Penn Masala, the world’s first Hindi a cappella group, was formed in 1996 by a group of students at the University of Pennsylvania. Since then, the group has performed throughout the USA, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Houston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC (at the Kennedy Center with A.R. Rahman). Internationally, the group has performed in Toronto, London, Mumbai, and Kolkata.
Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what to do with your life. Or, if you do know what your life’s passion is, you don’t know what concrete steps to take to turn your dreams into reality. That’s where Chief Inspiration Officer Suparna Bhasin, 35, of Passion Into Practice comes to the rescue. She and the company provide clients with coaching services that follow a proven methodology to help people transform their lives and align their careers with their passions. In addition to delivering services to clients, Suparna also makes strategic decisions about how to expand the company. The aim is to offer services and products globally, reaching and inspiring millions of people. Prepare to be inspired by Suparna in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
Zackary Morad is the Founder and CEO of yallatunes.com LLC, an Arabic music video web site that’s making heads turn. The site uses a player that won an EMMY in innovation and engineering for video on demand in 2006. Obtaining the rights to the player was a big accomplishment for Zachary and there are definitely many more are in store. Currently Zackary is working to launch the website and bring Arabic music and culture to people across the globe. Yallatunes.com is unique because it brings a social networking component to a site that serves as a source of music and videos. Zackary’s vision for the site is that it will bridge cultural differences through music. He believes “music is a message of love and understanding,” and he believes yallatunes.com can spread this message. To find out more about Zackary Morad or to read more about his innovative venture, yallatunes.com, read on in this week’s MidEastConnect.
A company merger isn’t exactly an inspiration point for most, but for Phnewfula it was the perfect opportunity. She was working at MCA records when it went through a merger, which provided her with about a month of downtime. She decided to utilize the time and pursue her plan of opening a clothing store. Instead of going out and looking for real estate for her store, Phnewfula started a website. Her innovative approach is what made her business a success. The Red Lemon Store is a one stop shopping destination with clothes, beauty products and great gifts. Phnewfula shows that with a little ingenuity, determination and style you can achieve your goal.
During his time as an entrepreneur, William Choi learned from experience that even people with a high degree of business acumen still need a “right-hand man” to give them trusted advice that will take their companies to the next level. With that realization, William, 32, founded CB Williams Business Advisors Group, which provides firms with the wise counsel they need to be successful. He assists businesses that include start-ups, companies in distress, and firms that want to expand. Whether the company needs help executing a strategy internationally or changing something within the firm itself, William’s consultancy is there to meet clients’ needs. To learn more about William, his consulting firm, and the personal travels that have taken him from Damascus to North Korea, check out this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
Creative Director Jaime Salm of MIO, a sustainable design lab based in Philadelphia, is living proof that the “trend” of green living is more factually a deeply rooted lifestyle. As designer, researcher, and manufacturer, he fills his days inventing feasible ways to merge the concepts of environmental utility to every day practicality. Jaime and his co-founder/brother, Isaac, focus on projects that develop wares which are easily recycled, shipped, disposed, and dissembled. Some of these products to date include wallpaper, lighting, shelving, and flooring, with tables and seating in the pipeline of developed products. Growing up with a hankering to tinker with objects around the house, Jaime never really foresaw that this everyday past time would become his sustaining career; but with business booming monthly, the pieces are in place for many professional sucesses to come. For more information on Jaime Salm, read on in this week’s The Latin Connect to learn how MIO makes green design accessible, affordable, and fun!
Providing healthcare in developing countries often poses unique challenges: Electricity comes and goes; Internet access is unreliable; and various resources are in limited supply. Addressing these challenges is where Dr. Vikram Sheel Kumar, 30, has found his niche. As co-founder of Dimagi, Vikram leads a team that creates technologies specially customized for the conditions encountered in the developing world. For example, it has co-developed an open-source electronic medical records system in Zambia. Patients have smart cards that contain their medical records. This technology gives healthcare workers access to patients’ information in places where telecommunications are limited and paper records aren’t working. Another innovation is Ca:sh, a mobile electronic medical records system. Outreach workers that visit patients have a handheld device, and the Ca:sh software application on it lets them access patients’ information and enter updates. To learn more about Vikram and Dimagi, check out this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
Warren Brown, 36, has been stirring up a storm of praise for his bakery CakeLove. In 2006 he was recognized by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as Entrepreneur of the Year. And in both 2005 and 2006 CakeLove was awarded Best Bakery in Washington, DC. Warren’s honors speak for themselves, however what they don’t say is how he got started. Warren was working as a lawyer when he decided to switch his suit for an apron. He took a risk and started baking delicious desserts with all natural ingredients. For the quality and success of his work Warren has been featured on CNN, the Food Network, and in The New York Times. The success of CakeLove is great but even better is its dedication to the environment. As part of a partnership with Washington DC Mayor Adrian Fenty and Clean Currents, it has switched to
100% green power (wind power) in an effort to reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and to encourage greater energy independence. And for those of us outside the Washington DC area there is hope, he recently opened locations in Maryland and Virginia. One can only hope he expands all across the country! To read more about Warren Brown and Cake Love read on in this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
Do you think that the life of a lawyer is working long hours until 2 a.m. and having your accomplishments measured by your “billable hours?” It doesn’t have to be that way. There are alternatives. You can be a lawyer and still have a life, as Sandra T.M. Chong most certainly proves. As Assistant General Counsel for the San Diego Unified School District, she provides legal counsel on school construction, labor compliance, student rights, and other issues. She also negotiates settlements to litigation and disputes, as well as identifies potential liabilities. But her life isn’t limited to being a lawyer. Sandra, 35, loves eating and exercising, so in addition to dishing out legal advice, she also regularly serves up restaurant reviews and exercise tips. To learn more about Sandra, her career, and her extracurricular activities, check out this week’s Young & Professional Profile.
Failing Chemistry never ended so well. Mary Castillo was a second year pre-med student at USC when things began unraveling. During a trip to Sedona, for Spring Break, she walked into a gift shop and picked up a Storyteller Doll. Mary knew in that moment that the goal she was working towards was not her true dream. She realized that her plan of becoming a doctor, making lots of money, and retiring early to write, would not work for her. Instead, she decided that she would have to take a risk and follow her passion in writing, a chance that paid off. To date, she has written
five books and continues to write every other day for eight hours. To learn more about Mary and her life as a writer read on in this week’s Young & Professional profile.