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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont

The Silicon Valley Awards 2012 (SVA) ceremony, held at the Fremont Marriott SiliconValley, was held on November 18, 2012.


The awards were presented to honor and recognize people and organizations in the Business Entrepreneurship, Science and Technology, Non-profits, Films (Short Films)/Media and Writers/ Book Authors categories. It was a red carpet grand affair attended by 300 people including professionals and Silicon Valley leaders. Guest of Honor Indian Consulate General Mr.N.Parthasarathi and State Senator Ellen Corbett congratulated Organizer Sheetal Ohri for putting together the Awards event and recognizing professionals for their commitment to excellence in their areas of interest.


The black-tie sit down dinner event had keynote speaker Gurbaksh Chahal, founder of RadiumOne Inc. and BeProud Foundation, give an inspiring speech on how to end hate. He spoke about his foundation and was honored by State Senator Corbett for his entrepreneurial work in the Silicon Valley. Others recognized by State Senator Corbett’s office were SVA Organizer Sheetal Ohri, Anil Yadav, Entrepreneur and K.B.Sareen of New York Life, for Media and Community Service Awards, Reena Rao of  TVASIA and Poonam Bajaj of Sitaarre TV.

Gurbaksh Chahal announced Krishna Subramanian, CMO of Velti for Technology and Komal Sodhi of The Grand Trunk U.S. for Fashion in the Special Recognition Awards category.

The other dignitaries at the event were Assembly Member Elect Bill Quirk, Assembly Member Elect Rob Bonta, Representative from Assembly Member Bob Wieckowski’s office, Council Member Suzanne Chan, David Bonaccorsi, Santa Clara Council Member Debi Davis and Kathleen Watanabe,Trustee of Santa Clara Library  Board of Trustees and Advocate of Santa Clara Unified Schools


The voting process was done online and concluded with the judges choosing the top winners in each category. The award recipients for the SVA2012 Awards in the Entrepreneur Category was Praveen Suggala, Founder of Radio Zindagi 1550am and Restaurant Owner of Biryani Bowl and Parantha Point in Fremont, In the Media Category –  Vandana Kumar of India Currents and Palvinder Jagait of Playground Pictures were the winners. Pratham and IDEX won in the Non Profit category. Navneet Pannu and Ranjit Singh Gill in the Author/Writer category, Poonam Sansanwal in the Science/Technology category and Dr.Dalvir Pannu of Pannu Dental were winners as well.


“Silicon Valley Awards 2012 ‘Making a Difference’  is all about the people who live in Silicon Valley and who make a difference in one way or another to help the Valley grow and become a better and richer place, culturally and professionally. The objective of the SVA 2012 ‘Making a Difference’,  is to recognize these individuals, companies, non-profits in Silicon Valley who epitomize the Silicon Valley culture, its philosophy; these people work in a way which creates successful endeavors, this will be now an annual event”, said the organizer, Sheetal Ohri.

The emceeing was done by Patti Tripathi of TriPath Media who is the first Indian American to anchor CNN HLN; by Tiecon Entertainment Chair Harbir Kaur Bhatia; and Ankit Jain of Google. The judges panel included Dr. Raj Salwan, Chairman Fremont Chamber of Commerce and Head, Democratic Party in Fremont, Mr. R. Paul Singh, CEO of Documents.Me and Director and Marketing Chair, TiECon, Ms. Diana Rohini Lavigne, Chair of SAJA (South Asian Journalist Association) and Editor, NRI Achievers Magazine, Mr. Satish Jha, Chairman One Laptop Per Child India and Nicki Sun, Associate Producer MYX TV, and multimedia producer. The décor of the event was handled by Ajooba Events.

The highlight entertainment of the evening was “Laila Majnu” a Bollywood Theatre Production by Sheetal Ohri and choreographed by Uma Dhanapal of Kriyaa Dance Academy.

The Awards Ceremony also featured performances by Jazz and Indian Classical Music Santoor Maestro, Madan Oak of Wings on Stringsensemble, Latin-Indi Vocalist Giju John, Rebecca Dharmapalan and the First Indian Vocalist to be on Apple Products Devika Chawla performing live along with fashion shows by Amita Bal Couture, GG Connections and La Maison India.

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Vandana Kumar

Vandana Kumar is a publishing executive with a 35-year track record in the industry. She leads the India Currents Foundation as President and CEO. As a new immigrant, she co-founded India Currents magazine...