Arminé Chaparyan’s story is an immigrant’s tale that a lot of individuals likely would conclude is proof that the American aspiration of succeeding as a result of schooling, a supportive loved ones and really hard get the job done is nonetheless alive.
Chaparyan obtained her dream of turning out to be a metropolis manager in May well when she was named to that posture in South Pasadena.
Moms and dads Panos and Endza brought 9-12 months-old Chaparyan, her 11-yr-outdated brother Aram and 4-12 months-old brother Arman to the United States from Armenia in 1987 — a time of political unrest in that place, which was a republic underneath the Moscow-centric Soviet Union. Vacation through the communist era was extremely restrictive, so all they could just take have been a handful of suitcases.
Her mom and dad wished to elevate their loved ones in a democracy and to give their young children a superior training. They settled, like quite a few immigrants, in the vicinity of relations — in this case, Panos’ brother in Pasadena.
“We left almost all the things driving because it was challenging bringing factors with us,” Arminé Chaparyan recalled in a modern interview. “My mother and father were being very well educated, but they experienced to get whatever employment they could get. There were hardships. When we arrived, I did not communicate English.
“My mom was an educator in Armenia and my father was in the legal business,” she explained, noting that their qualifications have been not acknowledged in the U.S. at the time. “Upon immigration, they took on any jobs to make finishes meet up with.”
When she was enrolled in 4th grade, she and brother Aram would produce down words and phrases in a notebook and then glance up the translation. By the stop of the yr, she was ready to talk terms and phrases. By 7th quality, she was in honors English.
The Chaparyans lived in a little, single-household rental dwelling, but she remembers Pasadena as getting a welcoming melting pot of fellow immigrants.
“The struggle was true, and we had been so blessed to be surrounded by a local community that embraced us and helped us attain our greatest likely,” Chaparyan mentioned. “From mentors to educators who took an interest in our household, we were being surrounded by form, humble people today.”
Chaparyan describes herself as a boy or girl of the city’s public colleges. She attended Jefferson Elementary University, Washington Middle School and John Muir Superior School, the place she was Linked Scholar System president when she graduated in 1996. She was naturalized as an American citizen when she turned 18.
She went on to UCLA — the place she aided set herself through college by functioning two positions, like 1 at Vroman’s Bookstore — and then earned a master’s degree in public administration from USC. She met her spouse, Rouben Varozian, an lawyer, at UCLA. Her mother and father normally advised their small children that education and learning was a crucial to achievements, she stated, and doorways have opened for all 3 small children.
The Metropolis Administration Basis reported that Aram — town manager of Torrance given that Oct — and Arminé are the 1st brother-sister metropolis supervisor pair in California background. Their brother Arman is in the enjoyment marketplace, working with his music management abilities, and has been all over the environment a handful of times, touring with a British band. He can help handle the tours and also focuses closely on environmental sustainability.
Arminé Chaparyan mentioned their immigrant track record was a pivotal aspect for herself and Aram in operating in the public sector, since they required to give back again to the neighborhood
“I do imagine in offering back again,” Chaparyan reported. “A large amount of kids and users of the community can relate to our struggles. You have bought to believe that in on your own.”
A person person she turns to for suggestions, and vice versa, is Aram.
“It assists that we are in the exact same industry,” she explained, introducing that she often looked up to her older brother and considers him a greatest friend.
Chaparyan has 15 a long time of practical experience in municipal government. She served as a redevelopment supervisor in Santa Clarita and a senior challenge supervisor in Ontario, and then became group progress director in nearby San Gabriel in 2014.
When the South Pasadena town manager work came open, Chaparyan applied. She was a person of two finalists, but the other was declared as the winner.
And then he wasn’t. The City Council ultimately rescinded its first give just after pushback from residents who decried the assortment in light of the circumstances surrounding his resignations from past positions. The work was then Chaparyan’s.
“There had been a good deal of blended emotions,” she reported. “I understood I was all set for the subsequent action. I had carried out my homework. I understood the job was not likely to be a walk in the park.
“I understood I was coming in at a challenging time,” Chaparyan extra, noting that COVID-19’s fourth surge had place the community back again on edge. “There are issues, but this is our new reality whether we like it or not.”
Quite a few of the worries, she found, have been inside of Town Hall. Chaparyan claimed that almost from the initial working day, she heard about a “disconnect” in between the local community and its municipal federal government. People today said the govt was sluggish to answer to permit requests and to cellular phone phone calls.
“There are sizeable prospects to look at matters holistically,” she mentioned. “I want to establish a staff and reset things. The No. 1 priority is to get back to the fundamental principles of very good government. The final 18 months have been tough on the metropolis, and we want to strike the reset button.”
Chaparyan has an additional precedence — to get all-around to all components of the metropolis. She feels her tale will resonate within just the community. In a session with the Buddies of the Library, she talked about her extended several hours researching as a lady in the Pasadena Public Library and how she later on helped construct this sort of a facility in Santa Clarita.
“It is a enjoyment to do the job with Arminé,” reported Mayor Diana Mahmud. “She has a good deal of poise and vitality and is no shy flower, but personable. I consider all are needed to guide city team by means of however a further town supervisor, acting or or else.”
Mahmud pointed out that attrition continues to hamper City Hall operations. The city’s scheduling director and human resources director are each departing. Elaine Aguilar, who has served as the acting assistant town supervisor and finance director, is leaving in September.
“Fortunately,” the mayor added, “Arminé has a lot of contacts, and has drawn on them to locate folks who can fill positions on a non permanent basis, for which I am pretty grateful.”
Chaparyan has contacts, but she admits that irrespective of all the excellent factors in the city — which, she points out, are considerable — she is having issue attracting what she termed “top tier expertise.”
“All they have to do is Google,” she mentioned, “and a ton of things pop up.”
On prime of this using the services of system, those people “things” contain the departure of her predecessor, Stephanie DeWolfe, prolonged-standing accounting difficulties with the Finance Division that played a role in DeWolfe’s exit, very last year’s political scandal in which a councilwoman resigned soon after admitting to making use of an anonymous email account to submit public responses criticizing people, and allegations of poor perform or use of excessive drive by the South Pasadena Police Division.
“There is a lot of very good likely on below,” Chaparyan claimed, noting what she termed “new energy” among her and the council, which released a few new customers in December. “We’ve acquired to reshape the picture.
“We’ve obtained to deal with the backlog of programs with the Planning Section, which is a consistent grievance we’ve received to strengthen providers to citizens and we have obtained to fix that disconnect to people,” she ongoing. “One of the greatest issues I have read is that people today never know who to attain at City Corridor and they just can’t attain individuals when they call.”
With all of these circumstances to tackle — in collaboration with the council that hired her — Chaparyan has a whole lot of lengthy hrs in advance of her. That will make being a functioning mom of a few small children — ages 12, 9 and 5 — even additional of a juggling act. In this article again, several may well check out her as a role design for some others. Family and her spouse supply help, and she usually takes her young children to a ton of group activities.
“I adore becoming a mom and I do the ideal I can. I’m not a great mom. I do the very best I can,” she said. “Being a mother also can make me superior at what I do at operate. I’m far better ready to have an understanding of workers and the do the job-everyday living harmony they are going by.”
Like quite a few moms during the shutdown, Chaparyan experienced to enable her little ones with their Zoom research. Her 3rd-grader was learning grammar, and mother from time to time was stumped.
“I skipped 3rd quality. I went from 2nd to 4th, so I never ever officially realized grammar,” she explained. “So there I was, studying grammar alongside with my 3rd grader.”