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Our Board

Adrienne L. Krikorian – President (Woodland Hills, California)

Adrienne L. Krikorian, Esq., is a California Administrative Law Judge in the area of Special Education.  A licensed attorney, Ms. Krikorian is also an adjunct professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She has devoted her extensive volunteer work over the past forty years to a variety of non-profit organizations focusing on the needs of youth and others in need. She has been an active leader in the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, and has served on the Board of Directors of Haven Hills, Inc. (a shelter for victims of domestic violence).  She is former President of Our Home-Mer Doon, Inc., which serves the needs of young women in Armenia from disadvantaged backgrounds. Ms. Krikorian has served her local parish, St. Peter Armenian Church in Van Nuys in leadership roles since the 1970’s; as a member of the Western Diocese Diocesan Council; and on various boards and committees on the Diocesan level. In November 2014, His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians, honored Ms. Krikorian, who is a co-founder of House of Hope – Mer Hooys, Inc., by awarding her the St. Nerses Shnorhali Medal and Encyclical, which recognized her lifelong volunteer service to the Armenian Church and community.

 

Garo Garibian, M.D. – Vice-President (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Dr. Garo Garibian, M.D., received his undergraduate degree at Princeton University and his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He has a busy Cardiology practice in Philadelphia and is the chief of Cardiology at Jeanes Hospital. Dr. Garibian, ordained as a deacon in 1989, has devoted his life to service in the Armenian Church on the Parish and Diocesan level. After the devastating 1988 earthquake, Dr. Garibian visited Armenia numerous times bringing medicines and supplies, acting as an ambassador for the motherland. Dr. Garibian served on the Board of and is a benefactor of Our Home-Mer Hooys, Inc.; he is also a benefactor of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, and numerous other charitable organizations in the United States. Dr. Garibian is a founder of Mer Hooys.

 

Deacon Barlow Der Mugrdechian – Vice-President (Fresno, California)

Barlow Der Mugrdechian received his M.A. and C. Philosophy degrees from UCLA, where he majored in Armenian Language and Literature through the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures. For more than twenty years he has taught Armenian language, history, literature, culture, church and a variety of courses on Armenia and the Armenians at California State University at Fresno. Dn. Der Mugrdechian, who recently completed a 2 year term as the Chairman of the Western Diocese Diocesan Council, has been an active leader of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America, serving in leadership roles both on the Parish and Diocesan level. He served as a board member of Our Home – Mer Doon, Inc., and is a founder of Mer Hooys.

 

Varouj Altebarmakian, M.D. – Treasurer (Fresno, California)

Varouj Altebarmakian, M.D., received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut in 1974. He is a Board Certified Urologist. Dr. Altebarmakian is Physician in Chief of The Permanente Medical Group in Fresno. He is also an active servant of the Armenian Church, serving on the Supreme Spiritual Council of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin, several terms as Chairman of the Diocesan Council of the Western Diocese, and as a leader on the Parish level. Dr. Altebarmakian was actively involved in the future program planning and fund raising efforts of the U.S. Board of Mer Doon and is a founder of Mer Hooys.

 

Father Mesrop Ash – Spiritual Advisor (San Francisco, California)

Father Mesrop, born and raised in Southern California, is the priest at St. John Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco, California.  His formative years were devoted to Sunday School, Armenian Church Youth Organization, and the Western Diocese Summer Camp.  As a young adult he began transitioning to a leadership role within the life of the Church, and found outlets for service in Lay Ministry with the youth. During this time he developed skills that would later be of use in his ministry, working with the Armenian Assembly of America and studying in the field Organizational Communications.

He studied at the Kevorkian Seminary and Theological University located at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in Armenia from 2009-2011. After graduating and serving several months at the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral in Yerevan, he returned to the Western Diocese where he was appointed as pastor of the faithful of St. John Armenian Church in San Francisco. On April 29, 2012, he was ordained into the Holy Order of the Priesthood by His Eminence Abp. Hovnan Derderian, at St. John Armenian Church in San Francisco. Father Mesrop is married to Annie Emerzian Ash and they have a daughter.

 

Father Hovel Ohanyan – Spiritual Advisor (Oakland, California)

Father Hovel was born and raised in Armenia. After completing his primary education, he briefly studied Journalism at the Yerevan State University before fulfilling his two-year mandatory military service for the Republic of Armenia. He was admitted to the Kevorkian Theological Seminary of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in 1999, where he studied for six years. Following graduation, His Holiness Karekin II Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of all Armenians appointed Father Hovel as secretary in the Foreign Relations Department of the Mother See.

He was ordained as a priest in 2007 by Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, primate of the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. Father Hovel moved to California and was appointed as the visiting pastor of the Santa Clarita parish before serving as the parish priest for the two mission parishes of Ventura County and Santa Barbara. In 2009, he became the parish priest of St. Vartan Armenian Apostolic Church, in Oakland. He continued his theological education at St. John Catholic Seminary in Camarillo and the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute in Berkeley, graduating in 2015 with a Masters in Orthodox Theology. Father Hovel and his wife Anahit have three children.

 

Lisa Kalustian – Consultant and Advisory Board (Northridge & Newport Beach, California)

Lisa Kalustian is an accomplished strategist with senior-level corporate and government experience in complex issues management, proactive and crisis communications, policy development and implementation, and media relations.  She has served in leadership positions with California Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Pete Wilson, as well as vice president of public affairs for the Western Region of Health Net, Inc., one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies.  Ms. Kalustian has a master’s degree in public administration from USC, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA, and is a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs.  She currently serves on the board of directors of the Armenian Assembly of America, and is a Trustee of the Armenian Church Western Diocese Endowment Fund.  Previously, Ms. Kalustian served on the Western Diocese Armenian Church Summer Camp Committee, and the boards of directors for Coro Southern California the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) Los Angeles Chapter.

Ms. Kalustian has served as a consultant to the Executive Board since October 2013, when she spent six weeks in Armenia evaluating the entire operations of Mer Hooys.  In collaboration with Dr. Mira Antonyan of Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), executive director of FAR’s Children’s Support Center in Yerevan, Ms. Kalustian and Dr. Antonyan assisted the Board in reorganizing the operational model for Mer Hooys, resulting in the addition of several highly qualified staff members who have proven to be a valuable asset to the program.

 

Alice Kalustian – Advisory Board (Northridge, California)

Alice Kalustian has been an active leader in the Armenian community and the Armenian Church since her teenage years. She recently completed a two year term as the Treasurer of the Grand Council of the Daughters of Vartan. Ms. Kalustian, who worked for many years as an office manager and bookkeeper, is currently a per-diem administrative assistant for Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Woodland Hills, California. She has three adult daughters, and two granddaughters, and enjoys spending her spare time traveling and volunteering her talents to charitable organizations. Ms. Kalustian serves on the advisory board of Mer Hooys and serves as Assistant Treasurer.

 

Harriet Jendian Phillips – Advisory Board (Mandalay Bay, California)

Harriet Jendian Phillips has spent the better part of her life serving the needs of Armenian youth. She has taught Sunday School, served as a youth advisor, and as a member of the Youth Activities Committee of St. Peter Apostolic Church in Van Nuys, California. Mrs. Phillips has also served as director of the youth program for the San Fernando YWCA, as a member and president of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles YWCA, Ways and Means Chairman, program chairman for the Granada Hills YW Wives, and as a Girl Scout leader. Professionally, Mrs. Phillips has served as event planner, owned and operated a catering company, and has lectured and demonstrated food decorating to many community organizations, schools, and church groups. Mrs. Phillips was co-owner of J-4 Communications, serving as executive secretary and office manager. She is married to husband Tom, has three daughters and one son, 3 stepsons and 15 grandchildren, ages 4-18. Mrs. Phillips continues to serve as an active community leader alongside her husband. In their spare time, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips travel extensively throughout the world, including Armenia, enjoying the many sights and people of each country they visit.

 

Lynn Nakashian – Advisory Board (Warren, New Jersey)

Lynn became interested in the plight of youth in Armenia when she visited the country with her father John Nakashian in 2006. He was so moved by what he saw that he provided generous financial support to renovate the abandoned and dilapidated two-story former kindergarten school that is now the home of Mer Hooys. Both Lynn and her daughter Melanie are active in service projects, including participating in building projects by the Fuller Center for Housing in Armenia. Lynn recently completed a term on the Board of Deacons of the Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. She is a member of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance National Response Team for the Presbyterian Church. Lynn received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bethany College (WV), and her master of science in journalism from West Virginia University. She works in the pharmaceutical industry.