SOAR - Inland Empire Chapter

Inland Empire (IE) became part of the SOAR family in February 2015. IE is a metropolitan region of Southern California, situated directly east of Los Angeles. The term “Inland Empire” was first documented by the Riverside Enterprise newspaper in April 1914. Developers in the area introduced the term to promote the region and to highlight the area’s unique features. The “Inland” part of the name is derived from the region’s location, about 60 miles inland from Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean.

The metropolitan area consists of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties. The Counties are home to more than 4 million people, and together they comprise the 13th most populous metropolitan area in the US and the 3rd most populous in California. At the end of the 19th century, IE was a major center of agriculture, including citrus, dairy, and wine-making. Agriculture declined through the 20th century, and since the 1970s a rapidly growing population, fed by families migrating in search of affordable housing, has led to more residential,
industrial, and commercial development.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS:

Varand Harounian
President

Originally immigrated from Iran, with his parents and older sister, Varand Harounian was raised in Burbank, CA. He attended the University of Cal Polytechnic Pomona and completed his undergraduates with a concentration in both the Accounting program, and Finance, Real Estate, and Law program. Currently, Varand is an Audit Associate at a local CPA firm and he is studying to become a CPA in State of California.

Varand has a laid back and friendly personality. He strives to bring the best out of people and likes for everyone he is associated with to succeed. Varand was part of the Sipan Homenetmen chapter growing up in Burbank and participated in the men’s basketball team. Today, Varand would like to be further involved within the Armenian community and help with ongoing issues of orphaned youth. His goal is to create awareness about the existence of SOAR and contribute to the growth of the community within the Inland Empire and surrounding areas. Varand plans to hold events on behalf of SOAR to fundraise for the relief of orphaned children within Armenia, Artsakh, Javakh, Lebanon, and Syria.

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Maria Halwadjian
Vice President

Maria Halwadjian is a first-generation college student whose parents immigrated from Lebanon. Maria was raised in the high desert, in Hesperia, CA. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in June of 2019 with a degree in Sociology. Currently, Maria is studying for the LSAT and is preparing to apply to law school, and is considering to practice either immigration or international law.

Maria has an outgoing personality and a desire to help those in need. She was part of The Hidden Road Initiative chapter at UCSB as president. The Hidden Road Initiative is an organization that provides educational opportunities to students living in villages in Armenia through summer camps. Today, Maria wants to continue being involved within the Armenian community, and contribute as much as she can to spread awareness about SOAR, and provide relief to Armenian orphans.

Nathan Harounian
Marketing Director

As a first-generation college student at UC Berkeley studying Business Administration, Nathan hopes to pursue a career in entertainment marketing. Having partnered with major film studio Lionsgate Entertainment for the marketing campaigns of ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise and garnering over 40,000 followers on his business Instagram page, Nathan understands consumer behavior and the fundamentals of marketing essential for successful outreach.

Nathan is an Armenian immigrant from Iran. With a passion for human rights, Nathan decided to pursue the intersection of business and human rights by creating a blog highlighting anti-human rights business practices and subsequently providing resources for humanitarian business practice. Furthermore, supporting the BLM movement and the need for systemic reform, Nathan spearheaded an initiative for his fraternity Theta Delta Chi at UC Berkeley; they fundraised over $4000 and counting for the Oakland organization Hack the Hood — a nonprofit educating Oakland youth of color in tech to help local small businesses. Through the initiative, Nathan and his fraternity brothers spread crucial resources to help POC across the U.S. and to educate Berkeley Greek Life and their affiliates on systemic racism, institutional oppression, and police brutality. Now, Nathan hopes to focus his human rights advocacy on Armenian youth in need. As the Marketing Director of the Inland Empire chapter of SOAR, Nathan plans to spread awareness about SOAR and create marketing strategies to fundraise and provide humanitarian support for Armenian orphans across the world.

Adam Elashi

Adam Elashi is a first-generation professional whose parents originally immigrated from Kuwait. Adam was raised in Upland, CA. He attended the University of Cal Polytechnic Pomona and completed his undergraduates with a concentration in Technology Operations Management. Currently, Adam Elashi is a Strategic Sourcing Specialist at the Walt Disney Company.

Adam is motivated and ambitious. He strives to give back to people who are need by using his business acumen. Adam is an active member in the Arab community in the Inland Empire and participated in the men’s basketball team for his school. Today, Adam would like to be further involved within the Armenian community and help with ongoing issues of orphaned youth. His goal is to create awareness about the existence of SOAR and contribute to the growth of the community within the Inland Empire and surrounding areas. Adam plans to be the treasurer on behalf of SOAR to fundraise for the relief of orphaned children within Armenia, Artsakh, Javakh, Lebanon, and Syria.