Apigian: Aram ‘Sonny’ Sisoian Giving Back to Society

Aram “Sonny” Sisoian probably never realized while growing up in Whitinsville, Mass. that someday he would be involved in a meaningful church-sponsored ministry that would enable him to use his invaluable life work experience to give back to his fellow man.

Like many young people of his time, Sisoian belonged to the AYF, an organization active then and now in the endeavor of bringing together Armenians to perpetuate their ethnic heritage. Many of the parents of these youth experienced the devastation of being brutally exiled from their homeland of Armenia during the genocide and arrived on these shores without knowing the language, and with no job skills or money.

Perhaps the fertile seeds of helping others fomented in the years Sisoian served in the AYF, where he met his wife of 45 years, Lucy Bargamian of Providence. Their son Paul is a radio personality and production director for CBS in San Francisco.

A man of many talents, Sisoian, a graduate of Bryant College in Rhode Island, was also once a member of the New England Ararat Band before starting his own group, The Vanites, where he played the clarinet and saxophone.

Lucy Sisoian is the sister of Margaret (Peggy) Sarkisian, wife of the late Leo Sarkisian, whose name is synonymous with the ANCA. It seems both sisters were destined to wed altruistic men of good will.

A recent article in the Boston Globe featured comments gleaned from Sisoian. It focused on recent tough economic times and how churches, temples, and synagogues—besides providing spiritual guidance—were offering seminars, workshops on resume writing and the art of interviewing, networking events, and support groups for the unemployed or those in danger of becoming unemployed.

Enter Aram Sisoian. His professional career includes 35 years in human resources, primarily in the defense and financial services industries. He worked internationally for a Fortune 100 company in Saudi Arabia, making connections throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific Rim. He retired as a business partner and director of national human resources for a large entrepreneurial company. Now this spiritual man is ready and willing to share his years of expertise with those experiencing uncertain employment opportunities.

Upon moving to New Hampshire recently, Sisoian got involved in the Employment Ministry of their church, Grace Community Church in Rochester, N.H. He says, “By recommending the outreach and assessing the congregation’s needs and using my God-given abilities to help fellow brothers and sisters, I strive to satisfy their individuals work-related needs.”

His involvement includes presenting a seminar that offers resume development, effective job interviewing practices, an assessment of skill sets, and strategies pertaining to the enlistment of networking partners, and most importantly, motivates some participants who are psychologically ill-prepared for the challenges of a job search.

It is a fact that unemployment can create feelings of helplessness, leaving people struggling. Aram says, “Eight out of 10 have found meaningful opportunities. I work with the participants at churches throughout central and southeastern New Hampshire and northeastern Massachusetts.” His success rate is admirable.

He comments further: “I tell them if they are struggling, it’s all happening for a reason. That God has a plan for them. Do you believe that? You’re going to end up where the Lord wants you and each of you has abilities.” He encourages networking, and in an interview to use action words, to be articulate, and confident.

His three-hour seminars include people of all ages—unemployed as well as those on severance or in transition.

In addition, his work involves referrals from a Christian Broadcasting Network executive who has provided him with participants from Vermont, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.

Sisoian’s satisfaction comes from working with job-seekers and seeing them apply the strategies learned in the seminar and “watching the Lord open up doors for them.” The biggest challenge has nothing to do with people’s abilities, but stems from their inability to get motivated beyond their personal and family problems.

“It’s been a real privilege and ongoing opportunity for me to use my counseling and spiritual skills to help people put their best effort into succeeding and obtaining gainful employment,” says Sisoian.

It is refreshing to know individuals such as Aram Sisoian exist, people who are truly extending a helping hand to their fellow man in need.

Let’s hope the idea is catchy.

Betty Apigian-Kessel

Betty Apigian-Kessel

Betty (Serpouhie) Apigian Kessel was born in Pontiac, Mich. Together with her husband, Robert Kessel, she was the proprietor of Woodward Market in Pontiac and has two sons, Bradley and Brant Kessel. She belonged to the St. Sarkis Ladies Guild for 12 years, serving as secretary for many of those years. During the aftermath of the earthquake in Armenia in 1988, the Detroit community selected her to be the English-language secretary and she happily dedicated her efforts to help the earthquake victims. She has a column in the Armenian Weekly entitled “Michigan High Beat.”

1 Comment

  1. I don’t know for sure, but I think I knew Sonny, when we served together in the 314th US Army Band, in Frankfurt, Germany back
    in ’60-’63. Please ask him to contact me, if he’s like.
    Dan ‘Mac’ McNamara

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