Tell us who you are!
Alexia Panagiotakopoulos (No, I won’t feel bad if you never say it correctly, and, no, I didn’t have to spell it in kindergarten – it’s a married name. 🙂 …but I can’t wait to teach my future kids to spell it!) I was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. I did a short stint in Malibu for four years while I attended Pepperdine University, and I worked for a national nonprofit in LA the year after graduating. But I’m now happily settled in North Central Phoenix with my husband (that’s him above!) and absolutely love this state.
What is your role here at APESF?
It is my job to help people who love kids help kids. My official title is Director of Advancement & Marketing, but I prefer to see myself as a FACILITATOR (connecting eligible Arizona taxpayers to the tax credit program) and EDUCATOR (teaching families how to advocate for school choice). However, as most people know, the nonprofit world requires each employee to wear a handful of hats. I design our marketing material and promote our brand, but I also process donations, manage our database and respond to general email inquiries daily.
How did you end up working at APESF?
From Pre-K through 12th grade, I attended Scottsdale Christian Academy, where my mom worked for Mark Moerkerke in the school’s advancement office. Fast forward 10 years…to when things got serious with my now husband, and I was looking to move back to Arizona. My mom had helped Mark out again, this time with an APESF event, and she told me he was looking to hire. I met with Jenny Miller over Christmas break in 2012 and started one month later.
Why have you stayed?
I love this question. Because I really did take the job so I wouldn’t be unemployed when I moved home. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and couldn’t have told you the first thing about tax credits. Now, it’s three years later, and I don’t see myself ever leaving. Of course I enjoy the comfortable work environment and flexibility my job offers, but it’s truly about the people. The schools we partner with and the families we serve make coming to work every day so meaningful and fulfilling.
What gets you really excited/passionate in a day’s work here?
Distribution days. Definitely. When we get to tell a family that their story is important to us and that we want to be a part of making private school possible for their children…Nothing beats that.
What’s your least favorite part of this job?
Meeting resistance to the program due to a lack of understanding. Getting a say in where your tax dollars go and helping students attend the schools of their choice really is a win-win!
If there was one thing you could have everyone understand about the tax credit program, what would it be?
I want people to understand that the current experts on the STO world…those people who just seem to “get” the tax-credit program and how to make it work for them…were once totally clueless. Every donor was once a first-time donor and every scholarship recipient family was once “new to this.” There are a number of laws and layers to work through, but it is comprehendible and you will get it if you put a little effort into the education process. I promise!
Give me one surprising fact about yourself.
I love household chores. Dishes, laundry, spring cleaning,…you name it! I actually enjoy doing these things.
What the team is saying…
“Heart and smarts is how I would best describe Alexia and what she brings to our APESF team. She enters our doors each day with a heart to serve our families and the smarts necessary to develop the tools so that she can seamlessly process our donations and provide scholarships in the most timely manner. Along with heart and smarts, comes a very creative mind that is the icing on the cake. The APESF family is so grateful that Alexia shares her gifts with all of us each and every day.” – Jenny, APESF Director of Operations
“Alexia is the ‘jack of all trades’ in the office. There is nothing she can’t do! Her skill set could take her anywhere, and she chooses to work here because she is passionate about school choice and helping families. She deeply cares about people and uses her talents to make APESF the best it can be. She is a joy to be around and has incredible enthusiasm every single day!” – Jacqueline, APESF Outreach Coordinator
“Besides having the ‘biggest name’ in the STO community (Panagiotakopoulos) our amazing Alexia has a genuine heart and passion for our students, schools and families. Her unlimited talent and energy are pillars in our organization’s ability to achieve its mission. She and her wonderful family have been a valuable part and partner of our heritage since APESF was founded.” – Mark, APESF Executive Director
Our organization runs like a well-oiled machine thanks to Alexia! Feel free to leave a comment about an experience working with our awesome team member.