Despina Ioannou Axiotakis was born in Asgata, Limassol, Cyprus and emigrated to the United States with her family in 1956. She is the seventh of eight children of Kyriacos and Maria Ioannou. After graduating high school, Despina attended the Traphagen School of Fashion and worked at her father’s summer resort in the Catskill Mountains. Following in her parents footsteps, Despina owned and ran the Olympia Hotel in upstate New York for many years before retiring from the hotel business.
Despina became active in the political arena, serving the presidential campaigns of Governors Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton as well as that of Finance Director for Chris Evangel for Congress. She has served on the Board of the Church of the Assumption, Windham, New York. While serving as President of the Asgata Association “Cyprus” Woman’s Division, she founded the Asgata Youth and Dance Divisions which included teaching the group Greek and Cypriot Dances and published the “Asgata Newsletter”. She served the Cyprus Federation of America in many positions including General Secretary for over 30 years. She serves as Executive Director of the Cyprus U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a non-for profit organization helping to foster trade relations between the U.S. and Cyprus for over 18 years. She has organized many fundraisers and Greek concerts.
Despina was the recipient of the Panpahian Association’s “Distinguished Fellow Cyprian” award. In April of 2008, she was also honored by the Synthesmos Apothimon Asgatiton in Cyprus. Despina was honored by the Asgata Association “Cyprus” in November of 2008 and was awarded a Certification of Recognition by The Society of Foreign Consuls in New York celebrating International Women’s Day in March of 2011. Despina was awarded a Proclamation by the Council of the City of New York for upholding the Hellenic tradition of outstanding service to the community on the celebration of the 193rd Anniversary of Greek Independence. Despina is President of Axiocom Productions, a public relations firm specializing in event planning and stays active in her local community as well as her beloved Cypriot Community.
Despina was devoted to her late husband John, their two children Lucas and Rena and is the proud grandmother of five, John, Daniel, Thomas, Despina Demetria and Nikki.