ISW Women Empowering Women initiative turns two!
by Kalyani Kanuri
To commemorate the two year anniversary of ISW-WEW initiative, ISW hosted a wonderful celebration on Saturday January 21st at the newly renovated ISW (India Society of Worcester) center in Shrewsbury, MA. The event featured Dr. Manju Sheth, as the keynote speaker . Manju is a renowned physician at Harvard Vanguard and creator and host of “Chai with Manju” and the creator of New England Choice Awards and “Women who Win” platform.
The program was kicked off by Prof. Snehalata Kadam, chair of WEW, who talked about her vision for a forum where women can uplift each other by sharing their experiences and transforming the “I Can’t” to “I Can”. This initiative started off as an online forum during the pandemic. Snehalata; an assistant teaching professor of Physics at Worcester Polytechnic (WPI), talked about the upcoming collaboration of ISW -WEW with WPI’s South Asian Student Association (SASA) and ISW’s Professional and Entrepreneurial Network. (ISW-PEN).
Mr. Puneet Kohli, the president of ISW, talked about the organization’s upcoming 60 years anniversary celebrations and how the organization has not only brought the Indian community together but also other communities. He explained how ISW maintains strong relationship with other organizations in Boston such as IAGB. He further talked about how the community came together to support the ISW expansion. With the expansion, ISW is now able to kick off new initiatives such as the “ISW University” which teaches students of all ages , “ISW Symphony” to support art in all forms, “ISW PEN initiative” and “ISW Sports” which recently held Game Night.
Talking about how each and everyone’s journey in life is unique and different, Manju Sheth the guest of honor spoke about how women can learn and inspire each other. Hailing from New Delhi, Manju loved to write stories from a young age and even started her school magazine. She trained in Medicine in Calcutta, London and Boston. She talked about how the demands of practicing medicine which leaves little time for other activities. Her determination, hard work and multitasking helped her to achieve her goal of being a journalist and media professional in addition to her medical profession. She strongly believes that it is important to realize your strengths and feed off of them. She was invited by India New England News to start “Chai with Manju” Over the past 10 years, she has interviewed world renowned personalities such as “Sadh Guru”, Pandit Jasraj”, “ Sudha Murthy”, “Shankar Mahadevan”, “Joe Kennedy” and most recently “Indra Nooyi”. Manju recently started a new platform, “Women Who Win,” to showcase the stories and experiences of extraordinary women in different fields.
The event also felicitated the WEW’s first group of panelists – Yogita Miharia, Director of QA at Oracle, Aditi Taylor, SVP, at MFS Investment Management, Kalyani Kanuri, Senior Manager of Finance at Quest Diagnostics, Terri Camesano, Dean of Graduate Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute along with Dr. Manju Sheth.
Neha Kaushal , a core team member of the WEW team, talked about what inspired her to join WEW and her involvement with SEWA, a charity organization where she was involved in an initiative to train women who lost their livelihood in new professions such as saree weaving.
Kalyani Kanuri, talked about upcoming ISW WEW events. In March the team will be hosting the “Gift of Giving” that will feature a group of panelists who are active with various charities. This event will be followed by a mental health awareness event followed in June by an educational event featuring panelists who will provide high school students and their parents with insights into choosing majors in college and life in college. She also talked about a mentorship program aimed at making the core members available to anyone who would like to learn about fields such as finance, marketing and IT.
The event aptly ended by a beautiful poem by Kajal Kaushik Dixit , a core member of ISW titled “Tu Dar Math, tu aage badh” which means “Don’t be afraid and keep moving forward”!