Indiaspora Leadership Forum 2018

September 7 - 9 Dolce Hayes Mansion

This year’s Leadership Forum brought together Indian diaspora leaders from various backgrounds and professions, including business, finance, technology, law, healthcare, public policy and the arts, to participate in intellectually stimulating discussions on a variety of topics and issues that impact our communities. To see a list of our Board and members, please visit here.

Indiaspora Leadership Forum 2018

Thinkers, Doers, Givers


Friday, September 7

12:30 pm                           Registration and Lunch

2:00 pm – 3:45 pm         Roundtables Session 1

Women Changemakers
Chair: Shaloo Garg, Oracle Global Innovation and Startup Ecosystem | UN Women | Gates Foundation

Millennial Impact
Chair: Sheel Tyle, Amplo | Andela | World Economic Forum Global Shaper

3:45 pm                           Coffee Break

4:15 pm – 6 pm              Roundtables Session 2

Philanthropy Roundtable: Developing an Action Agenda Based on Recent Surveys of Diaspora Giving
Chair: Alex Counts, Indiaspora | University of Maryland | Fulbright Scholar Ambassador

Politics Roundtable: Indian Americans are Running for Public Office–What’s Next?
Chair: Shekar Narasimhan, AAPI Victory Fund | Beekman Advisors | Economic Advisory Council, Center for American Progress

6:30 pm                            Welcome Cocktail Reception

Musical performances by EnActe Arts

8 pm                                  Dinner Program


Vinny Gupta, CEO, InNow

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Co-chair, Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans

Vishal Sikka, tech visionary

Vikram Sathaye, comedian

Saturday, September 8

7 am                                Yoga

8 am                                Breakfast

9 am                                Morning Plenary Session: What’s Next for the Indian Diaspora?

Opening Remarks, MR Rangaswami, Founder, Indiaspora

Panel discussion with Indiaspora’s Board of Directors

  • Sejal Hathi, Harvard Medical School / Massachusetts General Hospital and award-winning social entrepreneur
  • Priya Natarajan, Departments of Astronomy & Physics, Franke Program in Science and the Humanities, Yale University
  • Rajan Navani, JetSynthesys
  • Sree Sreenivasan, Digimentors (moderator)

Panel discussion with Indiaspora’s Founders Circle: Thoughts on the Future Direction of Indiaspora

  • Sumir Chadha, WestBridge Capital Partners
  • Bharat Desai, Syntel
  • Asha Jadeja, Angel Investor & Philanthropist
  • Anand Rajaraman,
  • Sunil Wadhwani, WISH Foundation
  • Emilie Ninan, Ballard Spahr (moderator)

Keynote: Seema Nanda, CEO, Democratic National Committee

Keynote: Preetha Reddy, Vice chairperson, Apollo Hospitals

10:30 am   Coffee Break

11 am           Breakout sessions

Meet the Candidates
Get introduced to the candidates running on the national, state and local stage.

  • Sri Kulkarni, candidate for US Congress, Texas 22nd
  • Aftab Pureval, candidate for US Congress, Ohio 1st
  • Hiral Tipirneni, candidate for US Congress, Arizona 8th
  • Niraj Antani, Ohio State Representative
  • Jay Chaudhuri, North Carolina State Senator
  • Ash Kalra, Assemblymember, California
  • Susheela Jayapal, Multnomah County Commissioner-elect
  • Rishi Kumar, Saratoga Councilmember
  • Savita Vaidhyanathan, Cupertino City Council member
  • Brigadier General Balan Ayyar, (Chair)

Does the Cloud Generation Need Classrooms?
Explore new ways of learning, including online learning, MOOCs, and different business and tech models for the next generation of students.

  • Jamshed Bharucha, Vice Chancellor, SRM University
  • Sudhir K. Jain, Director, Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar
  • Pradeep Khosla, Chancellor, UC San Diego 
  • Sethuraman (Panch) Panchanathan, Executive Vice President, ASU Knowledge Enterprise
  • Sunder Ramaswamy, Vice Chancellor, Krea University
  • Ravi Sreedharan, Founder, Indian School of Development Management (ISDM)
  • Priya Natarajan, Professor, Departments of Astronomy & Physics, Director Franke Program in Science and the Humanities, Yale University (Chair) 
Art as Soft Power: A New Approach to Exerting Influence
Join collectors and experts from the world of art, global studies, investment, and law in a fun discussion on the opportunities and pitfalls of using art to reclaim cultural identity, exert influence, and advance business goals.
  • Qamar Adamjee, Malavalli Family Foundation associate curator of art of the Indian subcontinent, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
  • Debottam Bose, senior legal consultant with the Oxford India Center on Sustainable Development
  • Asha Jadeja, technology investor, philanthropist, and art collector
  • John Zarobell, Department Chair, International Studies, University of San Francisco
  • Dipti Mathur, tech founder and eminent art collector (Chair)

India’s Next “Green” Revolution
Discuss India’s ambitious renewable energy commitments and how India can exceed its UN Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Richie Ahuja, Senior Director, Global Climate, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Anirban Ghosh, CSO, Mahindra & Mahindra
  • Shefali Mehta, Founder of Open Rivers and Executive Director, Soil Health Partnership
  • Tarun Patel, Founder & CFO at Pracrea, Inc. dba AQQIRE
  • Sumant Sinha, Chairman and CEO, ReNew Power
  • Varun Sivaram, Philip D. Reed Fellow for Science and Technology, Council on Foreign Relations (Chair)

Story and Struggles of Entrepreneurs
Share in the heartfelt struggles of entrepreneurs who made it in America.

  • Jay Challa, CEO and founder, AceInfo Solutions
  • Vijay Goradia, Chairman, Goradia Capital
  • Jaimin Patel, Managing Principal, Sonari Capital Partners
  • Manu Shah, CEO and founder, MS International, Inc
  • Vinita Gupta, Founder, first Indian American woman to take her company public (Chair)

12:15 pm   Lunch


Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Illinois 8th district

Professor M. V. Rajeev Gowda, Indian Member of Parliament, representing Karnataka state and the Indian National Congress party in the upper house, the Rajya Sabha

1:30 pm   Coffee Break

2 pm         Afternoon Plenary Session: Philanthropy

Indiaspora-Dalberg Community Engagement Survey: Swetha Totapally, Dalberg

Romesh Wadhwani, philanthropist

V.R. Ferose, Senior Vice President at SAP

Sridar Iyengar: Experiencing India

Lata Krishnan, Co-founder, American India Foundation (AIF)

Geetha Murali, CEO, Room to Read

Indiaspora Monitor of University Giving: Gabrielle Trippe, Indiaspora Philanthropy Initiatives Manager

3:30 pm      Coffee Break

4 pm            Breakout sessions

Making Money and Doing Good
Is a focus on profits and achieving your full potential for social impact an oxymoron? Learn from some of the biggest investors in the space.

  • Mira Patel, Economic Impact, Facebook
  • Vineet Rai, Founder, Aavishkaar Intellecap Group
  • Aneesh Raman, Economic and Social Impact, Facebook
  • Murali Vullaganti, Founder CEO at PeopleShores PBC
  • Sanjay Kadaveru, Founder & President of Action For India (Chair)

Are Immigrants at the Table or on the Menu?
Discuss the legal, policy, advocacy, economic and business side of H1B visas and H-4 EADs, the controversy around family-based “chain migration,” and the rise of more than 400,000 undocumented Indians in the US.

  • Shikha Bhatnagar, Executive Director, South Asian Network
  • Manju Luthria, Senior Economist at the Social Protection Labor and Jobs Global Practice, The World Bank
  • Karthick Ramakrishnan, Professor, Center for Social Innovation, UC Riverside and founder of AAPI Data
  • Anurag Varma, Vice President, Global Government Affairs, Infosys
  • Devang Shah, Managing Partner, Shah & Kishore, an immigration law firm (Chair)

How to Enter a Corporate Boardroom
How can we increase our numbers in the top boardrooms of America? Chat with those who are serving on boards and those who are recruiting for their boards.

  • Priya Huskins, Senior VP, Woodruff Sawyer
  • Suresh Katta, Founder and CEO, Saama Technologies, Inc.
  • Dinesh Lathi, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Tailored Brands
  • S.K. Gupta, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Asian Corporate Directors (Chair)

Can We Live to 100?
Hear from our community’s health experts on what we are doing about our most pressing health issues, including heart ailments, diabetes and addiction.

  • Sachin Jain, CEO, Caremore
  • Ashish Mathur, CEO and founder, South Asian Heart Center
  • Nalini Saligram, CEO and founder, Arogya World
  • Sunny Ramchandani, Deputy CMO, Aetna (Chair)

Is this the 4th Industrial Revolution?
Discuss how tech trends are fundamentally altering the ways we live and work and causing us to reimagine a radically different future.

  • Navneet Chugh, Managing Partner and Founder, The Chugh Firm
  • Irfan Khan, President and CEO, Bristlecone
  • Salil Pitroda, Partner, Trinity Lane Capital
  • Priya Rajan, Director, Early Stage Practice, Silicon Valley Bank
  • Gary Gauba, Founder and MD, The CXO Fund (Chair)

5:30 pm              Social Activities

Art workshop with renowned impressionist painter Kartik Trivedi
Learn how to paint in the impressionist style and recreate a classic with step-by-step instruction from a world-famous painter.

Tibetan Singing Bowl: The Healing Power of Sound
Also known as Himalayan bowls, Tibetan singing bowls, Resting bowls, Standing bells, Prayer bowls, or Yoga bowls, these hollow instruments which were used for their holistic and healing powers in ancient times still have multiple health benefits. Learn how they are used today for different purposes such as meditation, relaxation, chakra healing, and reiki.

Lawn Games
Enjoy the beautiful grounds with some invigorating outdoor activities, including croquet, frisbee, and others.

Private Indiaspora members-only wine tasting
Partake in an exclusive wine tasting offered by Mark Bright, partner and wine director at Michelin three star restaurant Saison in San Francisco, curated and facilitated by Gary Gauba, serial tech entrepreneur and major investor and Chairman of Saison. Note: this event is reserved for Indiaspora Board, Founders Circle, Ambassadors and Patrons.

6:30 pm             Reception

Kashish: a musical ensemble for social change

8 pm                    Dinner program


Amb. Venkatesan Ashok, Consul General of India

Jyoti Bansal, entrepreneur, dreamer, builder

Ricky Kej, Grammy award-winning music composer

Showstoppers of Tomorrow: musical theatre presented by EnActe Arts

Sunday, September 9

7:00 am          Sunrise with Sree: Walk and Instagram
Walk the grounds with digital guru Sree Sreenivasan as he shows you how to capture the beauty around you using phone photography and Instagram. Your followers will thank you!

7:45 am          Breakfast

8:45 am         Morning Plenary Session: Taking US-India Relations to the Next Level

Keynote: Former US Ambassador to India Rich Verma, The Asia Group

US-India Relations: A Panel Discussion with the Think Tank Experts

  • Sadanand Dhume, American Enterprise Institute
  • Tanvi Madan, The Brookings Institution
  • Vikram Singh, Center for American Progress
  • Rick Rossow, Center for Strategic and International Studies (moderator)

Keynote: Ruchira Gupta, Founder and CEO, Apne Aap

Global Connect: Connecting 3 Million Indian Americans to 30 Million Diaspora

  • PK Gulati, Dubai
  • Bala Kamallakharan, Iceland
  • Kasi Rao, Canada
  • Vauhini Telikapalli, Switzerland
  • Sheel Tyle, Amplo (moderator)

10:15 am                         Coffee break

10:30 am                        Sunday Breakout Sessions

Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling
Get mentored on how to position yourself to be a CXO role with trailblazers in those roles at Fortune 500 companies.

  • Deepak Ahuja, CFO, Tesla
  • Bask Iyer, CIO, VMware
  • Vasant Prabhu, CFO, Visa
  • Yamini Rangan, CCO, Dropbox
  • Roopa Unnikrishnan, Head of Strategy, Harman (Chair)

How to Make Money Without Losing Your Shirt
Meet leaders who are investing in India and discuss some of the obstacles and opportunities in the world’s fastest growing economy.

  • Nishith Desai, Founder owner, Nishith Desai Associates
  • Naren Gupta, Co-founder, Managing Director, Nexus Venture Partners
  • Vani Kola, Managing Director, Kalaari Capital
  • Raghuveer Mendu, Co-founder and General Partner, Ventureast
  • Sumir Chadha, Co-founder, Managing Director, WestBridge Capital (Chair)

Eradicating Diseases: Go High-tech or Low-tech
Hear from the experts on the intersection of health and innovation on what’s needed to eradicate global diseases.

  • Sunil Budhrani, Chief Medical Officer / Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Innovation Health
  • Martin Edlund, CEO, Malaria No More
  • Shinjini Kundu, MIT Technology Review’s 35 innovators under 35, World Economic Forum Global Shaper
  • Gini Deshpande, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, NuMedii (Chair)

The Art of Storytelling
Whether you represent an organization or yourself, everyone has a story. Learn how to tell yours best.

  • Geeta Anand, Pulitzer-prize winning investigative journalist
  • Dhaya Lakshminarayanan, Speaker, Humorist, Storyteller
  • Reenita Malhotra Hora, VP of Content, Hibooks
  • Vijai Nathan, Comedian, Storyteller & Trainer
  • Sree Sreenivasan, Co-founder, Digimentors (Chair)

12 pm                             Lunch

1 pm                                Leadership Forum concludes

1:30 pm                         Shuttle buses depart for San Jose and San Francisco Airports

Photo Galleries of Indiaspora Leadership Forum 2018

Photos by Preston Merchant of Indiaspora Leadership Forum 2018

The link above is publicly viewable. Downloading the images requires a password, which is dolcehayes.

Special thanks to Preston Merchant for the photos above.

PRESTON MERCHANT lives in the Bay Area, California. He teaches photography as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York. He is at work on INDIAWORLD, a photography book about the Indian diaspora communities of North America, the Caribbean, Britain, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific. A selection of his images was featured in an exhibit by the Smithsonian Institute’s Indian American Heritage Project called, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation” (2014-15). See more of his work on his website at and on Instagram at @PrestonMerchantPhoto


Additional Photos of Indiaspora Leadership Forum 2018

More photos coming soon!

Swetha Totapally, Associate Partner at Dalberg, presents the Indiaspora-Dalberg Survey Results on Indian-American Giving


Sunil Wadhwani, founder-donor of WISH Foundation, discusses a new venture, Wadhwani AI, in which he has partnered with his brother Romesh Wadhwani’s foundation to use AI for social good.


VR Ferose, Senior Vice President at SAP, talks about givers and a completely different perspective on the act of giving.


Philanthropist Sridar Iyengar talks about an India Immersion Program to India for second-generation Indian Americans.


Lata Krishnan, Co-founder of American India Foundation, shares the germination for one of the largest US-based NGOs for aid to India, and her philanthropic journey.


Geetha Murali, CEO of Room to Read, talks about her work as a woman CEO of a global nonprofit that has reached more than 12.4 million children worldwide.


Ricky Kej talks about his commitment to sustainability after winning a Grammy Music Award and his recent advocacy efforts.


Sree Sreenivasan, Chair of the Convening Committee at Indiaspora Leadership Forum 2018, interviews Indiaspora Patron Member, philanthropist, entrepreneur and investor Sridar Iyengar at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose.