurisdiction: Serbian Orthodox Church in North, Central, and South America

Personal Bio: Neno lives in Park Ridge, Illinois. He is a sin-gle father to an amazing 7-year old girl, and counts him-self fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive large extended family. In his spare time, he is a FAA-certificated private pilot and enjoys flying around the Midwest in his Cessna 172. His favorite sports teams are the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Fire.

Church Ministry: Baptized and raised at Holy Resurrection Cathedral, his current parish. As a child he served in the altar, read the epistle, and later taught Sunday School. He also served as President of the Board of Trustees of St. Sava Academy. Neno has helped the church and bish-ops in various capacities, including with communications and governmental outreach.

Educational/Professional Background: BA in political sci-ence from George Washington University (2002), and Masters level courses at the University of London. From 2007 he has worked in the insurance and risk manage-ment field, earning Certificates in Risk Management and as an Insurance Counselor. Currently serving as Director for Business Development at Origin Specialty Underwrit-ers. He serves as Chairman of the Eastern European Community Engagement Council.

Hopes and Prayer for our New Agency: “To me, if we begin programs that impact young people directly, posi-tively, bring them spiritual joy, give them sustenance in an often confusing world – that is the key to sustainable growth and fruitful ministry as it will expand over time, one meaningful encounter at a time.”


 

Tassos & Katina Gianakakos, Board Member | Scottsdale, AZ

Parishes: Assumption, Scottsdale, AZ; and Holy Cross Belmont, CA

Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

Personal Bio: Tassos and Katina both grew up in Chicago and currently live with their three boys Manoli (15), James (13) and Alexander (11) in the Scottsdale, AZ ar-ea. They are all huge Chicago Cubs fans and generally love most Chicago teams (maybe not the White Sox). They have an incredible extended family still in Chicago and are very committed to their relationships with them. The Gianakakos family loves to eat out and travel when-ever they can.

Church Ministry: Tassos grew up in the St. Demetrios Chi-cago Church – Altar Boy, Sunday school, Greek School – and has been on the Holy Cross Belmont Parish Council since 2014. Katina grew up in the St. John’s Des Plains and St. Nectarios Palatine communities and was Vice President of the Greek School.

Educational/Professional Background: Katina is a physician by training, receiving her MD from Rush Medical Center, where she was also a resident. Tassos has an engineering and economics degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a graduate degree in biotechnology from Northwestern University, and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Since starting in vaccine research at Merck & Co. over 20 years ago, Tassos has started-up multiple biotech-nology companies. Most recently, Tassos was CEO of Myo-Kardia.

Hopes and Prayer for our New Agency: “Our children are experiencing incredible challenges, confronted with darkness at every turn. They need the light that is Christ and Orthodoxy to be bright within them.”


 


Melissa Kean, Board Member | Houston, TX

Parish: St. George, Houston, Texas

Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America Hopes and Prayer for our New Agency: “I hope to give our children the strength they will need to survive as Christians in a world that attacks that faith from all directions.”


 


Protodeacon David Keim, Board Member | Cary, NC

Parish: All Saints, Raleigh, NC

Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America

Hopes and Prayer for our New Agency: “[That it] will be a vehicle whereby the lives of people being transformed into images of Christ – our Board members, Agency leadership, Facilitators, etc. – can be shared with young people, drawing them ever nearer to Christ and His holy Church.”


 


Subdeacon Patrick (Jeremy) Pletnikoff | Fairbanks, AK

Parish: St. Herman of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK

Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America

Personal Bio: Except for three years in southern Oregon, Sbdn. Patrick (Jeremy) has lived in Alaska his entire life. He and his wife Jasmine have been married for 16 years and they have two daughters, ages 14 and 12. He is Senior Vice President/Commercial Loan Manager at Mt. McKin-ley Bank headquartered in Fairbanks. His hobbies include golfing, spending time with family at their lake property, and refereeing basketball.

Church Ministry: For the past decade Sbdn. Patrick has served on the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Alaska, and recently completed two terms as the lay representa-tive for the Diocese of Alaska on the Metropolitan Council of the Orthodox Church in America. He was blessed to serve as a Subdeacon by Bishop Innocent in 1998, later being ordained a Subdeacon by Bishop Nikolai.

Educational/Professional Background: Sbdn. Patrick grad-uated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 2005 with a degree in Russian Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. He has worked in banking for 20 years (15 years at his current employer). He was selected as a “Top 40 under 40” by the Alaska Journal of Commerce, as well as “Top 40 Under 40” by the Independent Banker in 2020. Sbdn. Patrick recently graduated from the Pacific Coast Bank-er’s School, a masters level program for bankers facilitat-ed through the University of Washington.

Hopes and Prayer for our New Agency: “With two young daughters, I’m very interested in anything that can help our youth engage and stay engaged in the church. There are a number of siloed resources that don’t cross over jurisdictions. I’m very hopeful that the efforts of this agency will help us unify our ministry to youth and young adults.”

Comments


bottom of page