Lily Balian Receives Arabian Leaders in Public Service Award

Lily Balian

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif.—The 14th Anniversary of the Armand Arabian Leaders in Public Service Awards Luncheon was held on October 3, 2013 at the Hilton Woodland Hills Hotel. On this occasion, one of the 2013 six recipients was Lily Balian in recognition of her leadership in public service and humanitarian efforts in the community. Over 500 people gathered in the Hilton Woodland Hills Ballroom to celebrate and honor the work of individuals who in their free time, or through their work, make our community better.

The other honorees recognized were: Pat Boone, Legendary Singer, Actor, Author and Songwriter; David Gurnick, Franchise Attorney, Business Lawyer and Litigator; Clay Lacy, Aviation Legend; Wink Martindale, Disc Jockey and Television Game Show Host; and Captain Louis Martinez, Veterans Volunteer Burial Squad.

This is the Fourteenth Year celebrating this event which began as a mere conversation over lunch with Justice Armand Arabian, Rickey Gelb and Karl Boeckmann. They discussed their shared desire to honor the accomplishments of people, not usually recognized, who go far beyond the call of duty to serve our community. The Encino Chamber of Commerce for the fourteenth time, agreed to host this event and through the years have honored such distinguished individuals as District Attorney Steve Cooley, Sheriff Leroy Baca, Art Linkletter, Johnny Grant, Judge Dickran Tevrizian, Jr., Wendy Greuel, Tommy Lasorda, Paul Anka, Harout Sassounian, Gerald Turpanjian and Huell Howser, among many others.

Justice Armand Arabian introduced Lily Balian, reporting on her distinguished career in public service, starting in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office as Executive Secretary to District Attorney Evelle J. Younger and upon his election as Attorney General of the State of California, serving as his Executive Assistant. She moved to Washington, D.C. in 1980 as a member of the Reagan-Bush Campaign, but following the election of President Ronald Reagan decided to return to Los Angeles and accepted a position as Corporate Director of Civic and Public Affairs for Northrop Grumman Corporation. President Reagan appointed her to the 15-member Advisory Council on Adult Education (1982-1988). Hon. Pete Wilson, Governor of the State of California appointed her to the California Commission on the Status of Women (1991-1996); and in 1995 represented the Commission at the United Nations Fourth World Conference for Women in Beijing.

In the program booklet, the biography of Lily Balian included her active participation in civic and community affairs, and her volunteer efforts in both the American and Armenian communities. Balian has been involved for many years with St. James Armenian Church, the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, Westside Ararat Guild of the Ararat Home, USC Friends of Armenian Music, and the Armenian International Women’s Association. In the American community she is actively involved with the KCET Women’s Council, the Braille Institute Auxiliary, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and Woodbury University.

In accepting the Annual Justice Armand Arabian Leaders in Public Service award, Balian expressed her thanks at being included with such a stellar and legendary group of famous men. She humorously proclaimed that she cannot sing, dance or fly jets, but she could take shorthand which opened the door to her public service career.
Often being criticized for not being able to say no, Balian stated: “By saying yes my life opens up. I have found new meaning and ways to contribute. It has been my good fortune to have the opportunity to work with men and women who have distinguished themselves in serving their government and country. These were life learning experiences and these life learning experiences continue for me in community service. There is a benefit to volunteering. We benefit from the participation of meeting and working with people who share your desire to give back; people who bring bright new, creative and innovative ideas. You make new friends, your circle of friends grows and your life is enriched, you feel more fulfilled.” Balian quoted her favorite song from the
musical Cabaret, “What good is sitting alone in your room, come hear the music play, life is a cabaret old chum, come to the cabaret.”

At the luncheon, Balian was presented with Resolutions of Commendation and Certificates of Recognition from the Hon. Michael Antonovich, Member, L.A. County Board of Supervisors, the Honorable Adrin Nazarian, Assemblyman, California Legislature, and the Honorable Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles City Councilman.

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