L to R: 2021-2022 Grand President Kathy Bizoukas, 2022 Penelope of the Year Honoree Tessie Bourdamis, and 2021-2022 Penelope of the Year Chair Lainie Christou

Penelope of the Yea

The 2022-2023 Penelope of the Year recipient is Tessie Bourdamis of Minneapolis, MN!

Sister Tessie is an almost 50-year member of Antigone Chapter No. 35 in District 14.

The Penelope of the Year program of the Daughters of Penelope was instituted in 1958. Through this program members at the Supreme Convention each year, select a recipient who is recognized as an outstanding Daughter of Penelope, who excels in contributions and service to the Daughters of Penelope throughout her many years of service, as well as having participated significantly in the Greek Community, to civic and charitable organizations, to various civic endeavors, and has served and provided unselfish assistance to the Daughters of Penelope and her community.

An application form for a qualified member is submitted by a chapter to the District Committee or Chairman. At the District Convention of each District, delegates review and select a District Penelope of the Year. A pin is presented to recognize the District Penelope of the Year in recognition of this achievement. The application of each District's Penelope of the Year is then submitted to the Supreme Convention Penelope of the Year Committee Chairman for consideration. At the Supreme Convention delegates serving on the Penelope of the Year Committee select the Sister who is recognized as the International Penelope of the Year. Her example of outstanding and distinguished service serves as an inspiration to all Sisters throughout the Daughters of Penelope domain.

Congratulations Tessie on this well-deserved honor!

“I wish to thank all of my Daughters of Penelope sisters for selecting me as their 2022 Penelope of the Year. I am truly humbled and blessed to receive this prestigious award. I also feel very blessed to have had the love and support of my late parents, twin brother, and many late family members who are now in heaven, but I know that they are with me in spirit. I dedicate this award to them. I am also grateful to have the love and support of so many living family members and friends as I continue my life’s journey.” -Tessie Bourdamis


  • Born in Warren, Ohio. Parents: Late mother, Irene (Gentithes) – Past President of Warren Dop Chapter, and late father, Manuel Bourdamis (from Weirton, West Virginia) late twin brother, George, and late grandparents: Harry and Sevasmia Gentithes, Anastasia and George Voorthamis who all immigrated to the U.S. from the island of Chios.

My younger brother Jim and wife Hilda and family reside in AZ. My niece Alexis and great nephew, Elijah reside in CA., and I have many cousins who reside throughout the U.S.


  • High School Graduate, Top Ten of the class – Warren G. Harding H.S, Warren, OH
  • B.S. degree in Education, Spanish/French majors, cum laude
  • Graduate studies in Intl. Business/languages – Kent State-OH, Univ. of MN, Mankato State Univ.


  • Spanish Teacher, Chair of Foreign Language Dept. – Warren Western Reserve High School, Warren, OH. – 3 years
  • Munsingwear, Inc., Minneapolis, MN. – International Sales and Export Admin.-Latin America- 1 yr.
  • Pako Corp/Pakon, Inc./Kodak ,Minneapolis, MN – Worldwide Sales and Export Admin. Specialist/Mgr. – 35 yrs.  (Worked with 150 distributors/8 subsidiaries and travelled to 30 countries for trade shows/conferences, etc.)


  • Maids of Athena member of local Warren chapter – 3 yrs.
  • Started going to AHEPA family Supreme Conventions in the 1960’s
  • Initiated into Antigone Chapt.35, Minneapolis, MN. on Jan.13,1979 (43 yrs. ago)
  • Local Chapter offices held – Secretary (3 yrs.), Vice-Pres. (10 non-consecutive years), President (9 years non consecutive)
  • Penelope 35 Apts. Board member – 22 years to current (Have 2 Senior Hud Apts. Bldgs.)
  • Chapter committees chaired – Greek Independence Day programs,, Apokreatiko/Mardi Gras Glendis, Holiday Bake and Craft Sales, AHEPA/Dop Dist.14 Conventions in Minneapolis. Groundbreaking receptions/ceremonies for the Penelope 35 Apts. bldgs., Fall Conferences at the IHRC/A (Immigration History Research Ctr and Archives at the Univ. of MN), Founder’s Day luncheons/programs, joint luncheons/programs with Philoptochos, progressive meal parties at Greek restaurants, trips to theatres to see Greek plays, speakers/authors with receptions, bus tours to other historical cities in MN.
  • Chapter committees served – Writer of chapter articles for local, District, and National publications, Historian, Families Moving Forward Dinners, Healing House dinners, MN. Highway Cleaning projects, Liaison to the IHRC/A
  • District level Offices held – Secretary, Lt. Governor, Advisor, MOA Advisor – Dist.14
  • District Committees chaired – Dist. Fall Conferences, Chair of Dop District 14 meetings
  • District Committees served at conventions – Dist. Penelope of the Year, History and Preservation, Growth and Expansion, Budget, Auction, Past Dist.14 Governors’ Club
  • National level participation at conventions as a delegate – 35 yrs.
  • National committees chaired – Public Relations for PGP Angie Speliopoulos, Testimonial Dinner/program for PGP Angie, DOP Natl. Archives chair (20 yrs.), Co-produced pictorial history of DOP for 80th Anniversary and presented in 2009 at National convention in San Francisco.
  • National convention committees served – Salute to Women reception, Projects, Legislative, Budget, Penelope of the Year, Grievance, and Teller


  • Hellenic-Am. Legion Auxiliary 129 member – 1980 to present, current Treasurer
  • Director of the St. Mary’s Greek youth dance program – 40 yrs.
  • Friends of the IHRC/A Assoc., (Immigration Hist. Res. Ctr.) – Board member representing the greater Greek-Am community and Daughters, since 1985, and current Co-Pres.
  • MN. International Institute member
  • Patron of the Ethnic Dance Theatre of MN
  • Taught basic Spanish/French at Edina, MN. Adult Educational Center
  • Speaker at career workshops held at local high schools, international business/languages
  • Taught and still teach Greek dances to adults and youth in the community
  • St. Mary’s Choir – 45 yrs.
  • St. Mary’s Philoptochos member - 40 yrs.
  • Greek Festival committee, entertainment chair – 35 yrs.
  • Co-Chair of the Chicago Diocese Choir Federation Conference in Minneapolis - 2001
  • St. Mary’s Senior Citizens Club – 13 yrs. and current President
  • Served on many church committees – Stewardship, Stewardship Fair, Glendi fundraisers