INDIA New England News, one of the largest online and video magazines serving the Indian American community in the United States, today released the list of 10 Outstanding Women of 2023, who will be honored at the 20th Annual Woman of the Year Awards gala on April 14, 2023 at Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA.
“Woman of the Year awards gala is always a grand affair, but this year is a very special one as we celebrate the landmark 20th anniversary of the Woman of the Year,” said Upendra Mishra, founder and producer of the Woman of the Year Awards and publisher of INDIA News England News, and its sister publications IndUS Business Journal, Life Sciences Times, and the Boston Real Estate Times. “We’re excited to welcome this year’s winners and all the guests in-person, and honor New England’s brightest stars on April 14.”
In addition to honoring 10 Outstanding Women of this year in various categories, Indian classical dance icon Neena Gulati, founder of the Brookline, MA-based Triveni School of Dance who has taught and performed dances during the last 51 years in the United States, will be bestowed with 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award.
“It is truly an honor for me to direct and host the 20th anniversary of the Woman of the Year awards gala,” said WOY Director and Hostess Dr. Manju Sheth, MD. “Winning the Woman of the Year Award myself in 2011 and then directing this for the 10 years have been a huge privilege for me. It has given me an opportunity to work with a great team and superb artists and also meet very talented awardees . Looking forward to welcome everyone and celebrating 20 years of this fantastic Awards that empower women.”
The event is attended by about 400 business and community leaders, philanthropists, and professionals.
Here is a list of this year’s 10 Outstanding Women:
Sumeit Aggarwal, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Finhive LLC
Sumeit is on a mission to empower women to take control of their financial futures. After a successful career working with global companies, Sumeit bid adieu to her corporate career and founded Finhive in 2017. Her company is a social enterprise dedicated to working with women-owned startups in financial planning, strategy, and management of financial risks. She also teaches personal finance to young adults and women. She is deeply passionate about embedding personal values into finance, and frequently presents on related topics including sustainable investing, financial health, and narrowing the gender wealth gap. To give back to her alma maters, Sumeit mentors students at Babson College and Northeastern University. She is now an active angel investor in women owned companies providing them capital at early stages of their startups.
Prior to starting Finhive, Sumeit was a senior executive at leading software and healthcare companies working on consulting, corporate and sales strategy, and business analysis, including Oracle Corporation and Hologic Inc. She is a board member of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce, and advisory board member of American India Foundation New England Chapter where she co-chaired the 2022 gala that raised over $1 million in funds for underprivileged communities in India. Sumeit earned her MBA from Babson College. She holds a Master’s degree in Information Systems from Northeastern University and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Delhi University.
Meena Bharath, Chair, Massachusetts Asian American and Pacific Islanders Commission
Meena was named among Boston’s most influential Asian American Pacific Islanders of 2023. She was appointed to the Massachusetts Asian American and Pacific Islanders Commission by Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka. Education and impact of sound education in the lives of young people and society is of deep interest to her. She has served on local, regional and state level educational bodies. She is a strong advocate for personalized education plans for all learners, celebrating strengths, building supports, and varied paths to learning.
Meena has served in many volunteer capacities including as Chair, DESE’s Gifted & Talented Education Advisory Council; Chair, Hopkinton Public School Committee; Member, Education Committee, Christa McAuliffe Charter School; Member, The Education Cooperative (TEC). Through all these roles, she has had an opportunity to learn, collaborate with many wonderful people, and influenced hearts, minds and policies for better outcomes. She takes great pride in her contribution in the formation of AAPI Commission’s first Youth Council, which elevates youth voices and promotes civic engagement. Meena currently works in the financial industry as a Program Manager.
Dr. Ami Bhatt, MD, FACC, Chief Innovation Offic, American College of Cardiology
Ami is the chief innovation officer (CIO) at the American College of Cardiology and an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School, and she has championed heart health awareness within the South Asian community. A graduate from Harvard College and the Yale School of Medicine, Ami completed her medicine and pediatrics residency and cardiovascular fellowships at Harvard, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Children’s Hospital of Boston. She was the inaugural Richard Liberthson Endowed Scholar in Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Director of their ACHD program. She also served as the director of Outpatient and Telecardiology at the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan-Minehan Heart Center. She now leads the MGH Elevate Leadership Program aimed at transforming leaders for tomorrow’s healthcare challenges.
She is also the President of the Greater Boston American Heart Association through which she founded and led the “From the Heart: Conversations in South Asian Heart Health,” a global webinar series for culturally relevant patient education. She was the chair for Go Red for Women in 2020 to bring a spotlight to women’s heart health. Dr. Bhatt has 20 years of experience as a clinician, investigator, and educator with a strong focus on telemedicine and digital health. She founded her first program in cardiovascular virtual care in 2013 and continues to work on creating culturally relevant, personalized virtual cardiovascular care delivery models. She was recently named to Boston Magazine’s Top Doctors list for 2023, HealthTech Magazine’s 30 Healthcare Influencers to follow in 2022 and she also serves on the Forbes Technology Council.
Manorama Choudhury, Poetess, Artist
Manorama Choudhury is a poetess and avid artist. Originally from Berhampur, she has delved into her creative intellectual pursuits through the art of poetry (in Odia/Hindi/English), songwriting, painting, fashion designing, and other visual art mediums.
Manorama had recited poetry on many platforms including Sapne (South Asian Poets of New England), Nabagunjara, Odia literature in North America, Ame Odia Ame Odisha. She often writes non-fiction articles for various E-magazines. She spends a lot of her time on philanthropy work with charities that focus on education and health and wellness programs in rural India.
Parul Doshi, Chief Data Officer, Cellarity
Parul is a well-respected corporate leader. She was named Chief Data Officer for Cellarity after joining just twelve months ago and applies her vast pharma expertise in data, software engineering, and IT. Cellarity is a therapeutics company that develops medicines by studying and altering the cellular signatures of disease. Previously, Parul was Head of Digital and Technology at Takeda, a Top 10 Pharma. She led programs supporting various, highly visible, product launches such as Dengue vaccine, Moderna vaccine distribution in Japan, production of Novavax Covid 19 vaccine in Japan, NINLARO a multiple myeloma drug, and ALUNBRIG for ALK+ Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). Parul also led IT Integration during the $5B ARIAD’s acquisition. She led DEI employee resource groups for parents and caregivers at Takeda. Takeda awarded Parul the Takeda Global Award in 2009 and the CIO Award in 2016 and 2017 for her collaborative leadership.
In addition to her corporate leadership, Parul is involved in various community initiatives. She taught computer literacy at the Waltham Library. She volunteers for the Indian Family Network (IFNet) summer camps for Indian-American kids. She continuously coaches and mentors other colleagues to advance their careers. Parul has a BS in Chemistry, Economics, and Applied Statistics, and an MBA in Finance and IT.
Veena Handa, Vice Chair, Vision-Aid
Since retiring, Veena has been volunteering her time and efforts to many causes she is passionate about and that are close to her heart. Her exemplary volunteer work spans across a broad set of social causes including as Vice Chair of Vision-Aid, Member of AIF’s Circle of Hope, Shine Counselor and a Money Manager volunteer for Minuteman Senior Services to advice seniors with their Medicare and Money Management needs.
As a volunteer at Lexington Community Center, she works on multiple projects and has delivered Budget Planning and Retirement Planning talks for Youth and Seniors. Her response to the Covid pandemic was to engage with “Sew We Care” Team which provided over 20,000 masks and scrub caps to Hospitals, Health Centers and Senior Centers and Veena personally made over 1,000 masks and scrub caps as part of this team. However, her efforts at Vision-Aid to educate and empower over 20,000 Visually Impaired with terminal conditions each year, acquire skills needed to lead an independent life are why she is most worthy of this nomination.
Sunita Kanchinadam, Global Head of Securities Lending, Financing & Collateral Transformation Technology, State Street Bank& Chair: TiECON East 2023
In addition to serving as Global Head of Securities Lending, Financing & Collateral Transformation Technology at Boston-based State Street Bank, Sunita is chair of TiECON 2023, the largest entrepreneurial conference in New England. The theme of this year’s conference is “The Rise of the Intentional Entrepreneur”, focused on the persona of the modern entrepreneur. The objective of the conference is to not only bring rich content and networking opportunities, but also to expand attendees’ networks, tapping into the rich talent emerging from New England academia.
At State Street Bank, Sunita manages the technology organization supporting Global Markets business. She worked in Goldman Sachs prior to it and has had overall 25+ years experience inclusive of financial domain experience in Barclays, Lehman Brothers and in the telecom sectors at Alcatel-Lucent. Sunita holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from Northeastern University as well as a Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science.
Jharna Madan, Director, Hindi Manch, Senior Project Manager/ Designer, Officeworks Inc.
Jharna is a well-known community leader who champions and fervently supports a number of social concerns in New England. She works tirelessly to assist the community, going above and beyond with her commitment and hard work. She is praised for coming up with original, inventive ideas that give all of her undertakings style and grace. Jharna is Director and a member of the Steering Committee of the Hindi Manch, one of the largest Hindi organizations in the US. In addition, she is a local freelance reporter of TV Asia and has been co-emcee for the Woman of the Year gala for many years. Professionally, she is Senior Project Manager/ Designer at Officeworks Inc.
During the past ten years, under Jharna’s devoted leadership, Hindi Manch has impacted over 10,000 established non-resident Indian families, hosted over 80 cultural events with over 2,500 performers, worked to educate the next generation, and given over 500 kids a platform. Jharna played a significant role in making the inaugural USA National Hindi Conference, which brought together over 1,500 families from around the US, possible in Boston in 2018. During the pandemic, under her leadership, the first nearly global Hindi festivals were conducted, uniting over 217,000 people from 18 different nations and offering much-needed emotional support. Jharna has worked with and promoted groups such as Ekal Vidyalaya, Care For Janitors, Sew We Care, TV Asia, and India New England in addition to Hindi Manch.
Sahana Purohit, Board of Directors, Discovery Museum, Commissioner, Acton Housing Authority
Sahana is a member of the Board of Directors of Discovery Museum and Commissioner of Action Housing Authority. She believes that local politics is much more important than national politics. And she lives and breathes that in her daily life. Sahana is an active member of the Acton community, having served in leadership and volunteer positions for many town committees and projects. She most recently served as a member of the Acton Finance Committee. Sahana also served on the Acton 2020 Comprehensive Community Planning Committee and on the Town Manager Search Committee in 2018. She has been a key player in several successful, major outreach projects, securing $17M dollars from the state for the Kelley’s Corner Infrastructure Project and $11M from the town for the North Acton Fire Station project.
Sahana was on the Steering Committee for The League of Women Voters in Acton for 12 years and served as both the League Co-Chair and Education Committee Chair. She has also successfully organized the League’s famous Civics Bee for nine years, a community building activity involving both students and community leaders. In 2020, Sahana was awarded the Commonwealth Heroine Award by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women.
Gitanjali Swamy, Public Policy, Serial Entrepreneur-Investor, Innovator, Thinker, Managing Partner, IoTask
Gitanjali Swamy (Gita) is Senior Legislative & Policy Advisor to the office of Senator Mark at the Massachusetts State Senate. She was previously Senior Legislative and Policy Advisor with the office of Senator Hinds, where she also served as Chief Legal Advisor. Dr. Swamy supports Legislative Policy or Regulation and her special areas of interest are economic development and investment policy
Dr. Swamy (Ph. D) is also a Managing Partner at IoTask, an innovation consulting firm and she has founded, built, served as board director in innovation enterprises, led the investment sourcing, structuring, and transaction of seed to over a billion USD deals, in her investment or professional roles at IoTask, The Carlyle Group and Booz Allen & Hamilton. She is a representative to the EQUALS Global Partnership (a Joint Venture of the ITU, GSMA, UNU, UN Women), Board and Steering Committee member of the MIT Consortium Initiative for DI in Land, Water, Air, in collaboration with The World Bank, Research Fellow & Director at the Private Capital Research Institute, Harvard Business School. She has co-founded 5 successfully acquired startups and the helped found of MIT’s OpenCourseware, the Auto-ID Consortium and the MIT Engine investment vehicle. Dr. Swamy has collaborated on ESG projects with MIT Corporation, United Nations agencies, Fabindia Overseas Pvt Ltd, and several Government P3 ESG efforts. She has also served as faculty at Harvard and Columbia University, where she taught classes in finance and policy. She currently serves on the Board of DFCU, a top 20 credit union bank in Massachusetts that has consistently been voted Best Credit Union” by Banker & Tradesman, and the PAN-IIT Global USA Board.
Dr. Swamy received her B. Tech in Electrical Engineering from the IIT Kanpur, where she was awarded several Academic Proficiency Prizes, her Ph.D. in EECS from the University of
California at Berkeley, where she was an NSF Fellow & President of WICSE, and her MBA from Harvard Business School, where she served as CFO of HBS-SA, and her Juris Doctor (JD) from St. Francis Law, and she a member of the California Bar. Dr. Swamy has over 25 publications and patents in the fields of data, algorithms, technology, and policy. She was recently voted in Ten Most Influential Women in Technology.