Community Center elects businessman Ara Aslanian as president

Having dismissed its executive director and announced a search for her replacement, the board of the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge has also put a new president in place.

The board last week announced it had asked Megan Nordvedt to step down from her role as executive director and was seeking someone with more fund-raising skills to replace her. Also last week, the board moved to advance its annual rotation from the end of April and elected local businessman Ara Aslanian to replace Tom Reynolds.

Aslanian said Reynolds suggested the move.

“Tom's term was close to ending … and since we are going toward a new direction in this process of hiring a new executive director, he thought that it would be best that a new board president take over,” Aslanian said. “It's basically a fresh start as far as the hiring process of the new executive director. [Reynolds] thought it was best the new president takes the Community Center through the new changes.”

Reynolds, now in his second three-year term on the board, confirmed that he decided to step down early to facilitate the process of finding a new executive director.

“I suggested we do the vote early so the next president is in charge throughout the whole process,” he said. “It was a way to do this and have continuity throughout the process.”

A 1992 La Cañada High School graduate who now owns an information technology company, Aslanian said that when he was approached by Michael Leininger and Joel Peterson about serving on the center's board, he was happy to help out.

“I basically grew up in the community, so it was very important to me. I played sports on the [Foothill Intermediate School] fields, I've attended functions as a kid at the Community Center,” he said. “[Leininger and Peterson] thought a fresh younger board member might bring some energy to the board, and some fresh ideas, and I was happy to oblige.”

Aslanian said his experience working with the Boy Scouts helped prepare him for his role with the center.

“I've been a part of a lot of Armenian charity organizations, with the Boy Scouts Armenia Fund,” he said. “I've been part of lots of charity organizations before … I love giving back.”

Aslanian said the most important next step is finding a new executive director. He said that, as of last week, the board had received about 30 resumes. It currently is winnowing candidates down into a short list so that it can make a hire sometime in the next 30 to 60 days.

“I think the primary goal here is to hire an executive director that can kind of take the Community Center to a new direction,” he said.

“There's a lot of issues with the building maintenance and fundraising. La Cañada is a tough place to do fundraising if you're not part of the school system.”

Ultimately, Aslanian said his goal is to make sure the community center was able to thrive during his term as president.

“We're looking to have a stronger, better community center,” he said. “We've been around for 60-plus years and hope to be around for many more years and be a place for the community to come and enjoy.”

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