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SOAR - Phoenix Chapter

9749 E Dreyfus Ave
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
phoenix@soar-us.org


Phoenix joined the SOAR family in March 2013, continuing our expansion in the West. Phoenix has a large and diverse Armenian population, and we are pleased to welcome their dedicated and enthusiastic Board of Directors.


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Board of Directors:



Artin (Art) Knadjian
President

Artin (Art) Knadjian was born in Cairo, Egypt and immigrated to Montreal, Canada as a child. He grew up in Montreal and attended McGill University, graduating as an architect and practicing in Quebec province for many years. Currently, Artin lives in Scottsdale, AZ and is a principal at AAK Architecture & Interiors, Inc. His portfolio includes many varying types of buildings including, community centers, office buildings, residences and condos in addition to churches and synagogues. Artin was involved with renovations at the Sourp Hagop Church in Montreal and he has also designed the Salvation Army Phoenix Citadel (Church & Community Center) and the Saint Apkar Armenian Church in Arizona. Artin has been involved over many years at St. Apkar as head of its cultural organization (Hye-Ways) and with fundraising and other events. As a leader of the "Pokreeg Pem" (Little Stage) theatre group, Artin has also directed and acted in many comedy plays.



Sevag Hagopian
Vice President

Sevag was born and raised in Southern California and in 1995 after the Northridge earthquake, he and his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Over the years Sevag has been on the executive board and held leadership roles in several non-profit organizations. With a Bachelors Degree in Business Management from Arizona State University, Sevag works for one of the largest mortgage lenders in the United States where he helps train, develop and mentor team members. Outside of the office Sevag has worked with many organizations to help promote the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle and he enjoys many outdoor activities including hiking, running and mountain biking.



Berj Dikranian
Treasurer

Berj was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and then migrated with his family to Phoenix Arizona in 1999. Since his youth, Berj was very much into serving his community, where he was a choir member at the St. Gregory the Illuminator church in Baghdad, and when moved to Arizona, he served on the St. Apkar Armenian Church’s Parish Council board, as well as a treasurer for (Hye-Way) an Armenian cultural organization.

During the past 8 years, Berj worked mainly in the linguistics and interpretation industry, where his knowledge in the Arabic language is utilized, in addition to Armenian and English. After working as a bilingual support specialist for a computer consulting company, he had the opportunity to work with the United States Armed Forces, and was assigned as a civilian interpreter to a Special Operations Combat team and deployed to Diyala province in Iraq. After about 2.5 years he returned to Arizona to the same computer consulting company and is currently working as a Quality Assurance analyst. In addition, Berj is currently attending the University of Phoenix working towards his Bachelor’s Degree in Business, with an anticipated graduation date sometime in 2018.

Berj leads a healthy lifestyle where he enjoys the beautiful weather Arizona has to offer and hikes at least once a week at different trails.


Karineh Viggiani
Secretary

Karineh was born in Tabriz, Iran and immigrated to California in 1980. She moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 2002. She is certified as an emergency medical technician (EMT) in addition to having a medical billing certification. Karineh completed her studies at the Glendale Community College in California. Karineh has worked at the St Joseph Medical Center Surgery Department as a secretary and scheduler and at various doctors’ offices. She is now employed at Honor Health in Scottsdale in the Surgery Department.

Karineh has a passion for charity work. She has been a volunteer and an executive of the Hye-Ways family and cultural organization at St Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church in Scottsdale. Furthermore, she has been a longtime active member of the Armenian Relief Society’s Phoenix Chapter.

Karineh enjoys dancing, music, baking and swimming.



Odette Nazarian
PR/Social Media

Odette is a first generation American Armenian, born in Cleveland Ohio. She grew up in Northern Arizona in a town called Sedona and moved to Phoenix to attend college at Arizona State University. She then went on to Boston Massachusetts to attend law school and started her involvement in the Armenian community there, regularly attending Young Armenian events and mixers. She returned to Arizona after graduating law school to take the bar exam. She is now licensed to practice law in Arizona and Washington. She currently works in eDiscovery which involves the procedural laws surrounding Civil Litigation and Government Investigations. Odette is passionate about her Armenian heritage and is looking forward to representing Arizona as a SOAR board member.



Margaret Ehramjian
Event Planner

Margaret was born and raised in New Jersey, surrounded by a large Armenian community. She attended William Paterson University in NJ and received a BA in Early Childhood Education and English as a Second Language Education. Margaret moved to Arizona in 1992 when she married her husband, Arthur, who was living in Tucson. They have one daughter, Ani. Margaret taught pre-kindergarten until she retired in 2014. She and her family attend St. Apkar Armenian Apostolic Church in Scottsdale, AZ.



Ryan Claridge

Ryan was born and raised in Vancouver Canada. When he was a teenager his family moved to Scottsdale for his father’s career. Ryan attended Arizona State University where he achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy. After ASU, Ryan moved to Orange County to attend Chapman Law School. He worked in the Orange County and Los Angeles area as a criminal attorney for a year before returning to Scottsdale for a position practicing immigration, criminal, and family law in Downtown Phoenix. Ryan is looking forward to being a part of the new Phoenix SOAR Chapter and improving the lives of orphaned Armenian’s around the world.




Gohar Ghushchyan

Gohar was born in Armenia, Yerevan and immigrated to Los Angeles in 2003. Gohar has been very active in her community being president of Armenian Student Association in her high school, cultural director in community college and again president in her last year of community college. Gohar graduated from University of California Irvine with a cognitive psychology degree. Gohar moved to Arizona in 2015 with her husband and is currently working on her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy.

Gohar loves dancing, doing yoga and reading.



Elisabeth Pehlivanian

A consummate recitalist, Ms Pehlivanian made her European debut at the New art Art Gallery and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and her Carnegie Weill Hall debut in 1987.she has since given over 300 concerts in some of the most prestigious halls of Europe, Canada and the U.S., winning high acclaim for her interpretation of a vast repertoire, ranging from the fifth century Armenian Chant to the Avant-Garde.

Elisabeth joined the Voice Faculty of the CSULB Bob Cole conservatory in1999 and has dedicated herself to teaching Voice, Diction, Art Song Repertoire, Forum and Opera Scenes II. A past president of the Lakewood MTAC, board member of The LA NATS and the Mozart Festival, a much sought after clinician and adjudicator, she has recorded on CD the Armenian Romances, vols I and II (LA), the Music of Suni (Ann Arbor)and the Catholic Mass ( Montreal). Her television appearances include interviews and performances on KSCI and Horizon. Ms. Pehlivanian moved to Scottsdale in 2013 and is an associate director of the Metropolitan Opera National competition, AZ district, a board member of NATS, Valley of the Sun chapter and SOAR, Phoenix.