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Two Indian-Americans among Forbes America 50 successful women

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New York: Two Indian-origin women have made it to the Forbes list of America’s 50 most successful and self-made women.

India-born Neerja Sethi, 60, is ranked 14th with a net worth of $1.1 billion, while London-born Jayshree Ullal, 54, is ranked 30th with a net worth of $470 million in te inaugural “Most Successful, Self-Made Women in the US” list.

Elizabeth Anne Holmes, CEO of blood diagnostics company Theranos, tops the list with a net worth of $4.5 billion

According to Forbes magazine, “to be eligible for this list, women had to have substantially made their own fortunes. In cases where they started businesses with, and still share with, their husbands, we’ve assigned them half of that combined wealth”.

Neerja Sethi, an entrepreneur, is an alumnus of Delhi University and co-founded an IT consulting and outsourcing company, Syntel, with her husband, billionaire Bharat Desai in 1980.

“In its first year, the company only brought in $30,000 in revenue. Today, its market cap is well over $3 billion, and it has 24,000 employees worldwide,” Forbes stated in her profile.

“Sethi served as Syntel’s treasurer during its first 16 years of operations and is currently the vice president of corporate affairs, a role she has had since the company’s inception.”

Sethi, a mother of two, also sits on the board of directors of the company alongside her husband, who remains chairman.

“Born in India, Sethi holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics, a masters degree in computer science, and an MBA in operations research . Through their family foundation, the couple pledged $1 million in 2014 to the University of Michigan to develop a start-up accelerator,” the profile reads.

London-born Jayshree Ullal was raised in New Delhi, and took over computer networking company Arsita Networks in California as president and chief executive officer in 2008, when it had less than 50 employees, transforming it to one of Silicon Valley’s most valuable networking firms by 2014.

“Ullal, who owns more than 10 percent of Arista’s shares, is one of America’s wealthiest female executives. She took slightly more than an engineering team doing some good technology and turned it into the thriving network switch company it is today,” Forbes quoted Arista co-founder David Cheriton as saying.

Cheriton and fellow co-founder Andreas von Bechtolsheim had previously worked with Ullal at Cisco, where she spent 15 years. She had earlier served as vice president of marketing at Crescendo Communications, which Cisco acquired in 1993.

Ullal, also a mother of two, got an electrical engineering degree at San Francisco State University and a master’s degree in engineering management at Santa Clara University.

“Ullal has donated some shares to a family foundation created in honor of her sister, who died of lung cancer. She has also earmarked some of her holdings for her two children as well as her niece and nephew,” her profile reads.

The first edition of “The Most Successful, Self-Made Women in the US” released by renowned financial and business magazine Forbes, includes Oprah Winfrey, Madonna and Nora Roberts. At least 15 women on the list were born outside the US.

-IANS

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Issues Over Heritage In Illinois Election Campaign

"We vote by the type of person and what that person can do and not by anything else"

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Midterm Elections, illinois
Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, Illinois. VOA

In an Illinois congressional district where just six percent of the constituency is Indian American, the incumbent Democrat Congressman is being challenged by another Indian American.

“I see it as American versus American,” Jitendra Diganvker, or “JD” — the Republican challenger for the Illinois 8th district, said.

“Yeah we happen to be Indian,” he added dismissively.

“It is a good thing that members of minorities are running as Democrats or as Republicans,” the incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi said.

The Illinois 8th District is 51 percent Caucasian, 28 percent Hispanic,14 percent Asian, and four percent African-American, according to the most recent U.S. Census data. Of those Asians, about half are Indian, according to the campaigns’ estimates.

Views and policy

In this diverse district, voters care about issues more than identity.

“I don’t care about them being Indian American. I just hope that whichever one wins that they support and help the people,” said Michelle Sims, an employee at the DuPage Community College. “And if you’re Indian then, hey, that’s fine. Just help the people.”

A Jamaican-American university student, Amara Creighton, says she thinks it is great that two minority candidates are running and have support, regardless of their ethnicity.

“I think what’s more important is their views and their policies,” Creighton said. “I mean, it doesn’t really matter to me what their minority is as long as they’re standing up for us and doing good for us.”

This rare instance of two candidates of the same minority running against each other is reflective of a larger trend throughout the United States – record numbers of Indian Americans are running for office and winning their elections.

In 2016, four Indian Americans — one of them being Krishnamoorthi, were elected to the U.S. House and a fifth was elected to the Senate — outnumbering in just one election the total number of Indian Americans to serve as U.S. representatives.

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Incumbent Raja Krishnamoorthi goes by his first name, which his constituents can more easily pronounce. VOA

Krishnamoorthi, a businessman and former deputy state treasurer, was elected to his first term in the House of Representatives in 2016. He succeeded Democrat Tammy Duckworth, who was elected that year to the U.S. Senate.

Diganvker is a small businessman, Uber driver, and ardent member of the local Republican party. As the underdog, he is running as a “day-to-day” guy, and says he decided to run because he feels his opponent is out of touch with middle-class, hardworking families in his community.

But his opponent, who is completing his first term in Congress, says he is far from out of touch with his community. He visits each weekend to see his wife and children when Congress is in session.

Though both candidates are immigrants, their views on immigration policy differ. Krishnamoorthi, the Democrat, has been critical of Trump’s policies to decrease refugee allowances and speaks out against family separations at the border.

“We shouldn’t separate parents from children,” he told VOA. “That’s an abomination.”

Though Diganvker, too, opposes family separations at the border, he favors Trump’s promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico and supported the travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.

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Republican challenger Jitendra “JD” Digavnker says he is running as a “day-to-day” guy. VOA

“I’m also an immigrant. I followed the legal process and I believe in merit-based immigration,” he said, adding that merit-based immigration “brings the right skill set of people into our country.”

Krishnamoorthi, however, said that his parents legal immigration to the United States has not hardened his immigration stance.

“The fact that my parents came here legally and someone [else] did not, doesn’t mean that we should be inhumane or disrespectful, doesn’t mean we should treat them with anything less than dignity,” he said.

Diverse constituency

Both Congressional candidates are Hindu, but have wooed members of various religions in the community.

“When you come to this country there is no race,” said Farrukh Khan, a Muslim halal-shop owner in Schaumburg. “We should not go for the race, we should go for the people who more care about you and your community. Hindu or Muslim doesn’t matter.”

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Halal shop-owner Farrukh Khan says that he is unconsidered by the religion of either candidate. VOA

So as not to lose a customer, he did not indicate which man he will support in the November election.

Myrna Frankel has volunteered for Krishnamoorthi since his first campaign, an unsuccessful bid for Illinois comptroller in 2010. They know each other through the Jewish Beth Tikvah Congregation in Schaumburg where the congressman, who lives a few blocks away, sent his children for nursery school.

“He considers himself a JewDu – half Jewish, half Hindu,” she recounted with a laugh.

Myrna’s husband, Robert, said that this diversity and community relationships are typical of their community.

“Our state senator is from Mexico. Our state representative is from Puerto Rico. Our junior senator is of Thai background,” he said.

“We vote by the type of person and what that person can do and not by anything else,” he said.

Also Read: Democrats Gain Fundraising Advantage In The US Midterm Elections

When it comes to policy, voters in the Illinois 8th seem to heavily favor the incumbent. Early polling by Five Thirty Eight shows a “99% chance” that Krishnamoorthi will win. Rasmussen’s most recent poll shows a “Strong Dem” leaning in the midterm. As of June 30, Krishnamoorthi had raised more than $4 million compared to Diganvker’s $29,000.

But the challenger isn’t intimidated.

“People can give him $10 million and that’s not going to scare me,” he said, adding that despite recent polling, his campaign is “1,000 percent sure” that he will win in November. (VOa)