Community Leader and 2013 Woman of the Year Poonam Ahluwalia Passes Away at 62

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Poonam Ahluwalia (Photo: Facebook)

(Editor’s note: The Ahluwalia family requests that in this time of mourning no one should reach out to them and respect their privacy.)

LEXINGTON, MA–Community leader and 2013 Woman of the Year Poonam Ahluwalia passed away early Monday morning at her home. She was 62 and was suffering from breast cancer.

Ms. Ahluwalia is survived by her Husband Mohinder, son Saatvik and daughter-in-law, and daughter Tara.

Ms. Ahluwalia was named the 2013 INDIA New England Woman of the Year. She served as president and founder of Youth Entrepreneurship and Sustainability (YES) and led this organization for over a decade and orchestrated an impact all over the globe.

Following YES, Ms. Ahluwalia started YouthTrade, an organization supporting young entrepreneurs and helping them get access to premium markets. She was also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for Youth Unemployment.

Since the inception of YES in 1998, five Global Summits were held under Ms. Ahluwalia’s leadership— Egypt 2002, Mexico 2004, Kenya 2006, Azerbaijan 2008 and Sweden 2010; 5 Regional Summits and countless in-country forums were organized. Through her innovative low-touch, high impact approach to development, over 400 projects were initiated and implemented by young people throughout the world.

In 2014 when she addressed Woman of the Year Awards gala, Ms. Ahluwalia outlined her “Seven Design Principles for Life and Work.” Here they are as she said:

“1. Believe in the power of your dream and do not get stopped by circumstances: dreams are REAL.

  1. Create from the future: Imagine having accomplished your goals and walk back in time.
  2. Be a Dream catcher and find a Dream catcher: Find people who will believe in you unconditionally and give the same gift to others.
  3. Practice Freedom: By practicing freedom I mean, making the choice to be free from moment to moment. We cannot be free if other people’s opinions and our circumstances imprison us.
  4. Helicopter above your circumstances: so you can observe what is going on and find a way out of your maze.
  5. Be too ambitious to compete: Competition limits you to others like you — move beyond that to truly create something new.
  6. Love and create something from nothing: Knowledge can be be dis-empowering; ignorance is bliss; create a future undaunted by the naysaying power of knowing too much.”

This story will be updated as more information is available.

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