IACCGH NexGen Networking Happy Hour featuring Sukaina Rajani

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Small Business Outreach featuring Tim Jeffcoat

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Global Academic Program Reception


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Bilateral Trade with India

To view the trade mission highlights please click on the document links below:







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Young Minds Professional Panel


Photography by: Bijay Dixit, Unique Photo Images

Article by: Manu Shah

Two investors and one engineering professional offered some serious career advice to a roomful of students and young professionals at the NexGen by IACCGH Young Minds Panel. The event, held on April 18th at the University of Houston’s Cullen building, was organized and moderated by IACCGH’s Board member and Chair of the NexGen initiative – Narayan Bhargava. Assisting him were NexGen Committee members Neha Srivastava, Anish Nagar, Girija Patel, Priya Bedi and Dilbag Singh who facilitated and encouraged networking among the attendees over snacks and refreshments.

Welcoming the gathering, Narayan Bhargava offered a crisp overview of the Chamber’s efforts in promoting economic growth in the Greater Houston region. He also outlined NexGen’s initiative in increasing involvement and connectivity among undergrads, graduate students and young professionals through networking events, mentorship programs and career discussion panels.

Saheb Sabharwal, Krishna Danda and Bruce Schroeder were the three young panelists who dwelt on the detours, bumps and successes in their professional journeys and they had plenty of sage wisdom to share.

Saheb Sabharwal, 28, traded his architectural drawings for a career in finance when he realized he enjoyed the business of identifying the right investment opportunities. Having earned an MBA from Stanford, he catapulted to Vice President at CLS Capital Management in a short time. His advice: assess what you want to do, have a mission and “don’t ever handicap yourself.” Meaningful networking, he added, is important as is finding those “one or two things you’re passionate about” and involving yourself in them. Don’t like your job? Find the courage to call it quits and try something new!

Stand out from the crowded marketplace, was Krishna Danda’s advice. An engineer and Chicago-Booth MBA graduate, Danda, who is in his mid-30’s, jumped companies to find his fit – an experience he describes as “a humbling one” before landing at GE Ventures. He also emphasized the importance of specializing in one or two industries and applying for jobs in those sectors rather than a “spray and pray” approach. Highlighting the importance of talking to as many people as possible, he noted that it’s equally important to “stay in touch” with the people you meet.

Bruce Schroeder, in his mid-20’s and a mechanical engineer at consulting company Sparx Engineering, also made a strong case for “not limiting yourself to one avenue but continue to learn and try different things.” He further added that it’s important to learn from your mistakes, “do a postmortem” and be honest rather than try to cover up things. He also emphasized the importance of internships and extracurricular activities with prospective employers and downplayed the weight of a perfect GPA score.

In response to what they looked for in a startup or an entrepreneur, Sabharwal and Danda believed that deep expertise, eloquence, background and understanding the market were some key factors in backing people or ideas.

The event capped off with a discussion on the importance of mentors for which Saheb Sabharwal had one piece of advice, “find your mentors early and they will push you in the right direction.”

This was the second Young Minds Panel (YMP) hosted by the Chamber. The next YMP will be in the fall of 2017 but NexGen by IACCGH will be hosting several networking events, workshops and activities throughout the year.

(For more information about how to join the Chamber’s NexGen events, please contact info@iaccgh.com.)


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IACCGH Distinguished Lecture featuring Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo


Article written by: Manu Shah

Photography by: Bijay Dixit, Unique Photo Images

On April 11, Houston’s top cop Art Acevedo delivered a strong message about “relational policing” and his efforts to build a rapport of trust with the community. As Keynote Speaker at the IACCGH Distinguished Lecture Series, Chief Acevedo’s impassioned address about his aim to serve and make Houston safe for everyone came across as genuinely caring, sincere and determined in working with the community to make a difference.

The event which was sponsored by Shell was hosted at the Indian consulate and attended by representatives from several economic development agencies, IACCGH members and guests.

Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the gathering and described the Chamber as an “inclusive Chamber representing the community.” Diversity, he emphasized, is what “Houston is all about and what the Chamber is all about.” He also thanked the Consulate for hosting the event.

Deputy Consul General of India in Houston, Surendra Adhana lauded the contributions of the Indo American community and promised the Consulate’s support to the community and the HPD in all their endeavors.

Greeting the gathering with a cheerful “Namaste,” Chief Acevedo opened up about the police department’s struggles and challenges in ensuring public safety with a taskforce of only 5100 police officers. He compared this figure with Chicago’s taskforce of 13000 officers despite the city being geographically smaller than Houston.

A shrinking department is the reason, he clarified, why calls to 911 don’t always get a quick response. The response time for an emergency is under 5 minutes but could be longer for less serious situations. The necessity of deploying the limited resources in an effective way and the prioritization of going after violent crime rather than minor misdemeanors, he added, called for such measures.

Chief Acevedo also reflected that deeper engagement with the community starts with the police chief which is why he is focused on reaching out to community members at every opportunity he gets and being on crime scenes or patrol beats whenever possible to “send the message” that Houston’s police department is there to serve.

Alluding to the “ugly political rhetoric” about undocumented workers in the country, he highlighted their contributions to the economy and called on the gathering to speak out against this stance. An unfortunate outcome of this rhetoric, he observed, has resulted in a glaring drop in the reporting of rape by undocumented workers for fear of being deported.

Chief Acevedo also highlighted the proposed pension reforms and stressed the importance of providing a pension plan for “all the men and women who put their lives on the line” for public safety day after day.

Concluding his address, he stated that he was “here to do his job, not keep it” and held out the guarantee that the day he leaves, the department would “be in better shape” than when he came.

Shell VP Fred Whipple thanked Chief Acevedo for his leadership and expressed his gratitude for the sacrifices “you and your families make to keep Houston safe.”

Jagdip Ahluwalia did note that that the Chamber has had a long term relationship with the HPD and their main contact over the years, till he retired, was Assistant Chief John Chen. The retired  Chief had addressed the community at several IACCGH events in the Hillcroft/Harwin area and has been extremely responsive regarding any safety and security issues.

The Chamber was pleased to welcome and introduce his successor Assistant Police Chief Henry Gaw who will henceforth be the point of contact for the community.


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Mahindra Rise Campus – India’s Ambassador to USA’s visit to Houston, TX

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IACCGH Small Business Outreach

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IACCGH Small Business Outreach featuring Keynote Speaker Asif Dakri & Chief Guest Dr. Renu Khator

DrKhator and Asif Dakri

Photography by: Bijay Dixit

Article by: Manu Shah

On 27th February, IACCGH Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed “the roomful of friends and supporters” who had gathered to honor Wallis State Bank’s Vice Chairman and CEO Asif Dakri’s appointment to the prestigious FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations) Advisory Committee on Community Banking. Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray, Chancellor and Chief Guest for the evening Dr. Renu Khator, Dr. Suresh Khator, Jay Guerrero and Minesh Patel from Tampa’s Chamber of Commerce were also present.

In his introductory remarks, Past President Ashok Garg underscored the strong relationship shared by the Chamber and Wallis State Bank and their longstanding support as Gala Underwriters and sponsors of the IACCGH Business Outreach programs. He also highlighted the well-deserved honor bestowed upon Asif Dakri and stated that he “had ticked all the boxes in terms of leadership, business acumen, cordiality and helpfulness.”

Appreciating the Chamber’s gesture of honoring Asif Dakri’s appointment, Consul General Dr. Anupam Ray remarked that Wallis State Bank is a story of “entrepreneurial drive and spirit” and added that he was struck by Asif Dakri’s focus in giving back to the community.

Describing Asif Dakri as a “great role model,” Dr. Renu Khator also drew attention to the honoree’s generosity and support of UH programs and lauded his accomplishments in making Wallis State Bank the number one SBA lender in the Houston region. Asif Dakri’s new role, she continued, will offer him the opportunity in doing “something bigger” in terms of advising the Government on regulatory and monetary policies. She also lauded Asif Dakri’s efforts in helping UH’s SURE program which has been championed by Professor Dr. Saleha Khumawala and promotes entrepreneurship among underprivileged children.

Asif Dakri’s appointment to the FDIC Advisory committee is a matter of pride for the South Asian community and he with a panel of 13 members will provide advice on policy issues that impact small community banks throughout the country. He represents FDIC’s Dallas region which oversees 8 states.

In his Keynote, Asif Dakri offered a brief overview of Wallis State Bank and its successful streak as the number one SBA lending Bank in Houston for the past three years specializing in small business lending.

He also presented an interesting insight about Houston’s economy which highlighted where we were, where we stand and where we are going. Pre 2014, Houston, he elaborated, had a tremendous run up in employment rates, real estate prices and construction but when OPEC refused to limit oil production in November 2014, the markets took a dive. This led to a loss of thousands of jobs and a real estate decline in multifamily and office markets among other casualties. The exceptions were retail, healthcare and education that were making money.

Today, oil prices have stabilized but a likely Fed interest rate hike could crimp growth and make it harder to “keep the American dream alive.” As for the future, he remarked that his guess about where it was headed was “as good as anyone else’s” but was optimistic that despite the bumps on the road, Houston’s future is still favorable.

Asif Dakri concluded by appealing to the gathering to become more “involved and proactive” not only in their Indo American or South Asian communities but the American community at large.


Click here to view the PowerPoint

Click here to view the program book



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Photgraphy by: Bijay Dixit

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