Petite Portrait: Meet Eleni Kounalakis
Eleni Kounalakis (5’2”) is the California businesswoman, Democratic Party activist, wife, mother, and former U.S. ambassador who hopes to lead California as its next Lieutenant Governor. Eleni was raised the proud daughter of an immigrant father who started out as a farmworker in the fields of California.Eleni’s values of hard work, education, and determination have guided her through her career - from businesswoman to the first Greek-American woman in U.S. history to serve as an American ambassador. Eleni started her career as a staff member of the California Democratic Party in Sacramento and worked in the historic election, which elected two women to the U.S. Senate. After the election, Eleni joined her family business, AKT Development, one of California’s most respected housing development firms. There, she worked her way up from project manager to president, earning her recognition as one of Sacramento’s most prominent businesswomen. Eleni was appointed by President Barack Obama as the U.S. ambassador to Hungary in 2010 and served side-by-side President Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton promoting democracy. In 2017, Eleni kicked off her campaign for California Lt. Governor and visited the state’s 58 counties.
Businesswoman. Activist. Diplomat. Mother. There is no doubt Eleni is a force to be reckoned with. Let’s get to know this #PowerfullyPetite political candidate a little more.
Hometown: Sacramento, CA
Current location: San Francisco, CA
Birth sign: Pisces
Wish for the future of California: Our great values will always underpin our great state.
Wish for the future of the United States: Regime change
My passion comes from: Fighting for a better world for my boys, and all our kids.
I’m inspired by: My grandmother, who never learned to read or write, but was a strong and generous woman - also under 5’2’'.
Someone I look up to: Hillary Clinton. Yep.
Three words that describe my personal style: Consistent, clean-lined and comfortable
My campaign trail uniform: Black or blue pantsuit, white or beige blouse, boots and pearls.
Outfit that makes me feel most confident: Same as above, or a black evening gown.
Morning ritual: I hit the exercise bike while my husband makes coffee - we get the kids up together. Shower, put on uniform, dry hair, tighten up the pony tail and get to work.
Book on my nightstand: "Heroes of the Frontier" by Dave Eggers
Where you’ll find me next: Office of the California Lt. Governor
If there’s a petite lady in your life who is doing inspiring work that makes a big difference, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can feature her! xo