After several years working in corporate communication, public relations and marketing, DEREE alumnus and former DEREE instructor in Management, Dimitris Michopoulos joined Weber Shandwick Greece as Managing Director in early 2014.
His long and distinguished career is full of accolades and awards, and includes work as Advisor to OPAP’s Management from 2012-2014, where he coordinated marketing and corporate communication for the group, and for nine years previously as Corporate Affairs Director at Vodafone Greece.
Mr Michopoulos, who began his career at Unilever, has also served as Director of Communications and Marketing at the Mediterranean Games Committee Volos 2013.
He has also taught Management at DEREE-The American College of Greece as well as at the Hellenic Management Association, educating graduate students seeking to learn internationally successful practices of management.
Dimitris Michopoulos holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from DEREE (’93), and a master’s degree in Quality Management from the University of Stirling (’94). He has also been an invited guest speaker at numerous international conferences and forums.
What are your fondest memories of your days at DEREE?
Hard to select … so many great memories. Life story chapters … from freshman to student assistant at Student Affairs and Registrar’s Office. From TQM Society founder to Dean’s Award for Class of 1993. But the greatest of all: my return to college as an instructor for management courses. I was so happy sharing my knowledge and experience to such an inspiring audience.
Did you have a favorite professor or subject?
Without second thought, TQM courses and Professor Dr. N. Mouzopoulos. What an innovative discipline at that time! We were the first in Europe at an undergraduate level to be exposed to a field that later became a natural way of management to most best in class companies.
Are you in touch with many alumni? Has the alumni network helped you in your career?
DEREE Alumni for me are all about friends. And friends help each other not only in business. I would like to say thank you to Konstantinos, Stefanos, John, Harry, Nick, George, Anna, Wanda, Alexia, Lida, Katerina, Erato, Eleni, Diana, Sofia, Korina, Ellie, Elvira, Manos, Pavlos, Jack, Achilleas, Kleo, and Popi.
Can you tell us what top skills those who are interested in breaking into your areas of expertise, marketing and communication, should be honing in today’s globalized world?
Advanced academic knowledge. Creative story telling. Digital advocates. Passionate to make clients successful. Love to outperform via teams. Multipliers of positive vibes. Hard workers. In love with Communications.
Who have some of your influencers/mentors been?
Memorable and highly-respected, the late Dean T.Lyras with his strong, determined and visionary personality taught me to excel always out of my comfort zone.
Can you tell us a bit about your work at Weber Shandwick?
At Weber Shandwick we inspire. We incite. We shape ideas to move companies and organizations forward. We get people thinking and acting in new ways so they connect with and advocate for our clients brands.
We are a creative firm of strategists, writers, designers, brand builders, conversation-starters, storytellers. We are passionate about our clients and, through specialty teams and dedicated practise groups (Reputation Management, Corporate Communication, Brand PR, Digital PR, Consumer Marketing, Public Affairs, Media Relations, Crisis Management, Internal Communications, etc.); we are deeply knowledgeable about their businesses. And while we are a big, global organization, we believe that collaboration through engagement is the best way to succeed. But, at our heart, we still have the spirit of the small company we used to be -entrepreneurial, ambitious, fun.
Can you tell us more about the Memorandum of Understanding between DEREE and your company – and what that cooperation foresees?
The objective of this pioneering cooperation is to engage students of the Master of Arts (MA) in Strategic Communication & Public Relations in the real business environment while they continue their graduate studies. Students will be afforded to participate in brainstorming sessions, receive actual business briefs, and participate in focus group session and study real-life projects.
In this framework, Weber Shandwick senior executives will serve on selected thesis committees as external evaluators, offer internships and practicum to students also selected by DEREE Faculty, deliver guest lectures or participate in “career days”. Moreover, The American College of Greece and Weber Shandwick will create a graduate course that will incorporate practical training, suggest ways to collaborate on a strategic Communications Think Tank as well as additional forms of cooperation for the benefit of Communication education.
When will this be up and running?
We inaugurated this signature partnership on May 6, 2015. Our most awarded experience and expertise in the areas of Communication and Public Relations have already started being matched and enriched by the talent, knowledge and passion of two of the students of MA.
Weber Shandwick was named Advertising Age’s Agency A-List for 2015, the annual ranking best advertising and marketing firms. According to Advertising Age “Public relations agencies don’t typically take the lead on digital or creative services or come up with risky ideas. But Weber Shandwick…isn’t just any PR agency.” What are the ingredients that have given you this distinction for the second year in a row?
We’ve been working enthusiastically beyond traditional lines to integrate social, digital, content, publishing, advertising, PR and public affairs into solutions that drive concrete business results for our clients. Our agency unstoppable continues to deepen its capabilities in public relations and across the marketing services industry, adding to its strong legacy of innovation in the digital era.
We are engaged always with our clients. We are engaged in a great teamwork among each other in Weber Shandwick. We are engaged always with an efficient network of more than 3,000 colleagues in 81 countries. And we enjoy it!
You’ve been involved with some of the biggest brands in Greece. Unilever, Vodafone, OPAP and now Weber Shandwick. Can you tell us what your most rewarding work/projects have been?
Not any project or work irrespectively how big or challenging or impossible to manage it was, had ever given me the satisfaction of being, working together with so many talented mates. All my success stories were part of teamwork. And most of all those people, who helped me to have this fantastic career, are now-a-days senior leaders in Greece and/or around the globe. From Chairmen, CEOs, Managing Directors to VPs and top Directors. Many of them are graduates of DEREE-The American College of Greece. Let me express my gratitude to all.
What kind of impact has Greece’s economic crisis had on the company Weber Shandwick and in the sector overall?
The economic crisis has created new market needs and wants. So, professionalism, expertise, experience, dedication, flexibility and fair profitability became an integral part of the service quality clients are constantly demanding. Not many companies in our sector managed to follow all those market mandates.
We, in Weber Shandwick, are engaging always with our clients and their plans. It is in our DNA to strive for their challenges and goals. Thus, in 2014 we managed to have a great financial growth story and currently we are running with even faster growth speed than last year. A special tribute to our talented, passionate and committed team that deserves it, and has objectively proven that a crisis can be an opportunity as well.
What advice would you give ACG’s 2015 graduates?
Dream … Believe … Fight … Celebrate! Dream…
For more on the Memorandum of Understanding between DEREE-The American College of Greece and Weber Shandwick, click here.