SOAR - Toronto Chapter

SOAR-Toronto joined the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief- SOAR Family in April 2012.  Armenians began settling in Southern Ontario and eventually the city of Toronto in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, escaping persecution by the Ottomans and the 1915 Armenian Genocide.  Thousands more Armenians emigrated after Federal immigration policies became less restrictive in the 50s, and a larger number settled in Ontario escaping the conflicts in the Middle East and furthermore after the collapse of the USSR.  Today the GTA- Greater Toronto Area –that includes the City of Toronto and its ever-expanding suburbs, is home to a thriving and vibrant Armenian Community with its many Churches, Community centers, Day & Saturday Schools and its many cultural, political and professional organizations.


Anita Koundakjian

Born and raised by her own Armenian family (Petrosian), Anita is a proud mother herself blessed to experience the greatest joy in life of watching her son prosper. SOAR’s humanitarian effort and mission to provide disadvantaged Armenian Orphaned children the profound support for their development, is a cause very close and dear to Anita’s heart. Anita holds a Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) Licence for her Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering. As a professional, she has over 20 years of expertise in the areas of Validation and Compliance with the regulations of various regulatory agencies such as Health Canada, FDA, EMEA, ICH within the Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology fields across Canada, USA, and Europe. She has lead initiatives in support of both the sterile and solid dosage form manufacturing facilities as well as being awarded first place for her Thesis paper on Seal Integrity Testing at the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineers (ISPE) Canada Affiliate and is a current member of ISPE. Working in the biotechnology world is truly rewarding for her; being part of a team and making a difference. Essential roles throughout her career as Consultant, Auditor, Supervisor, Manager, Technical Leader, and Defender in Internal, Client & Regulatory Audits, have broadened her strength and desire to lead and is passionate about contributing to SOAR with her vast experience and enthusiasm.

Gayane Ordukhanyan
Vice President

Gayane has around 10-years of experience in a range of financial institutions form the commercial bank and the Central Bank of Armenia up to managing half of Armenia’s public pension funds. She holds honors Master’s degree in Mathematics from Yerevan State University, where she has been afterwards lecturing as an Adjunct Professor of Risk Management and Financial Mathematics.

Throughout her career Gayane worked on a number of projects organizing events and activities for children. She has also designed board games on personal finance for the Nationwide Education Campaign, that have been used in more than 100 rural community schools of the country.

Be it tutoring, mentoring or teaching music, Gayane has always been there for children and feels honored for joining SOAR and having a small contribution in brightening the children’s days.

Max Safaryan

Max Safaryan, a father of two, is proud to be part of SOAR and have an opportunity to contribute to this virtuous cause. When not busy leading the finance team of a large privately held US organization, he likes spending his spare time with his family in beautiful town of Burlington, travelling (especially to warm places during colder months), reading non fiction and business periodicals, improving his photography skills (which are still at amateur level), and just enjoying the simplicities of life. He firmly believes in continuous improvement of oneself and being a lifelong student. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance, an MBA, and number of professional designations, including a CMA.

Hasmik Nazaryan

Soon to be in her final year of the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at McMaster University, Hasmik is a motivated and committed individual who is passionate about people, human health and serving others. Outside of academics, she has been actively involved in various types of community work including laboratory and clinical research, (hospital) volunteering, as well as the SOAR Toronto Chapter. Having spent most of her childhood in her native land, Armenia, she finds herself deeply connected to her roots. Throughout her life, Hasmik was privileged to live in several different countries and attend international schools around the world, which granted her with the opportunity to become proficient in multiple languages, including Armenian, English, Russian and French. As a proud Armenian, she hopes to remain connected to her roots and thus feels honoured to serve the Armenian community as a member of SOAR in Toronto. Prior to taking on the position of the Secretary in the Chapter, she was an active member by serving as a virtual English tutor for children at the Zatik Child Protection Centre in Yerevan, Armenia. Now as the Secretary she is determined and hopeful to facilitate positive change and better lives of Armenian children.

Joel Martins

Joel Martins is passionate about diverse communities and takes pride in volunteering and giving his time to SOAR, a humanitarian non-for-profit organization that provides relief to orphaned Armenian children and adults with disabilities throughout the world.  Joel holds a Masters’ Degree in Economics with a specialization in Finance, from the University of Aveiro where he served as an Assistant Professor for the Project Management and Evaluation course.  Joel is a Senior Financial Specialist who brings 10+ years’ experience bridging Finance and Operations across multiple industries, including Consumer Packaged Goods and Transportation Management – in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Portugal.  On the personal side, Joel loves cooking and is a sports enthusiast.

Sarah Shahmouradyan

With over 10 years of experience working in governmental and non-governmental organizations, Sarah brings her project management background and passion for charitable causes to SOAR Toronto.

In her work life, she has led multi-million-dollar campaign fundraisers for the United Way, local food banks, and a variety of health and wellness charities across Canada.

In her volunteer time, she has been active in the Armenian community. This includes helping launch the first ever Canadian Armenian Community Services Centre in Toronto, a non- profit that expanded after-school arts and social programs to hundreds of youth and newcomers.

Sarah enjoys spending quality time with her family, watching sports, and a good laugh.