Holden Announces Staffing Changes

First published in the Dec. 10 print issue of the South Pasadena Review

Assemblyman Chris Holden announced on Monday the hire of Stephanie Mkhlian as his new communications director and Sierra Sheppard as his new legislative aide on Monday.
Mkhlian will be working in his Pasadena District Office, while Sheppard will join his Capitol Office in Sacramento, the legislator said in a statement.

“I am impressed with Sierra’s dedication to public safety policy and analysis of legislation, and Stephanie makes an exceptional fit for my office with her commitment to problem-solving, community empowerment and out-of-the-box critical thinking,” Holden added.
Mkhlian has five years of experience in public service at both the state and city level under her belt, according to Holden’s office. She started her career in government service as an AmeriCorps VISTA fellow for the community impact initiative, Los Angeles Promise Zone at the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office. Mkhlian, a native Angeleno has been involved in various community organizations such as the Armenian Professional Society, GALAS LGBTQ Armenian Society, and Ezrach Community Brain Trust and World Harvest Food Bank.
Currently, Mkhlian is pursuing a master’s of business administration at California State University, Long Beach, focusing on data disruption and sustainability. She graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations in 2014.
Sheppard, a Sacramento native, earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology at University of California, Davis in 2020. During her time at UC Davis, she competed as a student athlete on the Track and Field team and founded a student organization for black student athletes called the Coalition of African Diaspora Student Athletes. When Sheppard was not studying or involved with campus activities, she interned for Assemblyman Marc Levine and was able to synthesize legislative data, bill comments and propose legislative ideas.
The pair will largely fill the role of Garo Manjikian, who previously served six years as communications director for Holden before leaving for a career in landscape architecture.
“I have had the pleasure of getting to know Garo over the last six years and have enjoyed working with him sincerely. Garo’s leadership, determination and positive impact will be missed. I wish him the best in his future endeavors and he will always be a member of Team Holden,” Holden said.