ARS Hosts Leadership Seminar

LA CRESCENTA—The Educational Committee of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS) of Western U.S.A., Regional Executive organized a leadership seminar, which was held on February 20, 2010, at the Western Prelacy, “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall, in La Crescenta, CA. This seminar followed two others, which were geared towards administrative tasks conducted by chapter secretaries and treasurers. The upcoming lecture organized by the committee is a public forum entitled “Voices of Armenian Women in the 21st Century,” which will be held on Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 6 p.m. at the Glendale Central Library, 222 E. Harvard St., Glendale, CA.  

During the seminar, foundations of leadership and teamwork was presented by Maral Poladian and Organizational Public Relations was presented by Steve Artinian. Lena Bozoyan, chair of the ARS “Sepan” Chapter and the organizing committee, made the welcoming remarks. She recognized that ARS Central Executive member, Nova Hindoyan, was in attendance, along with ARS of Western USA Regional Executive Chair, Sossie Poladian, and her teammates and chapter executives. Bozoyan expressed her excitement for having such experienced speakers and remarked that individuals need to continuously develop their leadership skills to be effective as employees or volunteers.

Steve Artinian, Chairman of the Homenetmen Western Region, Regional Executive Board, and vice president of advertising in a national corporation, commented on the need to adapt as an organization with respect to all the changes going on in the public relations, marketing and promotions, and fundraising. He said that everything starts with brand awareness and that the ARS logo is part of the branding process. He provided ample examples through his work and service organization experience to get his message across. He presented examples of logos, slogans and jingles and how they are recognized or get out of favor by the public due to changing norms. Artinian said that if you get complains of over-promoting, then you are doing your promotions right.  

He presented the mechanics of press releases, on-line newsletters, marketing and promotions, and fundraising campaigns, and the importance of delegation in a manner, which will encourage responsibility for the total project on the part of the delegated parties, by setting budgets and goals ahead of time, and making sure that committee members connect or complement each other. He discussed audience segmentation; how to coordinate sponsorships, especially corporate ones; corporate volunteer or matching funds, and other methods of raising funds or reaching to new members or event participants.  

Following a lunch break and ample time to connect and discuss the morning session with fellow seminar participants, Maral Poladian, a member of the ARS Anahid Chapter and the Regional Strategic Planning Committee, who is a biochemist with Siemens Healthcare, started her presentation with the extraordinary story of a leader, Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose expedition in the Trans-Antarctic (1914-1916) became the standard in leadership: picking up members with different skill sets; decisiveness in abandoning one plan for another, optimism and hope, treating everyone equally and focused on the job at hand; and not forgetting to have fun.  

Poladian continued her presentation by covering many aspects of organizational behavior   by defining leadership and the emergence of leadership roles, how personality traits are defined with Personal Style Inventories, team dynamics, and conflict resolution. She pointed out that with rapid changes followers are no longer following because of leaders’ positions, but because they share the leaders’ beliefs. She said that the best advice that she has received from her mentor was to “be yourself”, and its best to understand the mental processes and behaviors of team members, their strengths and weaknesses, in order to pick the right people for the right job. She pointed out that it is the responsibility of the leader to understand and help guide the process of team-building as the team goes through the stages of forming through norming and performing, until the team disbands.  

Quoting Peter Drucker, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”, Poladian advised to communicate the organizational vision, to remember that leaders can not be around forever, to share knowledge, to engage in active listening, to give feedback and to give credit.

Following a question and answer section, the program ended with closing remarks by Asdghig Chitilian, the ARS Regional Executive’s liaison to the Educational Committee, who praised the speakers for sharing their knowledge and the participants for being open to new ideas and concepts in a changing world.  

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