Armenian Women Celebrated at Portantino’s ‘Women in Business’ Luncheon

Senator Anthony Portantino with members o the Armenian Relief Society
Senator Anthony Portantino with members o the Armenian Relief Society

Senator Anthony Portantino with members o the Armenian Relief Society

BURBANK—California State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (La Cañada Flintridge) hosted the annual 25th State Senate District Women in Business Legislative Update & Awards Luncheon last Wednesday at The Castaway in Burbank, California. The Women in Business Awards honor local women who have contributed to the economic vitality and diversity of the 25th Senate District. Women in Business additionally celebrates women who have contributed to the greater good of our community. Honorees celebrated inspire others, stimulate our workforce, and run some of the most impressive non-profits, healthcare organizations, and businesses in the 25th State Senate District.

This year’s luncheon proudly featured Keynote Speaker Dr. Lucy Jones, founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society and Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech. She has been at the forefront of all seismic movement experienced in California and nationwide. Additionally, the event included music performed by the Pasadena Conservatory of Music and Cantor Ruth Berman Harris.

The following are prominent and successful women who were honored:

Volunteer – Talin Yacoubian:
Talin Yacoubian, is the Chair of the AGBU Western District, which serves the Armenian community through its chapters and special groups. She is also active in AGBU Hye Green, a trailblazing women’s group that is a platform for intellectual and professional women. Talin is a board member of the Armenian Assembly of American and the Armenian Fund, as well as being a trustee of the Armenian American Museum and Cultural Center of California.

Empowerment – Armenian Relief Society of Western USA:
The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA received the Empowerment Award. The ARS is an international non-profit organization which is committed to meeting the social, health, and welfare needs of the community. For thirty-five years, the women at the helm of the organization have provided valuable services and humanitarian assistance to both local and international causes while promoting Armenian culture and language. Today, ARS Western USA consists of more than 1,200 members belonging to chapters throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas.

From left: Judge Armenui Ashvanian, Talin Yacoubian, Senator Anthony Portantino, and Lucy Vartanian

From left: Judge Armenui Ashvanian, Talin Yacoubian, Senator Anthony Portantino, and Lucy Vartanian

Law – Armenui A. Ashvanian & Lucy Varpetian:
Superior Court Judge Armenui A. Ashvanian presides over a courtroom in the County of Los Angeles. She is the first Armenia-born Armenian American to be appointed to the bench in the United States. The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church named her their Professional Leader of the Year and the SEIU Local 721 Women’s Caucus “I AM WOMAN, Visionaries, and Agents of Change” award.

Lucy Varpetian, the Co-Vice Chairperson of the Armenian Bar Association and serves as the Co-Chair of the Association’s Pro Bono and Judicial Evaluation Committees. She is a Principal Assistant City Attorney in the Glendale City Attorney’s Office. Lucy serves on the Boards of the Glendale YMCA and the AGBU Western District Committee.

Medicine – Dr. Srpouhi Gasparyan:
Dr. Srpouhi Gasparyan practices the full spectrum of family medicine, including infants, children, and adults. She enjoys teaching and works with residents and medical students to train future doctors. She attended medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and completed her residency at Kaiser Permanente.

Education – Ani Keshishian & Taline Krikorian Arsenian:
Ani Keshishian is the Assistant Director of the Professional Development Center of Glendale Community College. In this role, she has been able to increase student enrollment, develop a comprehensive course catalog, introduce new courses, update and improve infrastructure, and strengthen community partnerships.

Taline Krikorian Arsenian is the present of the Glendale Teachers Association. She has been in that elected position for the last four and a half years. As an advocate, she works to protect and promote the well-being of educators and students by building trust, having clear communication, and proactively participating in public and education advocacy. She has been a math teacher in the school district since 1999. She is the daughter of immigrants and the granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors.

“It is a pleasure to honor successful women in the 25th State Senate District. Having a wonderful spouse who is a thriving business executive gives me a unique window into the challenges, opportunities and success of women business leaders throughout my district. The women we honored this year are impressive and humble servants for their non-profits, businesses and professions. It is important that pause and to thank our deserving honorees for their successful service that touches all of us in such a positive way,” commented Senator Anthony J. Portantino.

The main objective of the event was to celebrate exceptional women whose professional skills and commitment to their community have made them leaders and trailblazers in the 25th Senate District. The careers of the honorees varied across the spectrum of professions, including science and technology, corporate and small business, environmental protection, as well as non-profit organizations. The Women in Business Award Luncheon was initiated by then Assemblymember Jack Scott over two decades ago.

Senator Portantino is the Chair of the California State Senate Select Committee on California Armenia, Artsakh Trade Art and Cultural Exchange. He recently returned from his third trip to Armenia and New York City where he helped launch the historic trade MOU signed by Governor Newsom and the Government of Armenian.

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