AIWA-SF Gala Celebration: Bridging Our Worlds

AIWA-SF Los Gatos, CA — We are delighted to announce the extraordinary program for our upcoming black tie gala celebration on March 10, 2018. Themed “Bridging Our Worlds” the AIWA-SF gala fundraiser at The Four Seasons, Palo Alto features an inspirational program, exceptional silent auction, dining, dancing and community! Join us as we celebrate AIWA-SF.

To purchase tickets online click here. All reservations and ticket purchases must be made prior to the event.  We have negotiated hotel accommodations at The Four Seasons, Palo Alto. Please mention Armenian International Women’s Associations when you call to make your hotel accommodations. Discounted room rate of $235 is valid until February 12, 2018. Book your room directly with the Four Seasons Palo Alto 650-566-1200.

AIWA-SF President Christine Soussa shares, “We are so excited for this milestone event and I hope you will join us! Come prepared to be inspired. We will share what we have accomplished thus far, and our vision forward.  Our event program is spectacular! We are working hard to create a meaningful and memorable experience.”

Keynote Speaker:

Magdalena Yesil, Executive Chair, DriveInformed and Founder, Broadway MYPassportLatestAngels. Magdalena is a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist of many of the world’s top technology companies, including Salesforce, where she was the first investor and founding board member. Her current startup, DriveInformed, uses technology to bring trust and transparency to the auto finance industry.

Magdalena’s investing career started at US Venture Partners, where as a general partner, she oversaw over 15 investments. She is a founder of Broadway Angels, an angel group of female investors. She is a technology pioneer who started her career as a semiconductor design engineer, and her three decades in Silicon Valley evolved with the technology industry. Prior to becoming a venture capitalist, Magdalena founded three companies in succession, dedicated to commercializing Internet access, e-commerce infrastructure, and electronic payments. UUnet, Cybercash and MarketPay earned her the Entrepreneur of the Year title from Red Herring Magazine. She recently received the 2017 Fearless Leader award from WomenOnBoards2020. She is the author of Power UP! How Smart Women Win in the New Economy, where she shares her learnings for success in the technology industry.

Fireside Chat:

Stephanie Adrouny is Vice President of News for NBC Bay Area, part of the NBC Stephanie 2017 headshotUniversal Owned Television Stations Group. She oversees the local news operation for the San Francisco Bay Area.  The station is part of the 8th largest designated market area in the country reaching over 2 million households.

Stephanie not only directs the activities of the news staff, but also defines and maintains ethical, editorial, artistic and technical standards for the news operation.  While she spearheads employee recruitment and development, Stephanie also oversees the creation and production of programing across all platforms. She guides the Investigative Unit and the consumer team and manages their output. She also sponsored the launch of the embedded community journalist program, an innovative initiative delivering hyper-local news on several digital platforms.

Stephanie earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at UC Santa Barbara and graduated with honors. She also attended Cambridge University in the United Kingdom. She is the recipient of several prestigious journalism awards including a Peabody, a duPont-Columbia University Award as well as several Emmys. Stephanie is a native of San Francisco and spends her free time with close family and friends. She is an avid chef having learned to cook Armenian food at an early age in her mother’s kitchen!

Kim Bardakian is the Director of Media Relations, Kapor Center for Social Impact.  Kim

Drew Bird Photo | Visual Storyteller

is a dynamic communications professional with 20+ years of proven track record in bringing companies to the next level with media exposure, marketing savvy and event planning. She has been an active member of the Armenian community her whole live and enjoys organizing various community events. A native New Yorker, Bardakian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Masters in Sports Management, both from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. She currently resides in Oakland, CA.


Arra G. Yerganian is an award winner marketing & sales leader and has served as Chief Arra Headshot 2017Marketing Officer / Chief Experience Officer for leading companies like Sutter Health, One Medical Group, and the University of Phoenix.  He contributes regularly to publications like Ad Age, Forbes, and numerous marketing journals.  He is obsessed with removing friction from the customer and consumer journeys.  He currently advises and/or is on the board of directors for several category leading organizations; e.g., YouCaring Inc., Ground Truth Inc., AltSchool Edu., Rocketship Schools, Green Fig Education, Doximity Health, Abaka Health, and Optima HSC.  Mr. Yerganian is strongly committed to helping develop talented sales and marketing leaders throughout a variety of industries, from education to healthcare, including compassionate crowdfunding, and fintech.   A hallmark of his success is his ability to thoughtfully understand business challenges and develop a comprehensive strategy for product and service differentiation which results in driving accretive top and bottom line growth.  Providing innovative, market-driven and value-added solutions has been his focus for the past 25+ years.

A graduate of Boston University and Harvard Business School’s acclaimed Executive Education Strategic Marketing Management program, Arra began his marketing career in 1985 at Procter & Gamble, serving as international market manager for multiple international markets. He later worked as managing director – international, for the Dial Corporation.  Arra also held senior marketing and operations positions with Lennar Corporation and Pulte Homes.

Mr. Yerganian was recently honored at Lincoln Center, NYC with the CMO Officers Award. Presented by the International CMO Club, this award recognizes top senior marketing executives who demonstrate the ability to develop and enhance corporate branding beyond the marketing department, leading growth across functional areas.

Arra has a loving family including his wife of 20+ years and three children, ages 8, 13, and 17.  He and his family have a deep and special relationship with the St. Andrew Armenian Church in Cupertino, CA.

Award Recipient:

Marie Lou Papazian is CEO of the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, a network of marie loufree-of-charge learning facilities where thousands of teenagers acquire skills in creative technologies from game development and coding to filmmaking and digital music. Marie Lou developed TUMO’s educational program and also led the design and construction of the center’s facilities. Prior to TUMO, Marie Lou founded the Education for Development Foundation where she led the Three Pomegranates project linking Armenian students to their global peers through web-based educational activities. Previously, she was the lead construction manager for a number of high-rise residential and commercial buildings in New York City, including the Marriott Financial Center Hotel. Marie Lou holds a Master’s Degree in Computing in Education from the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York, as well as degrees in engineering and management from Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey and Université St. Joseph in Beirut. In addition to leading TUMO’s day to day operations, Marie Lou is currently spearheading new initiatives such as TUMO Studios, focusing on Armenian design and crafts, and expanding the network of TUMO centers throughout Armenia and beyond.


Ani N. Shabazian, Ed.M, PhD. 

A native of Southern California, Ani attended UCLA for her undergraduate studies thumbnail-2receiving her B.A. degrees in History and Psychology.   She continued her studies in Human Developmental Psychology at Harvard University attaining her first Masters degree.  Following this program, Ani returned to UCLA to obtain her MA/PhD in Urban Schooling, thus solidifying her scholarly knowledge in practice, theory, and education.  From early on, Ani worked at marrying these different parts of academia—she served on faculty at a number of different universities but always maintained her connection to practice by either serving in a volunteer capacity or professionally.  This ensured Ani could both teach future educators, yet still contribute directly to elevating the quality of care for young children.  After serving as a faculty member at UCLA and the Executive Director of the UCLA Infant Development Program, Ani accepted a position at Loyola Marymount University (LMU). Continuing to bridge research and practice, Ani’s dual appointment at LMU includes serving as a tenured faculty member at the LMU’s School of Education as well as serving as the Director of the LMU Children’s Center, an on-campus laboratory school.

Her peers as well as her students have recognized Ani’s dedication to her work and passion for education.  She was the recipient of the UCLA Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award and the LMU Crimson and Blue Distinguished Teaching Award.  She has also shared her research and expertise with fellow educators, researchers, and administrators through numerous trainings, national and international conference presentations, and various peer-reviewed journal publications as well as authored two books. Further, her consulting work with Whole Child International (an NGO) involves developing high-quality training programs for those working with vulnerable children residing in institutions (orphanages) in limited resource countries and helping to assess and establish country specific regulations for orphanages globally.

Ani’s commitment to the community is evident through her volunteer work and service on a number of non-profit boards. These include having served on the Ararat Charter School Governance Board and serving as founding member for the first multilingual (Armenian, English, Spanish) public charter school in California.  She also has served as a Board Member for the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief, countless university committees including the Dean’s Council, the LMU Committee on Excellence in Teaching, and the LMU Committee on the Status of Women (where she served as co-chair), the LMU Children’s Center Advisory Board (where she serves as chair) and also serving as the Faculty Advisor to the LMU Armenian Student Association. More recently Ani was appointed to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Hovnanian School as well as elected to serve on the Board of Directors of Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of early learning, continuing her commitment to education and the support of youth within and outside the academic community.

Event Details:


aiwa-rsvpcard-FB (1)



About AIWA-SF:

The Armenian International Women’s Association is a dynamic global 501(c)3 dedicated to empowerment, education and enrichment. Through many projects and initiatives,  AIWA is dedicated to inspiring, empowering and connecting Armenian women worldwide.

AIWA-SF is an affiliate chapter of the Armenian International Women’s Association,  the EIN #: 04-3113182. Donations marked for AIWA-SF are routed to the affiliate chapter.

To get involved with the AIWA-SF affiliate, please visit http://www.aiwasanfrancisco.com or send an email to aiwasanfrancisco@gmail.com. We are grateful for all donations. To help us promote progress, contributions can be mailed to: AIWA-SF 15559 Union Ave #227 Los Gatos CA 95032



1 comment on “AIWA-SF Gala Celebration: Bridging Our Worlds

  1. Pingback: A Year in Review: 2018 – AIWA San Francisco

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: