Berj Najarian

Leaders Share Their Experiences at Heritage Park Public Program


BOSTON — “Celebrating Art, Science, Service and Commerce: Leadership Sharing Experiences,” sponsored by the Armenian Heritage Park, will take place on Wednesday, April 7 at 5 p.m. ET, celebrating contributions being made to life and culture in Art, Science, Service and Commerce, the words etched around the Labyrinth’s Circle at Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway, Boston.

Six thought leaders — each leading by extraordinary example — will speak about their professional experiences and commitment to social good and making a difference.

The leaders include Edward Casabian, an investor and early Uber employee; Julia Grove, picture editor for “This is Us,” NBC series; Avak Kahvejian, PhD, general partner at Flagship Pioneering; Councilor Julia Mejia, Councilor At-Large on the Boston City Council; Berj Najarian, director of football and head coach administration for the New England Patriots and Tracey Zhen, president of Zipcar.

Program Host is Cindy Fitzgibbon, WCVB TV meteorologist.

Ann Zacarian, Programs Planning Team for Friends of Armenian Heritage Park, will offer the welcome. Chief Marty Martinez from City of Boston Office of Health and Human Services will offer greetings.

Each leader will highlight their experiences, celebrating leadership and commitment to social good.

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Edward Casabian

Edward Casabian has a background in finance and technology. He has worked for a number of startups in a variety of roles. He was one of Uber’s first 40 employees, helping to build New York’s operations from the ground up – focusing on customer service, social media, marketing and business development. More recently he worked at Lambda School, an online coding school where students don’t pay tuition until they get a job. He is passionate about new technology and invests and advises early-stage companies. Ed also loves to travel and explore cities. He has volunteered in Armenia through Birthright Armenia, and lived in Istanbul, Rome and the US Virgin Islands. He also once lived in 52 different neighborhoods across New York City in one year as part of his NYC Nomad project, which was featured by the New York Times, BBC News and NPR. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and baby girl. Follow Ed Casabian on Instagram: @thenycnomadon and on Twitter: @casabian


Julia Grove

Julia Grove is a television editor born, raised and based in Los Angeles. Her calling came while at Boston University when she realized she was thriving in a dim, windowless basement, with only a Steenbeck and 16mm reels to guide her. She has worked on numerous unscripted and scripted shows over the years, namely “The Bachelor/Bachelorette,” “Scandal” and “How to Get Away With Murder.” She currently edits on NBC’s “This Is Us,” a show she has been with since the first season. She is a member of a handful of Diversity and Mentorship groups in her industry, namely the Motion Picture Editors Guild’s Women’s Steering Committee, and helped establish the ACE Diversity Alumni Group in 2020. In the meantime, she enjoys strictly quarantined dance parties with her husband and 2-year-old son. Julia was recently nominated for an American Cinema Editors Award for her work on season five of “This Is Us.” Follow Julia Grove on Twitter @JAGeditress

Avak Kahvejian, PhD

Avak Kahvejian, PhD is a life sciences inventor, entrepreneur, and CEO. Since 2011, he has been a partner at Flagship Pioneering, where he leads a team to invent and launch new therapeutic platforms. His work has led to the creation of multiple high-value public and private companies including Cygnal Therapeutics (pioneering new drugs that target neuronal pathways for the treatment of cancer, and autoimmune/inflammation disorders); Codiak BioSciences (developing engineered exosome therapeutics as cancer treatments); Rubius Therapeutics (NASDAQ: RUBY); developing Red Cell Therapeutics, engineered red blood cells capable of providing potent and prolonged therapy for rare diseases, cancer and autoimmunity; and Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB); the first microbiome therapy platform. At Cygnal, Avak served as founding president and CEO from 2017 until the end of 2018, and currently serves as Chief Innovation Officer, leading the establishment and application of a neuronal biology platform for target and drug discovery in the fields of oncology and immunology. At Rubius, he served as founding president and CEO from 2013 to 2017, and then as CIO until the end of 2018. There he established the Rubius Erythrocyte Design (RED)™ platform and conceived and developed dozens of Red Cell Therapeutics (RCTs)™ spanning a range of therapeutic modalities including enzyme therapies, immuno-oncology and oncology therapies, and tolerogenic drugs. Avak also serves as a board member at Codiak and as CEO of multiple FlagshipLabs companies including Cellarity, Ring, FL50, and FL56. Avak serves on the board of the International Institute of New England, an institution which creates opportunities for refugees and immigrants to succeed through resettlement, education, career advancement and pathways to citizenship. He is also on the board of the Canadian Entrepreneurs of New England. He earned his PhD and BS in biochemistry from McGill University. Follow Avak Kahvejian on Twitter: @AvakK and on Instagram @avakava.

Boston City Councilor Julia Mejia

Boston City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia, after a historic recount, won her seat by a single vote and is now the first Afro-Latina to sit on the Boston City Council. Mejia is currently the Chair of the Committee on Civil Rights and the Committee of Small Business and Workforce Development. Councilor Mejia is focused on influencing and inspiring constituents to be actively engaged in all areas of decision-making processes. Since assuming her role in January, Councilor Mejia and her office have executed a series of innovative COVID-related projects in response to the need of Boston’s hardest-hit constituents. Her office has created culturally responsive food access projects to support small businesses and feed our most vulnerable, as well as a COVID business readiness program to build capacity for Black/Brown immigrant-owned barbers and hair salons. Her office has also designed and implemented a community-centered civic engagement model to address city-wide quality of life concerns and filed legislation to improve access and accountability in city government. Councilor Mejia was recently named Best City Politician 2020 in Boston Magazine. Follow City Councilor At-Large Julia Mejia on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @juliaforboston

Berj Najarian

In his 27th season in the National Football League and 22nd season with the New England Patriots, Berj Najarian serves as the point person for the day-to-day operations of the team. Berj acts as a liaison across football departments such as team travel, equipment, training and player engagement as well as non-football departments such as marketing, media relations, content and Gillette Stadium operations. Berj manages several elements of head coach Bill Belichick’s off-field agenda, including football operations, player and staff communication, scheduling and personal requests. Berj has been part of all six Patriots Super Bowl championship teams.

Entering the NFL in 1995, Berj was a public relations assistant with the New York Jets for five seasons following an internship with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association. Berj attended Boston University, earning a degree in English. He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Armenian Museum of America and as Board member and officer of the Bill Belichick Foundation. He was born in Brooklyn, NY and grew up in Manhasset, NY. Follow Berj Najarian on Instagram @berj.najarian

Tracey Zhen

Tracey Zhen is president of Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network, where she oversees all facets of the business. Tracey is focused on innovation and leveraging technology to grow Zipcar’s position as a category leader within the fast-growing mobility industry. Tracey has 20 years of experience in leadership roles at consumer technology companies, including senior management roles at TripAdvisor and Expedia where she oversaw business strategy, finance, operations, product development, and marketing. At TripAdvisor, Tracey oversaw the company’s vacation rental brands, scaling the business and growing revenue through strategic acquisitions and the restructuring of its business models. At Expedia, Tracey served as general manager for emerging markets and strategy, leading international business growth in Europe and Latin America. There she launched new markets, built a European strategy team, and scaled the business to multi-million-dollar growth. Tracey has a proven track record of scaling start-up businesses through product innovation, technology platform development, and consumer marketing. Tracey started her career in investment banking at Bear, Stearns and Co., Inc., and she held senior roles at IAC where she built and oversaw a finance and analytics team, was responsible for new business development and subsequent wind-down and aided corporate restructurings and capital financings. Tracey serves on the Advisory Board of the Harvard Kennedy School Taubman Center for State and Local Government. She is a graduate of New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business holding dual B.S. degrees in Finance and Information Systems, she is a resident of Newton and a native of New York City.

Cindy Fitzgibbon, Host

Cindy Fitzgibbon is Meteorologist, WCVB TV NewsCenter 5’s EyeOpener and Midday. Cindy Fitzgibbon joined WCVB TV in 2013 but has been in the Boston market the past 20 years and a broadcast meteorologist for 25 years. In 2017, she won the regional Emmy award for out- standing achievement in weather broadcasting. She has also won an Associated Press award for “Best Weathercast” and has made guest appearances on ABC News.

Cindy is involved with and devotes her time to organizations that promote science to educate, particularly young girls, including the Discovery Museum “Smart Gals” Program, the Jr. Sci-Tech Girl STEM Expo, and the Science Club for Girls. Cindy repeatedly donates her time to help raise money for local organizations to fight ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) and has become an ambassador in spreading awareness about Batten Disease. She makes frequent “Weather Visits” to schools across the area and has educated thousands of students about the weather over the years.

A native New Englander raised near Portland, Cindy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from Lyndon State College in Vermont. She is a member of both the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the National Weather Association. She has been awarded the AMS Seal of Approval for Television.

the past several years, Cindy has been the emcee for Sunday Afternoon for Families and Friends at Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway, always joined by her two boys, fellow Armenian Americans and many friends. Cindy was the emcee for Celebrating Contributions of Our Nations Immigrants Honoring Dr. Noubar Afeyan, the gala benefit to raise funds for the Endowed Fund for Care of Armenian Heritage Park on The Greenway in September 2019. Follow Cindy Fitzgibbon on Instagram: @cindy.fizgibbon and on Twitter: @Met_CindyFitz

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