US bizwomen keen to meet 'sisters' in India 888
Tanmaya Kumar Nanda in New York February 15, 2005 11:03 IST
In what will be a first for most of them, over 20 American businesswomen are set to leave for India as part of a delegation to meet their 'sisters in business' in that country.
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February 18 through 25, the delegation of businesswomen, all from New Jersey, will network with their counterparts in a range of industries in Mumbai.
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The trip is the brainchild of Poonam Khubani, vice president, Telebrands Inc, among the leading direct response television marketing companies in the United States, and Daryl Rand, president, Harrison Advertising and former president of the International Advertising buttociation (IAA), as well as trustee of the Hudson County Chambers of Commerce.
"It was really a series of occurrences that has culminated in this trip," says Rand, recalling her buttociation with Children's Hope, a non-profit that works for education in India's slums.
Rand was introduced to Children's Hope as part of an India-themed ball she was supposed to organie three years ago for the IAA. "Through that I met the then Consul General of India in New York, Shashi Tripathi, and we became friends. This trip could not have been possible without her support."
Tripathi is now the secretary (west) in India's ministry of external affairs.
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Once the decision to go had been finalised, Rand and Khubani approached New Jersey 300, a group of the most seasoned businesswomen in the state to recommend individuals who would likely benefit from the exchange.
"I think it is pure kismet; the way this has all come together," Rand says. "I am looking forward to this, and I thank God I have work to do now because I can barely wait, and there is already a change in my tenor because of the immediacy of it."
The delegation now comprises businesswomen from such diverse fields as arts, advertising, financial services, education and science, art and culture, and real estate, among others.
"We looked at companies that had revenues of over at least $2 million or women who were at the highest corporate levels; however, we realised that this would likely skew it in favor of senior executives, so we also decided to have four younger members in the delegation," Rand says.
"Last year, Daryl and I decided to do something to bring business from here and India closer, it would expand horizons for both sides and would go a long way in building bridges too," says Khubani.
Towards this, the Indian chambers of commerce will partner each member from the US with someone from a similar industry in India for a partnership session.
Besides, the five-day meeting will also feature addresses by Swati Piramal, Director of Strategic Alliances for Indian pharma major Nicholas Piramal, as well as panels that will include, among others, Nanik Rupani, head of the Indian Merchants' Chamber, and Nishi Suri, head of Ogilvy and Mather (Mumbai).
They will also be honored at a reception hosted by Angus Simmons, American Consul General in Mumbai, and real estate magnate Niranjan Hiranandani.
Volunteers from the Children's Hope foundation will also help the team, given the unfamiliarity of most of the members with India. "They will be there to help us find our way, as much as for information and cultural sensitivity," Rand says.
Khubani also says that the origin of the trip was not motivated by the business process outsourcing angle. "I think outsourcing has already peaked in India, and though it is one of the aspects, it is not the main one."
"This is an exercise to build an alliance of information and opportunity for both sides," says Rand, admitting that she has no specific agenda for herself.
"India is a burgeoning business opportunity but very few of us have an interface, so this will be a unique opportunity for everyone at the table."
Meanwhile, both Rand and Khubani say they are committed to making this last longer, instead of being a one-off visit. "I would love to have a return visit from their side, it would be a dream come true," says Rand, who only recently returned from a visit to India.
Khubani is more ambitious, saying she would like to extend the idea of 'sisters in business' to other countries, such as the United Kingdom and South Africa, for beginners. "There are large and vibrant Indian communities in those countries, and it would be a great continuation of this visit."
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