Anna Ouroumian

Anna Gabriel Ouroumian is an American social entrepreneur who was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. Anna is currently the President and CEO of the Academy of Business Leadership (ABL), a non-profit organisation housed in the corporate offices of Southern California Edison in Rosemead, California.

Early life

Anna Ouroumian was born in Beirut, Lebanon. Due to her mother’s chronic illness, Anna and her sister Helen, grew up in orphanages in war-torn Beirut during the fifteen year civil war. It was in the orphanages that she was able to become fluent in French, Arabic, and Armenian.

Coming to America

Anna escaped the Lebanese orphanages with the help of Father Rafael, her local Catholic priest, who provided Anna with money to purchase a visa and secure a safe passage to America.

She arrived in Los Angeles alone as a young teenager with only $160 in her pocket. Anna carried two books, a biography of Ronald Reagan and a book on the Harvard Business School. Although she barely spoke English, Anna was determined to succeed. In Los Angeles, Anna took refuge in a Glendale orphanage, where a former Lebanese nun resided.


During the Lebanese civil war, Anna’s education was administered by the nuns. Even with the increasing violence outside of the orphanage, Anna was able to earn an acceptance into the American University in Beirut, where she studied for two semesters.

After fleeing Lebanon, in search of the American Dream, Anna arrived in California and enrolled at the University of La Verne in La Verne, California. Then, during her sophomore year, Anna transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles. Then a graduating senior at UCLA, Anna received the Chancellor’s Service Award and was honored as one of four students, out of the 10,500 seniors, to receive the UCLA Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Outstanding Senior Award.

Anna graduated from UCLA with a Bachelors in Economics.


200px|thumb|right|upright|Anna_with_President_Bill Clinton in 1996 preseinting him a certificate of appreciation from her AmeriCorps members from Building Up Los Angeles ]

200px|thumb|right|upright|Anna_with_President_Ronald Reagan in his office in Century City in 1998]

In 1993, Anna was selected along with 1,500 young people to heed President Bill Clinton’s call to help serve inner-city youth across America as part of the pilot Summer of Service program, the precursor to AmeriCorps. Her first job was working for the AmeriCorps/Interfaith Hunger Coalition, a collaboration of over 1,000 faith-based organizations joined to fight hunger.

There, she created the “Watts Threefold Economic Empowerment Project,” which built a community garden, a micro enterprise and a farmer’s market that brought fresh produce to the residents of the neighboring Jordan Downs Housing Project and historic 103rd street. Her project helped create jobs and revive the economically depressed community. As Team Leader for the Hollywood Cluster, and later as Cluster Coordinator for the Central City South, she led twenty-three AmeriCorps members. Anna addressed the needs of thousands of low-income families in housing, education, and public safety. She developed in-school and after-school tutoring and mentoring programs and worked with various schools, community based organizations, corporations, and political representatives to address the social issues and problems of inner-city communities.

Working alongside Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg, Falcon, and the Hollywood Police Department, Anna helped clean the Yucca corridor in Hollywood and, thus, with her help began the revival of Hollywood.

After two years of service in AmeriCorps, Anna was selected as one of 15 fellows to serve in Governor’s Executive Fellowship Program in Sacramento. She was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to intern with the State Attorney General drafting and editing speeches. She also briefed the State Attorney General on public policy issues.

Later, she joined Athletes and Entertainers for Kids where she coordinated the Ventura County Mentoring Collaborative partnership as part of the Governor Wilson’s California Mentor Initiative.

Academy of Business Leadership


Anna came on board in 1998 as Executive Director to revitalize the struggling non-profit organization, the Academy of Business Leadership (ABL). ABL took high-potential, low-opportunity kids and exposed them to a world of capitalism, leadership, and business values.

Through their training on college campuses, students learn to plan and pitch their business plans and network with high profile CEOs, presidents, and senior executives from Fortune 500 companies. Underserved inner-city youth are encouraged to graduate from high school, attend college, and become leaders in their communities. In 2001, the Board of Directors of the ABL named Anna its president and CEO.

Since its re-inception in 1998, refounder Anna Ouroumain raised over $15 million and quintupled the budget of the organization. Later, she also recruited actor and community activist Edward James Olmos as spokesperson for ABL.


Anna strengthened relationships and forged strategic partnerships with existing and new corporate sponsors such as Edison International, First Pacific Advisors, The Capital Group Companies, Inc., and Merrill Lynch, among others. In 2000, she helped ABL acquire a convert|4000|sqft|m2|sing=on building on a convert|10000|sqft|m2|sing=on lot as a donation from then Pacific Bell, in the heart of South Los Angeles.

The partnership with Merrill Lynch propelled ABL to a new phase in its growth to widen its reach and ensure the longevity and viability of the organization.

Through its current and future strategic partnerships, ABL continues to expand its reach and target underserved students throughout the United States.


Anna’s effort on behalf of the underrepresented youth in inner-cities has been recognized by local, national, and international awards.

She has received numerous commendations and awards for her outstanding contributions, and has been featured by Forbes Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Reader’s Digest, and KCET Life & Times Tonight, among others.

In 2006, Anna was honored by Tyra Banks on her national talk show for her transformational impact on young people.

She also received the "Inspiration Award" from the National Association of Women Business Owners. In addition, she received the "George Washington Honor Medal" by the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

From thousands of nominees nationwide, she was selected by Montel Williams and Charming Shoppes to receive the Montel Williams Voices Campaign Award given annually to five "amazing women using their voices to make a difference".

Furthermore, on October 24, 2007, Anna received the "Conrad Hilton Distinguished Entrepreneur Award" as part of Loyola Marymount University's Conrad Hilton Distinguished Entrepreneur Award and Lecture Series to honor exceptional entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs in order to expose LMU students to exciting, dynamic, creative and innovative entrepreneurs from a variety of different endeavors and fields.


*"Paper Doll: Lessons Learned from a Life Lived in the Headlines" by LuAn Mitchell-Halter ISBN-13: 9781588720870 [] []
*"Living in the Spiritual Zone : 10 Steps to Change Your Life and Discover Your Truth" by Gary Quinn ISBN-13: 9780757303241 []

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • List of Lebanese people — This is a list of Lebanese people. The list has been ordered by Alphabetical order of Section names. No specific order was used within the sections.ActivistsActivists of Lebanese Descent* John Snow born Hanna Talj * James Zogby founder of Arab… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.