SOAR - Orange County Chapter

The Orange County (OC) Chapter joined the SOAR family in August 2013. About 40 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, OC is a rapidly growing metropolis. Given its fairly close proximity to Glendale (about 50 miles) and strong job market, many Armenians have moved to OC over the last decade. Compared to other neighborhoods in California, OC is fairly nascent in terms of its Armenian population. The earliest record of a count of the Armenian population of the area is from the Board of Trustees of the OC Armenians in 1973. The group identified 150 local residents as Armenian and soon set out to build the community's first Armenian Church. Today, the largest population of Armenians can be found in northern and central OC, specifically in the cities of Newport Beach, Anaheim, Costa Mesa, and Irvine.

The Orange County Chapter manages the Pen Pal Program along with SOAR-Dallas

***See what our chapter has been doing***

Board of Directors:

Nareg Mouradian

Nareg Mouradian is currently a Senior Project Manager for the Kitchell Corporation where he is overseeing the programming, budgeting, design, and construction for clients. Prior to this he worked for The Walt Disney Company as a Senior Project Manager for their facility asset management group at The Disneyland Resort. Nareg's asset profile includes renovations of healthcare facilities, restaurants, office space, data centers, retail, attractions, and back of house infrastructures. Over the years Nareg has built strong relationships with multiple large and small design and construction companies. He has previously worked at several large commercial construction firms building projects for clients such as Apple, Kaiser Healthcare, Tenet Healthcare, Cal Poly Pomona and Pechanga, ranging from $40M to $120M.

Nareg earned his Executive Master of Business Administration from Chapman University. He attended California Polytechnic University in Pomona, Ca. where he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering.

Nareg is passionate about supporting those in need around his community and in Armenia. He currently resides on multiple boards including Ari Giragos Minassian School, Knights of Vartan, and SOAR.

Nairi Berner, MD
Vice President

Nairi earned her Bachelor's degree from UCLA following which she attended Chicago Medical School. After medical school, Nairi completed her residency training in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Medical Center where she also served as Chief Resident. She then worked as a Hospitalist physician at both Yale and Northwestern hospitals, but has since returned to medical training and is now completing her fellowship in Endocrinology at UCI medical center.

Nairi was raised in the Glendale, CA area where she learned to love and appreciate her Armenian culture and traditions, and developed a dedication to helping fellow Armenians in her homeland. She now lives in Orange County with her husband and son.

Chad Erickson

Originally from a small town in Western Michigan, Chad moved to Miami, Florida to attend Johnson and Wales University in 2006 where he received his B.S in Business Administration with a concentration in International Relations. Upon completion of his B.S., Chad was accepted into the United States Peace Corps where he served in Armenia. From 2010-2012 Chad lived in Malishka, Vayotz Dzor, Armenia (a village in the South Western region). He worked primarily with local schools instructing in various subjects including Leadership, Business, and English. Additionally, he worked with various partner organizations in Armenia including GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) and FLEX (Foreign Leaders Exchange Program) to help young Armenian students gain vital life skills in order to help them become leaders in their communities.After serving in Armenia, Chad moved to Huntington Beach, CA where he currently works as the Banquet Manager executing corporate events and meetings at the Fairmont Newport Beach.

Ara Kasarian

Ara is a lifelong native of Southern California. Born in Los Angeles, he grew up in the Armenian Community of Montebello and graduated from California State University with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Business Administration.

At an early age he got his Real Estate Broker’s license and moved to Irvine to start his Real Estate Investment Career. Thirty three years later he is managing his investment portfolio and now travels the world.

Ara’s involvement with the Armenian Community goes way back. He served as the treasurer for the Western USA Region AYF Central Executive for more than half a decade and was the sole driving force behind the creation of the AYF Orange County Chapter. He was the AYF Camp Director for 3 years and a member of the Orange County Professional Society. Ara also worked with the executive board of Junior Achievement of Armenia and traveled to and from Armenia. He was an active mentor with the AGBU Generation Next Organization, mentoring a 13 year-old boy from Glendale for more than two years. He later went on to serve on the executive board as treasurer with that great organization.

Ara attributes his success and enthusiasm for life from being mentored early in his carrier by his three mentors: Jim Rohn, Anthony Robbins and Deepak Chopra. These men opened the path of unlimited possibilities for him and sent him on his journey to a life well lived.

Rafi Aslanian, MD

Rafi Aslanian, originally Syrian/Greek, is a medical doctor, an advocate of holistic well being and a research entrepreneur in the prevention of chronic and intractable diseases. After finishing his medical studies, he incorporated his company Vituos Collections Pvt. Ltd. in India by amalgamating knowledge gained from medical studies and wisdom gained from international trading. He soon became a brand in healthy food business in India.

Later, Dr. Aslanian proving himself and his decision to pursue a career as an entrepreneur, he expanded the company by opening many new ventures.

Capturing India’s culinary market, Dr. Aslanian in 1996 opened his signature brand Raffi's Mosaic Culinary Art. "Where Health Food is elevated to an Art” for training chefs of five star hotels, combining delicacies from the Middle East with perfect touches from East and West.

In 2012, Dr. Aslanian moved to the United States from India to reunite with his family.

Silva Benlian

Originally born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, Silva moved to the US at the age of 14 with both of her parents and her brother and sister. She graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a BA in Business and Communications. Silva was Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Pangea Organics, and prior to that she worked for Arbonne International as their National Director where she lead efforts of opening new International Markets.

She has been very fortunate to have had an incredible career working in the Beauty and Health/Wellness industry for over 20 years for Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, Silva left her corporate career in Executive Management behind to build her own business helping others get healthy and improve their lives.

She is very passionate about helping others and now she would like to channel that passion by helping Armenian orphans through SOAR.

Hera Kissoyan

Hera Kissoyan moved to the United States in 2001 from Beirut, Lebanon. She grew up in a large family and was taught that giving back was the greatest gift you could give. Hera received a BA in Psychology from Vanguard University and is continuing her education to receive her BS in Nursing. Her long term goal is to become a Nurse practitioner and work with children who have been diagnosed with Cancer. Lastly, Hera has a true passion for helping others and believes each day is a new day to make a difference. “I just want to make a difference, small or big. That is what gives me purpose, that is what fills my heart with joy, and that is what makes my life meaningful.”

Christine Sarkisian
Christine is a native of Orange County. She was born and raised in Huntington Beach. She grew up in Orange county where she learned to love and appreciate her Armenian culture and traditions. She developed a dedication to helping fellow Armenians in her homeland.

Christine earned her Bachelor's degree in Economics from California State University, Long Beach. She got her Real Estate License in 1993 and began her career in real estate sales and investing. She is currently the business development manager and founder of Six Palms Vacation homes. She specializes in acquisition, development, marketing, management and sales of vacation homes in Orange County, Palm Springs and Las Vegas.

She now lives in Laguna Beach with her husband John, 8 year old twins Sean and Alexa and 10 year old son Andrew.

Christine joined SOAR in 2016 to enrich the lives of all the Armenian Orphans around the world.