As the great-granddaughter of Kevork Boghos Garmirian, the foremost donor to AGBU Lebanon schools, Natacha Keuchguerian was destined to become a leader of Lebanon’s Young Professionals and run FOCUS 2017 in Lebanon at only 24 years old, raising closeto $100,000 for the AGBU Scholarship Program.
Despite her busy schedule working as a freelance hospitality consultant and the neverending traveling that comes with this job, AGBU has always been Natacha’s priority, as she takes the Young Professionals of Beirut to new heights.
Even though we volunteer a portion of our time and efforts to this organization, it gives us so much in return. You will always get more than you give to AGBU.
How would you describe your relationship with AGBU? Both my parents were involved with AGBU since they were born, and it was the same story for me. My parents made it a point to send us to AGBU Lebanon every Saturday and every summer to learn Armenian until I was 17.
Meanwhile, I also attended AGBU summer camps and eventually became a counselor. Later, I supported their team after joining the University Committee. Two years later, I participated in the New York Global Leadership Program. I was placed at a marketing company called Mirror Ball. I returned from New York, graduated and joined the YP’s. That’s when I became extremely involved with AGBU after our group applied to host FOCUS 2017.
I genuinely believe that, at the end of the day, belonging to AGBU is a “win-win” situation. Whenever YPs are in Lebanon, they know they can count on me to host them and they would do the same for me. Everyone wants to work together and help each other.
What was hosting FOCUS 2017 in Beirut like for you? It took a year of planning to organize. And despite all the hard work, our team loved the experience.
We enjoyed connecting with peers from around the world. I’ll admit, we were wondering if we could pull it off considering the instability of the country, which made certain aspects of planning difficult—especially the immigration policies and codes.
What insights did you gain from the FOCUS experience? All of our events were completely booked, which I never thought would happen. The attendees connected with our community in Lebanon. We showed the world that Armenians in Lebanon are known for their hospitality and engagement. I always tell my team that they should be proud to be part of AGBU.
Even though we volunteer a fraction of our time and efforts to the organization, it gives us so much in return. You will always get more than you give to AGBU.
What’s in store for the Young Professionals of Beirut? We’re launching a new entrepreneurial series program and we’re hoping that Young Professionals from around the world will be inspired to participate.
We realized just how many entrepreneurs in Lebanon were eager to connect with other professionals. We found this connection to be important in spreading awareness of the impact of AGBU and helping those starting out in their careers network with other Armenians. We’re really excited about the prospects for this initiative.
Banner Illustration by Luis Tinoco