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Event in NYC celebrates Indian American women achievers

May is celebrated as the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage month in the US to commemorate the wide range of cultures and experiences that each of these communities have brought to the American narrative. An event was hosted last week in New York by The Culture Tree, an organisation that provides South Asian themed educational and cultural programmes, and Asia Society, which focuses on educating the world about Asia, to celebrate the achievements of four exceptional Indian American women – Anu Aiyengar, global head of mergers & acquisitions at financial services MNC J.P. Morgan; Jenifer Rajkumar, New York state assemblywoman; Snigdha Sur, founder & CEO of The Juggernaut, a community platform for global South Asians; and Dr Sue Varma, a prominent psychiatrist.
Aiyengar, the high-profile global head of M&A, J.P. Morgan, felt that the event, that had brought together South Asian women to support and learn from one and another, was inspiring and energising. “My advice to people in the early and mid-phase of their career is be present, take a seat at the table, have a point of view and speak up,” she said.
New York state assemblywoman Rajkumar was proud to join the panel as the first Indian American and South Asian woman elected to a New York state office. “South Asian-American women have graced the United States with their passion, dedication, and excellence. Our cultural values, close relationships with our parents, and ethic of hard work helped us overcome every challenge,” she said.
Dr Varma, board-certified psychiatrist and TV personality, felt that the essence of the Indian American culture is about meaningful connection, which the community severely lacked right now, a factor that was leading to both a loneliness and mental health crisis. “The US Surgeon General, Dr Vivek Murthy has issued an advisory as to the detriments of loneliness. I had the chance to share how we can reconnect with others, through volunteering, community and civic engagement and friendship; important values I was raised with as a South Asian woman born and raised in the US,” she said.
Sur, founder & CEO of The Juggernaut said: “Asian Pacific American heritage reminds us that Asians are not a monolith and neither is any group. Indian Americans, too, have a variety of stories, each waiting to be told.”
The discussions at the event were followed by a cocktail reception featuring a dessert bar hosted by New York City’s finest Indian American chefs and culinary experts. The Dessert Bar concept was created by Barkha Cardoz of Cardoz Legacy LLC, Surbhi Sahni of TAGMO, Alak Vasa of Elements Truffles, and Kanchan Koya, author of Spice Spice Baby.
“While planning this event, I wanted to make sure we highlight the diverse industries and segments in which South Asian women have leadership roles in America,” said Anu Sehgal, founder of The Culture Tree. “Each and every trailblazer has brought about monumental change in their industries and are considered pioneers in their field and have had a huge impact in their communities.”
“South Asian women have long been known for their spirit, their unwavering determination, and their ability to transcend barriers and shatter glass ceilings,” Neelam Chowdhary, vice president of education, Asia Society, said.
Indian Americans are one of the fastest-growing groups in the United States, with Indian American women having made great strides in recent years across all sectors, including government, finance, business, technology, and food.

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