GOPIO-CT hosts youth and young professionals annual meeting

Indian American High School students from Southern Connecticut joined young professionals at a networking luncheon event in Stamford on December 24th. Organized by the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin-Connecticut Chapter (GOPIO-CT) at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford, it was a house full event. GOPIO-CT has been organizing this event for the last twelve years. The program brings together an opportunity for the high school students to interact with college students and young professionals.

The program was put together by Dr. Beena Ramachandran, a teacher at Greenwich High School and who also teaches at University Connecticut Stamford Campus. The networking event started with greetings from GOPIO-CT youth leader Vedant Gannu followed by a formal welcome by GOPIO-CT’s newly elected President Ashok Nichani. The keynote address was delivered by Mrs. Rama Ramachandran, Chief Technology Officer at Black Diamond Capital, a $12 billion financial services firm in Greenwich, CT.  At Black Diamond, Rama is responsible for all Technology initiatives. 

From left — GOPIO-CT President Ashok Nichani, Curren Iyer, Serena Iyer, Rama Ramachandran, Anand Chavan, Nami Kaur and organizer & moderator Beena Ramachandran

Rama has over 25+ years of experience in the Financial Services Industry and has authored several books on computer science.  He has also spoken at several industry conferences and been on panels.  He teaches Math and Statistics for the MBA Program at Uconn Stamford.

As the keynote speaker, Mr. Ramachandran gave the audience an overview of the world of finance and how technology permeates every aspect of it. He provided insights into what companies look for when choosing candidates for jobs in finance.  He also gave tips on how to network and what resources to use. Finally, he laid out 7 life skills that students need to learn and master in college - chief among them being time management, teamwork and collaboration.

The first panelist was Anand Chavan, Founder and CEO of GuardX, a profitable company running for 4 years.  Mr. Chavan has 18+ years of industry experience in multiple software development, technology leadership, strategist role with Amaranth, UBS, Citi, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan & Bear Stearns.  

Mr. Chavan described his career trajectory and how he ended up being an entrepreneur.  He stressed that one should find what one is good at and stick with it.  He finished by saying that the coming years are the best for someone deciding to start a company with a good idea.

The second panelist was Ms. Nami Kaur, a former Analyst Relations Manager at IBM in Marketing and Public Relations.  She currently volunteers for GOPIO international and Children’s Hope in India.

Ms. Kaur explained how, over the years, she has reinvented herself by going back to school several times and updating her skills and education. She stressed on the importance of contributing back to society as a way of moving forward in life.

A third panelist, Ms. Serena Iyer, a Sr. Manager in Strategy & Operations at Dreamworks Animation, recounted her life-path and how she ended up at Dreamworks after Goldman Sachs & an MBA from Harvard Business School. Some of the advice Serena gave to students were: Be good to everybody – above and below you in the company.  You never know when you will need them.  She also said you should form a good support group of friends so you can lean on them during times of stress.  

The last panelist, Mr. Curren Iyer, is a Multi-Solution Consultant at Adobe who graduated from Harvard College.  Mr. Iyer said students get hired because of their skill set and not because they went to a good school.  

“Also, if you don’t get into your dream school during your undergrad years you can always try again for your Masters degree,” Cuirren added.

The program ended with GOPIO-CT Advisor and Trustee Dr. Thomas Abraham calling on youth and young professionals to get involved in various activities including volunteering at the soup kitchen with GOPIO-CT sponsors seven times in a year and other social service activities. Lunch was served after the seminar and panel discussion where the participants had opportunity to network. GOPIO-CT plans more such program for the youth and young professionals.

Over the last 13 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities.

Some of the participants with speakers and GOPIO-CT officials after the Youth and Young Professionals Interactive Session

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