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keynote speakers

Dn. Michael Hyatt

Fr. Dcn. Michael Hyatt

Michael Hyatt is the Founder and Chairman of Full Focus.


He has scaled multiple companies over the years, including a $250 million publishing company with 700+ employees and his own leadership development company that has grown over 60% year over year for the past 4 years. Under his leadership, Full Focus has been featured in the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America and in 2020 and 2021 the company was named to Inc.’s Best Work Places list.


He is also the author of several New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling books, including Living Forward, Your Best Year Ever, Free to Focus, The Vision Driven Leader, and, his most recent, Mind Your Mindset. 


He has been married for 44 years to his wife Gail. Together, they have five daughters, and ten grandchildren. 

“Mind Your Mindset: How Your Thinking Shapes Your Behavior and Determines Your Success at Work and in Life.”

Learn more about Deacon Michael and Full focus here.

workshop SPEAKERS



We are extremely grateful Gerontissa (Abbess) Aemiliane is traveling to be with us at our Chicago conference! She will be speaking about on the topic of truth by diving deeper into the verse: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” -John 8:32.

Abbess Aemiliane, of the Sacred Monastery of St. Nina, in Union Bridge, MD, is a native Kansan. While doing her doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she encountered Orthodoxy and monasticism in the person of her Spiritual Father, Elder Dionysios who came to celebrate and hear confessions at Holy Cross/Hellenic College in 1982 with the blessing of Elder Archmandrite Aemilianos of Blessed Memory, and at the invitation of the ever-memorable Archbishop +Iakovos.
The day after her graduation from Harvard she left for Greece to be baptized and became a nun. She was the first of the original Sisters of the Monastery of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in Thebes, Greece, with its founding Abbess, Eldress Diodora.  
In 2012, she returned to the United States when the Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia, ILYA II -- who had been inviting Archimandrite Dionysios to visit Georgia and collaborate with him since 1995 --  established the Sacred Monastery of Saint Nina under the omophorion of Metropolitan Dimitri of Batumi, then ruling Hierarch of the Georgian Apostolic Orthodox Church in North America, with Nun Aemiliane as Abbess.

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” -John 8:32

How do we know? What is truth? What is spiritual life? What is a monastery and what does it have to do with me? What are thoughts?

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Fr. Dimitri & Pres. Danielle Burikas

We are so fortunate to welcome Father Dimitri and Pres. Danielle to join our YAL Conference 2023 as two of our weekend panelists. Fr. Dimitri and Pres. are currently at Saints Constantine and Helen Cathedral located in Merrillville, IN, and Father Dimitri has been the associate pastor over in Merrillville for the past three years. 


Fr. Dimitri and Pres. Danielle will be speaking upon their topic of “Relationships”, and how their presentation ties into our conference theme of Wellness. Pres. Danielle is also an educator where she attended Hellenic College and Westminster College, and Fr. Dimitri attended Loyola University Chicago and the Holy Cross Seminary. 


Back in the day, Father Dimitri used to be an internationally ranked Fifa (XBOX) player! But now, the couple enjoys spending time with their kids Panagioti who is almost six years old, and Haralambos who is four months old! 


Do not miss this opportunity to miss Fr. Dimitri and Pres. Danielle discuss their topic about relationships, and purchase your 2023 conference ticket today! We look forward to their presentation and cannot wait for them to join us this upcoming February!!

Healthy Relationships the Orthodox Way: How to Foster Healthy Relationships Through Trust, Communication and Vulnerability

Dr. John fotopoulos

We are so thrilled to be welcoming Dr. John Fotopoulos as he joins us at our YAL Chicago Conference 2023! Dr. Fotopoulos will be discussing with his attendees his presentation on, “Living Scripture and Our Path to Wellness”.

He graduated with his PhD from Loyola University Chicago, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies & Theology at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, IN!

Dr. Fotopoulos is a steward at St. George in Schererville, IN and is an Archon of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle. He also is very involved in various youth ministries. He s
erves as a staff member at Fanari Camp, Lighthouse, and teaches high school Sunday school.

Living Scripture and Our Path to Wellness

A practical view on the role of scripture, reading, and application to our daily lives.

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Paul Karos

We are so thrilled to welcome back Paul Karos at our 2023 Chicago Conference! This year, he will be speaking on the topic: “The Role of Boundaries in Cultivating the Garden of our Soul”.

Paul has had a successful 35+ year career on Wall Street where he ran hedge fund portfolios for 13 years at his own firm: Aplos Advisors, Whitebox Advisors, and Millennium Partners.  

For many years he has been involved in a variety of ministries in the Orthodox Church.  He has been a Bible Study teacher for the Minnesota Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry team and a speaker/leader for several men’s, youth, young adult and family camp retreats across the country. He currently conducts pre-marital counseling with and on behalf of priests as a trained Prepare and Enrich counselor. In June of 2018, Paul founded Matrona Ministries, a lay Orthodox Christian ministry which performs one-on-one coaching, parish retreats, and Orthodox Christian life assessments. Paul, along with Professor Harry Boosalis, host a podcast on Ancient Faith named ‘Person to Person’.  

Mr. Karos gives numerous motivational presentations to businesses and school groups by sharing his story. He has been legally blind since his teen years, and is now 99% blind. He and his wife Cindy have three children - one of which is on our committee!

Boundaries & Cultivating the Garden of Your Soul

Come and learn how we look at the topic of boundaries from an Orthodox Christian perspective, and why they are important in life.

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We are incredibly fortunate to have Dr. Xanthos join us at our YAL Chicago Conference 2023.  She will be presenting her workshop on the cultivation of psychological and spiritual vitality, titled “i CaN’t EvEn,” and the Other Lies We Tell Ourselves. 


Dr. Danielle is a steward of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Paul in Hempstead, NY and works as a Psychologist at Northport VA Medical Center in Long Island. Within the Orthodox community, Dr. Danielle Xanthos is an IOCC Frontliner, AoB Peace of Mind Facilitator, was on the Crossroad staff from 2012-2016, was an Ionian Village Staff member in 2011, is a chantor, and is the coordinator for her parish's young adult ministry. 


Dr. Xanthos is a passionate philanthropist and continues to be involved with IOCC, OCAMPR, and the Association for Contextual and Behavioral Science. 


We are very thrilled to have Dr. Danielle Xanthos join us as a workshop speaker this year, and do not forget to register for the weekend to hear Dr. Xanthos speak to our young adult group next month!

“i CaN’t EvEn,” and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

A workshop on the cultivation of psychological and spiritual vitality

fr. Ciprian Sas

We are so grateful to have Fr. Ciprian joining us at the 2023 conference! He will be speaking on the topic: “Sculpting a relationship with God, Others, and Self”.

Fr. Ciprian has been a priest for over 20 years and currently serves at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee - the church designed by Frank Lloyd Wright!

He was born in Timisoara, Romania in 1975. In addition to his theology degree, Fr. Ciprian holds a Masters in International Business and a PhD in Educational Psychology. He received his PhD from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he met his wife, Presbytera Magdalena. They have been blessed with 3 beautiful children: Elijah, Emma, and Isaiah.

Fr. Ciprian has served at several parishes throughout the Metropolis including St. John the Baptist in Cedar Rapids, and All Saints in Peoria. He also served on the Metropolis Council and numerous Metropolis committees.

Sculpting a relationship with God, Others, and Self
Are your relationships with God, with others, and with the self where they should be? How would you rate or describe your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual state right now – productively healthy or seductively unhealthy? Is your personal health or unhealth helping you nourish meaningful, long-lasting relationships, or is it getting in the way? And why are relationships so important anyway? Come and see how these topics are so beautifully intertwined during our quest to enter into and remain in communion with our creator.

Fr Ciprian Sas

panelist SPEAKERS



Dr. Bournias serves as the Director of the Northwestern Ophthalmic Institute, and is also an Assistant Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. 

As a steward of Holy Taxiarhai and Saint Haralambos Greek Orthodox Church, Dr. Bournias is involved in the community in a multitude of ways. He has been a board member for the Parish Council at St. Haralambos for 24 years, a board member of the Saint Iakovos Retreat Center, and a member of the Orpheus Hellenic Folklore Society.  Dr. Bournias also serves as a board member of the Medical Alumni Association Board for the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. 

Dr. Bournias is a big supporter of YAL because he met his wife through the Young Adult League in 1993! Register for the YAL Chicago Conference 2023 today, and do not miss the opportunity to hear Dr. Bournias on our panel.


Dr. George K. Bovis, MD

Dr. Bovis attended Northwestern University studying Neurobiology and Physiology, and currently works as a Neurosurgeon in the Illinois area. Very committed to his faith, Dr. Bovis is a local growing up at St. John the Baptist located in Des Plaines, Illinois. He remains involved within his parish council, is an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and is a part of the Order or St. Andrew. Dr. Bovis is looking forward to presenting at the YAL Chicago Conference 2023, and will be speaking to our young adult group about his topic on “God in the Workplace”. 


When Dr. Bovis is not busy saving lives or staying involved within his Orthodox faith, you can find him being a philanthropist through the Panhellenic Scholarship Foundation, the Greek American Rehabilitation Center in Wheeling, Il, and the Hippocratic Cancer Research Foundation. Dr. Bovis is incredibly well-rounded and enjoys dedicating his time to a wide array of different organizations. 


He is a proud cinephile, enjoys golfing, and is an avid skier! We are so thrilled to have Dr. George Bovis join us this coming February, and do not forget to purchase your conference tickets now for an opportunity to meet and listen to an incredible presentation!


Maria has been an educator her entire life, and currently works as a Principal at Grade 8 Orthodox Christian School. Maria has a wide occupational background that includes teaching Sunday School, directing Vacation Church School, and has been a youth director in the past. Maria remains very involved within the Metropolis, where she attends both St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church and St. John the Baptist. 


Maria is an avid philanthropist where she remains dedicated to Family Synaxis, Project Mexico, and the Metropolis of Chicago. 


As of November 2022, Maria is a devoted mom to seven children! She feels strongly about offering the gifts that God grants each of us back to the Church. She says that “God, in His mercy, has multiplied gifts in ways that could never be planned”.  


We are ecstatic to have Maria Kroll join us as a speaker for this upcoming conference. Do not miss an opportunity to engage and learn from Maria’s panel, and register for the conference today! 

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