NetIP Conference: from flash mob to focus on charity
Comedian Rajiv Satyal and ESPN sports anchor Kevin Negandhi at the NetIP conference in Atlanta. (Photo: Bytegraph.com)
The Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP) Conference returned to Atlanta over Labor Day weekend (August 29-September 1, 2014). Almost a decade ago, it had been here with attractions like actress Pooja Kumar, Suketu Mehta, Mohini Baradhwaj, and others. This year, there was a conference app as well as use of social media. This conference was held at the Westin hotel in Buckhead with about 300 people attending.
The conference was branded RESURGENCE—the same motto as the city of Atlanta’s. Conference lead Anand Bhika said this is a way to showcase what Atlanta has to offer and how Indian Americans are pushing forward in several fields, including Nina Davaluri's recent Miss America title last year.
Panels were divided into three areas: REBRAND, REIMAGINE, REJUVENATE. Topics included "How to be an effective leader," "Pursuing your passions," "Healthy eating for South Asian diets," and "True Colors Personality Leadership." Justin Reeves presented a short snippet of "Girl Rising," a collection of short films focusing on empowering women through education. Other sessions included a "Fast Pitch" business competition similar to the TV show Shark Tank. Also featured was "Corporate Networking Night" when attendees could meet speakers and potential recruiters.
Mayor Kasim Reed at the welcome reception. (Photo: Bytegraph.com)
The conference had no shortage of prominent speakers. ESPN sports anchor Kevin Negandhi spoke about the struggles he faced as one of the first Indian-American sportscasters. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed kicked off the conference at the opening ceremony right after a flash mob coordinated by Rupal Patel. Other exciting events included brunch circles, a panel on True Colors leadership and personality tests, a race relations panel, and a black tie masquerade ball.
NetIP officers, from left: Pritesh Patel, Archith Seshadri, Khanjan Gandhi, and Anand Bhikha. (Photo: Bytegraph.com)
A huge portion of the conference focused on the idea that “Charity begins with Children.” On Saturday morning a Day of Service event was spearheaded by Pritesh Patel and Uma Patel. More than 40 volunteers woke up bright and early to learn about Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and stuff bags full of children's supplies. The fundraising event was interactive with participants making video testimonials while playing games to add more items to their bags. Later in the weekend, local nonprofit leaders talked about the struggles nonprofit organizations face. Another beneficiary of the charity drive was Asha for Education, and the gala banquet raised more than $12,000 through a matching rally and auction to benefit the Nishtha project and the NetIP Foundation.
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