Ishan Shah becomes president of New Jersey Leadership Program

NJ Lead seeks to encourage South Asian youth to get involved in public service, government and politics

Ishan Shah, government affairs manager at Quest Diagnostics, has become president of the New Jersey Leadership Program (NJ Lead) that seeks to encourage South Asian youth in the state to get involved in public service, government and politics.

Shah, who previously served in the office of the then New Jersey governor Chris Christie and as chief of staff to New Jersey assemblyman Kevin Rooney, will succeed Amit Jani, according to a press release.

“I thank Amit and the NJ Lead team for building such an incredible program and I am glad to be able to take over during a time of great interest and success in political engagement within the South Asian community,” said Shah.

Read: Sibu Nair appointed NY Dy Director for Asian American Affairs (November 22, 2021)

“It has never been more important to get the young people more involved. NJ Lead through its Summer Fellowship Program seeks to develop the next generation of South Asian political leaders.”

Jani was an original co-founder of NJ Lead and served as its president since its inception in 2015. He previously served as the National Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Director for President Joe Biden.

“We are incredibly proud of helping to start this program with the help of a village and that we have had close to 60 alumni of South Asian descent in New Jersey graduate from our program over the past six years, many of whom decided to continue in public service,” said Jani.

“This new leadership will help to bring in fresh ideas and initiatives, helping NJ Lead to continue developing into the premier program it has become,” he said.

Jani will continue serving as a board member. Meet Patel, who currently serves in New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s Administration for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs becomes the new vice president.

Kunal Papaiya, a co-owner and general counsel of USA Wine Traders Club, takes over as general counsel.

Read: New Jersey Leadership Program Announces Indian American Quest Diagnostics Executive Ishan Shah as New President (November 21, 2021)

Darshan Jha, currently an aide to Senator-elect Jean Stanfield as well as outgoing Assemblyman Ryan Peters in New Jersey’s 8th Legislative District, and Aadi Kulkarni, NJLP Alumni Board chair, will join as board members.

NJ Lead plans to open applications for the 2022 Summer Fellowship Program on Dec. 1. More information about NJ Lead and its 2022 Summer Fellowship Program can be found at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.