20 December 2017
The third summit of AGBU Young Professionals Europe took place in Paris on December 10th in the magnificent hall of the Gulbenkian Foundation. Organized by Haik Khanamiryan, member of AGBU Europe executive committee and consultant at Accenture, this edition of the bi-annual YP Summits was the occasion for professional exchanges and leadership skills development.
The one-day summit included special addresses from two outstanding personalities of the corporate field, Aret Aprahamian (Oracle) and Fabrice Asvadzadourian (Accenture), a discussion about Hermine Samuelian’s (YP Paris) Armenian professional network project, a presentation of the Armenian Virtual College by its founder, Yervant Zorian, and a workshop session.
Aret Aprahamian’s unexpected career path and personal success story were particularly moving and inspiring. Born in Turkey and raised in the Netherlands, A. Aprahamian recounted with humor how his school reports as a child did not show any sign of promise. He managed however to make his way to the top, following the “Armenian way” – which involves a particular strive for recognition, driven by a strong feeling of self-confidence. With a special talent for gaining people’s trust and natural social skills, A. Aprahamian went from selling art supplies to copiers to selling software licences – what he called “air” – to eventually become one of the top executive of “Oracle”.
Fabrice Asvadzadourian is a Parisian-born Armenian who started his career working in a printing house in Paris to finally become the strategy director for Accenture France & Benelux. His advice to the audience was to refuse mediocrity and always aim for excellence. He underlined his capacity to delegate as a particular quality that allowed him to excel at work. Curiosity, originality and pleasure in your work were also presented as key elements of a successful career. F. Asvadzadourian also emphasized the need for a leader to look to the future and be ready to open the way for innovation.
These addresses were followed by the presentation of a project elaborated by Paris YP Chair Hermine Samuelian regarding an online professional platform, comparable to LinkedIn. The idea of the platform is to connect professional Armenians around the world on a single private platform for exchange and networking. It would allow members to publish their professional profile, communicate on events, publish job offers and locate other members according to their traveling.
Yervant Zorian, founding director of the Armenian Virtual College and CEO at Synopsis, spoke about Armenian identity as an infinite source of enrichment and shared with the audience the tools developed by the Armenian Virtual College to transmit this precious heritage. Y. Zorian mentioned Sebouh Aslanian’s dichotomy between “Sea Armenians” and “Earth Armenians”, those who lived by the port cities, who were traders and spoke many languages, and those who were rooted in their land, who built the state and defended their mountains. It is from this complementarity, according to Y. Zorian, that the Armenian nation continues to drive its force.
The summit concluded with an afternoon workshop session geared towards reinforcing each young leader’s capacity for action as well as towards a better integration of these actions within the four pillars of AGBU Europe’s strategy: network platform for stewardship, leadership & influence, language & heritage and prosperity for Armenians. Conducted by Haik Khanamiryan, the workshop enabled participant to communicate on past successes and failures to eventually share the learning points from both experiences.