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Nominees 2017-08-16T19:04:14+00:00

Sherry Higgs

Sherry’s desire to be an agent of change has set her on a mission to assist cancer patients. This passion has led to the creation of a newly formed 501 (c)(3) nonprofit charitable public organization, Drivers for Survivors. This foundation offers transportation services and companionship during treatments to oncology patients undergoing treatment in the Tri-city area of Newark, Fremont, and Union City. Most recently, in May 2014, ABC7 news covered Drivers for Survivors, on an evening segment in the bay area.

“I can’t change the world, but I can change my world one person at a time”. ~Sherry Higgs

Achievements

Sherry’s community educator work is most impactful when sharing her personal story which she does throughout the community. In November 2014, she received a letter from President Barack Obama on her work and, in March of this year, an article in Professional Woman’s Magazine Spring 2015 was published!

Sherry was awarded into 2013 Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame as an Honoree for her achievements in Health and in 2014 named Hometown Hero in her community.

Business & Contribution

In February 2010, at the age of 43, Sherry Higgs was diagnosed with a rare, and potentially life-threatening breast cancer called IBC or Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

Prior to her diagnosis, Sherry worked for 15 years at a Fortune 500 company. Sherry has been featured on the cover of San Francisco Chronicle along with stories on both front page and local section of various newspaper publications. Sherry has also appeared on ABC, KPIX CBS 5, and on NBC’s Bay Area Proud. She/DFS was featured on Cable networks Comcast Newsmakers and has been heard various radio such as Desi and on KDOW business radio American Dreams segment interview titled, “Success is Saving Lives”.

Acharya Shunya Pratichi Mathur

Acharya Shunya Pratichi Mathur is a traditional scholar, healer, and a teacher of Ayurveda and Vedic sciences.

Achievements

Acharya Shunya is considered a pioneer in reviving Gurukulam or traditional-style education in Ayurveda and has been bestowed for her initiatives, the International Ayurveda Award in Education by the prestigious Institute of Indian Medicine and the Nalanda Award for Excellence in Ayurvedic Education by Association of Ayurvedic Professionals North America. Acharya Shunya also serves on the Council of Advisors of myriad organizations and her work has been featured in San Francisco Chronicle, Yoga Journal, and other publications. She teaches around the year and conducts lectures worldwide.

Business & Contribution

She is Founder of Vedika Global Inc., a California-based non-profit Vedic foundation that supports a full-fledged Gurukulam – an awarded, international School of Ayurveda and Vedic Studies in Emeryville, CA. She is the President of California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine (CAAM) where she leads statewide legislation for Ayurveda and sponsors state and national level Ayurveda and Yoga conferences. She has also founded the World Seva Foundation that delivers charitable wellness to underprivileged communities worldwide, including India.

Vaidya Yashashree Mannur

Trained in India under the guidance of renowned Vaidyas, Vd. Kolhatkar and Vd. Gadgil, she has over 17 years of experience in Ayurvedic consultations, Panchkarma, and different Ayurvedic therapies. Having special interest in cooking, she is an excellent chef and offers Ayurvedic cooking classes.

Achievements

By creating the school at Shubham, she is set out to spread the great wisdom of Ayurveda in the community by raising up a cadre of passionate students into efficient Ayurveda practitioners, trained in the Classical texts of Ayurveda.

Business & Contribution

Vaidya (Term used for Ayurvedic practitioner) Yashashree Mannur (BAMS/bachelor of Ayurvedic medicine and surgery, BA – Sanskrit) is the Director of Shubham Ayurveda, a classical Ayurveda Classroom and a full-fledged Ayurveda Clinic.

Anshu Johri

A Hardware Engineer by profession, she volunteers her time teaching Hindi and acting to kids, and indulges in painting whenever possible.

Achievements

She is a very good Writer. Her published works include “Khule Prishtha” (collection of poems, 1990), “Shesh Phir” (Collection of short stories, 2004), “Boond ka Dwandwa” (A collection of poems, 2014), and “Vikalp” (a short story collection to be available in June 2015). Her poems and short stories have appeared in prestigious magazines such as “Kadambini”, Vaagarth”, “Vartmaan Saahitya”, “Hindi Jagat”, “Vishwa”, and would appear in “Calliope”, among various others.​

Business & Contribution

Anshu Johri authors poems, short stories, and plays in Hindi and English. She is also a theater artist and has directed and acted in several plays. She started “Udgam”, one of the first online Hindi literary magazines of the world in 1998 and was its editor till 2004. She aired a radio program in Hindi called “Uphaar” at 96.1 FM from San Jose in 2004-2005.

Nilu Gupta

Born in India, she completed her studies from University of Delhi. Later she moved to the USA. Here she started working as an Artist with De Anza College.

Achievements

  •  Hindi language teaching instructor, India Community Center ( ICC), CA.
  •  Sanskrit language teaching instructor
  •  Published several books on – Learning Hindi Language
  •  Editorial contributor to leading Hindi journals
  •  Extensively traveled all around the world (Europe, America, Japan, and other parts of Asia).

Business & Contribution

Active participant and volunteer in several of Bay Area local and not-for-profit organizations. Leading member of the following Bay Area Hindi organizations

  •  India Community Center
  •  Senior Center
  •  Bay Area Hindi Samiti
  •  World Hindi Foundation, Inc.

Protima Pandey

Pandey has been representing indigent clients. In fact, she participated in one of India’s first legal services clinics, which was located in a small village much like the one her father came from. “There was no plumbing or electricity,” she recalls.

Achievements

Pandey’s relationship with the man who would become her husband brought her to the United States. She holds a license to practice law in India and California and spent her early years working in the field of Intellectual Property. Protima holds a B.A.LL.B (Honors) from National Law School, Bangalore, India and an LL.M. in U.S. Laws from Washington University School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri.

Business & Contribution

As a staff attorney at Bay Area Legal Aid, the largest provider of free legal services to low income residents, she represents clients in family law, immigration, housing protection and public benefit cases. She is trained faculty for American Bar Association Commission on Sexual and Domestic Violence. She has trained in-house counsel and law firms on pro-bono representation, has guest lectured at UC Berkeley Law and Golden Gate Law and served as a panelist at Statewide and regional conferences for lawyers and community advocates.

Ram Verma

Ram Verma specializes in Visitor Insurance, Immigrant Insurance, Business Travel Insurance, Travel Medical Insurance, Student Insurance, and Health Insurance.

Achievements

MCIS or Multichoice Insurance Services is not owned by any Insurance company. Their web-based service provides free quotes to individuals, families, groups, business professionals, and a lot more. They are responsible in helping consumers to make an informed decision.

Business & Contribution

The outstanding customer services provided by this company makes them different from the competitors because they are always ready to help their clients in locating doctor(s)/hospital(s) in area, claim processing, billing questions, advise, ID-card, correction, etc.

Ebon Fapunda

Ebon Fapunda renders help to those within their own financial scenario. For those who are here to explore a limitless business opportunity, your success is within reach at Financial Education Services.

Achievements

At Financial Education Services, they stand behind their services with integrity. The same questions are constantly on their mind: Are our customers happy? How can we improve? What else can we offer to help those wanting to create security over their financial futures?

Business & Contribution

Over the past 10 years, Financial Education Services has created countless financial programs aiming to satisfy the need for financial security. They’ve covered the spectrum to create pieces for each part of the financial puzzle. From maximizing your credit potential, protecting your identity, securing your assets, to preparing for a stable financial future.

Archana Panda

Archana Panda is a renowned poet, anchor, writer, singer, and dancer in the Indo-American community. Archana accompanied Dr. Kumar Vishwas, the famous poet and youth icon of India, in a 7-city poetry-tour across US and Canada in 2013. She had the honor to recite her poetry and share the stage with poetry legends like Dr. Kunwar Bechain ji, Gopal Das Neeraj ji, and Munawwar Rana ji.

Achievements

Archana has mesmerized poetry lovers across the globe, with her simple yet powerful expressions. In the U.S/Canada, Archana has rocked in places like San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, New Jersey, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Toronto, Vancouver, numerous cities in the bay area, and many more.

Business & Contribution

Archana’s first poetry book “Srijani” was launched at the Vishwa Hindi Sammelan, New York on March 2007. Her poems have been published in the book “Pravasini ke Bol” compiled by Dr. Anjana Sandhir. Archana was one of the five poets selected across USA whose poems were compiled in the poetry book “Dhoop Gandh Chandni”, which was launched in Princeton University on March 15, 2009.

Shrimathi Padmavathi Desai

Shrimathi Padmavathi Desai has extensive experience in criminal and civil law. She has 20 years of experience in Indian Law practice. She have conducted number of civil as well as criminal cases such as Accident cases, Excise cases, Gambling cases, Theft cases, and Maintenance cases. She has achieved tremendous fame, respect, and honor in Maintenance cases. She has obtained acquittal orders in trail court and confirmed in the high court.

Achievements

She has helped married deserted women, their children, and old age women against their sons through maintenance cases. And also obtained highest maintenance amounts against their sons and husbands.

She worked as a legal Adviser in government office by the name and child development project office with special protection of women from Domestic Violence Act. She has conducted so many cases in this Act.

Business & Contribution

She has helped many farmers through civil litigation case.

One example can be given through a case from Almel village in Sindagi Taluka of Bijapur District in Karnataka State. She won the case by obtaining order and said the judgment was confirmed by the Appellate court. Thus, she has given natural justice to her clients and helped the farmers.

Shahdokth Mudakavi

Shy (Miss Shy to all our kids and teachers) has been involved in the education sector since her college days in Mumbai. After moving to California in 1999, she maintained relentless focus in educating of children – as a math tutor, swimming instructor, dance instructor, and fashion show coordinator. She later founded Safari Kid for pre-school and after-school students in a modest location in Newark with 5 children.

Achievements

Since then, through sheer energy, will power, and leadership she grew this to 15 locations, maintaining the highest standards for the program. Through all this growth, Ms. Shy has been like a best friend to all her teachers/directors and her kids. Ms. Shy is also active in local community service through her non-profit organization. Shy has a Bachelor of Commerce as well as an LLB (Bachelor of Law) from India.

Business & Contribution

She later founded Safari Kid for pre-school and after-school students in a modest location in Newark.

Pallavi Shah

Born in India, Pallavi migrated to USA in 1997. She received her BFA and MFA from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda, India and her Ph.D. in Art History from India’s National Museum Institute of History of Art and Conservation. She is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and writer, with research interest in Asian American women’s cultural production, feminist pedagogy, and activism.

Achievements

She has exhibited her work nationally and internationally at various Museums and galleries including the Queens Museum, Los Gatos Museum of Art, Aicon Gallery, NY, Bishop Museum, HI, and Women Made Gallery, IL, College of Integral Studies, CA, and SOMArts CA. At present, she is a Board member of Asian American Women Artist Association (AAWAA).

Business & Contribution

She is the founder and President of ‘Inner Eye Art’ non-profit Art Organization which is dedicated to the multidisciplinary artists of South Asian Diaspora in SF bay area and Director of Art Core, Art Consulting firm based in San Ramon, CA.

Meetra

Meetra oversees the skin and body care division of the Samitra salon. As a Master skin care therapist she is passionate about helping clients feel beautiful on the inside, and look beautiful on the outside. She has remained on the cutting edge of epidermal technology throughout her career. Meetra is equally adept at solving the most persistent skin problems, or simply enhancing your current look.

Business – Samitra Salon

After 12 wonderful years of delivering superb service to distinguished South Bay clientele, the creators of Le Visage Salon proudly present Samitra; a new concept in personal beauty care. From the Le Visage cocoon comes a boutique sister location conveniently located in the heart of The City. However, they work on a referral only and by appointment basis.

She is a postgraduate Microbiologist from Mumbai and moved to the U.S. in 1998 December. Her primary profession is HR and recruitment in engineering.

Achievements

Started working as a Radio Jockey in December 2009, and has one of the longest careers as a Radio Jockey. Currently, she is working on bringing Gujarati Community together through shows like drama and seniors citizen events.

Business & Contribution

  • Radio Jockey
  • Stage Shows
  • Senior Citizen events

Priti Patel

Life in Play Co-Founder Priti Patel’s business and creativity have always gone hand-in-hand. After earning a degree in Psychology from San Diego State University she worked as a director of an Alzheimer’s and Dementia facility.

Achievements

Simultaneously, she successfully launched her own women’s ready-to-wear line called Lavender. With a laser-like focus and a dream to create beautiful clothing that American born Indian women could transition cross culturally between their closets, Patel’s designs and branding savvy were a hit in the market.

Business & Contribution

To keep herself busy, Patel began sewing cotton birthday goody bags to use at a dear friend’s child’s birthday party. Unlike the cheap, plastic versions on the market, her eco-friendly designs could be reused.

Raji Singh

Raji Singh opened her first driving school in 1991. She was the first Indian woman from the Bay area to opt for this profession. She was a single mother and would put her young son on the back seat and would teach others to drive. Her struggle continued for many years.

Achievements

Now she has her name which brings smiles to many faces as she has contributed very uniquely in their life by providing them the pleasure of being behind the wheels on the driver’s seat for the first time in United States of America.

Business & Contribution

She was the first Indian woman belonging to Bay area to opt for this male-dominated profession. She has a busy driving school and traffic school.

Sameera

Master stylist Sameera treats her clientele to a full arsenal of catchy colors, glamorous cuts, and elegant styles. Since graduating from San Jose State with a degree in marketing, she’s been professionally trained in cosmetology at San Francisco Institute, Bumble & Bumble University, and Toni & Guy Academy.