Our Inspirations + Passions – Jeffrey Vahanian

JEFFREY: Avid educational story-teller, husband to the greatest woman + believer in the gift of guiding and helping others.

I grew up in NYC’s West Harlem in the 1960’s – where both of my parents were family psychologists and professors. My mother taught Marital and Family Relations at Barnard and Hunter College, while my father was an Associate Professor of Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Although they have long since passed on, my parents are, and always have been, my ultimate inspiration. They were both incredibly compassionate, creative and thoughtful role models who believed, above all else, in being respectful, kind and of service to people of all backgrounds. In that spirit, they actively sought out opportunities to impact others every single day. It was the core of who they were and it was a principle they instilled in me and my two brothers.

My mother emigrated to America from Austria in the late 1930’s as the Nazi presence in Austria grew. My father was born in Bridgeport, Ct. to Armenian parents who fled the Armenian genocide not long after the turn of the 20th Century. He served his country in World War II as a radio operator and gunner on a B-17 Bomber, flying an incredible 35 missions over Europe, including the Battle of the Bulge. Being of service to his country was among my dad’s greatest sources of pride. He saw America as the place where we all have the best chance to pursue our own dreams, while also helping others.

Based upon their own history, my parents made sure I appreciated how fortunate I was to live in America, to be an American citizen; and that I should always aspire to make the most of opportunities offered in my country and identify a unique path to give back and make a difference.  As well, growing up in West Harlem made my childhood one of rich experience, culture, challenge, and yet, also great adventure. I watched my parents create something out of nothing. And for that, I am forever grateful. At a very early age, I learned the value of simplicity and the value of a dollar. I learned how to take care of people, be aware, and most importantly, welcome differences in culture, background and values with open arms. I think that is why my wife, Corinne, and I make such an amazing team. Her own kindness and selflessness is now my greatest joy and inspiration. She and I met when we were both in television. We fell in love on our first date and were engaged less than three weeks later. We were married that same year, 1986, just as I decided to move to Saratoga Springs and start my Financial Advisory Firm.

Corinne and I see the world through a similar lens – one that is optimistic, yet realistic; one that is full of wonder in spite of whatever flaws we may view. I feel so fortunate that I can share my passions and dreams with Corinne, because she is in lock step with me at every turn. More than anything, I am inspired by her every day. I have never met anyone more selfless, eager to help others, ready take on the world, and passionate about everything life has to offer. She will always be my source of inspiration for seeking and creating something magical in every day.

My parents believed in family. And so, I created my own and then did the two key things that are the best expression of our shared inspiration. I created a business designed to help other families pursue and realize their dreams and goals while living by the principles they hold most dear. And I believe I have done so by building a business that exists as its own family, where everyone is valued, respected and encouraged to make their own special mark on our effort to help whomever honors us by seeking our guidance.