Ruth Alahydoian (Co-President) is a vice president for the public finance advisory firm, KNN Public Finance, consulting to public school districts throughout the State of California on debt finance. She worked in government positions in Washington D.C. for several years before moving to the Bay Area. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from Yale University and a Bachelors of Art from Occidental College. Ruth served on the Education Committee at Krouzian Zekarian Vasbouragan Armenian School from 1998-2004. She joined the BAFA board in 2005.
François Antounian is an orthopedic surgeon practicing in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1980. After 25 years in private practice at California Pacific Medical Center he joined Kaiser Permanente. He served as consultant and surgical advisor to start-up bio-medical companies. He is a founding member of the Armenian Professional Society of the Bay Area (APS) and served as its president for one term. He is the conceptual initiator and a founding member of the Bay Area Friends of Armenia and served as its founding Executive Director for the first three years. He has traveled to Armenia since 1989 where he has done Pro bono consultative and surgical orthopedic work and trained orthopedists from Armenia in U.S. university programs.
Suzy Antounian has extensive nonprofit management experience. She is Vice-President for Management and Philanthropy Services, at the Global Philanthropy Forum. She was the Forum’s Vice President in its early years and the Vice President for Public Programs of the World Affairs Council of Northern California. She helped establish the American University of Armenia in the 1990’s as Vice-President, Director of Policy and Planning and Dean of Extension Programs. In 1998-1999, she served as Advisor to the Foreign Minister of Armenia. As a consultant in 2007-2009 she provided advisory services to the World Affairs Council of Northern California, The Elders Inc. and developed the strategic plan for the Philanthropy and Social Innovation Program of the Aspen Institute. Prior to joining the nonprofit sector she worked as a Tax Associate for Howard, Rice,Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin and for Ernst & Whinney. She holds a JD from Hastings College of the Law and a BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Hilda Cherekdjian (Treasurer) has 25 years of corporate finance experience having worked as a Financial Controller and overseen hedge accounting in a range of corporations including start-ups and publicly traded companies. She currently leads the Endowment Fund Campaign of the St. Andrew Armenian Church in Cupertino, has served as an elected delegate and has chaired the Church’s Stewardship program for 2 years. She is an active member of the AGBU Silicon Valley where she is the founder and chair of the AGBU Kids Club of Silicon Valley. She also volunteers with different philanthropic organizations committed to community service: she is an active member of the National Charity League and the Girl Scouts of America. She has devoted years of service to her children’s school parent association where she serves on the Parent School Board.
John N. Dahlberg is a partner with Dillingham and Murphy, LLP. He is a trial lawyer, a former police officer and a native San Franciscan. John is a member of St. John Armenian Church where he serves as a member of the Parish Council. He is also a member of the Knights of Vartan, the Golden Gate Chapter of the Triple X Fraternity, and the Board of the Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California.
John Haleblian (Vice President) spent most of his career in management positions in Industrial Pharmacy. He started his career developing prescription drugs and then oversaw quality controls for Syntex Pharmaceuticals manufactured globally in 50 countries. After he retired he served for 13 years as Executive Director of BAFA of which he is a Founding Member. John remains an active member of the Calvary Armenian Church and the Armenian community of the Bay Area. John is married to Arpi, his partner in all his volunteer works, and they have two married children and four grandchildren.
Rita Kablanian (Co-President) worked for over twenty years in the semiconductor industry as a corporate revenue planning and marketing manager. Several years ago she took a leave from her work to spend more time with her family and to pursue her philanthropic interests and community service with non-profit organizations that support Armenia and Armenian causes. In addition to her service on the BAFA board, Rita supports the work of the Cosmic Ray Division (CRD) and the Armenian General Benevolent Union in the Bay Area.
Julie A. Kulhanjian is a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases. She has been on staff at Children's Hospital Oakland since 1992. Julie has been a BAFA Board member since 1993. She and her husband, Roger Strauch, are also the major supporters of the Paros Foundation, a private non-profit organization supporting the arts and artists in Armenia, including the Paros Chamber Choir and the Manana Youth Center.
Mimi Malayan has been a practicing landscape architect in the Bay Area for over 20 years. She has worked for several architectural and landscape architectural firms, primarily focusing on park design. Currently she works for herself at Meridian Design Studio. Mimi has also taught Construction Technology and other classes at U.C.Berkeley Extension from 2000 – 2008; she served on the City of Berkeley Design Review Commission from 1997 – 2004; and she was a board member for the Organization of Women Architects from 2004 – 2006 and 1993 - 1996. From 1993 – 2002 Mimi served on U.C. Berkeley Armenian Alumni Board. She has her Master of Landscape Architecture from U.C. Berkeley and B.A. in French Language and Literature from George Washington University.
Lily Manoukian (Secretary) is a pharmacist who worked as a research and development scientist in the pharmaceutical industry throughout her career. She has been the steadfast coordinator of all of BAFA’s shipments of donated equipment, supplies and clothing, working closely with donors, shipping companies, and the United Armenia Fund.
Sylvia Melikian is a Principal, Portfolio Management for MacFarlane Partners, a real estate investment management firm that manages $10 billion in assets on behalf of some of the world's largest pension plans and institutions. Sylvia is responsible for managing the real estate portfolios on behalf of MacFarlane Partners' institutional clients. She has over 30 years of real estate experience, during which she has acquired, developed or managed more than $10 billion in real estate assets on behalf of pension funds and other institutional investors. Sylvia holds a master's degree in business administration from Cornell University, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a bachelor's degree in political science. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Sylvia and her husband Stephen have three children and reside in San Francisco.
Lina Melkonian is the Executive Director of Development at San José State University. In this capacity she leads a team of directors of development responsible for major donor relations and philanthropy on behalf of the university’s seven colleges, library, student affairs and athletics. Melkonian has previously served as a member of the management team of university’s Career Center, directing its corporate relations and experiential education programs. She has additionally taught business communication for the university’s College of Business. For over a decade, she has facilitated workshops on career development for community members engaged in career transition. She holds an MBA from the University of Detroit/Mercy. Till 2008, she served as the copy editor of Arit, BAFA’s semi-annual newsletter.
Susan L. Sakmar is licensed to practice law in California and received her LL.M. (Masters in International Law) from Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC and her J.D., cum laude, from the University of San Francisco School of Law. She currently is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco School of Law where she teaches a seminar on International Trade Law. Prior to teaching, she was an associate in the commercial litigation department at the San Francisco law firm of Bronson, Bronson, & McKinnon where she represented clients in a variety of complex litigation cases. She has also worked in the oil industry as an accountant for Chevron Corporation in San Francisco, California. She has served on several boards including Board Chair of the Jane Goodall Institute. She participated in the first BAFA Donor Circle trip to Yerevan, Armenia.
Charles J. Tateosian is a licensed mechanical engineer who worked for 40 years for PG&E and retired as the Manager of Gas System Design. Since then he has been a consultant in the natural gas industry. He first went to Armenia in 1992 for a meeting to organize help in the energy sector in Armenia. Since then he has provided technical assistance to gas engineers in Armenia, as well as design and cost estimates for the Iran-Armenia Gas Pipeline. He is a founding member of BAFA and is a Past Grand Commander of the Knights of Vartan. He has been a member of St. John Armenian Church for over 55 years.
Ani M. Vartanian is the founder and President of Rubicon Point Partners (RPP), a woman-owned institutional real estate investment company based out of San Francisco, California. Prior to founding RPP, Ms. Vartanian was a senior official at the U.S. Department of the Treasury where she managed the Term Asset Backed Securities Loan Facility. Prior to her role at the Treasury Department, Ms. Vartanian was with Rockwood Capital, a private equity firm where she was responsible for initiating, negotiating, and managing a $400M separate account on behalf of a state pension fund. Ms. Vartanian began her career at Goldman, Sachs & Co. as a member of the municipal finance team. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Business School.