SOAR - Kentucky Chapter

Kentucky became part of the SOAR family in May 2014. While Kentucky, unlike most of SOAR’s Chapters, has a relatively small Armenian population, their local Board of Directors brings a heartfelt level of enthusiasm that epitomizes our mission and expectations.


Kirsten Benson

Kirsten served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Armenia from 1996 to 1998. Stationed in the city of Abovian, she taught English to children in Abovian and the village of Akunk. Following her Peace Corps service, she worked as International Operations Manager for the Jinishian Memorial Program of the Presbyterian Church (USA). In that role, she supervised Jinishian’s three largest relief and development programs in Armenia, Lebanon and Syria. In 2008, she and her husband adopted their son, Jacob (aka Hakopik), from Armenia. Kirsten currently teaches English and basic literacy skills to newly resettled refugees in Louisville.

Harutyun Vardanyan

Harutyun was born and raised in Ashtarak, Armenia. In 2007 he moved to Taiwan in pursuit of higher education, and later on to Louisville, Kentucky. In 2015 he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Law & Public policy from University of Louisville, where he was also actively involved with various student organizations. Currently he is pursuing a career as an international business professional with focus in Marketing and Analytics.

Nano Movsisyan

Nano was born in Kapan, Armenia. In 1993 her family moved to Russia. After graduating from Taganrog State University in 2006 her adventurous spirit brought her to US. She worked as a translator/interpreter for various organizations in Louisville, KY. Currently a stay-at-home mom to two children.

Arshik Hartoonian

Arshik was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1957. He graduated from the Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville in 1982, two years after marrying his wife, Fran. He has two children, Mariah and Armen. He currently works for Humana and is an instructor at Louisville Panthers TaeKwonDo.

Mane Martirosyan

Mane Martirosyan was born and raised in Vanadzor (Formerly known as Kirovakan), Armenia. Mane moved to Kentucky, USA at the age of 20 as an International Student working on her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University of Louisville. She then enrolled in Kent School of Social Work (UofL) graduating with her Master of Science in Social Work in 2013, and is a Certified Social Worker with the Kentucky Board of Social Work. Mane has been employed with Louisville Metro Department of Corrections for 12 years, and is currently the Senior Social Worker assisting homeless individuals diagnosed with Mental Illness in the Louisville area.

Mane is married and has 2 children, Hasmik (13) and Avag (7). She loves traveling, dancing, and spending time with her family.

Lilit Mkhitaryan 

Lilit Mkhitaryan is originally from Yerevan. She came to Louisville, Kentucky, with her parents in 2008. She is currently working as an aesthetician and studying hard in nursing school.

Gajana Porosjan

Gajana was born in Azerbaijan in 1990. She lived in Armenia until the age of three when she migrated to the Netherlands with her family. She moved to Richmond, Kentucky to participate in a Dual Degree Program at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in 2010. After obtaining her Bachelor’s in International Business & Management she continued her studies at EKU and graduated with a Master of Business Administration degree in 2015.

Gajana currently works as a procurement professional at Lexmark International in Lexington.  She is married and has one son, Noah (3). She enjoys volunteering, watching (and playing) soccer, and trying out different foods.

Arina Safarova

Pic and Bio coming soon

Carl Shishmanian

Carl is a Product Executive at J.P. Morgan Chase with Treasury Services Global Product Management for Receivables Services. He is accountable for product planning, profitability, and execution. His responsibilities include: product marketing, growth in all Treasury Services segments and identifying product development opportunities. For the last 8 years, Carl has been a leader in the strategy, marketing and rollout of the JPMC transformational product line for Mobile & Check 21. As a known innovator in the industry, Carl has brought client needs to the process of strategy development for products and services including mobile, remote capture, image cash letter, and multi-channel decisioner. He is responsible for the financial results for all global market segments that serve this global customer base. He works closely with the global sales force to set segment-level financial goals and product launches, which have been successful and ensure growth and profitability. During his 30 years of banking experience, Carl has achieved subject matter expertise and extensive experience in operations, sales, and product management in: ACH, Wire, Check, Receivables, Payables, Coin & Currency and related products. Carl has worked for the following organizations: IBM, Bank of Boston, CEO – LPSI, Bank One, and J.P. Morgan Chase.