A Fateful Evening with AIWASF

By: Tara Baghdassarian
One evening in May 2016, a couple weeks after graduating from UC Berkeley with an Arts degree, my parents dragged me to yet another Armenian event in San Francisco. I was not excited to leave my friends, but my parents were donating a couple middle eastern platter trays from La Mediterranee and so it was “important” that I go.

We arrived at the old PicsArt office – the walls were covered with cool printed edits, there were hammocks, yoga mats, colorful murals on the walls, etc. Suffice to say I was intrigued…
I then met Rachel Nersesian who had just moved back from Armenia after doing Birthright. She recounted many of her Armenia experiences and I immediately felt a pull to my homeland.
The panel was titled “Inspiring the Next Generation of Future Leaders”  let’s say, I was very inspired…

After the panel discussion ended, I had the chance to speak to Argam Derhartunian, a former PicsArt VP of Product. He also told me about Birthright and urged me to pursue the program as he claimed it was the best experience of his life. He handed me his business card and told me that maybe I could volunteer with them in Yerevan as my Birthright worksite.
I was convinced. Driving home that night I declared to my parents that I was going to move to Armenia and do Birthright. My declaration was met with shock, but mostly pride and excitement.
It wasn’t until a year later that I made the move and found myself digging through my wallet for Argam’s business card. After months of correspondence: meetings, Skype calls, emails, and lots of persistence from my end, I finally got the job offer! Within a month (last May 2018), I moved back to Armenia and have been here since working as a Campaign Manager for PicsArt’s Partnerships Team.
I’ve since reached out to Argam and thanked him, but I’d also like to personally thank you Christine Soussa, and AIWA-SF for putting together an evening that literally changed my life!

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