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Indian American women empowerment group launched

Indian American women empowerment group launched
December 21
06:18 2017

The large women group attending the Launch meet at Meadows Club

CHICAGO: The ‘Me Too’ movement has caught up nationwide and it could not but create awareness among Indian American women about their strength and power. This was in evidence in Chicagoland as the activists among this group took a great initiative launching a well thought out Women’s Empowerment Campaign here last week

The launch was done at the Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows , a Chicago suburb on Saturday December 8 and it was graced among others by the Consul General of India Ms Nita Bhushan. In all close to 150 Indian American women, guests, well wishers and supporters came to the event. “It was a great idea of the founders to start a women empowerment group. It was much needed in Chicago and will go a long way” said Ms. Neeta Bhushan.

The guests enjoyed a beautiful evening with the founders presenting their vision for the ‘We Power’ campaign, presentation of their impressive team &and entertainment by Ameya Dance Academy themed around women’s empowerment. “Chicago needed a strong women’s group to represent the high level of success our community has seen in business, community service, arts and culture. The Women’s Empowerment Group has filled a huge gap and has great potential in Chicago and also nationally,” added Ms. Neeta Bhushan.

The Women’s Empowerment Campaign was designed to create the largest networking and empowerment platform for Indian women in Chicagoland. The initiative is a collaboration between the Consulate headed by Ms Nita Bhushan with Rita Singh, Shital Daftari and Dr. Anuja Gupta. “We wanted to form a group that showed the power of Indian women in Chicago and do something that made a positive impact in our community,” said the founders. The philosophy of the founders and leadership team was to build a powerful community of support for Indian women in Chicagoland thru this platform.

The group plans to celebrate Women’s Day annually as a gala event
The principals of the campaign include founders Rita Singh, Shital Daftari and Dr. Anuja Gupta who are prominent businesswomen and community activists. “We had reached a point in our lives where we felt blessed by the community support we had and wanted to do something to give back to the community” says Dr. Anuja Gupta who is a physician and real estate developer of Verandah Retirement Community.

Shital Daftari who is an e-commerce business owner of Saris and Things had a different perspective, “We wanted to showcase how powerful Indian women were.

I also wanted to inspire women to take the first step to living a life of their dreams and reaching their highest potential”.

Rita Singh who is an IT business owner and also has experience in show business says, “I had a very gratifying experience mentoring other people who wanted to start their own business and wanted to do it on a larger scale thru this platform. I wanted to make a meaningful difference in the Indian community”.

The Leadership Team of the initiative is a formidable list of the top community leaders in Chicagoland, selected by the founders for their varied experiences and networks. Shital Daftari says, “It was very important for us to select the right people for our leadership team. We handpicked each member from a very long list of qualified individuals who were leaders in their own ways in the community”.

Dr. Anuja Gupta adds, “We wanted a representative from every major demographic group in Chicagoland”.

Many women from the leadership team are from big organizations in Chicago including Uma Katiki who is 2017 Vice-President and 2018 President of the Chicago Andhra Association, Vidya Joshi Vice President of Maharashtra Mandal Chicago and secretary of BMM, Aparna Ayyalaraju and Rajani Akurati who are Board Directors of the Telegu Tristate Association.

The list also includes women who have started their own commendable organizations including Chandini Duvuuri, founder of an NGO for battered women, Promila Kumar founder of Sanjeevani, Rosey Bhasin founder of Connections By Rosey, Namitha Pai founder of Happy Feet, Sushma Bhanot founder of Share A Smile Chicago and Arshia Wajid founder of American Muslim Health Professionals.

Many other women of the leadership team are accomplished professionals who are independent thinkers with great passion for women’s causes, including Dr. Manjari Gambhir, Dr. Sonal Gupta and Dr. Preeti Pointdexter who are practicing physicians, Dr. Pooja Batra Sharma a dentist, Dr. Tanvi Bhatt a Professor in Physical Therapy and Loni Sharma a Financial Advisor.

In addition to the leadership team the Advisory Board members are Dr. Asha Smita Shah owner of Direct Floors, Anisha Shah owner of Shree Builders & Arlington Rentals. The group also has an impressive list of Brand Ambassadors who are respected community members.

The mission of the group is to create the largest networking and empowerment platform for Indian women in Chicagoland. “We are fortunate to have a very vibrant and high-profile Indian community.

CG Neeta Bhushan (Center) with leader of Women’s Empowerment Campaign (Right to Left) Sujata Oberoi, Sonica Singh, Rita Singh, Shital Daftari, Vinita Arora, Mamta Sharma Pandey, Geetanjali Maru, Preeti Miglani, Consul General Ms Neeta Bhushan, Nehal Mehta, Prabh Khaira, Rajeshwari Rawat, Anita Saggar, Bhavna Bahadur and Dr Anuja Gupta

There are many existing women’s groups which are independently doing important work. We wanted to form a bigger networking platform to connect the existing groups with everyone who wanted to engage in forming a more powerful community of support” says Dr. Anuja Gupta. Rita Singh adds, “Together we can have a more unified presence and more powerful voice”

Some of the important goals identified by the group include:
• To create awareness of existing resources and services in the community
• Showcasing and highlighting Indian women’s excellence in various fields
• Exploring contemporary empowerment issues as they relate to Indian women
• Providing a platform for promotion of Indian women professionals and business-owners
• Support worthy Indian women-related causes • Celebrate International Women’s Day as a high-level event annually

“To a certain extent the initiative is still open-ended and will continue to evolve as more dynamic people get involved and come up with new ideas” says Dr. Anuja Gupta.

The group also received calls from Indian women outside of Chicagoland to join. Women leaders from the Indian community in Florida and New Jersey have expressed an interest in setting up sister organizations in their own town.

“The Indian women community has gotten to a level where we want make a difference by supporting each other and elevating the status of the whole community” says Dr. Anuja Gupta.

More information can be found on their facebook page@ChicagoWEC or their website www.ChicagoWE.com

Ashfaq Syed & Ramesh Soparawala

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