Meet the Judges for Woman of the Year 2016 Award

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Independent of judges for Woman of the Year 2016: From Left to Right: Brian Pereira, Neena Gulati, Nahid Bhadelia, Puran Dang, Tara Anand, Punita Sinha and Prem Shekar.

BURLINGTON, MA—Judges, whose names are not disclosed until the Woman of the Year winner is announced, are the key part of the Woman of the Year selection process. The only judge whose name is public is the previous year’s winner.

Independent of judges for Woman of the Year 2016: From Left to Right: Brian Pereira, Neena Gulati, Nahid Bhadelia, Puran Dang, Tara Anand, Punita Sinha and Prem Shekar.
Independent of judges for Woman of the Year 2016: From Left to Right: Brian Pereira, Neena Gulati, Nahid Bhadelia (Woman of the Year 2015), Puran Dang, Tara Anand, Punita Sinha and Prem Shekar.

The independent panel of judges consists of seven respected individuals from the community, representing various fields. They choose Woman of the Year from a select list of Outstanding-20 women provided by the editorial team of INDIA New England News, the region’s oldest and largest online, print and video magazine.

Dr. Brian Pereira served as chair of the Independent Committee of Judges. Here is a brief introduction of the members of committee.

Tara Anand

Tara Anand is the founder and director of the Anubhava School of Music. Founded in 1989, the Anubhava School of Music has been one of the pioneering schools for Carnatic music in the Boston area. The school offers lessons in classical vocal and violin across three locations.

Anand started learning vocal music at the age of four under Sankara Sarma and S. Gopalakrishnan. She gave her first concert at the age of eight and has continued to perform ever since in live concerts as well as on TV and Radio.

Anand started learning violin at the age of eight under Smt. Vedavalli Ramaswamy. She performed with her teacher at the age of twelve, and a couple of years later, went on a national tour with Prof. T. R. Subramaniam as his accompanist. She trained and performed with Smt. T. Rukmini after moving to Chennai. She has won several awards, both as an artist and as a teacher.

Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, M.D.

Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, MD, the frontline physician fighting Ebola and Director of Infection Control at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory, is 2015’s Woman of the Year.  She is an infectious diseases physician, an assistant professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Director of Infection Control and Medical Response at National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory at Boston University.

She is the director of the medical response program for BU’s Biosafety Level 4 laboratories at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory, one of six such programs in the United States. Aside from her clinical training in infectious diseases, she has a master’s degree in International Affairs from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a background in health and human security with a focus on the impact of pandemics on macro level health indicators and community security.

Dr. Bhadelia has previously worked on projects with United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She is a Senior Policy and Technical Advisor to Partners in Health for their Ebola response program in Sierra Leone. She has also been an instructor for the US CDC/FEMA and Taiwan CDC’s healthcare worker preparedness courses for the Ebola Response.

Puran Dang

Puran Dang is an entrepreneur, community leader and founder of many organizations. He is the founder of first IIT Alumni Group in the world, now a global organization with chapters all over the world under the banner of PAN-IIT.

He is director of IIT Foundation, Chairman Emeritus: IIT-SINE (now IIT-AGNE), Chairman Emeritus of MIT Heritage of The Arts of South Asia (MITHAS), Chairman Emeritus of Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation, USA-New England, a founding member of TIE-Boston and Charter Member Emeritus.

In addition, Dang is the founder and first chairman of Indian Americans of Lexington, known as IAL, and former president of United India Association of New England. He is also the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Service by his alma mater, IIT-Kharagpur.

Neena Gulati

Neena Gulati is the founder and director of Triveni School of Dance. She began dancing when she was only four years old. She performed her arangetram at the Fine Arts Theater, New Delhi in 1961.

A master of the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam, Gulati has received high critical acclaim for her professsional performances throughout India and the United States. In 1964, she was invited to perform at the United Nations General Assembly. Since moving to the US in 1967, she has performed at countless functions and universities across the continent and in England.

Gulati has taught at Brown University and has been a guest artist at several universities in New England. She gives lectures and demonstrations, explaining and demonstrating her art form to varied audiences. She also collaborates with artists of different disciplines, including actors, musicians, dancers, and poets. She has been involved in numerous benefit performances and has choreographed dance dramas. An energetic and loving teacher, Gulati is an excellent example of the guru-shishya tradition of teaching that has preserved the purity of Indian classical dance since the time of the Vedas. The Boston Globe described her as a “pioneer in bringing classical Indian dance in all its nuance to new England.”

Dr. Brian Pereira, M.D

Dr. Brian Pereira, M.D., is President and Chief Executive Officer of Visterra, a developer of novel antibodies for the prevention and treatment of infectious and other major diseases. He is a seasoned biopharmaceutical and healthcare leader with experience in financing and growing companies, including the clinical development and commercialization of innovative drug products.

Prior to Visterra, Dr. Pereira served as the President and CEO of AMAG Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMAG) from 2006 to 2011 and as its President from 2005 to 2006. Prior to AMAG, he served as the President and CEO of a Tufts Medical Center Physician Organization from 2001 to 2005, where he was instrumental in restructuring operations to enable greater financial strength. He also served in earlier roles at Tufts Medical Center including Interim Chief Operating Officer in 2001, Vice-Chairman for Strategic Development of the Department of Medicine from 1999-2001, and as a staff physician beginning in 1993.

He received his medical degree (MBBS) from St. John’s Medical College, his MD (Medicine) and DM (Nephrology) from the Post Graduate Institute, and an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Dr. Prem Shekar, MD

Dr. Prem Shekar is a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon and chief of Division of Cardiac Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Dr. Shekar’s clinical and research interests include surgery for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy—a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick—and surgical correction of aortic root and mitral valve disease in patients with Marfan’s syndrome and other connective tissue disorders.

He is also interested in minimally invasive valve surgery and radiation-induced heart disease, as well as conventional surgery. He is well-known among his colleagues for his thoughtful approach to complex cases, according to report by BWH.

Dr. Shekar is involved in clinical outcomes research and has published numerous papers. He was the principal investigator in the CIMIT-funded Hybrid Cardiovascular Operating Room project and the site principal investigator for the HeartMate II Pivotal trial, which investigated the role of a novel ventricular assist device as a permanent therapy for patients with advanced heart disease who are not candidates for transplantation. Dr. Shekar joined BWH in 2001 as a cardiothoracic surgical fellow and became a faculty member in 2004. He has served in leadership roles in the division, including interim surgical director of the Integrated Cardiovascular Services Program and surgical director of the BWH Patient Progression initiative, according to BWH.

He received his medical degree from Bangalore University, India, and completed his postgraduate training at the Command Hospital–Indian Air Force and Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in India. He completed advanced cardiothoracic fellowships at the Fremantle Hospital and Royal Adelaide Hospital in Australia and at BWH. He is also a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Punita Sinha

Punita Sinha has focused on investment management and financial markets during her 25-year career. She spearheaded some of the first foreign investments into the Indian equity markets in the early 1990s. Currently, she is the Founder and Managing Partner at Pacific Paradigm Advisors, an independent investment advisory and management firm focused on Asia.

Prior to founding Pacific Paradigm Advisors, she was a Senior Managing Director of Blackstone and the Chief Investment Officer of Blackstone Asia Advisors.  Sinha was also the Senior Portfolio Manager and CIO for The India Fund (NYSE:IFN), the largest India Fund in the US, for almost 15 years, The Asia Tigers Fund (NYSE:GRR), and The Asia Opportunities Fund.

Sinha was also a Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager at Oppenheimer Asset Management Inc., and CIBC World Markets, where she helped open one of the first India advisory offices for a foreign firm.  She also worked at Batterymarch (a Legg Mason company), Standish Ayer & Wood (a BNY Mellon company), JP Morgan and IFC/World Bank.

Sinha has a Ph.D. and a Masters in Finance from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  She received her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering with distinction from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.  She is an MBA and also a CFA Charter holder. She is a member of the CFA Institute, the Boston Security Analysts Society and the Council on Foreign Relations.  She is a Charter Member and was a Board Member of TIE-Boston.  She has been awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from IIT Delhi.

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