HPW’s Inspiring Women series profiles remarkable Greek-American professional women whose stories of success inspire and encourage us to achieve our own career goals and aspirations.
Lawyer at Speigel Nichols Fox LLP
On Air Personality & Radio Producer at Agape Greek Radio
Dora Konomi is an advocate, with Speigel Nichols Fox LLP, whose practice involves a broad range of civil litigation and a two-times award-winning radio producer.
Dora graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College with high distinctions earning a B.A. in Criminology and Classical Studies. She then went on to earn her Juris Doctorate degree, cum laude, from the University of Ottawa. While completing her degrees, Dora received several scholarships & awards for exceptional academics and outstanding community involvement. In law school, Dora was a member of the international mooting team (i.e., legal debating team) that won the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna.
Dora is the creator and host of the very popular “Doralicious Show”, which has aired on Agape Greek Radio and various city throughout Canada since 2013. The Doralicious Show has also been the recipient of the prestigious Canadian Ethnic Media Awards for Journalistic Excellence for 2019 and 2020. Dora is also an author for Attorney at Work.
Recently, Dora won Greek America Foundation’s Top 40 under 40 award for 2020 for her successful career and commitment to community.
Dora has devoted herself to Canada’s Hellenic community. Notably, Dora spearheads and chairs the hugely successful Agape Greek Radio Music & Fashion Show, raising funds for the various charities, and the Greek International Film Festival of Toronto. Dora is also an ambassador for the Hellenic Heritage Foundation (HHF), a Canadian charity devoted to promoting Hellenic language, education and culture within Canada. Dora has been vital in modernizing the HHF through social media, attracting young leaders, and engaging Greek Canadians to be involved.
Contributor: Frederica Bolgouras
What is your passion?
I believe in the type of passion that stems and fuels itself from helping others. In my cover letter, I specifically write that “law is not reason free from passion; law is passion to help others”. As a lawyer, I wake up every day knowing that I get to help people fight for their rights and what is owed to them. As a radio host, I use my platform to highlight stories that need to be told; I give a voice to those who should be heard. In short, my passion is advocacy for others.
What motivated you to pursue a career as an attorney and become a host of the Agape Greek Radio Program?
Talking (hahaha). As a child, before we would go out, my mother used to ask me not to talk to everyone. But guess who made friends everywhere (me; you guessed that right!). Then my report cards used to write, “she talks too much”, despite having straight As. Essentially, I have been training to do what I am doing, both as a commercial litigator and a radio host, my entire life. I can’t imagine myself not being an advocate for my clients, my community, and our justice system.
Who has inspired you the most in your life?
My mother (and the generations of women before her) who taught me how to be opinionated, how to love fiercely, but also how to be humble. My mother is the person who keeps me grounded and reminds me of kindness. She is a lioness who will always point out how to be better but will advocate for me when I am not looking.
Tell us about a few of your most proud accomplishments?
There are three accomplishments that hold a special place in my heart.
In 2019, I won the Canadian Ethnic Media Association’s (CEMA) 2019 Best Podcast Award for my story on “Ashley: Being Greek & Transgendered”. The interview explored the struggles that Ashley faced while growing up transgendered in a traditional Greek household in Canada. Then, a year after, the second CEMA award followed for a story on a baby boy who was diagnosed with a rare disease. My features tell the untold story of our community. These awards tell the story of an ethnic group (i.e., the Greek Canadians) engulfing others with love and I am proud to be the storyteller.
When I was in law school, I competed in national and international mooting competitions, including the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot – considered the “Rolls Royce” of legal competitions. In 2017, my team placed first in Vienna ahead of 2,000 law students. This experience allowed me to go on to coach other teams where I’ve since mentored law students who also wish to compete. To date, I still have students and lawyers ask me about the competition.
And finally, my first publication outlining women’s barriers and their economic participation. I co-authored the “Trade and Gender: Exploring International Practices that Promote Women’s Economic Empowerment” (2018) report, which was published by the International Trade Centre in Geneva. At the request of the International Trade Centre in Geneva, we were asked to prepare a report on the extent to which international trade agreements include and support women’s economic participation. To achieve this, the report described specific examples of governments’ trade agreements and policies that constitute good examples of trade inclusive approaches. Through our research, we found that an economic gap continues to exist between men and women and a number of cultural, educational, financial, regulatory and other factors contribute to this gender economy gap. Ultimately, in 2018, I presented those findings at the annual Canadian Council in International Law Conference (CCIL) in front of a room full of male lawyers and highlighted that women’s economic empowerment is a holistic approach. My goal is to revisit this report in a few years and present how the gap has finally narrowed.
What Impact has your Greek heritage had on your aspiring career?
My Greek heritage taught me resilience. One can succeed even when all odds are against them. Odysseas Elytis wrote: “If you deconstruct Greece, you will in the end see an olive tree, a grapevine, and a boat remain. That is, with as much, you reconstruct her”. Our immigrant families are the olive trees, the grapevines, and the boats that travelled to the unknown. Despite the changes, the olive trees multiplied, the grapevines grew stronger, and the boats beat the waves.
Congratulations on becoming a newer honoree of Greek America’s FortyUnder 40, the leading recognition for North Americans of Greek descent, celebrating top talent in business, the arts, sciences and other fields. Tell us about your participation in the Greek community in Canada.
I feel like that the Greek community in Canada is part of who I am. As I’ve grown, I’ve had the chance to help my community also grow its recognition.
I am the creator and host of the very popular “Doralicious Show”. The show has aired on Agape Greek Radio in Toronto (1690AM), Ottawa (97.9FM) and online since 2013. I created this show because I saw a gap between the generations. The older generation was holding onto an idea of “Greekness” that seemed remote to the 2nd and 3rd generation of Greek Canadians, who loved their culture and wanted to explore what it had to offer. As such, I wanted to create a show that bridged that gap. The Doralicious Show provides a modern twist to traditional values by conducting interviews both in Greek and English, interacting on social media, and highlighting prominent members of the Greek diaspora. Through the show, I am also looking at ways to highlight the “other side” of our community and challenge our own biases.
I am the founder and co-organizer of two major initiatives in our community: the Music and Fashion Show and the inaugural Greek International Film Festival of Toronto. In November 2019, I spearheaded and chaired the hugely successful Agape Greek Radio Music and Fashion Show raising funds for the Greek Community of Toronto’s Paideia (Education Department) and W.I.N. Hellas, a Greek-based charity aimed at raising awareness for women’s abuse in Greece. The sold-out event had more than 1000 people in attendance. I wanted to use the Music & Fashion Show as a vehicle to promote local Greek Canadian artists to showcase their music and bring together a community of 100+ models of Greek descent from 2 to 66 years old. In September 2021, I helped launch the first Greek International Film Festival Toronto showcasing Greek cinematography to the Canadian audience.
I am also an ambassador for the Hellenic Heritage Foundation (the “HHF”), a Canadian charity devoted to promoting Hellenic language, education, and culture within Canada. I sit on HHF’s PR and Next Generation Committee. I have been vital in modernizing the HHF through social media, attracting young leaders, and engaging Greek Canadians to be involved. I also host the quarterly video newsletter for the HHF updating its members and donors on the HHF’s efforts, fundraisers, and upcoming events.
Given the COVID pandemic, how are you handling the stress this has caused and which wellness/coping exercises and mechanisms would you recommend?
Apart from the collective stress that COVID-19 has placed on all of us, I want to also highlight some of the positive features that were born during this time. The pandemic allowed me to reset, re-evaluate, and re-focus myself. It was a great opportunity to sit back and reflect on what is important, relationships, and being present. From a professional perspective, it forced our legal system to embrace modernity and use technology to expedite procedures while offering cost-effective options for clients.
I recommend the following:
- Write down how the pandemic positively affected you.
- Exercise even if it’s a 10-minute video on YouTube or an online class.
- Eat the piece of cake you’ve been trying to avoid.
Given young Hellenic Professional Women who would like to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give to them?
I have three pieces of advice for our fierce women.
First, ask yourself why you are following this direction and answer truthfully.
Second, see ‘failures’ as guidance to the right path. The reason why you might have been rejected is because you were meant to go to a better place. I was probably rejected by more than 10 firms before I landed at my firm where I was able to argue, successfully, in front of the Court of Appeal within my first year of practice.
Third, seek out women in your network. They will be your biggest promoters.
Please feel free to add any advice that comes to mind which we have not covered.
As human beings, we are multidimensional. I believe that we have so many dimensions and each one feeds the other. Do not limit yourself to being one thing when you are so much more.
Who has inspired you in your career? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org