LA CRESCENATA—The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, regional educational seminar regarding organization change and media communication took place on June 15, at the Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian Hall of Western Prelacy in La Crescenta.
Asdghig Chitilian, chairperson of the ARS-WUSA Educational Subcommittee, welcomed the almost sixty people to the day-long seminar. ARS Central Executive Board member Annie Kechichian was among the attendees. Chitilian also noted that the ARS mission has always included the promotion of education. She commended those present for taking the time to attend the seminar as way to keep up with changes and face organizational challenges.
The first segment, “Overcoming cultural barriers effecting organizational change” was presented by Bianca Manoukian, who is the Principal at Synergistic Strategies Consulting and the former General Manager of Asbarez Newspaper & Horizon TV. Manoukian’s multi-media presentation included photos and videos, including a lot of personal experiences at her former jobs, as well as her on-going child-rearing duties with her teenagers to illustrate the differences in perceptions, personal vs. organizational cultures, and ritualistic and customary behaviors. She illustrated how a group of people, who share some common ideas, will work better as a cohesive team and be more productive. She provided examples of visible and invisible cultural values, perceived roles, team dynamics, the can’t be done syndrome, generational differences, and the difficulties in buying in the ideas for change, re-evaluating change and consequences of not changing.
The next speaker was Steve Artinian, Vice President, Marketing/Public Relations of Home Organizers Inc. and former Homenetmen Regional Executive Chairman, whose presentation topic was based on a book by Dr. Spencer Johnson, “Who moved my cheese?” which centered on ways to deal with change in everyday life. First, a cartoon video of “Who moved my cheese?” was shown, followed up with a discussion of the different aspects of the four characters: The one who sniffs change early on, the one who scurries into action, the one who eventually adapts to change, and the one who is in denial. Artinian explained that you need to anticipate change; adding that if you do not change, you become extinct. He said that you cannot control external changes, but you can control internal changes. Artinian noted that you need to enjoy change and get out of your comfort zone.
The third presentation was on what changes are needed in ARS media communication. Rita Hintlian, Senior Environmental Specialist and current ARS-WUSA Public Relations Committee Chairperson, presented a comprehensive view of how technology is changing the pace of communication, the increased number of ARS members involved in contributing to the process, and the far reach of the regional communication on the Internet, with the upgraded website, Facebook and ARS Voice newsletter. She covered the basics of ARS communication, including the regulatory restrictions based on its non-profit status, and how board members, volunteers and staff can formulate their messages to accommodate them. Hintlian shared statistical maps and charts on how pages have been accessed on the Internet, the primary demographics and how existing organizational structures can be used to train membership to hasten the pace of communication with the regional office, to be more involved on-line and to take corrective measures as they become necessary. She stressed the importance of keeping up with the new tools and technologies as they emerge.
Asdghig Chitilian was joined by Lena Bozoyan, Regional Executive chairperson, in praising the speakers and presenting mementos to them. Members of the audience were excited to share their evaluation comments and to ask about specific applications, fonts or hardware.
The ARS of Western USA, established in 1984 and with regional headquarters in Glendale, CA, has 27 chapters and more than 1,500 members in five western states. The ARS-WUSA operates a Social Services Division, a Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center, and funds numerous youth programs, scholarships, and relief efforts. For further information, please visit www.arswestusa.org or call 818-500-1343.