PASADENA, Calif.—On July 28, the Armenian Bar Association held its inaugural “20 Rising Stars under 40” awards ceremony at the Pandora on Green restaurant in Old Town Pasadena. The Rising Stars award recognizes 20 Armenian legal professionals under the age of 40 who have distinguished themselves in their professions and who have made a meaningful impact on their respective communities. This year’s honorees span the globe, coming from Toronto, Boston, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles, among other locations.
Master of ceremonies Garo Hovannisian introduced each honoree to enthusiastic applause. He noted that “each of the award recipients has a remarkable story. Their accomplishments in their professions and their commitment to community and Armenian interests set them apart.” Hovannisian added, “We’re excited not only for their accomplishments thus far, but for the prospect of what lies ahead for each of them, both professionally and in terms of their contributions to the advancement of the Armenian communities worldwide.”
ArmenBar Chairman Edvin Minassian followed Hovannisian’s introductory remarks. “Today’s Rising Stars award recipients represent the best in the Armenian legal community,” he noted. “When we honor them we likewise honor the profession we have chosen, one that ultimately stands as a bulwark against arbitrary government and assures that the rights of the individual shall remain at the forefront. By the same token, today’s honorees are not only individuals to whom we in the Armenian community may point with pride. They are also, and ultimately more importantly, individuals who have already made their professional mark in the larger society as well.”
The Bar Association’s vice chairman, Garo Ghazarian, also encouraged the recipients to continue to excel, both professionally and with regard to their commitment to the Armenian community.
The 2011 Rising Stars award recipients are Ani E. Ajemian (Sherin & Lodgen, Boston, Mass.), Armen Akaragian (Mardirossian & Associates, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif.), Michael R. Amerian (Office of the Los Angeles City Attorney, Los Angeles, Calif.), Henri Arslanian (UBS Investment Bank, Hong Kong), Ara A. Babaian (Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP, Beverly Hills, Calf.), Nareg Gourjian (Gourjian Law Group, Glendale, Calif.), Annie P. Marandjian-Hovanessian (Vulcan Materials Company, Los Angeles), Ara Jabagchourian (Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP, Burlingame, Calif.), Raffi Kassabian (Reed Smith, LLP, Los Angeles), Lara Kayayan (Home Savings of America, Los Angeles), Karnig Kerkonian (The Kerkonian Law Firm, LLP, Evanston, Ill.), Alex Khachaturian (White & Case LLP, Washington, D.C.), Hovanes Margarian (The Law Office of Hovanes Margarian, Sherman Oaks, Calif.), Armen S. Martin (Liner Grode et al., Los Angeles), Mampre Pomakian (LAUSD, Office of General Counsel, Los Angeles), Suzanne J. Prysak (Jenner & Block, LLP, Chicago, Ill.), Chris K. Safarian (Safarian & Choi, Los Angeles), Nicole J. Simonian (Bryan Cave LLP, Santa Monica, Calif.), and Fernand Vartanian (ACE INA Insurance, Toronto, Canada).
Over 250 guests attended the gala awards ceremony. Among the many prominent attendees were Zaven V. Sinanian (judge, Los Angeles Superior Court), Chahe-Philippe Arslanian (judge, Superior Court, Toronto), Antranig Kasbarian (chairman, ARF Central Committee, Eastern U.S., and executive director, Tufenkian Foundation), Garo Mardirossian (immediate past president of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles), and Steven Dadaian, Esq., (senior policy advisor, Armenian National Committee). On a more personal note, the ArmenBar is particularly gratified that so many family members chose to accompany honorees, many traveling considerable distances to participate in the ceremony. Their presence and obvious exuberance added a measure of sparkle to what was an altogether enjoyable evening.