Commission to advise on how to advance equity and opportunity for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders
President Joe Biden plans to appoint 23 civic leaders, including four Indian Americans, from across the country as commissioners to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI)
Reflecting the rich diversity of AANHPI communities across the United States, the Commission will advise the President on ways the public, private, and non-profit sectors can work together to advance equity and opportunity for them, the White House announced Monday.
Four Indian Americans whom Biden intends to appoint as commissioners are Sonal Shah, who created the White House Office of Social Innovation under President Barack Obama, Ajay Bhutoria, a Silicon Valley technology executive, Kamal Kalsi, a Bronze Star medal winner army physician, and Smita Shah, an engineer, entrepreneur, and civic leader.
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The Commission is also charged with advising the President on policies to address anti-Asian xenophobia and violence, ways to build capacity in AANHPI communities through federal grantmaking and policies to address the intersectional barriers that AANHPI women, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities face.
Social impact and innovation leader Sonal Shah served as Deputy Assistant to Obama and created the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, according to the White House.
She also worked on international development at the Department of Treasury, and led social impact efforts at Google and Goldman Sachs. She serves on the boards of TAAF, Oxfam America, the Century Foundation, and the National Democratic Institute.
Shah has launched and led social impact efforts in academia, government, and the private and philanthropic sectors for over 25 years.
She is the Founding President of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), starting the largest philanthropic effort to serve the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.
Prior to TAAF, Shah founded and led Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, providing students a first-hand opportunity to work on social impact projects in the public, private, and social sectors.
Bhutoria, a community leader, speaker, and author has been recognized for his work, the White House noted.
He is a passionate advocate for the South Asian and AAPI communities in the areas of small businesses, educational opportunities, immigration issues, and technological advancement.
Bhutoria’s expertise in the areas of organizational transformations and change management has supported critical advancements within the AAPI community, and he is committed to the creation of a compassionate and empowering environment for all.
Dr. Kamal Singh Kalsi, LTC, USAR is an emergency medicine physician from New Jersey that has served in the Army for 20 years, the White House said.
He was awarded a Bronze Star medal for his work taking care of hundreds of combat casualties on the front lines in Afghanistan.
Kalsi has transitioned into the Army reserves, and now serves as a senior advisor for Policy Vets and a Fellow of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council.
He founded the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA) in order to promote diversity, religious freedom, and service.
Smita Shah is serving as President and CEO of Chicago-based SPAAN Tech, Inc, a multi-disciplinary firm with expertise in public and private infrastructure projects including transportation, aviation, and facilities.
Read: 4 Indian-Americans to be in Biden’s advisory commission on Asian-Americans (December 21, 2021)
Shah serves in various roles with the Chicago Plan Commission, MIT, the Museum of Science and Industry, After School Matters, Delhi Chicago Sister Cities Program, YPO, the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.
She is a member of the board of MacLean Fogg Company and a member of the Commercial Club of Chicago and the Economic Club of Chicago.
Shah earned her Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University, her Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Management Studies from Oxford University.