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Puchase your "don't call me auntieTM" t-shirt today! Proceeds benefit SAWLF's scholarship for South Asian women. $15. To order, please e-mail: sharetheexperience

SAVE-THE-DATE! Congress 2006 will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2006

Two dynamic business leaders will be the principal speakers at Congress 2006 presented by the South Asian Women’s Leadership Forum on Saturday, February 25, 2006 in Manhattan. SAWLF is pleased to announce that Ms. Indra Nooyi, president and CFO for PepsiCo., Inc. will participate in an interactive segment with Ms. Meena Mansharamani, vice president for strategic initiatives at Pepsi-Cola North America.

This special segment will bring together two, leading-edge professionals for an engaging discussion that will highlight winning business strategies and practices as well as their individual experiences of challenge and achievement at one of the world’s best known and established consumer brands.

SAWLF Second Annual Congress 2006
Saturday, February 25, 2006
10:00 AM to 7:30 PM
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
300 Madison Avenue (SW Corner of 42nd Street)
New York, NY 10017

Anita Itty joins South Asian Women's Leadership Forum as contributing essayist. Each quarter, Ms. Itty will write on topics of leadership, identity, business & culture.

SAWLF is committed to the advancement of South Asian women in the workplace. In the June 2004 issue of Working Mother magazine, SAWLF's National Director is featured in Can We Talk? A candid conversation about race and career by Caroline Howard

Recent SAWLF Events:
JoinSAWLFat the Working Mother Best Companies for Women of Color Multicultural Conference, July 20-21, 2005 in New York City. SAWLF will host an interactive session for conference attendees from 5 - 6 PM on July 20. in Central Park West, Sheraton New York & Towers.

Asia Society & SAWLF present a season of special events highlighting Asian and Asian-American women business leaders, including:"Trailblazers: Asian Women Entrepreneurs" on May 4, 2005.

Special guest speakers include Shoba Purushothaman, CEO and Co-Founder, The NewsMarket and Geeta Anand, Senior Special Writer, Wall Street Journal.

Geeta Anand, Senior Special Writer, Wall Street Journal

Additional speakers to be announced. To register on-line, click here

SAWLF presents its inaugural Congress 2005 on Saturday, February 26, 2005 in Manhattan. Sara Mathew, Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation and Zeyba Rahman, Chairperson, World Music Institute and Producing Partner, Jungli Billi Productions will deliver the keynote address. Additional special guests and participants to be announced. To register on-line, click here

In December 2004, SAWLF presents Behind the Scenes:Women In Film Series at the South Asian International Film Festival (SAIFF) December 1 - 5, 2004 in New York City. SAWLF is proud to sponsor a selection of films: Meenaxi (2004); What r We Doin' Here & Ladies Special. For additional information, visit SAIFF

"Getting Real Success", Join SAWLF on October 19, 2004 as we explore the complexity of defining and achieving success amid converging personal and professional goals and demands with Subha Barry, First Vice President of Multicultural and Diversified Business Development for Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.; Jeanine Prime, Director of Research for Catalyst; and Jyoti Chopra, head of South Asian business in Merrill Lynch Global Private Client’s Multicultural and Diversified Business Development Group. Additional speakers to be confirmed. To register, click here

Join the SAWLF table on Saturday, October 16, 2004 for Celebrating Women's Lives, the annual SAKHI Benefit Gala at Chelsea Piers. This special event features actress Nandita Das & the Vagina Monologues' Eve Ensler. For ticket information, please contact SAWLF

Join SAWLF on Sunday, September 19, 2004 for a special performance and reception with the UK comedy sensation, Shazia Mirza and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF SHAZIA. Click here to register. This event is made possible by the generous support of Western Union.

Join SAWLF at the Working Mother Best Companies for Women of Color Multicultural Conference, July 20-21, 2004 in New York City.

Congress 2006: Advancing South Asian Women Leaders
Opening Distinguished Keynote Presentation by

Ms. Vani Kola, Founder, Certus Software and Rightworks

Vani is a serial entrepreneur and visionary known for identifying emerging markets and building successful market-driven software companies. For the last 10 years she has been focused on founding and building her various companies.

She was founder and CEO of Certus Software, a leader in the Financial Compliance Market with over 70 customers worldwide. Vani’s personal commitment to excellence and integrity influences her approach to building companies, developing products and empowering people.

Prior to establishing Certus, Vani was the founder and chief executive officer of RightWorks, a successful e-procurement company that was acquired by ICG and subsequently by i2.

Before founding RightWorks, Vani held management and engineering positions at Consilium and Control Data Corporation. She holds M.S. and B.S degrees in electrical engineering.

Vani is profiled in numerous books and has been identified as one of the top 10 entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Outside of enjoying building high growth companies her interests focus on raising her two daughters and musing about finding the perfect balance between work and family. She is involved in various organizations focused on fostering entrepreneurship and women leadership.

The Congress 2006 Distinguished Luncheon Presentation by
Ms. Indra Nooyi, President and Chief Financial Officer, PepsiCo., Inc.

Ms. Meena R. Mansharamani,
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives,
Pepsi-Cola North America

Ms. Indra Nooyi, President and Chief Financial Officer, PepsiCo., Inc.

Indra Nooyi is President, Chief Financial Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of PepsiCo, a position she assumed in May 2001.

Ms. Nooyi is responsible for all of PepsiCo’s corporate functions, including finance, strategy, supply chain, business process optimization, corporate platforms and innovation, procurement, investor relations and information technology. She was appointed to her position and elected to the Board of Directors in May 2001.

With revenues of about $27 billion, PepsiCo ranks as the world’s fourth largest food and beverage company. It includes: Frito-Lay, the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of snacks; Pepsi-Cola, the second largest soft drink business; Tropicana, the largest marketer and producer of branded juices; Gatorade, the world’s leading sports drink, and Quaker Foods, which merged with PepsiCo in August 2001.

Between February 2000 and April 2001, Ms. Nooyi was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of PepsiCo, where she played an instrumental role in PepsiCo’s merger with The Quaker Oats Company.

Between 1996 and 1999, Ms. Nooyi was Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development. She had an integral role in PepsiCo’s strategic restructuring, which included the spin-off of Tricon Global Restaurants, the purchase of Tropicana and the public offering of The Pepsi Bottling Group.

Before joining PepsiCo in 1994, Ms. Nooyi spent four years as Senior Vice President of Strategy, and Strategic Marketing for Asea Brown Boveri. She was part of the top management team responsible for the company's U.S. business as well as its worldwide industrial businesses, generating about one-third of ABB's $30 billion in global sales.

Between 1986 and 1990, Ms. Nooyi was at Motorola where she was Vice President and Director of Corporate Strategy and Planning, having joined the company in 1986 as the business development executive for its automotive and industrial electronic group.

Prior to Motorola, she spent six years directing international corporate strategy projects at the Boston Consulting Group. Her clients ranged from textiles and consumer goods companies to retailers and specialty chemicals producers.

Ms. Nooyi began her career in India, where she held product manager positions at Johnson & Johnson and at Mettur Beardsell, Ltd., a textile firm.

In addition to being a member of the Board of Directors of PepsiCo, Inc., Ms. Nooyi serves as Successor Fellow at Yale Corporation. She is a member of the Boards of Motorola, the International Rescue Committee and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Ms. Nooyi also serves on the Advisory Boards of Yale School of Management, PlaNet Finance and Greenwich Breast Cancer Alliance, as well as, on the Board of Trustees of Eisenhower Fellowships and Asia Society. She is a member of The Trilateral Commission.

She holds a BS from Madras Christian College in Madras, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University. Ms. Nooyi is married and has two daughters.

Ms. Meena R. Mansharamani, Senior Vice President, Innovation and Insights, Pepsi-Cola North America

Meena Mansharamani is Senior Vice President, Innovation and Insights for Pepsi-Cola North America (PCNA), a position she assumed in November 2005. Ms. Mansharamani is responsible for both short and long-term product and package innovation to drive the Division’s growth agenda. She also oversees foundational consumer insights that drive portfolio management, innovation, brand marketing and channel and customer strategies.

She is a member of the Senior Executive Team at PCNA, and works closely with PCNA’s Chairman and CEO, functional leaders and bottling partners to ensure that the team achieves its growth goals in the LRB (liquid refreshment beverage) space.

Ms. Mansharamani joined PCNA in January 2005 Vice President, Strategic Initiatives. In this role, she was responsible for developing new business strategies and operating models to capitalize on PCNA’s marketplace opportunities. Pepsi-Cola North America's robust portfolio of brands includes Pepsi, Aquafina, Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist, SoBe, Tropicana, Dole, Lipton Iced Tea and Starbucks Frappucino.

Prior to her new role at PCNA, Ms. Mansharamani was Vice President of Corporate Strategy for PepsiCo from 2000-2004. In this capacity, she worked with PepsiCo’s CEO and President on top-line growth initiatives across PepsiCo’s portfolio of businesses. Two key areas of focus included developing a new approach and focus to PepsiCo’s approach to innovation and strengthening the company’s emphasis on health and wellness.

With revenues of about $27 billion, PepsiCo, Inc. is a global snack and beverage company. It manufactures and sells a variety of salty, convenient, sweet and grain-based snacks, carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, and foods. The Company is organized in four divisions: Frito-Lay North America (FLNA), PepsiCo Beverages North America (PBNA), PepsiCo International (PI) and Quaker Foods North America (QFNA).

Prior to joining the PepsiCo team, Meena was Vice President in the Consumer Goods and Retail Practice of A.T. Kearney, a management consulting firm. During her 10-year tenure at A.T. Kearney, she served a variety of industries, including apparel, automotive, transportation and financial services. She received her MBA from Wharton and her MA/BA from Harvard University.


Closing Musings by UK Comedic Sensation by Ms. Shazia Mirza


Trained at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in London, Shazia works full time as a writer, actor and stand up comedian.

Shazia began stand up comedy in September 2000 and since then shot up the ladder, picking up along the way the 2001 Hackney Empire Best New Act competition at the London Comedy Festival and winning Metro Magazine’s People’s Choice Best Comic Award at the London Comedy Festival 2002.

Shazia is in huge international demand with coverage from press, TV and radio across the world. She has performed stand up shows in Germany, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, USA, France, Ireland, Belgium and Holland. In the UK Shazia is picking up TV credits and is constantly working the UK comedy circuit. Highlights have included a rave performance as part of Eve Enslers V Day event at the Royal Albert Hall where shazia wrote and performed a monologue which received a standing ovation from the cast which included Isabella Rossellini, Maureen Lipman, Rita Tushingham, Meera Syal, Dannii Minogue and Anita Dobson. Other events have included the Arosa Comedy Festival, Switzerland, a solo show in San Francisco, a sell out run in Paris and for the British Council she has performed in Pristina, Kosovo. Shazia has also recently performed 5 sold out shows in the Sodra Theatre, Stockholm followed by a sell out tour of Sweden.

Shazia has appeared on Have I got News For You, Joan Bakewell’s Taboo, Richard & Judy, was the subject of a BBC 2 First Sight documentary. She wrote and presented for the BBC 10 Things You Always Wanted To Know About Islam But Were Afraid To Ask. More recently she has been seen on Richard & Judy again on their successful Book Review slot and CBS in the USA have screened a profile on her for 60 Minutes which is an enormous accolade. Shazia has recently finished filming stand up for The World Stands Up, for Comedy Central USA and 60 Acts in 60mins for the BBC.

Shazia in 2005 again sold out at the Edinburgh Festival with her full length show at The Pleasance. She is now on a national theatre tour with 1001 Nights Now which is a story telling theatre piece produced by Northern Stage in conjunction with Nottingham Playhouse and Deptford Albany. Directed by Alan Lyddiard. In the play Shazia also performs one of her own monologues commissioned for the piece (runs to Feb 2006). Shazia is currently working on a new show for Edinburgh 2006 and is soon to tour Sweden with her solo show.

“Her laconic one-liners represent something quite unique in modern comedy. In these fraught times, she actually manages to make being a Muslim woman seem wonderfully life-enhancingly funny. Anglo-Islamic understanding is now even more elusive than before, but if anything, that makes Shazia’s comedy even more valid, and even more vital”


“My name is Shazia Mirza....’ she says. ‘At least that’s what it says on my pilot’s licence’. No one can resist - the room erupts”
ELLE MAGAZINE, Natalie Meddings

“Shazia Mirza has won rave reviews for her frank and honest stand up comedy routines about being a young Muslim woman in Britain”
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, Richard Warburton

Mallini Alles, Founder & Chairman, Maia Management

Malini Alles is the Founder and Chairman of Maia Management, a San Francisco based equity management company investing in domestic and emerging markets.

Alles is a veteran Silicon Valley venture capitalist with extensive experience in investing in hi-tech and commodity firms around the world. Even before “globalization” became a buzzword, Alles was looking beyond the borders of the United States, into Asia and South America. Her largest returns were in the oil and gas sector.

Alles’ meteoric rise in the business world is truly inspirational. Seventeen years ago, she moved to the United States with just two hundred dollars to her name. While pursuing her master and later her PhD in Psychology, she worked odd jobs around the college campus to supplement her income. It was during this time Alles’ passion for finance and investment took over. She began attending lectures in business management and began to meet people from the venture capital community. With some of their suggestions, Alles began investing her meager savings in stocks and commodities. One speculation led to another and soon the young girl who had come to America with hardly any money in her pocket was a billionaire by the time she turned thirty-four.

Alles is active in American politics. She is a close personal friend of the Clintons and is on the board of the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation.

She is an impassioned philanthropist. In 2001, Alles started “Stree: Global Investments in Women”, a California based non-profit organization aimed at changing the way low-income and at-risk women and children worldwide see themselves and their roles in society. “Stree” provides the means for women to access healthcare and preventive medicine and a forum for grassroots movements to connect with public policy.

In 2004 she toured the Tsunami ravaged areas in India and Sri Lanka and pledged 50 million dollars of her personal funds to the victims of the tragedy in the island nation.

In June 2005, Alles donated one million dollars to kick start the world’s first Heart Research Center for South Asians at El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA.

Alles serves on the board of Bahrain Technology Park, Malaysia-based @Ventures, Los Angeles based emergency relief agency, Relief Foundation and Silicon Valley Women’s Fund. She is also on the board of the Special Olympics Committee, Stanford Cancer Center and is the Chairperson for the Heart Research Center for South Asians at El Camino hospital.

Alles was awarded “Entrepreneur of the year – 2001” by the Business Women Network, “Outstanding Women of the Year - 2005” by the Friends of Indian Community, “Philanthropist of the Year” by Pratham USA and the “Mother Theresa Award, 2005” by the Los Angels County.

Ms. Prabha Sipi Bhandari, Esq., VP Senior Counsel, Mergers & Acquisitions, Viacom Inc.

Prabha Sipi Bhandari is VP Senior Counsel at Viacom Inc. in New York and has been responsible for Mergers & Acquisitions at the Company since the separation of Viacom Inc. into two separately traded public companies, Viacom Inc. and CBS Corporation. Prior to joining Viacom in 2000, Ms. Bhandari was a corporate associate at the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York. Before that, she clerked for the Honorable John M. Duhč, Jr. of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ms. Bhandari received her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she served as Notes and Comments Editor of the New York University Law Review and published her note in the Law Review, The Failure of Equal Regard to Explain the Sherbert Quartet. Ms. Bhandari co-founded the South Asian Law Students’ Association at NYU and served as its co-chair. She received her B.S. from Cornell University in Industrial and Labor Relations.

Ms. Bhandari is a member of the Committee on Women in the Profession at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.

Neetu Bhatia, Vice President, Media & Communications Investment Banking

Neetu is a Vice President in BMO Financial Group’s Media, Communications & Technology Investment Banking Group. She has over seven years of experience originating and executing several strategic advisory and financing transactions in these sectors. Neetu's transaction experience includes over $40 billion of executed deals for Time Warner, Google, Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, BellSouth, SBC, Cingular, AT&T, Sprint, Nextel and others.

Prior to joining BMO Financial Group, Neetu was a Vice President at Blaylock & Partners where she helped build the Media & Telecom advisory franchise along with senior members of the former AT&T Broadband management team. Prior to working at Blaylock & Partners, Neetu worked at Lehman Brothers, originating and executing several lead-managed media and telecom advisory, capital raising and restructuring transactions. Before joining Lehman Brothers, Neetu also worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Company, advising senior management of Fortune 500 companies on strategic and operational issues.

Neetu has an M.S. in Management and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune, India, where she graduated as the Best Outgoing Student. A former national cricket player, Neetu serves on the Boards of several not-for-profit organizations in New York City and India. She is also a regular columnist for several leading financial publications in India. Her story was recently featured in a book to motivate young students released in New Delhi by India’s President, Dr. Abdul Kalam.

Megha Bhouraskar, Esq., Founding Partner, Poppe and Bhouraskar LLP

Megha Bhouraskar is a founding partner of the firm of Poppe and Bhouraskar LLP in New York. She specializes in intellectual property (copyright and trademark), real estate and commercial law. Megha has extensive knowledge of the Indian music and film industry and a large number of her clients consist of South Asian businesses and individuals representing diverse industries in the US and India.

Megha was one of the original members and a Board Member of SAKHI for South Asian Women and has served on the Board of Asian Women in Business. Megha was granted the Governor's Award for her activities in the South Asian community in New York and she has served as a New York Delegate to the Democatic National Convention.

Ms. Neelam Deo, Consul General of India, New York

Ms. Deo joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1975. Over the course of her international career, Ms. Deo has held posts in Rome, Bangkok and Washington DC.

She has also served as the Ambassador in Copenhagen and Abidjan with concurrent accreditation in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Niger.

Prior to her arrival in New York, Ms. Deo served as the Joint Secretary for the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi, India where she oversaw relations with Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Maldives.

Ms. Deo holds a master’s degree in economics from the Delhi School of Economics.

Ms. Sabrina Dhawan, Screenwriter, Monsoon Wedding

Sabrina Dhawan’s first produced screenplay Monsoon Wedding was awarded the ‘Leon D’Oro’ (Golden Lion) at the Venice Film Festival in August 2001. Monsoon Wedding was also nominated for a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for ‘Best Film in a Foreign Language’. Ms. Dhawan also won ‘Best Screenplay’ from Bollywood Awards for Monsoon Wedding. She later adapted the award-winning novel Death of Vishnu and a one hour film, Cosmopolitan, for PBS starring Roshan Seth, Carol Kane and Madhur Jaffrey. Ms. Dhawan also wrote a short film for Canal Plus on 9/11 that was directed by Mira Nair. She has also written a thriller, The Promise set in Houston, TX and Bombay, India, for Killer Films (of Boys Don’t Cry, Far from Heaven, One Hour Photo etc). Ms. Dhawan is currently working on a TV movie for Disney Channel and on an animation film, also for Disney. For the animation film, she is working with the composer, Alan Menken, who has won multiple Academy Awards for films such Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahantas etc.

Ms. Dhawan was born in England and was raised in New Delhi, India. She graduated from Columbia University’s graduate film program with Honors in 2001. Her thesis short Saanjh – As Night Falls played at over two dozen festivals around the world. It was cited as ‘Best of the Festival’ at the Palm Springs International Film Festival 2000; as ‘Most Original Film’ by New Line Cinema at the Polo Ralph Lauren New Works Festival 2000. It won the ‘Audience Impact’ Award at Angelus Awards in LA and was also nominated for the Student Academy Award.

Ms. Dhawan presently teaches screenwriting as an Assistant Professor at Columbia University’s MFA program.

Ms. Mallika Dutt, Founder and Executive Director, Breakthrough

Mallika Dutt is the founder and executive director of Breakthrough. She has been a human rights activist for over two decades, working passionately on transforming attitudes and approaches towards human rights.

Until December 2000, Mallika was the Program Officer for the Human Rights & Social Justice Program at the Ford Foundation’s New Delhi office. She focused on addressing the rights of marginalized communities like dalits, adivasis, and women.

Dutt also served as the Associate Director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, where she held the first US meeting to create links between human rights domestically and abroad. Mallika authored the widely-referenced With Liberty and Justice for All: Women's Human Rights in the United States. She was also the co-author of the globally utilized manual, Local Action Global Change: Learning About the Human Rights of Women and Girls.

While studying law at New York University, Dutt co-founded Sakhi for South Asian Women, combating the violence against women in the New York community. She was also an Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Rights Fellow, and worked at the Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.

Mallika has served on several boards and committees, including the Human Rights Watch Women's Rights Project, Sister Fund, Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, Lt. Governor Committee on Public Police Relations, Committee on Sex and Law, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the India Abroad Person of the Year jury. Mallika is also an active member of the US NGO Coordinating Committee for the UN World Conference Against Racism and currently is on the Board of WITNESS.

She is the recipient of many awards including the the Spirit of Asian American Award (USA, 2003); Phoenix Award for Service (USA, 2002); National Citizen's Award for Contribution to Women and Development (India, 2001); South Asian Women's Creative Collective Award for contribution to the South Asian community (USA, 2001); NYU Law School BLAPA Alumni Award for Distinguished Service (USA, 2001); the Public Interest Law Foundation Alumni Award (USA,1991). Mallika graduated from New York University School of Law with a JD in 1989 and is a member of the New York State Bar.

Ms. Vanita Gupta, Esq., NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.

Vanita Gupta joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) as a Soros Justice Fellow in September 2001. She is now an Assistant Counsel at LDF, where her work centers on civil rights litigation that promotes systemic reform of the criminal justice system. Ms. Gupta successfully led the effort to overturn the convictions of 38 defendants in Tulia, Texas, organizing over a dozen national law firms in this fight and coordinating the legal and media strategy.

Working with co-counsel, she also settled the civil rights cases filed on behalf of the wrongfully convicted Tulia residents for $6 million. The settlement also disbanded the narcotics task force responsible for the drug sting and resulted in the early retirement of two key officers involved in overseeing the sting operation. In furtherance of her clients’ cases, she has appeared on the NBC Today Show, CBS Evening News, CNN, PBS Lehrer News Hour, Court TV, MSNBC, and National Public Radio, and has been quoted extensively in international and national print media. The New York Times profiled her in its “Public Lives” section on April 16, 2003. For her work in Tulia, Ms. Gupta has been given the Drug Policy Alliance Justice Gerald Le Dain Award (2005), the Reebok Human Rights Award (2004), the National South Asian Bar Association Attorney of the Year Award (2005), the India Abroad Publisher’s Special Award (2004), the Upakar Foundation Community Ambassador award (2004), and the American Red Cross “Rising Star” award (2003). She continues to represent individuals accused of crimes who have been subjected to racial bias and other serious problems in their encounters with the criminal justice system. Most recently, she has represented individuals accused of looting baby diapers and water in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. She has also been working with other lawyers and activists on reforming New Orleans’s broken criminal justice system since the hurricane.

Ms. Gupta received her law degree from New York University School of Law, where she served as the Colloquium Editor of the Review of Law and Social Change and was awarded a Vanderbilt Medal for Public Service and the Anne Petluck Poses Prize for her death penalty and juvenile rights-based clinical work.

She attended Yale University, where she graduated magna cum laude in History and Women's Studies. Prior to attending law school, she served as the public policy coordinator at the Harvard School of Public Health in its Violence Prevention Programs.

Ms. Sheila Hooda, Managing Director, Global Equities Division, Credit Suisse

Sheila Hooda is a Managing Director in the Global Equities Division at Credit Suisse – Investment Banking in New York. Sheila is responsible for Client Relationship Management in the US, focusing on building relationships, maximizing revenues and profitability with the largest Equities clients of the Bank. Prior to joining Credit Suisse in 1998, Sheila worked at Bankers Trust and at McKinsey and Co. Her work experience has been primarily with Financial institutions in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Sheila received an M.B.A in Finance from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and has a Masters in Management from the Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad, India.

At Credit Suisse, Sheila is co chair of the Diversity - Multi Cultural Resource Network and is on the Steering committee of America’s Women’s Group. Sheila is also actively involved with programs to empower women, particularly in developing countries. She is an Executive Committee Member of The International Alliance for Women and led the opening of two Micro Credit Banks in Southern India, ensuring the disbursement of loans to over 10,000 women. Most recently, Sheila has been involved with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in the area of Micro Credit.

In the field of Education, Sheila is a Board Member of Pratham USA and co chair of the Tri State Pratham chapter, which focuses on grass roots education in the slums and remote villages in India. Currently over 3 million children have been assisted through this program with the goal of eradicating illiteracy by 2010. Sheila is also the lead fundraiser for Prerana, an education initiative that provides tuition to deserving underprivileged children in India. Over 2000 children have had their high school and college tuition paid, Sheila leads efforts toward realization of a goal of 5000 in 2007.

Sheila is married, lives in Westchester County and has twin 8 year old daughters.

Ms. Beena Kamlani, Senior Editor, Penguin Group

Beena Kamlani has worked in book publishing for over twenty-five years--at Oxford University Press, Harper & Row, Random House and both the Viking and Penguin imprints of the Penguin Group. In her eighteen years at Viking Penguin, she has edited and developed a wide range of books. As Saul Bellow’s editor, she worked closely with him and also with Robert Fagles (on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Virgil’s Aeneid), Blanche Wiesen Cook (Eleanor Roosevelt), Diane Middlebrook, Bob Shacochis, Sir Peter Medawar,

Terry McMillan, Peter Kramer, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Margaret George, William Brodrick, David Leavitt, and Garrison Keillor, among others. She is also assistant professor of publishing at New York University, where she has taught a course on book editing for the past twelve years. In March 2002, she received an award for teaching excellence from the university.

Ms. Padma Lakshmi

Recently, Padma Lakshmi has been playing royalty: the Machiavellian Indian Princess Madhuvanthi in ITV/BBC-America's soon-to-be-seen Sharpe's Challenge, opposite Sean Bean; Princess Bithia, the Egyptian princess who found the baby Moses in the bulrushes and raised him as her own child, in ABC's new mini-series The Ten Commandments; and the spoiled Princess Kaitaama, ruler of a large part of the known universe, on Star Trek: Enterprise.

It makes a change from playing a pirate in Lamberto Bava's Caribbeans (in Italian); the tuneless singer Sylk, Mariah Carey's rival in Glitter; a young Indian-American woman resisting an arranged marriage in Mistress of Spices; and an Indian fashion model turned bank robber in the Bollywood epic Boom.

Her acting career isn't all that's booming. Her best-selling first cookbook Easy Exotic (2003) was awarded the prestigious Prix Versailles for the best first cookbook in the world that year, and her eagerly-awaited second book is to be published in the fall. Padma has also hosted her own show, Padma's Passport, on the Food Network as well as making documentaries about Spanish and Indian cuisine and culture for the Planet Food series - screened all over the world.

Padma has written extensively on both food and fashion for American Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Gourmet.

Originally known as the first internationally successful Indian supermodel, Padma walked the runway for Ralph Lauren, Emmanuel Ungaro, Alberti Ferretti and many other leading designers. She hosted Italy's highest rated TV show, Dominica In, on RAI television. (She is fluent in Italian, just one of her five languages.) Her career as a film actress was launched in Italy, when she starred in Sergio Sollima's film Sandokan: The Darkness and the Light.

Padma holds a B.A. in theatre studies from Clark University. She lives in New York and London.

Ms. Irshad Manji, Best-selling Author, The Trouble with Islam Today: A Wake-Up Call for Honesty and Change

Irshad Manji is a Fellow with the International Security Studies programme at Yale University. The New York Times has dubbed her “Osama Bin Laden’s worst nightmare.” She takes that as a compliment.

Irshad is the best-selling author of The Trouble with Islam Today: A Wake-Up Call for Honesty and Change. Her book has been published in 25 countries, including Pakistan, India, Turkey and Lebanon. In those countries that have banned The Trouble with Islam Today, she is reaching readers by posting free translations on her website.

Irshad’s columns are distributed internationally by The New York Times Syndicate. She is also producing a feature film about what there is to love within Islam, to be aired on PBS later this year. As a volunteer, she sits on the inter-faith editorial board of Seventeen magazine in New York.

Above all, Irshad is founder of an initiative to help young Muslims revive Islam’s tradition of independent thinking. In that capacity, she has just been selected a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Oprah Winfrey has honored Irshad with the first annual Chutzpah Award for “audacity, nerve, boldness and conviction.” Ms. magazine has also named her a Feminist for the 21st Century.

And on International Women’s Day 2005, the Jakarta Post in Indonesia -- the world’s largest Muslim country -- identified Irshad as one of three women creating positive change in Islam today.

Ms. Fawzia Naqvi, Microfinance Specialist

Fawzia Naqvi is a microfinance specialist. Until recently Fawzia worked for Women’s World Banking for five years as a Relationship Manager for Asia. Prior to joining WWB, she spent ten years with Citibank in New York, where she worked for the Financial Institutions Group for Emerging Markets. Her responsibilities at Citibank included building banking relationships with the Not-for-Profit sector in Central Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

In 1997, she was asked to coordinate and manage Citibank’s Task Force on Microfinance Initiatives and was given the responsibility for managing all business related initiatives with microfinance institutions in the emerging markets.

Fawzia left Pakistan at the age of 15 for the Philippines where her family lived for 12 years. In 1982 she came to the United States for undergraduate and graduate studies. She has a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree from The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

Ms. Lakshmi Pratury, Career Catalyst

Lakshmi Pratury’s varied and rich career spans for-profit enterprises, venture capital and non-profit organizations. Most recently, Lakshmi was a leading force in fundraising at the America India Foundation (AIF) where she also established a number of initiatives “in the field” including leading the team that brought digital education to over 80,000 children and 2,000 teachers throughout India.

Prior to joining AIF, Lakshmi was associated with the venture capital firm Global Catalyst Partners (GCP). While at Global Catalyst Partners, she identified and established relationships between India’s development community, local executives and GCP. Lakshmi began her career with the Intel Corporation where, over a twelve year period, she held various key roles in marketing, marketing communications, advertising, and evangelizing the software development community. Lakshmi's responsibilities at Intel included launching the $250 million Intel 64 Fund, the first cross-industry fund launched with the sole intent to support developers to port to Intel 64-bit architecture. Lakshmi also drove and managed Intel’s relationship with media companies, talent agencies and Hollywood talent. As a technologist, Lakshmi designed applications for executive speeches that took the PC beyond the office environment into more creative settings like film, fashion and music.

Lakshmi holds a Bachelors degree in Mathematics from Nizam College, India; an MBA from the Bajaj Institute, India; and attended IIT Bombay. Lakshmi also holds an MBA from Portland State University with a minor in Theater Arts. A published author and experienced interviewer, Lakshmi has conducted several memorable celebrity interviews and actively contributes to local radio programs and theater.

Ms. Shoba Purushothaman, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder,
The NewsMarket, Inc.

Shoba has 20 years of experience in the global news and marketing industries. She was a business journalist for nine years including at the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires and has been an entrepreneur for the last 12. The NewsMarket (http://www.thenewsmarket.com) is her second company in the news and marketing industries. The first business she co-founded grew to be a leading international broadcast public relations consultancy that was successfully acquired in 2001 by a public marketing services group.

The NewsMarket is the only web-based platform that aggregates, markets and distributes broadcast-standard video content to news outlets around the globe. Customers using The NewsMarket to distribute content to the media include Intel, Google, General Motors, GE, Pfizer, adidas, UNICEF, the U.S. Department of State and the American Red Cross. Over 7,500 media outlets in 140 countries source content via The NewsMarket including NBC, CNN, Deutsche Welle, BBC, CCTV, Doordashan, TV Globo, Al Jazeera and local affiliates across the U.S. A seasoned entrepreneur with global operating experience, Shoba has also successfully raised capital for The NewsMarket from angel investors and the venture capital community.

Ms. Sonal Shah, Vice President, Goldman Sachs and Founder, Indicorps

Sonal is Vice President at Goldman, Sachs & Co. working with the Executive Office on developing and implementing a corporate citizenship and environmental policy for the firm. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Sonal worked at two think tanks, the Center for American Progress and the Center for Global Development where she focused on policy issues such as the impact of HIV/AIDs and malaria on development, new aid financing mechanisms, trade, outsourcing, and post conflict reconstruction issues. She continues to serve as an adviser to both institutions.

Sonal also has extensive expertise in policy-making working in the U.S. government at the Department of Treasury on the Asian financial crisis, World Bank/IMF lending policy, the National Security Council, and as Treasury Attache to Bosnia and Kosovo on their post-conflict development. Most recently, Sonal served as an adviser to the new President of Liberia on her economic strategy as she entered office.

Sonal is also the co-founder and director of Indicorps (www.Indicorps.org), a non-profit organization offering one-year fellowships for Indian-Americans to apply their particular skills and expertise to work on targeted development projects in India. For this work, she was awarded the India Abroad Person of the Year award in 2003.

Ms. Madhulika Sikka, Former Senior Producer, Nightline/ABC News

Madhulika Sikka was a senior producer at ABC News Nightline and one of the most senior South Asians in US television until November of 2005. Madhulika started as a researcher at the broadcast in 1992.

Prior to coming to ABC she worked at World Monitor, a television broadcast of the Christian Science Monitor. She has worked for CBS News in Tokyo and NBC News in London. She is the winner of five Emmy awards, a Barone award, an Edward R. Murrow award, a Dupont

and Peabody and two awards from the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA).

She has a BA from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and an MPhil from Cambridge University. She lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and 2 children.

Ms. Shamina Singh, Director and Vice President, Community Relations, Citigroup Global Consumer Group

Shamina Singh is Director and Vice President of Community Relations for Citigroup’s Global Consumer Group. In this position, Shamina is responsible for leveraging financial and programmatic resources to benefit communities in over 100 countries where Citigroup does business.Prior to joining Citigroup, Shamina spent fifteen years in the public service sector building bridges between the public, private and citizen sectors.

During the 2004 Presidential elections, Shamina worked with America Votes, a coalition of the largest grassroots organizations in the U.S., working together to increase participation in electoral politics. Before the elections, Shamina worked on Capitol Hill as Senior Advisor to U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, on Budget, Social Security, Health and Employment issues.

Former President Bill Clinton appointed Shamina to lead the first White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. As Executive Director, Shamina led the efforts of this historic office by providing recommendations, to Presidents Clinton and Bush, which expanded access to federal programs and business opportunities for 11 million Asian Pacific Americans. She began her tenure with the Clinton Administration in 1998, with her service as Congressional Liaison for Secretary of Labor, Alexis Herman. In this position, she worked with Members of Congress and led a comprehensive team that developed and implemented the President’s health care agenda, impacting 140 million participants in private sector health insurance plans.

Shamina has worked with former Texas Governor Ann Richards, former Dallas Mayor and Texas Secretary of State, Ron Kirk and SEIU, the largest and fastest growing labor union in North America. She is a Fellow with the Aspen Institute and remains active in many community organizations.

Shamina received a Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University in 1991 and a Master of Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in 1997.

Ms. Puja Vohra, Director, Consumer Marketing, Bravo

Puja is a seasoned media marketing professional, with a career that spans media outlets in the US and India. She is currently the Director for Consumer Marketing at Bravo, a cable network part of the NBC Universal family. Her responsibilities include managing marketing and promotions for Bravo’s original arts, entertainment and pop culture programming. Prior to Bravo, she has held senior marketing positions at Viacom Plus and Oxygen Media. She also co-founded eKani, an Internet radio start-up company based in New York, NY.

Puja started her marketing career as a member of Seagram’s start-up team in India where she was responsible for the launch of several alcoholic beverages in the nascent Indian market. Following that she moved to MTV India and worked with several of India’s leading consumer product marketers to create one of India’s first media sponsorship marketing groups.

Puja holds a Bachelor’s degree from Hindu College, Delhi University and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta.

Ms. Shanthi Weeransinghe, Agency Sales Director, North Shore Financial Group, MetLife

Sri-Lankan business woman, Shanthi Weeransinghe, first ventured overseas more than twenty-five years ago. After being raised and educated in South Asia, Shanthi left her homeland to join a German company, providing organizational guidance to garment producers around the world. During her twelve years in Europe, Shanthi also pursued additional training at technical schools in Austria and Germany.

Eventually, Shanthi left Germany for the United States, where she entered the financial services arena. Shanthi has achieved a great deal of success in this industry, including recognition in the insurance industry’s Million Dollar Round Table. As an Agency Sales Director for North Shore Financial Group, an Office of MetLife, she recruits and develops financial services representatives.

In addition to her professional activities, Shanthi also participates in charitable endeavors around the world, including acting as a volunteer during the aftermath of the Tsunami.

An avid runner, Shanthi was also the first Sri-Lankan woman to run NYC marathon in 1995, and has completed seven full marathons to date.

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