Article by: Manu Shah
Photography by: Bijay Dixit of Unique Photo Images
HOUSTON: The 2016 Inaugural ‘IACCGH Networking Works’ Reception was held on January 20th at the Houston City Hall Rotunda. President Joya Shukla introduced her board and welcomed Chief Guest Consul General P. Harish, Councilmember Lee, Jay Guerrero from Senator Cornyn’s office, Fred Whipple from Shell and IACCGH members and guests.
Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia welcomed the gathering and encouraged them to network and get to know each other – one of the tenets on which the Chamber was built. He also described the creation of the Chamber in 1999 as “being ahead of the curve” when India was not “as fashionable or economically viable” as it is today. The Chamber, he continued, has evolved over the years and has navigated the needs of the members during this time.
Past President Sanjay Ramabhadran welcomed the guests on behalf of immediate Past President Ashok Garg and summarized the activities of 2015. Apart from well attended Signature Events such as the Distinguished Lecture Series and the Women Mean Business Series, the year saw a historic first in having a sitting US Ambassador to India Richard R.Verma deliver a brilliant Keynote speech at its annual Gala held in September. Yet another first was a 30 member delegation to India led by Former Mayor Annise Parker to encourage Indian investment in Houston.
Consul General P. Harish has been an Advisor to the Chamber and lauded the Chamber for helping bring “our economies and people together.” He also spoke about the greater engagement between India and the US over the past two years in various areas and stated that going forward the Chamber’s role will be defined by its “day to day interactions of how to bring common business folks together from both sides.”
Shell’s VP Fred Whipple did the honors of introducing the 17th President and the 3rd woman President of the Chamber – Joya Shukla. Having worked with her over the past few years, he spoke admiringly about her “passion for volunteering, leadership qualities, compassion and a willingly to do the things that need to get done.”
The Chamber’s youngest President Joya Shukla addressed the gathering and stated that she was not just “ready to lead but ready to serve” to ensure that the Chamber continued its successful streak in promoting business and enterprise in the Greater Houston region. She appreciated the success that had been achieved by Indo Americans not just in material terms but in making a difference to the community and believed that by working together “they could raise the bar again.”
Former Publisher of the Houston Business Journal, John Beddow, described by Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia as “an innovator in the publishing industry” was honored for his exceptional leadership of one of Houston’s leading business journals. Recently retired from “the Journal but not from life” John Beddow has started a consulting business in sales, marketing and media relations.
American Leadership Forum’s President Daniel Snare was also felicitated for his efforts in bringing together leaders in Houston to serve the common good. Speaking on the occasion, he stated that ALF’s membership represented leaders from diverse sections of the community with the goal to co create new ideas and new solutions through dialogue to better serve the community. According to him its “no coincidence that the city of Houston is recognized as one of the most successful and diverse cities in the world.”
The Chamber’s next event to be held on February 10th will feature Chancellor and President of the University of Houston and Board Member and Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas – Dr. Renu Khator. She will speak about the Bank and its role in guiding the economy using the tools of monetary policies. To register, please visit www.iaccgh.com