Dr Romesh Wadhwani, winner of the India Abroad Award for Lifetime Achievement 2012,
IIT Bombay alumnus, billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr Romesh Wadhwani, was awarded the India Abroad Award for Lifetime Achievement 2012 ... "For his remarkable philanthropy; for being an accomplished entrepreneur and for giving back so generously to the country of his birth, and indeed the world.
WHEELS and Habitat for Humanity International Partnership
Finalizing a working partnership, Habitat for Humanity International and the WHEELS Global Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday June 6, 2013 in New York City's Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The two organizations will collaborate to provide shelter for the needy on a large scale. Stressing the desperate global need for low-cost homes, the two signatories agreed to combine the strengths of their respective organizations to raise funds for this worldwide effort.
WHEELS Global Foundation is a non-profit organization spawned by a group of IIT alumni in Washington DC, known as the Capital IIT Group. Their goal was to promote innovative solutions to common problems faced in several dimensions worldwide. WHEELS stands for Water, Health, Energy, Education, Lifestyles, and Security, and each of these dimensions are addressed by the foundation. Gulab Bhavnani, Program Director, explained that "affordable housing for the needy is a key Lifestyles track project. Thus, the collaboration with Habitat for Humanity provides a great opportunity for us to provide innovative solutions to common problems." Bhavnani and Robert Nathan, Lifestyles Leader, provided their signatures on behalf of WHEELS Global Foundation.
Habitat for Humanity is a globally-recognized organization, and has built thousands of homes in India. As a result, it has developed unique experience in utilizing locally available building materials and local labor. Its experience can now be transferred to providing shelter in underserved communities in North America.
After the signing of the MOU, nearly 300 attendees gathered in the ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in NYC for a reception dedicated to launch Habitat for Humanity International's IndiaBUILDS campaign.
Best South Asian American women entrepreneur in 2013
Smita, first and foremost on behalf of the entire PanIIT community, I congratulate you for being awarded the Best South Asian American women entrepreneur in 2013.
How does it feel to be recognized as an outstanding Entrepreneur?
Smita: This is a great honor bestowed by the South Asian Community and I am very thankful, excited and humbled that they chose me. However, I have been able to achieve success because of the people I work with, both my colleagues, and my clients. Their faith in me and their assistance have been instrumental in making me successful.
What has been some of your biggest successes in recent times?
Smita: Recently, conceiving of and establishing 2 new business practices at Amritt:
1) Technology Scouting practice as well the
2) Business & IT process re-engineering practices.
The results from initial clients and consulting have been outstanding. We are looking forward to offering these to many of our corporate clients.
What were some of the challenges that came your way and how did you overcome that?
Smita: Gaining the respect as a Woman in a Leadership position
Be forceful, assertive and act as if you did not hear the objections or see the discrimination. Act as a senior leader and communicate well.
Being taken seriously for "entrepreneurial" ideas. Get all your facts researched and be ready to answer questions that can be posed. Rehearse answers and do not get caught in an argument - Be clear and concise and learn to communicate assertively.
Hate to be politically incorrect, but what are addition challenges women face in the entrepreneurship journey?
Smita: Being taken seriously for their ideas and execution in some professional fronts
Managing work and family balance. A woman is supposed to be efficient in her profession but at the same time she is a "mom" and a "wife" and a "daughter" too. Children come first by nature for most woman - entrepreneur or stay at home mom .. but, once the support of the family is there, it all works out.
Let us go back to your IIT Days. What are the key learning that you took from IIT that has helped you in your career journey.
Smita: Doggedness. To keep at a thing/problem until it is solved. If the problem exists then there has to be a solution somewhere
Self -confidence and Perseverance: We are smart - so if we do not get something - it may require more time and effort to reach it - but it is not impossible.
What would be your advice to other women entrepreneurs?
Smita: Believe in your ideas and yourself - if you are convinced then don't worry what advisors or others say - just get it done.
Work hard and still enjoy the journey
Things balance themselves out with some schedule adjustments and organization. Family is never a hindrance - fulfillment at home provides you the boost and strength to achieve greater heights
Who has been the most important influence in your life?
Smita: My dad was a brilliant engineer (from Univ of Roorkee) and very smart management executive. He rose to heights in his job very fast, but he was always very humble. He believed that if you believed and encouraged the people who work with you and gave them respect - they will give their best for you and help you achieve success in return. I always admired his gentleness and ease with which he could make the people listen to him and wanted to be like him.
Anything else you want to share?
Smita: We were three sisters and one (youngest) brother. Growing up, my parents never let us underestimate ourselves or be under-estimated by anyone else. This put in the seeds of self-confidence and belief that we can do anything. I am really lucky that my husband has added to that and been my biggest supporter. I am really thankful that I have been able to do what I want, how I want, enjoy the journey and the people I work with.
Smita, again thanks for taking the time and congratulations.