Ani Bedrosian Adaimy was feeling the pressure Thursday as she talked about her role as the new president of an organization previously run by males: the Armenian American Chamber of Commerce Greater Los Angeles chapter.
She stood up and sat down. She shifted from side to side. She double-checked her facts. She fanned herself.
The responsibility of being the organization’s first woman president, she said, was not easy to handle.
“It’s a responsibility to make the right choices, to make it easier for future incoming women as leaders,” she said.
Adaimy was elected in December as president of the chapter, which has more than 400 members, said Armond Aghakhanian, chairman of the group’s public information and government affairs committee.
Her election was a bold step for an organization that is only in its 10th year, but it was the right one considering Adaimy’s unique personality, Aghakhanian said.
“Given our current economic situation, I think she’s kind of a ray of light that everyone’s looking to see,” said Aghakhanian, who was president of the chapter in 2005.
Adaimy, a Pasadena-based sales representative for LandSafe Title, is more than just a business leader. She is also known as an energetic and friendly face in the community, Aghakhanian said.
The 52-year-old was born in Baghdad and moved to Glendale as a teenager, attending Glendale High School and Glendale Community College before pursuing a career in business.
She speaks Arabic, Armenian and English, and has been able to connect with community members of various backgrounds, she said.
Adaimy hadn’t thought of being one of the chapter’s board members until Aghakhanian approached her in 2005 during a charity event she was working at for New Horizons Family Center, she said.
“I did not even know what I was getting into at the time,” she said.
Since then she has emerged as a leader who the group hopes can help to inspire more women, as well as men, to succeed in the business world, Aghakhanian said.
The election of a female president also comes at a time of national transition, after the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first biracial president, Aghakhanian said, adding that just as Obama was the right person to give hope to Americans, Adaimy has the energy to excite businesspeople in the area.
“We work at a grass-roots level, and we bring hope to businesses, Armenian and non-Armenian,” he said, explaining that close to half of the chamber’s members are not Armenian. “That energy and that message of hope together, I think are going to be great, especially in today’s economy.”
One of Adaimy’s goals as president is to continue inspiring women to participate in business, by recognizing their achievements during special events, like the group’s third annual luncheon planned for October.
Previous female honorees have included Lisa Kalustian, chief deputy director of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Los Angeles office, as well as Frida Jordan, co-founder of the Armenian Bone Marrow Donor Registry.
More acknowledgment for successful women, Armenian or non-Armenian, could help boost business confidence during a time when some women, and men, might feel discouraged by the business climate, she said.
“If they see them being recognized, I think they’ll want to do a lot more.”