Opening Distinguished Keynote Presentation
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
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.
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.
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
Congress 2006 Distinguished Luncheon Presentation
Chief Financial Officer
Indra Nooyi is
President, Chief Financial Officer and a member of the
Board of Directors of PepsiCo, a position she assumed in
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
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.
Congress 2006 Distinguished Luncheon Presentation
President, Innovation and Insights
Pepsi-Cola North America
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
Trained at the
Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama
in London, Shazia works full time as a
writer, actor and stand up comedian.
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.
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
“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”
THE GUARDIAN GUIDE, William Cook
“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
ELLE MAGAZINE, Natalie Meddings
has won rave reviews for her frank and honest stand up
comedy routines about being a young Muslim woman in
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, Richard Warburton
Founder & Chairman, Maia Management
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
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
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.
Sipi Bhandari, Esq.,
VP Senior Counsel, Mergers & Acquisitions, Viacom Inc.
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.
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
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.
Vice President, Media, Communications & Technology Investment
Banking Group, BMO Financial Group
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
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.
Founding Partner, Poppe and Bhouraskar LLP
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
Consul General of India, New York
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.
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
Deo holds a master’s degree in economics from the Delhi School of
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.
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
Ms. Dhawan presently teaches screenwriting as an Assistant
Professor at Columbia University’s MFA program.
Founder and Executive
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
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.
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.
Vanita Gupta, Esq.,
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
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.
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
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.
Equities Department, Investment Banking Division Credit Suisse
Sheila Hooda is a
Managing Director in the Equities Department in the Investment
Banking Division of Credit Suisse. Based in New York, Sheila
is responsible for Client Relationship Management in the U.S.,
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. She has global work
experience with financial institutions from the U.S., 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,
Sheila is also actively involved with programs to empower
women through Education and Micro Credit, particularly in
developing countries. She is a Steering Committee Member of
The International Alliance for Women and led the opening of
two Micro Credit Banks in Southern India. Most recently, she
has been involved with the United Nations Millennium
Development Goals in the area of Micro Credit
In the field of education, Sheila is the co-chair of the
Tri-State Chapter of Pratham, which focuses on grass roots
education in the impoverished areas and remote villages in
India. Currently over three million children have been
assisted through this program with the goal to eradicate
illiteracy by 2010. Sheila is also the lead fundraiser for
Prerana, an education initiative that provides tuition to
deserving underprivileged children in India.
Sheila is married, lives in Westchester County and has twin
eight-year old daughters.
Senior Editor, Penguin
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,
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.
Founder, Lakshmi Films
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.
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
The Trouble with Islam Today: A Wake-Up Call for Honesty and
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Former Senior Producer,
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
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
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
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.
Director, Consumer Marketing,
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
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,
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
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
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.
avid runner, Shanthi was also the first Sri-Lankan woman to run
NYC marathon in 1995, and has completed seven full marathons to