Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner at GIACC, and more
GIACC’s 2014 Board: Mark Peirson, Teri Simmons, Viren Mayani, Aruna Rao-McCann, Marilyn Pearlman, Jay Kalke, Sonjui Kumar, Unmesh Mishra.
GIACC, bursting the charts in 2014!
In the first quarter of 2014, the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (GIACC) saw a significant uptick in new members, sponsors, and returning members, thanks to an excellent programming schedule for the first six months of this year. Placing the events on calendar since the beginning of January helped manage the focus of the executive team as well as allowing members and guests to book their attendance well in advance. The rest of the year also has exciting events planned.
January snow storms delayed the start of events until February but did not dampen the spirit. The first event was a presentation on The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, jointly sponsored by Arnall Golden Gregory LLP (AGG) and the GIACC, at the law firm’s Atlanta office. The goal was to assist compliance of the mandate with knowledge, rather than fear born from ignorance. Featured speaker was Warren Kingsley, a partner at AGG, who covered the employer mandate as amended as well as compliance responsibilities of foreign companies with U.S. offices. Topics covered were the size of companies affected; what a company chooses to offer in terms of health insurance coverage; employer mandate penalties and how they are determined; definition of state exchanges; and what employers should do to prepare for the mandate. Kingsley also discussed how to determine whether a company is subject to the mandate (by number of employees) and whether a company will “pay or play” (offering minimum essential coverage, or not doing so and paying a penalty). He advised employers to prepare immediately, evaluate coverage to be offered, determine full time employees eligible for coverage; and construct a timeline for compliance with the Affordable Care Act for the next four years.
KSU's Indian-dance students perform before the Atlanta Hawks - Chicago Bulls game. (Photo: Bytegraph)
February also witnessed the first Indian Heritage Night with the Hawks, at Philips Arena. Guests were invited to a pre-game social at the Hawks Pavilion which included remarks from the Hon. Ajit Kumar, Consul General of India, photo opportunity with members of the Hawks Cheerleading Team, a draw for Hawks autographed memorabilia, and to top it all, a Bollywood dance performance on the main court: dance students of Kennesaw State University’s dance program performed a fusion of Bharat Natyam and Bollywood steps choreographed by Rifka Mayani of the Tandav Themes Dance Academy to the music of Slum Dog Millionaire’s song “Jai Ho,” rearranged by Portland State University’s Ethan Sperry for the a capella vocals. This was followed by GIACC President Viren Mayani and Consul General Ajit Kumar being escorted to the main court to greet the captains of the competing teams, the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls. In the brilliantly played game, the Bulls won by a very slim margin. With the heritage night receiving so much care from Hawks management, it is sure to become a staple annual event for many years to come.
(Back row) Chris Alexander, Mrs. Suzanne Hudgens, Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph T. Hudgens, GIACC President Viren Mayani, Unmesh Mishra, (front row) Sony Shivdasani, Dawn Litras, Joseph Langford, Pavi Gupta, Jay Kalke at “Samosas and Chai.”
Hon. Ralph T. Hudgens, Georgia’s Insurance Commissioner, and Mrs. Suzanne Hudgens were chief guests in March for the first “Samosas & Chai” of the year (GIACC’s business networking social event). The Commissioner spoke briefly about the many changes in the financial services industry and how the state is working with people across many cultures to promote the insurance industry. The meeting was hosted at the offices of Peachtree Planning North in Johns Creek (providers of financial strategies for individuals and businesses), by Sony Shivdasani, Joseph Langford, Dawn Litras, and Chris Alexander. Everyone attending thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed humor of the Commissioner. Delicious refreshments were sponsored by Suvidha.
In the first week of April, GIACC hosted Kate Smith, Great Britain’s Trade Officer for the Americas, who was on a week’s tour visiting UK consulates in Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The event was held at the law offices of Arnall Golden Gregory and included British Consul General Hon. Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, Kate Greer of Britain’s Atlanta Consulate, and some GIACC sponsors. Discussion included life in Atlanta for personal and professional growth of Indians, the attraction for businesses moving to the Southeast metropolis, and how UK businesses can become more active in Atlanta.
The month of April was capped with another first-ever presentation for small business owners by the Small Business Development Center’s Regional Director, Lydia Jones. At a sumptuous breakfast at the Georgian Club, Ms. Jones explained how her offices assist small businesses that need certification, finance procurement, presentations, growth strategy, and much more.
May will see the second social business mixer, with the international business community, Consul Generals of a few nations, and their respective bi-national chambers of commerce, over beer. Details of this “Summer & Suds” event are coming soon.
[The article above contains additional material not in the print and digital issues.]
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