AGBU Intern Program Supervisors Reception
The summer came to a rewarding close for the 32 interns of the AGBU New York Summer Intern Program (NYSIP), who arriving on June 5, 2005 as strangers to New York and one another, departed eight weeks later with professional experience under their belt, lifelong friendships and a deeper connection to their Armenian identity and heritage.
To cap off the summer long program of career building and networking activities, the AGBU President’s Club, the sponsor of NYSIP, hosted a reception on July 28, 2005 honoring the Supervisors who opened their workplaces to NYSIP participants. A fundamental building block of the Program, the role of the Supervisor is essential to the development of an intern. The Supervisors dedicate a significant portion of their time and expertise on a daily basis equipping the interns with the training and skills they need to succeed. Working for world-class organizations, the students obtain real-world exposure to the market place, which for most were their first, full-time jobs.
Over 100 guests attended the reception at AGBU Central Office, including Supervisors, interns, parents and friends, as well as Rita Balian, Co-Founder of NYSIP and Co-Chair of the AGBU President’s Club; keynote speaker Aaron Sherinian, U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Political-Economic Chief to Armenia; Ambassador Movses Abelian, United Nations (U.N.) Secretary of the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly and the Committee for Programme & Coordination, and former Armenian Ambassador to the U.N.; AGBU Central Board Member Michael Ansour; and AGBU President’s Club Members Adrienne Alexanian; Paul and Harriet Kazarian, parents of intern Paul Kazarian; Levon and Anush Nazarian, parents of intern Haig Nazarian; and Vera Setrakian.
With an unwavering commitment to advancing new generations of Armenians, Rita Balian in her address urged the interns to remain involved, “Our request to each one of you is that you work very hard, never forsake your vision and faith, be honest and determined to succeed in life, so that in the future you can give back by helping at least three aspiring young Armenians to also succeed in life. By sharing your knowledge and experience with the generations that follow, you will enrich the communities in which you live, you will enrich the Armenian nation and most importantly, mankind.”
After her remarks, Balian introduced keynoter Aaron Sherinian, who discussed the meaning of being an Armenian intern and how being Armenian differentiates the interns from others, lightheartedly concluding that Armenians invented the concept of networking. “Armenians did not simply survive. Armenians excelled in the different cities they lived in because of networking, said Sherinian. “Who are you for me? And what can we offer to each other? We are good at networking, because we, as a people, are confident. It’s very clear where we’ve been, it’s very clear what we’ve done, but the best part of it is that it’s clear the best is yet to come. This is what you’ve done as interns.”
Other program speakers included NYSIP Associate Program Director Aline Ekmekji; interns Vanik Baghramian and Alexis Halejian; NYSIP Activities Coordinator Alex Khadiwala; and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor Vice President and NYSIP Supervisor Ted Candella.
“Each season of the Program starts with applications from college students from around the world who want to come to NY,” Ekmekji explained during her remarks. “Some are young with no professional experience, while others have already filled up a two-page resume. Finding the right fit between intern and Supervisor is a challenge, but as they merge on the first day, I can see that all the hard work is worth it.”
For many interns, their Supervisors are fundamental to their development, both as professionals and as individuals, relying on them as mentors and coaches. Alexis Halejian, intern for Sports Illustrated and Weight Watchers Magazine in her address said, “The main reason we all came to NY was to obtain internship experience; thus, you, the Supervisors, are the ones who have lit up our lives, challenged us, allowed us to grow and taught us valuable lessons, many of which a textbook or a college class could never do.”
The measure of the Program’s success is that numerous NYSIP alumni are today in leadership positions in their professional lives, and credit NYSIP for their professional foundation. Additionally, alumni demonstrate their ongoing appreciation and commitment to NYSIP by serving as Supervisors and mentors in the Program, and holding leadership roles in the growing ranks of AGBU’s Young Professionals Network.
In his remarks, Swiss Armenian Vanik Baghramian, intern for NYU Medical Center, Planning & Business Initiatives had this to say, “This internship program is not like any other. Our experience is framed and monitored by an international organization, which certifies the quality of the people selected and integrates them in a serious and comprehensive program. This program is helping us reach our goals not only as future professionals, but also as future Armenian leaders.”
In recognition of their accomplishments, AGBU Central Board hosted a farewell dinner for the interns on July 29, 2005 at Serafina Restaurant.