For 15 years, Andrea Stassou covered some of the biggest news stories of our time, including the TWA Flight 800 crash, the death of JFK Jr., the Columbia space shuttle disaster and the devastating 9/11 attacks. These days, her biggest deadline is getting her two children, Peter, 5, and Katerina, 4, to bed on time.
After a career in broadcast journalism in both local and network news, Stassou is taking time off to raise her children. Some days, she misses work. "I love the adrenaline rush of breaking news," she says. "There's nothing more exhilarating than being in the center of a big, breaking story and having the responsibility of disseminating that story to the public. I love the craft of storytelling."
Stassou spent the first eight years of her career at local affiliates in TV markets across New England. She got her big break when she was offered a job as weekend anchor at the NBC affiliate in Boston. Two years later, she landed at the network level, becoming the anchor of ABC News' overnight program, World News Now. She ultimately returned to local news as a reporter and anchor at WCBS, Channel 2, in New York City. Finally, she felt she could lay down roots and start a family in her home state of New Jersey.
"My husband and I are both from Bergen County, so it felt natural to settle in northern New Jersey," says Stassou.
Stassou met her husband, Elias Dokas, while they were both undergraduates. Stassou, who has a B.A. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's in journalism from Northwestern, then began her journey moving every two years from market to market, while Dokas remained in New York City to further his finance career. Since Stassou always anchored on the weekends, her husband was a frequent visitor to the newsroom in various cities.
"Given our long-distance relationship, we were especially elated to return to New Jersey and start our family," says Stassou.
After their son, Peter, was born, Stassou worked as a weekend anchor at Channel 2. She describes her personal style, both on-air and off, as classic, refined and timeless. "Jackie O is my style icon," she says. "I always opted for tailored suits with classic lines and a splash of color to pop on camera." To Stassou, fashion was an afterthought. Her priority was delivering the story in a timely, accurate and compelling way. On reporting days, battling the elements was a given, so outerwear was really all that showed on camera.
"I think I wore a winter coat and boots for more than half of my career," she says.
After their daughter, Katerina, was born, Stassou decided that her schedule as a weekend anchor was difficult for her family lifestyle. To keep her foot in the door, she freelanced as the overnight anchor of CBS News' Up to the Minute and the CBS Morning News, which airs before The Early Show.
Stassou now spends her time as a full-time mother and as an active leader in various philanthropic endeavors. "I was touched and inspired by people I met over the years who overcame obstacles, and I knew in my heart that I wanted to give back," she says.
With her lifestyle change, Stassou dresses more casually during the week and donated much of her on-air wardrobe to Dress for Success, in Jersey City, which provides women with suits to wear to job interviews. Stassou continues to serve as mistress of ceremonies at several charitable functions, and she has spearheaded fundraising events for the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, the NJ chapter of the MS Society, Journey for Change and various Greek charities across the country. Stassou, who is of Greek descent, is an active member of The Greek Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Theologian in Tenafly.
"I feel so fortunate that my children will grow up in this diverse and dynamic community as I did," says Stassou. "The schools within Bergen County are some of the best in the country."
Stassou and her family enjoy many great restaurants, including Nisi, Harvest Bistro, Grissini, Baumgart's and the Tenafly Diner. Stassou also enjoys spending time at the Indian Trail Club in Franklin Lakes.
From time to time, Stassou thinks about returning to television journalism, but for now, she is enjoying raising her family. "I'm so happy to finally be home," says Stassou.
Makeup by Khuraira Musa, Khuraira, Tenafly
Hair by Judi Toffler, 5 Salon and Spa, Fort Lee