By Mark Kellam
Local resident and Glendale Unified school board member Shant Sahakian was recently named the first executive director of the new Armenian American Museum, according to a statement from the museum on Monday.
“Mr. Sahakian brings strong leadership and community relations skills to the organization and will be an asset to the museum in his new leadership role,” said Berdj Karapetian, the museum’s executive chairman, in the statement.
Sahakian first joined the Armenian American Museum project in 2014 as a member of the Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee.
Since 2016, he has supported the museum’s community outreach efforts. Most recently, he directed the staff, professionals and volunteers to organize a gala and telethon for the museum.
As executive director, museum officials said he will be responsible for leading the organization’s development and community relations as well as collaborating with the museum’s principal architect, exhibition design consultant and construction team. The museum is slated to be built in Glendale Central Park.
Sahakian said he is pleased to be named to the new post.
“We have a unique opportunity to build a landmark cultural and educational center that will serve generations to come,” he said in the statement.
Sahakian was elected to the Glendale Unified school board in April 2017, becoming the youngest local school board member elected in Glendale history.
In the past, Sahakian has served as the chair of the city of Glendale’s Arts & Culture Commission, chair of the Glendale Youth Alliance, president of the Glendale Parks & Open Space Foundation and vice president of Glendale Kiwanis.
Sahakian’s professional career began at 14 years old when he founded his own digital agency serving businesses and nonprofit organizations with design and technology services.
Sahakian became the first Armenian American to receive the Man of the Year Award from the Glendale Chamber of Commerce in 2016. He is also a recipient of the Hope Diamond Award from the Glendale Educational Foundation, Community Award from the Character & Ethics Project and the inaugural Hero Award from the Glendale Youth Alliance.
Sahakian holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from California State University, Northridge.