SOAR - Hartford Chapter

Hartford became part of the SOAR family in June 2013. In 1926, Armenian immigrants gathered to consecrate the first Armenian church in Connecticut, coming together to celebrate their future in the New World and put their tragic past behind them. Victims of the first genocide of the 20th century, Armenians came to Connecticut in great numbers during the 1920s. It was there they found work, freedom, and safety. Most were orphaned children or members of families separated by geography. Their first order of business was to establish a church, historically the center of Armenian society. Today, there are three Armenian churches in the Hartford area.


Ani Gisnarian, Psy.D.

Ani Gisnarian, Psy.D., born in Iran, migrated to the United States during her early years. As a third-generation refugee from Armenia, she was immersed in the Armenian community, language, and culture while residing in Massachusetts. Throughout her young adulthood, Ani lived in several U.S. states before finding her home in Connecticut with her husband and children.

Ani earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and has spent most of her clinical career working with federal inmates across security levels, most recently working at a maximum-security prison for men as the Drug Abuse Program Coordinator. Since starting a family, she has been writing grants for non-profit organizations and working as a Program Director for a mental health education non-profit organization.

In her spare time, Ani enjoys spending quality time with her family and furry companions, watching dark comedies, swimming, listening to music, and advocating for mental health. Ani is an active member of her community. She was appointed to a regional mental health board as a representative for her town. Although she continues to serve in the interim, she is excited to transition her volunteer efforts to helping orphaned Armenians.


Vardan Babajanyan, MBA

Born in Yerevan, Armenia, Vardan immigrated to US with his parents and younger brother when he was 18. He is very proud of his heritage and what his family has accomplished here in the US. He and his family are also part of the Armenian Church of the Holy Ascension community in Trumbull. Vardan has participated in fundraising events to help Armenians in disadvantaged circumstances.

Educated in accounting and finance, and with over 20 years of experience in finance and operations, Vardan has been in leadership roles in private and publicly traded companies across diverse industries. He has a passion for working on and solving complex business problems, while rallying cross-functional support, with primary focus on increasing enterprise value.

Vardan enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife, four children and their dog, traveling, and barbequing. He is an extrovert and doesn’t shy away from making new connections, new friends, and networking. In his spare time, he likes reading and playing chess.