WALTHAM, MA—Approximately 400 people packed the Grand Ballroom of Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA, to celebrate Indian-American luminaries and achievers at the black-tie New England Choice Awards gala Friday night. The husband-wife team of philanthropists Jaishree and Desh Deshpande were honored with Lifetime Achievement Award by Massachusetts State Treasurer Deb Goldberg. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO Eric Shultz gave the keynote address and honored two organizations and seven individuals. (Photos by Dyuti Majumdar)
People and organizations honored were: Academician Vijay Kumar, Bharatnatyam dancer Jothi Raghavan, LearnQuest Academy of Music, medical technology entrepreneur Amar Sawhney, community catalyst Puran Dang, healthcare leader Dr. Dinesh Patal, philanthropist Venkat Srinivasan and Youth Leader Gautam Narula.
“I am so honored to be here with all of you, and I am deeply humbled to be recognized along with so many distinguished leaders throughout the Indian community and New England,” said Goldberg, who honored for outstanding leadership and public service. “I am but one of hundreds of people here tonight who could be recognized for service to the community.”
Added Treasurer Goldberg: “You can feel the energy in the room. There are trailblazers here, from dozens of different fields, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, across the arts, business, healthcare, youth leadership, and many other fields – all of which will greatly benefit our communities, our region, and our world. This event brings together luminaries who are renowned for catalyzing positive change in their respective industries, and who are sharing their success by creating more opportunities for others to excel.”
“It was a night when there was lot of celebration, smiles and tears of joy but above all it was a night to inspire and be inspired,” said Dr. Manju Sheth, president of INE MultiMedia. “It was a night when an entire community from all cross sections came together and celebrated their own and made history with first South Asian Award Show of such magnitude in United States.”
Upendra Mishra, publisher of INDIA New England News, thanked the sponsors, supporters and nearly 400 entrepreneurs, corporate executives, philanthropists, educators and community leaders who attended the awards gala.
“We are going to me it an annual event,” said Mishra. “There are so many Indian-Americans who have played a great role in so many fields and we want to recognize and thank them for their contributions.”
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO Shultz, who was honored by for diversity and community outreach by his firm, talked about his own experience in India and honored the awardees during the gala.
Here is the list of the award winners in each category:
Associate Dean of Digital Learning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Art and Culture: Individual
Nrityanjali School of Dance
LearnQuest Academy of Music
Business and Entrepreneurship
Chaiman and CEO
Ocular Therapeutix Inc.
Mithas, IAL, IIT-SINE, TiE-Boston, Ekal and others
Dr. Dinesh Patel, MD
Orthopedic Surgery– Arthroscopy
Sports Medicine Orthopaedic Surgeon
Associate Clinical Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Crusading against domestic violence with a mission to empower South Asian women and their families to live safe and healthy lives.
Vice Chair, American India Foundation (AIF)
Founder and CEO, Rage Frameworks
Award Winning Author: Remain Free: A story of Troy Anthony Davis, a black man executed by lethal injection for murdering a white police officer in cold blood.
Artists who performed during the night were: Mouli Pal, Mohan Subramaniam and Shilpa Ananth.
BMW of Sudbury was the Platinum Sponsor. Harvard Pilgrim, which has been ranked among America’s highest-rated private health plans, was the Gold Sponsor. Gourmet India, a world-class Indian restaurant chain in Greater Boston, was also a gold sponsor. Lahey Health, which has more than 1,400 local providers in adult and pediatric primary care and almost every medical specialty, was the Silver Sponsor. In addition, community sponsors included: Aalok Fashion, Academy of Creative Arts, Asian Art Gallery, Indian Medical Association of New England, LearnQuest Academy of Music, Motwane Foundation and Shah, Dixit & Associates PC.
Alankar’s Shobha Shahtri provided the decor and Boston Sound and Light Company was the official sound and light company. Dyuti Majumdar served as official photographer.