By Jason KUROSU
Three years ago, Glendale Chamber of Commerce board member Louie Sadd was asked to organize a group for the city’s young professionals. Sadd, who is also a managing partner of the Information Technology company Datastream, was named the chair of the Glendale Young Professionals group, founding the organization with his longtime school friend and Datastream co-founder Ara Adjamian.
The group arranges events that allow young members of local businesses to network and promote themselves and their businesses, events such as one held Wednesday night at the AMLI Lex on Orange Apartments.
“Our goal is to promote connections between young professionals and get them acquainted with different organizations within the city of Glendale, different venues and different businesses,” said Sadd.
GYP events have featured a plethora of notable keynote speakers, offering their personal stories of success in their respective fields. Among past speakers are top representatives of companies like Dreamworks Studios and Sport Chalet, as well as local government figures such as Congressman Adam Schiff and Glendale City Manager Scott Ochoa. In keeping with tradition, Wednesday night’s speaker was Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan.
“Along with networking, we get to highlight local businesses and allow our members to hear from inspirational speakers,” said GYP Council member Tamar Hadjimanoukian, who also works with the city of Glendale.
Sinanyan shared his story, from his upbringing in the Soviet Republic of Armenia to his school years in America at Burbank High School. Sinanyan said his first obstacle was surmounting the language barrier, which his parents hoped he’d overcome by going to school outside of Glendale, forcing him to learn English.
“For a kid who comes from a foreign country, it was very important to my parents that I went to a school without Armenians, so I was forced to speak English very early on, thrown into the ocean and sink or swim,” he said. “I swam.”
Sinanyan’s story moved on to his time at UCLA where he met his wife, Lori, and then USC Law School, where he found interning and employment opportunities.
“At law school, I had the good fortune of having some very good employment experiences. During a lot of law school, I interned for the California Court of Appeals. I worked as a salaried employee at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C. and, upon graduation, I started practicing law.”
Later on, Sinanyan became involved in politics, despite not expecting to run for any type of office.
“When I graduated from law school and I became involved with the Burbank chapter of the ANCA (Armenian National Committee of America), believe me, running for office was the last thing on my mind.”
But Sinanyan did run for city council 10 years later after serving on the city’s Parks, Recreation and City Services Commission and the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee. After Rafi Manoukian stepped down from the Glendale City Council to accept the role of treasurer for the city, Sinanyan decided to run for office.
“I spoke with some friends and confidantes whose opinions I value greatly. We came to the conclusion that maybe I should run for office, maybe I can do it and I have the passion for it,” said Sinanyan. “That’s really why I ran for office. I love the city of Glendale, I love the residents of Glendale.”
Sinanyan told the young attendees at the event that they had to remain involved and engaged in the city’s affairs.
“I think there is a tendency from younger people to think that somehow they lack the life experiences, knowledge or expertise to be vocal about their opinions,” he said. “The involvement of your vision in what the city of Glendale should be like is paramount. You have to let those like me and anyone else who has any decision making powers in the city know how you would like the city to shape up, how you see the city in the future.”
According to GYP Council member and Sedna Solutions founder Shant Sahakian, Glendale Young Professionals now numbers close to 100 members.