INDIA New England Names 2010 Woman of the Year

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Photos by Binita Patel Photography

INDIA New England named Amrita Sahni as its 2010 Woman of the Year on Monday, June 14. Sahni, an assistant principal and director of instruction at Edwards Middle School in Boston, received the honor at an awards banquet held at the Westin Waltham-Boston hotel in Waltham, Mass.

Over the past four years at Edwards, an urban public school with limited funding and a racially diverse student body, Sahni has led a pioneer reform program that extended the school day and succeeded in improving student performance and test scores. The program is now considered a model nationwide. Sahni also is an entrepreneur and is co-founder of Fit In Clouds, which sells portable, comfortable women’s slippers. A resident of Waltham, Mass., she is active in a number of community and charitable activities including Teach for America and Career Roadmap for Girls.

The Boston Group, a Northborough, Mass.-based global software consulting and information technology services company, was the platinum sponsor for the event. Subu M. Kota, chairman and CEO of the Boston Group, announced at the banquet that the company would sponsor INDIA New England’s Woman of the Year event for the next three years.

Kota also announced that Samir Desai and the Desai Family Foundation, which promotes programs that support education, health, Indian culture and community development, will sponsor the event over the next three years.

Sahni was chosen as Woman of the Year by a panel of five judges from among a group of five semi-finalists. The other four semi-finalists were:

Attorney Shahana Basu Kanodia, a partner in the Business Law Department of Boston-based law firm Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge and chairman of the firm’s new South Asia Practice Group.
Carolyn Passey, longtime volunteer at the India Society of Worcester in Worcester, Mass., and a co-founder of the society’s Language and Cultural School.
Rita Shah, outreach coordinator at the Burlington Council on Aging in Burlington, Mass.; vice president of the Indian American Forum for Political Education, and a volunteer at SAHELI, a women’s support organization. She is the immediate past president of the India Association of Greater Boston.
Dr. Manju Sheth, a primary care physician at Northeast Health Systems at Beverly Hospital in Beverly, Mass., and co-chairman of the Indian Medical Association of New England’s Indian Women’s Physicians Fourm.

Judges for the event were Ramesh Advani, deputy director of the Massachusetts Recovery & Reinvestment Office; college professor and Saheli founding member Gouri Banerjee, who is a past INE Woman of the Year; and Nilendu Srivastava owner and CEO of Vascular Technology Inc. Also serving as judges were

Dr. Gayathri Tadepalli, staff psychiatrist at Arbour Hospital in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, and Sushil Tuli, president and chief executive officer of Leader Bank and chairman and sole owner of Leader Mortgage Co. in Arlington, Mass.

The banquet dinner was provided by event gold sponsor the Bombay Club, located in Boston’s South End, and sister restaurant Masala Art in Needham. The Westin Waltham-Boston also served as a gold sponsor, as did Boston Sound & Light Co., which provided music for the occasion.

Northborough, Mass.-based wedding decorators and event planners Alankar provided floral arrangements and décor for the event, as did Sreemoti Mukerjee-Roy of Flowers by Sreemoti. Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge and the India Society of Worcester were table sponsors.

In all, 20 semi-finalists were honored at the banquet, including:

Shelley Chhabra, owner of Shelley Chhabra Bridal in Cambridge, Mass.
Dr. Sangeeta Dey, director and pediatric neuropsychologist at the Center of Excellence in Learning and Development in Lexington, Mass.
Dr. Shashi Dwarkanath, chief of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Lawrence General Hospital in Lawrence Mass.
Jayaprada Ganta, Director of Production Systems for the Tribune Co. in Hartford, Conn.
Neelima Gogumalla, founder and president of NaraStyle in Windham, N.H.
Gaytri Kachroo, attorney/principal of Kachroo Legal Services in Cambridge, Mass.
Dr. Hasmeena Kathuria, pulmonary/critical care attending physician and assistant professor of medicine at the Boston University Department of Medicine in Boston
Durga Krishnan, founder/director of the New England School of Carnatic Music in Marlborough, Mass.
Anindita Nanda, cultural chairman of the Indian Association of Greater Danbury in Danbury, Conn.
Dr. Zainab Nawab, medical director, Revive MD in Westborough, Mass.
Geetha Ramamurthy, founder and managing director of Blue Hills Capital in Brookline, Mass.
Reena Ruwala, Sovereign Bank branch manager in Methuen, Mass.
Jasmine Shah, founder/owner of the Angikam Dance Academy in Nashua, N.H.; Chelmsford, Mass.; and Medway, Mass.
Nikita Shah, president of the Shishu Bharati School in Nashua, N.H.; Lexington, Mass.; and Norwood, Mass.
Kalpana Shetty, Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Andover, Mass.

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