Michael Halikias is currently a jack of many trades. Through a number of family-owned businesses, he helps both community members in the Chicago area and Greek Americans all over the United States. He is one of the founders of the Republic Bank of Chicago, the National Hellenic Museum and the Odyssey Country Club. Too, he sits on the advisory board of the Pan Hellenic Scholarship Foundation and has a heavy hand in his family’s nonprofit organization called the Halikias Family Foundation. While this full plate keeps Halikias very busy, he is dedicated and passionate about sharing his Greek culture with others.
Through his work with the National Hellenic Museum, Michael Halikias educates others about the significant impact that Greek culture has had on American society. The museum offers to the public exhibits, educational programs and special events to introduce various topics in Greek history. Proud of his family’s heritage, Halikias sees this as an opportunity to portray the importance of Greek culture to the world.
Additionally, Michael is very proud of his role on the advisory board of the Pan Hellenic Scholarship Foundation. This foundation awards scholarships to Greek American students to reward them for living with Hellenic values and to assist them in becoming contributing members to society. These 20 awards are based on academic achievement and/or financial need. The foundation also awards a study abroad program to college students. For 5 weeks, eligible students have both educational and cultural experiences in Greece. Through a multitude of resources, Halikias manages to help others while spreading positive influence from the Greek community.
Growing up, Michael Halikias learned to focus much of his time on both his heritage and bettering the community. These family values were centerfold in the Halikias household. His family instilled within him the importance of Greek history as well as a call to help the less fortunate. Since childhood, he has enjoyed the way his familial roots have implanted themselves in all facets of his life. Whether through his community work or family businesses, Halikias has managed to incorporate his Greek heritage into just about everything that he does. His diverse accomplishments have also proven him to be a man of many interests and talents.
Michael Halikias has always been active within the Greek Orthodox Church. Chosen by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew for his superior service to the Church and leadership in the Orthodox Christian community, Halikias was named an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in America. When sworn in, Halikias promised “to defend and promote the Orthodox Christian tradition”, an oath he has taken very seriously. He has since then done everything in his power to promote the Church as well as the values of the Greek community. His involvement with the Church has brought him much satisfaction and joy, and has also manifested itself in his work life.
Michael Halikias’s family shared the same appreciation for Greek culture that molded most of Michael’s life. Their foundation, which Michael came to help run, is a nonprofit organization that supports the Hellenic arts. The Halikias Family Foundation set out to spread appreciation for Greek culture throughout Chicago as well as the rest of the country. By supplying additional support to the National Hellenic Museum, the foundation also hoped to convey the important role Greeks have held throughout history.
Halikias was one of the founders of the National Hellenic Museum. It was the only national institution to portray the various contributions that Greek Americans have made to American art, culture and society. The museum displayed and celebrated Greek history and culture from ancient times to modern day.
Some notable exhibit topics have included Gods, Myths and Mortals, the Holocaust in Greece, Greek Immigration and the Story of Greek Independence. Additionally, Michael Halikias has hosted various educational programs at the museum that have been targeted at all different age groups. No matter what age, a person interested in Greek culture has always been able to find something of interest at the National Hellenic Museum. Too, the museum has hosted two annual events known as the Ambrosia Ball and Kouzina. The Ambrosia Ball celebrates the anniversary of the museum’s opening and has a different theme each year. This past year’s theme was Apokries, the Greek carnival season, and the event included dinner, dancing and live entertainment. Kouzina celebrates the culture of Greece, specifically food and wine. It has consistently been an opportunity for businesses and organizations to come together in celebration.
Michael and his family have also provided families with areas they can go for both celebrations and amusement. The Odyssey Country Club, in Tinley Park, Illinois, is a gorgeous venue available for weddings, luncheons or business events. Dedicated to providing exquisite service, the club also offers restaurants and catering with food prepared by an executive chef. Additionally, the country club is home to a golf course developed with assistance from two-time U.S. Open Champion Curtis Strange. It was ranked within the top 15 public golf courses in Chicago.
There are two Illinois Odyssey Fun World locations, in Tinley Park and Naperville. This business opened in 1995 with the goal of providing family fun. Both locations have brought families much excitement and bonding time with their ball pits and indoor rides. As well, both locations offer vast outdoor activities and have been proven as excellent spots for children’s birthday parties.
Shortly after the opening of Odyssey Fun World, Michael’s exemplary leadership awarded him a great honor. In 1996, he was sworn into the Military Order of the Knights Templar. Immediately, his dedication and passion were noticed. He even earned a promotion to Commander in the Order.
In addition, Michael Halikias’s numerous contributions to the Greek American community landed him a seat on the advisory board of the Pan Hellenic Scholarship Foundation. As was mentioned previously, this organization awards Greek American students with both scholarships and opportunities to study abroad in Greece. The scholarships have been funded by business and community leaders in addition to private donors. Each year, twenty students have been granted $10,000 based on both academic achievement and financial need while another twenty students have received $2,500 based solely on their academic achievements. The study abroad program has been funded by the Hellenic Birthright program, which grants 20 students this amazing opportunity. To be eligible, students must have Hellenic ancestry, demonstrate financial need and have never been to Greece before. Eligible students would be between the ages of 18 and 25.
Michael Halikias also displayed a passion for financial assessment. Not only has he consistently taken it upon himself to manage his family’s assets in the stock market, he has continually produced returns that would surprise most professional investors. This passion may have formed out of his family’s venture into the banking industry. The Halikias family introduced to the public the Republic Bank of Chicago. The 16 locations in the Chicago area were created offering banking services for individuals as well as businesses. The Republic Bank of Chicago has been yet another demonstration of the Halikias commitment to the community.
Something else Michael enjoys doing in his spare time is boating and yachting. Taking this hobby to the fullest extent, he has even constructed his own yachts. While this may seem uncommon, an incident from his past led him to appreciate the care and detail that goes into building each boat. Halikias was working with a company to build a specific yacht, when the company suddenly went bankrupt. Halikias ended up finishing construction on his own. Ever since then, building his boats has meant a lot to him. Michael Halikias enjoys sailing to various places, but most often he has sailed Lake Michigan, the Carribean, or the Mediterranean.
With a diverse and involved past, Michael Halikias remains unsure of what business ventures the future might bring. What he does know is that his dedication to the Greek community will be clearly demonstrated in all future endeavors. As both a Greek history buff as well as an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Halikias is profoundly inspired by the feats of his ancestors and the values they instilled in following generations. He hopes to bring this Greek pride to the general public so that they might respect Hellenic culture in the same way. With his influence at the National Hellenic Museum and the Pan Hellenic Scholarship Foundation, Michael intends to improve the appreciation Greek Americans have for their roots.
Helping others brings him great satisfaction. He plans to expand on the ways in which his professional positions offer opportunities to better his Chicago community. Whether with nonprofit organizations or a family business, he hopes to affect the lives of many in a positive manner.
While Halikias plans to enjoy watching his family’s businesses thrive and grow, he also looks forward to indulging in some of his hobbies. Yachting and managing assets in the stock market have brought much joy to his life, so he would like to continue on those paths. Perhaps after making some profit from stocks, he will treat himself to a long voyage on his self-made yacht. Previously, he has dedicated just about all of his time to his work life. Michael Halikias looks forward to having some time off to peacefully sail the Mediterranean.