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Six Indian Americans amongst inaugural list of ‘100 Influential Leaders’ by AACSB

Honorees personify being a visionary figure or change agent.

By Raif Karerat


Six Indian Americans were among the eight South Asians named to the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business’s inaugural list of “100 Influential Leaders.”

The Influential Leaders from AACSB Business Schools Challenge recognizes 100 stories that demonstrate “how all honorees personify the role as a visionary figure or change agent” throughout all facets and levels of commerce, according to the AACSB’s official site. Nominees can be found throughout large corporations, small business, the nonprofit industry, the public sector, and government— pioneering change, fostering global exchange, and improving quality of life.

Sabeen Ali, founder and CEO of AngelHack, has advocated for women in the technology sector throughout her career.

Since graduating from the University of San Francisco, Ali implemented and participated in a number of organizations that encourage social change and the entrepreneurial spirit.

In her role as CEO of AngelHack, a developer relations platform and hub of the largest developer ecosystem in the world, she has worked tirelessly to promote women in technology.

AngelHack’s mission is to help corporations innovate by connecting them to the smarts, scale, and speed of the world’s most vibrant hacker community.

In addition to her role as CEO of AngelHack, Ali also founded the nonprofit Code for a Cause, an organization that teaches women and adolescent girls to code.

Subha Barry, vice president and general manager of Working Mother Media, emigrated from India in the early 1980s to pursue an education in the United States.

A few years after earning an MBA from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, she took a job as financial adviser with Merrill Lynch. Barry leveraged her unique perspective to recognize the investment needs of minority populations, which led to the leadership at Merrill Lynch sponsoring her vision to match underrepresented client groups with talent in the industry.

In 2001, Barry launched the multicultural business development group with a meager budget of $500,000. She subsequently delivered exceptional bottom-line results and built a global virtual team that delivered over $8 billion in assets and $45 million in revenues within three years across female, South Asian, Hispanic, African American, Native American, LGBT, and disabled populations.

In her current role at Working Mother Media — which publishes Working Mother magazine and its website, the Working Mother Research Institute, the National Association for Female Executives, and Diversity Best Practices — Barry continues to champion diversity in the workplace.

She also serves on the boards of Princeton Hospital, Rutgers University, Snowden Lane Partners, Unifyle, andthe Jones Graduate School of Business.

Kaushal Dugar, founder of Teabox, has been credited by the New York Times as the man responsible “bringing the sector into the modern era via his online tea retailing startup” by leveraging technology to revitalize the 200-year-old Indian tea industry.

Teabox has achieved a commendable logistic efficiency, successfully shipping to customers in about 75 countries.

The company has designed and developed a patent-pending prediction engine that matches users to teas they would love. By taking inputs on user preferences and using a complex algorithm, the engine provides a selection of teas that the user would enjoy.

Dugar has not rested on his laurels following Teabox’s success, even while attracting the interest of high-flying investors such as Accel Partners, a Silicon Valley powerhouse.

Inspired by the work of Cambridge University physicist Neil Turok, who founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences to promote education in Africa, Dugar wanted to increase literacy in underprivileged communities and subsequently cofounded Books to Read, a nonprofit aimed at helping young children in developing nations gain access to books. His organization ran a successful campaign to ultimately collect 100,000 books for children in Tanzania and Zambia.

Fiza Farhan, CEO of the Buksh Foundation, launched the Buksh Foundation in Pakistan in 2013, with the aim of “lighting one million lives” through solar lamps purchased through a microfinance scheme. Since the organization’s launch, 37,000 households in 150 villages in Pakistan have been “electrified.”

Farhan has partnered with USAID and Pakistani cricketer and politician Imran Khan to set up solar charging stations and shops for women in villages to sell the solar lamps.

A graduate of the Warwick School of Business at the University of Warwick in England, she felt compelled to take action after realizing most low-income households as well as some rural hospitals used kerosene lamps for lighting.

The impact has been amazing. Babies are healthier, and more survive birth thanks to this scheme,” stated Farhan in her AACSB bio. “Also children can now read and study at night, and the fear of fire has been removed, as the kerosene burned down many straw houses.”

Don Mohanlal, executive director of the National 4-H Council, graduated from the Indian School of Business  and is currently in charge of the United States’ largest youth development and mentoring organization.

After the Kosovo War ended in 1999, Mohanlal collaborated with President Martti Ahtissari of Finland, who had successfully mediated the end to that war, to establish the Balkans Children and Youth Foundation. He has also established youth foundations in Germany, Slovakia, Poland and the Philippines.

Mohanlal also established the first international partnerships for youth development in Israel, Jordan and Palestine, and assembled a coalition of youth organizations to lead one of the largest youth-related HIV/AIDS-prevention programs in Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

He serves as the vice chair at the Nand & Jeet Khemka Foundation, which is based in India. The foundation aims to reduce poverty in India, and focuses on marginalized communities with an emphasis on women and children.

M.R. (Madhavan) Rangaswami, co-founder of the Sand Hill Group, obtained his undergraduate accounting degree in India and came to the United States for his MBA. Rangaswami is a globally recognized business expert, with experience as an executive, investor, entrepreneur, community builder, and philanthropist.

With Sand Hill Group, Rangaswami’s work as an angel investment innovator has impacted the landscape of startup financing, fueling the growth of high-tech entrepreneurship.

In 2008, inspired by his interviews with more than 70 global business leaders regarding climate change, he founded the Corporate Eco Forum to create a neutral space where senior business leaders gather annually to strategize and exchange best-practice insights to accelerate sustainable business innovation. This organization has attracted business leaders from a diverse set of leading multinational companies.

Rangaswami has also had impact as an activist for social change. In 2011, he co-hosted the NASSCOM Product Conclave, which connected thousands of IT entrepreneurs and experts throughout India to teach them how to raise money and sell and market their products and services. To date, more than 5,000 entrepreneurs have gone through this annual program.

In order to aid the Indian community, in 2012 he founded Indiaspora, a nonprofit organization to support the wellbeing of Indians and Indian Americans and their movement to positions of influence across the world.

Punit Renjen, CEO of Deloitte Global, was named CEO of Deloitte Global in February 2015. After business school, Renjen took a job with Touche Ross, which merged with Deloitte Haskins & Sells in 1989, and he never left.

Throughout his career, Renjen has helped clients in various industries address a range of issues, including merger integration and operations improvement. His clients have included large multinational organizations spanning the energy, utilities, and telecommunications industries. Renjen is a member of the U.S.-India Business Council’s board of directors.

Born and raised in India, Renjen moved to the United States after winning a Rotary Foundation Scholarship to Willamette University, where he earned a degree in management. He now serves on the board of trustees there.

Paul Shrivastava is the executive director of Future Earth, a U.N.-chartered organization that brings together more than 60,000 scientists from diverse backgrounds around the world, with the goal of stabilizing and mitigating damage to the ecological and political systems in the face of climate change’s effects.

For more than three decades, Shrivastava — a graduate of University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business — has combined innovation and business impact, demonstrating significant environmental collaborative leadership and societal benefits.

The first major example of his business impact came shortly after his hometown of Bhopal, India, suffered the Union Carbide plant explosion, in the early 1980s, which led to the deaths of thousands of citizens and serious injuries to many more. He wrote extensively about the tragedy and soon founded the nonprofit Industrial Crisis Institute, Inc., in New York, to mediate conflicts among Union Carbide Corporation, the government of India, and the thousands of victims.

He has since been actively involved in choosing the global hub directors for Paris, Tokyo, and Montreal, Stockholm, and Colorado in the U.S.

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