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YP Los Angeles Speaker Series Puts the Focus on Key People and Issues Across Industries

From net neutrality to youth education and politics to startups, the AGBU Young Professionals of Los Angeles (YPLA) Speaker Series, the latest career development event organized by the group, provided insights into a range of fields.

The series, which was inspired by TED Talks, the international and interdisciplinary conference, featured four speakers with diverse backgrounds: Vahe Minasyan, Associate at Western Asset Management; Ardashes Kassakhian, City Clerk for Glendale, California; Sedda Antekelian, Museum Educator at the Autry National Center; and Armen Ekmekji, Product Manager, Weber Metals, Inc. Each offered personal anecdotes as well as information on contemporary social issues.

Minasyan pointed to the need for free and open access to the Internet. “It is something we take for granted,” Minasyan argued, as he urged guests to advocate for enshrining net neutrality into U.S. law. Kassakhian also stressed the importance of political activism, noting it is essential for the growth of any immigrant community. “Armenian Americans,” Kassakhian remarked, “Have a duty and obligation to be involved in all levels of government, from the local to the national.”

In her presentation, Antekelian proved that you can take many different career paths before landing your dream job. Prior to joining the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, Antekelian studied history, worked in hospitality, and earned her master’s degree in education. Today, she organizes student field trips to the museum, overseeing interactive lessons.

The key to success in any industry, Ekmekji shared, is taking risks. In his talk, Ekmekji detailed ways to mitigate risks while creating a startup company by: doing market research, having a revenue model, establishing metrics to guide decision making, and knowing when to seek venture capital funding.

The Speaker Series wrapped up with a Q&A session and networking reception, during which the young professionals had an opportunity to share more of their experiences and expertise.

For photos from the event, please visit here.

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