SOAR - San Antonio/Austin Chapter
SOAR-San Antonio became part of the SOAR family in January 2012 and expanded to include Austin in September 2013. SOAR-San Antonio/Austin was SOAR’s first Chapter in the Southwest. While there is a small Armenian community in San Antonio, they have been organized for more than four decades, galvanized, in part, by the Armenian Church of San Antonio that was founded in 1967. The Armenian community of Austin is relatively young. It is, however, growing rapidly with about 200 Armenian families living there presently. The community has the Armenian Church of Austin, the Armenian Club at the University, and an Armenian language school.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Nairi is a first-generation Armenian American from Los Angeles, California. She started her career as a Fashion Design graduate from The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM). She worked with Los Angeles Fashion Weeks, The Los Angeles Fashion Magazine, independent designers, and brands like BCBG and Guess. After working several years in the fashion industry, she focused her pursuits opposite of her creative path – Accounting. As an Accountant, she has served several businesses that span from sole-proprietorships to C-corporations, as well as high net-worth individuals such as a legendary singer, music producer, and movie director. Nairi has earned degrees and certifications in Accounting, Bookkeeping, Business Administration, and is currently pursuing the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. Nairi’s commitment to service began early in her life when she started volunteering as a teen with non-profit organizations supporting causes like animal rights and environmental protection such as the Humane Society, ASPCA, and Green Peace. While in high school, she also served as the Director of Public Relations for the Armenian Students Association (ASA) for at least four years. In 2009, her dedication to community and civic service was recognized by President Obama with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She has later also served for the Armenian American Society of CPAs (AASCPA) as the Board Member. Nairi was then selected as the President of the San Antonio/Austin Chapter of SOAR in 2020.
Thomas William Glaser earned his Bachelor of Arts degrees in government and English at Texas Christian University, in Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1974, his Master of International management at the Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management in Glendale, Arizona, in 1975, his Master of Arts in U.S. history at Florida International University in Miami, Florida, in 2008.
Thomas recently retired from a 20+ year career with Miami-Dade County Public Schools. While in Florida, he taught 11th and 12th grade social studies at Mater Academy Charter High School, as well as being an adjunct professor at Florida International University, and an adjunct professor of English and History at Barry University and Nova Southeastern University. Thomas was a member of the Florida Education Commissioner’s Task Force on Holocaust Education and of the Miami Beach Holocaust Memorial Education Board, and a director of the Miami-Dade Council for the Social Studies and the Florida Council for the Social Studies. He has presented on the Holocaust, the Holodomor, and the Armenian genocide at local, state, national, and international professional conferences. His time teaching in Noyemberian and Kapan, Armenia, in 2009 has given him a deep commitment to the people of Armenia.
Thomas has recently relocated to New Braunfels, Texas, and is active with collector clubs in Texas and elsewhere and has regained his commission in the Texas State Guard, where he is the Personnel Services Officer at HQ, Texas State Guard..
Heather Welder Russo serves as the Witte Museum’s Chief of Advancement, serving as the lead gift officer responsible for the museum’s comprehensive development strategies. Her fundraising experience began as the Senior Program Officer for World Vision Armenia from 2001-2003, where she oversaw $2 million in humanitarian aid and development projects that instilled in her a strong commitment to the Armenian people.
For the past 13 years, Heather has served the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas with a primary responsibility of overseeing and exceeding its $100 million New Witte Capital Campaign. Most recently, the Witte launched the Witte Forever Campaign to increase the endowment to $100 million by the museum’s 100th anniversary in 2026. Previously, she was the Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving for the University of the Incarnate Word and the Director of Development for the Texas Wildlife Association. Originally from Beeville, Texas, Heather graduated from Washington & Lee University in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science, Special Attainments in Commerce, majoring in Business Administration and European History. She is active on the M. D. Anderson Advance Team, Chi Omega Fraternity Alumni Chapter, and the W&L alumni association, and is a sustaining member of the Junior League of San Antonio where she held many leadership positions over ten years including Chair of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions- Southwest Region. She is a former board member of the Planned Giving Council of San Antonio and a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals-San Antonio. She was named to the San Antonio Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 in 2015. She and her husband David, a geologist, have a son, Campbell.
Pic and Bio coming soon
Pic and Bio coming soon