ERIKA Danis was 19 when she swapped life in Greece for studies on Teesside.
It was a decision she never regretted and she is now a partner in a Hartlepool firm which has become a North-East success story.
Erika gave up a life at home in 2000 to take a degree in computer sciences at the University of Teesside and followed it with a Masters in computer aided graphics and technology applications.
Today, she is running her own business as a partner in The Consultancy, a fast-growing design and marketing agency.
The Consultancy was the first company to move into Hub Two, the extension to the Innovation Centre in the Queens Meadow Business Park, in Hartlepool.
Partners Paul Callaghan, Richard Thornton and Erika now head up a seven-strong team which plans marketing campaigns and designs websites.
Its clients are UK companies involved in construction, children’s charities, hotels, property, finance and DIY.
The Consultancy has become a leading player in the double glazing sector and works with local organisations that include Hartlepool Borough Council, the Great North Air Ambulance and Cleveland Fire Brigade.
“My first job was with The Consultancy and I was delighted to be invited to become a partner,” said Erika, whose Greek father and Scottish mother came from Athens to spend Christmas on Teesside.
She added: “I consider myself lucky because the situation in Greece is sad and a lot of my friends are having a very difficult time.”
“The Consultancy is doing very well despite the economic difficulties – one of our strengths is that the three of us bring different skills to the business so we can offer a really wide range of services and expertise. I have been concentrating on developing the web design team and, although it is hard work I love it and am totally committed to the business and to Teesside.”
Simon Hamilton, regional manager for UK Steel Enterprise, the business support subsidiary of Tata Steel which set up Hub Two, said: “It has been good to see The Consultancy thriving in our Innovation Centre, which is specifically designed to support growing young businesses, and now expand into Hub Two. The partners have worked hard through difficult changing circumstances and deserve their success.”