Ara Topouzian serves as Executive Director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association. In his leadership role at MVCA, Topouzian advocates for Michigan’s entrepreneurial and venture investor community with legislative and government officials and promotes Michigan venture investment opportunities to regional and national markets. He also supports membership growth, fundraising, guides program development and sets strategic direction for the organization.
A strategic leader experienced in both private and public industry sectors, Ara is accomplished in the field of economic development for municipalities. He has a successful track record in attracting international corporations as well as retaining small and large businesses to the area. He is a visionary who excels in the creation and implementation of organizational structure and processes. Ara is a relationship builder who astutely cultivates and utilizes relationships to create win-win situations for all involved parties. His proven abilities in marketing, leadership and operations have made him a creative thinker and problem solver who consistently delivers business growth and development for entities represented. He is also skilled in association management and membership development. To that end, he has presented, moderated and facilitated small and large groups, including service organizations, colleges, libraries, associations and more.
For more than six years, Topouzian was the City of Novi Economic Development Director, responsible for marketing to- and communicating with 2,000-plus large and small businesses by providing them with important local, regional, state and federal resources. During his tenure in Novi, Topouzian was responsible for business attraction projects valued in excess of $100 million in investment, as well as directing the city’s current economic development goals and objectives in both attraction and retention efforts.
For six years, Topouzian was the President and CEO of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, responsible for overseeing one of Oakland County’s strongest Chambers with more than 650 members, as well as expanding the Chamber’s role as a champion for small and large businesses. he led Troy Chamber into financial prosperity as well as increased membership and retention as well as elevate the quality of programs and events for its membership.
Council Member, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (2018-Present)
Board Member, Michigan Society of Association Executives (2017-Present)
Board Chair, Michigan Economic Developers Association (2014)
Board Chair, Creative Many Michigan (2018-2019)
Board Member, Executive Committee, Troy Community Foundation (2016-2019)
President/CEO, Troy Chamber of Commerce (2013-2019)
Economic Development Director, City of Novi (2009-2013)
President, Farmington/Farmington Hills Chamber of Commerce (2000-2009)
Kresge Artist Fellow of Performing Arts (2012)
Mike Conboy Economic Development Award, MEDA (2013)
Wayne State University, Bachelor of Arts – Journalism (1993)
Trinity of Management – Sirolli Institute (Small Business mentorship) (2011)