WASHINGTON—The ANCA’s Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program and AGBU Young Professionals DC chapter joined forces recently to offer a hands-on training seminar for Washington, DC-based public policy professionals working in government, politics, public policy, and media.
The standing-room only June 18th event — which attracted participants ranging from recent graduates to established public policy veterans — featured practical presentations by respected government affairs experts Charles Yessaian of JMH Group, Aram Verdiyan of Accolade Partners, and Hakob Stepanyan of Cotton & Company.
“We would like to thank Chuck, Aram and Hakob for leveraging their networking best-practices to support the career growth of Armenian Americans from across the Greater Washington, DC community,” said ANCA Legislative Director Raffi Karakashian. “The ANCA looks forward to continuing our partnership with the AGBU YP DC team as we expand and empower our community growing and increasingly vibrant presence in the public policy sector.”
Yessaian, a longtime veteran of Capitol Hill who now serves as Vice President of Government Relations for JMH Group, primarily focused on the significance of in-person networking. “You have got to go out there, you have got to go talk to people, and you have got to follow up,” said Yessaian during his motivational presentation. “It is imperative that you continue networking. You cannot neglect it.”
Yessaian’s extensive career in the world of politics has varied from working for the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to serving on the staffs of U.S. Representatives Fred Upton and Joe Schwarz. His engaging and insightful presentation was followed by Aram Verdiyan and Hakob Stepanyan, the Chairman and Treasurer of AGBU YP DC, respectively. Verdiyan and Stepanyan directed their discussion towards the benefits of developing and deploying a well-crafted LinkedIn profile.
“LinkedIn is your personal brand,” explained Verdiyan, an economics, mathematics, and business administration graduate from the George Washington University. “The most fundamental difference is that your resume is for outbound career marketing, whereas LinkedIn is inbound marketing tool, so make sure your profile displays your personality and passions.” Stepanyan, an auditor for Cotton & Company, also underscored the importance of transitioning online networking to face-to-face interaction with potential employers. Successfully accomplishing this, Stepanyan noted, this could potentially “result in a higher success rate of getting a job.”
ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian and Gateway Program Advisory Committee chairman Daniel Stepanian-Bennett was on hand to offer opening remarks. Guests were invited to ask questions and share networking stories with the speakers and participants following formal presentations.
The AGBU YP Program consists of young Armenians between the ages of 22 and 40 who support and believe in the preservation and promotion of the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural, career and humanitarian programs. It was founded in Los Angeles in 1995 and has expanded as far as the Greater Washington, D.C. area due to the efforts of leaders such as Stepanyan and Verdiyan.
Established in 2003, the ANCA Hovig Apo Saghdejian Capital Gateway Program helps Armenian American college students and recent graduates from across the U.S. to pursue careers in public policy, through three month grants of free housing, access to the ANCA network of contacts and resources, and hands-on job-search training in the governmental, political, policy, and media worlds. The program is named in memory of the 23-year old youth leader and community activist from Fresno, California, who lost his life in 2004 in a tragic car accident.
The ANCA is currently seeking a permanent home for the program in Washington, DC, made possible through a major financial contribution by the family of the late community leader and philanthropist Martha Aramian, to be known as the Martha Aramian Armenian Cultural Center. Substantial support for the program has also been provided by the Cafesjian Family Foundation, longtime ANCA benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Frank and Barbara Hekimian, the Tina & Richard V. Carolan Foundation, and the Armenian American Veterans Post of Milford, Massachusetts (AAVO).
The application deadline for the Fall 2014 session of the Gateway Program is July 15, 2014. For more information, visit anca.org/gateway.