Sonal Shah, Parag Mehta, Seema Patel and Mitul Desai - Young, vibrant, talented and dynamic Gujaratis from the White House and Federal Government will participate in World Gujarati Conference 2012
by Dr Tushar Patel on 2012-08-06
The Gujaratis in the White House and Federal Government in Washington DC will represent Gujarat and their experience as successful Gujarati in Federal Government during the three days event at New Jersey Convention and Expo center in Edison, NJ from August 31 to September 2, 2012. Young, talented and dynamic Gujaratis like Sonal Shah, Parag Mehta, Seema Patel and Mitul Desai from various Government branches and the White House are confirmed to attend the event and participate in the mainstream discussion, debate and seminar on "Success of Gujjus in Federal Government".
Sonal Shah spent her career as an entrepreneur and innovator in the government, business and the non-profit sectors. She is the former Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the first White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation focused on investing in and scaling innovative models in the social sector to solve some of the nation’s toughest challenges. She also served on President Obama\\\'s Transition Board overseeing the Technology, Innovation, Government Reform working group. Before joining the White House, Shah led Google’s global development initiatives for its philanthropy, Google.org. Prior to Google, Shah was a Vice President at Goldman Sachs, Inc. where she developed and managed the firm’s environmental strategy. From 1995-2002, Shah was an economist at the Department of Treasury, where she directed the office for African Nations, worked on the Asian Financial Crisis and post conflict development in Bosnia and Kosovo. Shah received her MA in Economics from Duke University and BA in Economics from the University of Chicago. She is an Aspen Crown Fellow and a Next Generation Fellow.
Parag Mehta is a communications specialist with more than a decade of experience in government, politics and community advocacy. He began his career as a speechwriter in the Clinton administration and is now a highly sought after public speaker in his own right, commanding audiences across the country. Mehta served on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team as Public Liaison to the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI). He also managed then President-Elect Obama’s outreach efforts around education and the arts. In March of 2009, former Washington Governor Gary Locke recruited Mehta to manage his confirmation process to become the 36th U.S. Secretary of Commerce. Locke’s confirmation was one of the smoothest and speediest of the Obama cabinet.
During the 2008 elections, Mehta served as Director of External Communications for the Democratic National Committee. In that role, he worked to keep political opinion leaders, Democratic surrogates and allied organizations on message with the Obama-Biden campaign. Mehta previously spent three years as National Training Director for the DNC, organizing trainings for more than 22,000 Party staff, candidates, leaders and activists in all 50 states and around the world. Mehta also managed a team of 183 field organizers who ran training programs in 49 states. During his four-year tenure at the DNC, Mehta was one of the most visible leaders of the Democratic Party and was frequently called upon to represent the committee at conferences, debates, fundraisers, conventions, on Webinars and to visiting delegations of foreign leaders.
In 2003, Mehta served as a Deputy Political Director for Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, based in Burlington, Vermont. There he handled Congressional and union endorsements for the campaign and coordinated political call time with the candidate. He also directed the campaign’s Asian, Arab, Muslim and Pacific Islander outreach, working with elected officials, community leaders, and grassroots activists to build support for Governor Dean. In 2000, Mehta was one of 400 finalists selected from graduate programs across the country for the prestigious Presidential Management Fellows program. As a fellow, Mehta spent two years working in the Federal Government first as a policy analyst for the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and later as a speechwriter for the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. He is a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin where he received his B.A. in the Plan II Honors Program. He was awarded a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2000. Currently, he works at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, DC.
Seema N. Patel serves as Advisor for Labor and Civil Rights at the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. She came to the Initiative from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Solicitor, Division of Fair Labor Standards, in Washington, D.C., where she litigated wage and hour and whistleblower cases in federal appellate courts, drafted regulations, and assisted in the development of policy guidance regarding myriad federal wage and hour laws. Prior to federal service, Seema advised the Mayor and City of Oakland on matters related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. After graduating from U.C. Berkeley Law School, Seema clerked for the Honorable Andre M. Davis, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland (currently, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit), and the Honorable Harry Pregerson, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. She then relocated to Gujarat, India, to work with Manav Sadhna, an NGO based at Mahatma Gandhi\\\'s Ashram, where she organized female slum-dwelling "ragpickers" (trash collectors) into a cooperative society and advocated on their behalf for state recognition and benefits. While at U.C. Berkeley Law School, Seema worked in the Community Economic Justice Unit at East Bay Community Law Center and was actively engaged in Oakland Chinatown community organizing efforts. She also served as co-Editor-in-Chief of the Asian American Law Journal, Diversity Editor of the California Law Review, Symposium Editor for the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law and President of the South Asian Law Students’ Association. Prior to law school, Seema worked for the Union of Needletrade, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE; now, UNITE-HERE) in Edison, New Jersey and New York City organizing Indian and Vietnamese immigrant laundry workers and spent two years working with Manav Sadhna on children\\\'s education and women\\\'s empowerment programs. She received her B.A. in Political Science, Rhetoric and German from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a member of the California Bar.
Mitul Desai is Senior Advisor for Strategic Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State, where he engages private sector, NGO, and Diaspora organizations to build partnerships around a variety of issues impacting South Asia, including entrepreneurship, philanthropy, trade, and technology. Mitul came to government from the corporate arena, where he worked as an investment bank analyst, entrepreneur, and intellectual property attorney. While in the private sector, Mitul held positions at Merck, global law firms, and the investment bank Piper Jaffray. He received his B.A. in chemistry and philosophy from Rutgers University and his J.D. from the Boston University School of Law.