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USPAACC-SE hosts first annual Diversity in Action awards gala

Awardees Narendra and Sonal Patel of Madras Chettinaad/Madras Mantra with Shiv Aggarwal.

NRI Pulse Staff
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Atlanta, GA, November 8, 2017: The US Pan Asian-American Chamber of Commerce- Southeast Chapter (USPAACC) hosted the first annual Diversity in Action (DiA) Awards gala on October 12, 2017 at Flourish Atlanta in Buckhead. The glittering event was well attended by corporate executives, government officials and Asian-American business Leaders. Awards were presented for corporate excellence and Asian American business success. Youth scholarships were also presented during the evening.

USPAACC Southeast Chapter President Ravi Chander said the awards were a tribute to individuals and organizations that exemplify the chamber’s theme, “Lighting pathways to success”.

“Our Chamber takes great pride in our cultural unity, historic interconnections, racial kinship and appreciation of unity in terms of our values and spiritual character,” he said. “The awards are presented to those who foster similar ideals and manifest them in their decisions and daily activities.”

L to R: Neera Bahl, Ravi Chander and Estrella Cramer.

“THE USPAACC-SE is synonymous with business excellence,” said chairperson, Estrella Cramer. “There are three keys to success for us- supporting incredibly talented people through scholarships, reinforcing businesses to be inclusive of Asian-American vendors and professionals, and have a laser focus on service to others.”

Honorees included several members of the Indian American community. Narendra Patel of the popular Madras Chettinaad/Madras Mantra restaurants, Ritesh Desai of, Sandeep Gauba of Metasys Technologies, Varun Jhanjee of Stellar Consulting Solutions, Ravindra Bhave of Concept Software & Services, Sidd Ahmed of VDart and Mariya Anthony Irudhayanathan of Zillion Technologies were among the Top 10 Asian American Businesses awardees.

Mammen G. Verghis, VP, Multicultural Consumer Marketing, Prudential Financial took home the Pioneer Award.

Dr Jagdesh Sheth with his award.

Dr Jagdish Sheth, Professor of Marketing, Emory University’s Goizueta Business School and Dr Jamin Brahmbhatt were among the five Outstanding Asian Americans awardees.

Sravanthi, a young student on an F1 visa and a thyroid cancer survivor, was among the scholarship awardees. Her poignant letter, read out by Dr Seshu Sarma, said the doctors at Northside Hospital in Forsyth had treated Sravanthi at no charge and the hospital had written off her entire hospital bill. Sravanthi’s scholarship was sponsored and presented by Shakuntla Ahuja, who also expressed her heartfelt thanks to her own doctors at Kennestone Hospital who had saved her life.

L to R: Dr Seshu Sarma, Shakuntla Ahuja and her daughter Neera Bahl.

Here is the complete list of honorees: The three Most Outstanding Corporate Awards to Ingersoll Rand (Corporate Investment Award), Accenture (Corporate Mentorship Award), and UPS (Corporate Supplier Diversity of the Year).

The three Outstanding Corporate Individuals Awards to John Healy of SunTrust Bank (Chief Procurement Officer of the Year), Estrella Cramer of UPS (Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year), as well as Memen Varghis of Prudential and Terrez Thompson of The Coca-Cola Company (both receiving The Pioneer Award).

The President’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Gary Kallenbach of UPS and the Regional Advisory Council’s Awards for Enduring Commitment to Diversity to Barbette Hill of Georgia Power and to William Haley of AFLAC.

Richard K. Lee, an accomplished international business executive and community leader received a Special Acknowledgement.

L to R: Awardees Dr Jamin Brahmbhatt, Ritesh and Sheetal Desai with friends.

The Top 10 Asian American awardees were Ampcus Inc, Concept Software & Services, Eshco International, GRI Group, Metasys, Madras Chettinaad, Softpath System, Stellar Consulting, VDart and Zillion Technologies.

The evening’s entertainment program included Indian dances, Korean drummers, Chinese fan dancing and more. Neera Bahl, chair of Regional Advisory Council, sang a mellifluous Ganesh vandana and played the harmonium during the lamp lighting ceremony.

Sophia Choi of Channel 2 Action News was a competent mistress of ceremonies.

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