Infusion of Experience and Enthusiasm at ANCA-Western Region Headquarters

Los Angeles, CA – Major changes have occurred at the ANCA-Western Region headquarters over the past 10 days with the appointment of Elen Asatryan as Executive Director, the addition of Haig Baghdassarian as Legislative Affairs Director, and the promotion of Tereza Yerimyan to Government Relations Director.

“We are very excited to announce our new ANCA-WR staff and division of responsibilities, and we are extremely confident that our team will successfully take the organization to even higher levels,” stated Nora Hovsepian, co-Chair of the ANCA-WR. “Our former Executive Director William Bairamian laid the groundwork in the office upon which our new Executive Director Elen Asatryan can build to new heights. We wish William well in his future endeavors and are sure that by working together, our entire ANCA-WR Board, staff, committees and local chapters will make significant strides toward advancing the Armenian Cause,” added Hovsepian.

ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan

ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan

Elen Asatryan is no stranger to the ANCA family as she has served as the Executive Director the ANCA Glendale Chapter since 2006 and more recently, since 2011, has divided her time between the Glendale Chapter, ANCA-WR, and the Hye Votes Campaign.

As the Executive Director of ANCA Glendale, Asatryan was instrumental in many positive developments for the organization and the community at large.  For more than six years, she was the face and voice of the organization, and was responsible for policy development and day-to-day operations.  Her countless accomplishments during her tenure included the creation and expansion of many programs for the community which were achieved by the fostering of closer relations with city officials and community based organizations.  Such programs included internship and mentorship programs for high school and college students, the Path to College Program, the Parent/Student Assistance Hotline, the ANCA Glendale Youth Activist Scholarship Fund, the Glendale Free Legal Clinics, community education workshops and forums, voter registration,  and annual food and toy distributions to the Glendale community amongst policy related initiatives proposed in various city departments and at GUSD.

As Field Director of the ANCA-WR, Asatryan was responsible for developing chapters’ structures, strategic plans, as well as the promotion and development of new chapters in the Western Region of the United States.

“The ANCA-WR is a unique energetic organization with a rich history in the Armenian community and we are confident that Elen will carry that same passion for our Cause,” stated ANCA-WR co-Chair Chris Guldjian. “We are very pleased and proud to have someone with Elen’s background and dedication lead our team and are confident that she can take us to the next level,” added Guldjian.

Prior to her tenure as ANCA-Glendale Executive Director, Asatryan worked on local, state, and federal campaigns. Her commitment to Armenian issues dates back to her activist days at Hoover High School, then as an officer and advisor of the UCLA’s Armenian Students’ Association, and later as an intern of the ANCA-WR. Asatryan is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied Political Science with concentrations in American Politics and International Relations.

In early January 2013, Asatryan had taken a leave of absence from her position in order to manage the successful campaign of Glendale City Councilmember Zareh Sinanyan.

“I am honored to join the passionate and dedicated directors, staff, and volunteers that make up the ANCA-WR team in this new capacity,” stated newly appointed ANCA-WR Executive Director Elen Asatryan.  “I am confident that through our collaborative efforts we will reach even higher levels of distinction as we continue to build on previous successes of serving our community and representing its voice and its needs within respective legislative bodies,” added Asatryan.

Haig Baghdassarian

ANCA-WR Legislative Affairs Director Haig Baghdassarian

The addition of Legislative Affairs Director Haig Baghdassarian is noteworthy, in that it represents the first time that the ANCA-WR has hired an employee who is based outside of the organization’s headquarters in Glendale.  Baghdassarian is a practicing attorney who has lived in in San Francisco since 1998.  Previously, he resided in Glendale and Burbank, during which time he first became involved with the ANCA, initially as a Leo Sarkisian Intern in Washington, then as a member of the ANCA-WR Governmental Affairs Committee, and later as a Board Member of the ANCA-Burbank Chapter.

Following his graduation from UCLA, Baghdassarian relocated to San Francisco to attend law school at UC Hastings, and shortly thereafter, he became an active member of the SF Bay Area Chapter of the ANCA where continues to serve on its Executive Board.  Over the years, his involvement within the Armenian-American communities have not been limited to the ANCA family, as he has also been active with the Armenian Youth Federation, the UCLA Armenian Students Association, the Land & Culture Organization, the Genocide Education Project’s oral history documentation activities, and the Armenian Bar Association.

Prior to Baghdassarian’s graduation from law school, he became the first Armenian-American to be appointed as a San Francisco Human Rights Commissioner.  He was sworn in by then-Mayor Willie Brown on April 24, 2001, and he held the office through 2004.  Following his graduation from law school, he worked as Deputy City Attorney in San Francisco, and as a labor and employment attorney for two law firms specializing in state and municipal legal affairs.

“Given the current political landscape, it’s more important than ever before for our community to develop lasting relations with Members of the California state legislature and their staff,” said Hovsepian. “The addition of Haig to our team will ensure that we develop a higher profile in Sacramento, and his wealth of experience will serve our community well,” she added.

Since 2012, UCLA graduate, Tereza Yerimyan has served as External Affairs Deputy, working with elected offices and various community organizations. Tereza Yerimyan’s new post as Government Affairs Director is well deserved given her contributions to the organization and eagerness to continue developing the legislative agenda of the organization.

“I am humbled by the organization’s confidence in me and look forward to developing our community’s relations with their elected officials through this new position,” stated Yerimyan.

ANCA-WR Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan

ANCA-WR Government Affairs Director Tereza Yerimyan

In 2010 Yerimyan first became involved with ANCA through the ANCA-WR Internship/Externship program where she became acquainted with the array of issues that the addressed by the organization. She later became a staffer for the CA State Affairs Committee of the Western Region where she assisted in the organization of the annual Advocacy Day.

Yerimian spent the following summer in Washington, D.C. as a Leo Sarkisian intern with the ANCA.  She was a part of the summer intern class that helped pass H.Res 306: The Return of Churches resolution demanding that the government of Turkey return confiscated church properties.

In 2012 Yerimyan was elected to the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council representing District 5 for the council.  She is also a volunteer member of the ANCA Hollywood Board.

“Tereza is a natural fit in her new position as she has already displayed a deep commitment for governmental and legislative affairs. We are confident that she too will be an ideal representative for our region and look forward to introducing our new staff to the community,” explained Guldjian.

The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.

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