Today we’d like to introduce you to Silvana Vartanian.
Silvana, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Our organization Nerouj, pronounced Nehr-oozh, meaning “inner strength” in Armenian started in 2016. Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Primate of the Western Diocese of North America and Mexico wished to attract more youth to the Cathedral and the Diocese and to engage them in the life of the church. I proposed that we invite young professionals in the community and present the various projects the Diocese was involved with and ask if there was anything that their generation desired. The group enjoyed their visit at the Diocese with the Archbishop and agreed to meet again. Through several discussions within this group, there was a consensus that they desired a way to meet other professionals, and more importantly, they wished to mentor the next generation. Thus, the primary purpose of Nerouj was created to provide a platform through the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church for Armenian Young Professionals to network with each other, while also paying it forward by mentoring the next generation.
Has it been a smooth road?
The organization formed very smoothly because it developed very organically. Our Nerouj team consists of 20 young professionals and college students. Surprisingly they all felt the same way about their role in the community and quickly agreed on our mission statement. Our mission is: “To lead the Armenian youth through education, support, and mentorship while strengthening our heritage through inner spirituality and morality.” We have stayed true to our mission by focusing on building relationships with professionals and mentees through informal mixers and a more formal professional symposium we plan to continue hosting annually called Nerouj’s New Connect. In addition, our events have been at the Western Diocese Complex, which has shown the youth that the Armenian Church and Diocese is their home for both spiritual and personal growth and achievement.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Nerouj – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
There are several Armenian organizations focused on the youth in the community. What sets us apart is that our organization is filling a void the youth felt they had. More importantly, the mission and purpose of Nerouj was a direct result of a desire the youth in the community felt. I may be chairing Nerouj, but it is truly a team of incredible youth that decides the path we should take. I am so proud of today’s Armenian professionals! They are successful not only in their careers but successful as humans in our society because they want to pay it forward. That is what I am most proud of.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love Los Angeles because it is diverse and welcoming to all. We live in such a dynamic city rich with its people of various races and cultures. There is also tremendous opportunity to pursue a rewarding career because there is such a vast variety of educational institutions and industry. Although our city is diverse, each of us is also able to maintain our heritage. That is important for Armenians. April 24th commemorates the Armenian Genocide during which we were almost erased from history in 1915. I think that need for preservation is why Nerouj developed so organically. Armenians have always found a way to survive and that survival is dependent on the next generation never forgetting how precious our heritage is. That’s why we march every April 24th even after the 100 year anniversary. The youth who formed Nerouj with me want to keep that heritage alive and also ensure the success of our future. We’re fortunate we live in a city that allows us to strive for our goals.
- Address: Nerouj at The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church
3325 N. Glenoaks Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91504
- Website: nerouj.com
- Phone: 818-929-1390
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @NEROUJ_WD
- Facebook: @NEROUJ