AAHOA Event Results in $51,000 Donation to Charities

Aug 19, 2016 0

ATLANTA– Leaders of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) have announced the annual Northwest Region charity golf tournament resulted in donations of $51,000 to local and national charities.

The event, held at The Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in Aloha, Ore., attracted 138 golfers from across the hospitality industry. Money raised is being donated to Make-a-Wish Oregon, the Autism Society of Oregon, and BEST (Businesses Ending Trafficking and Slavery).

“Anytime we can donate more than $50,000 to these important charities it is a great day for AAHOA and our entire industry,” said Chip Rogers, AAHOA president and CEO. “Lives will be changed in a positive manner because of the investments we make in these charitable organizations. Our hope is that this event will soon result more than $100,000 a year in donations.”

BEST Executive Director, Mar Brettmann says investments like the one from AAHOA make a big difference in their success, “We can change lives, and even save lives, by stopping human trafficking, but it takes resources. The impact of donations like this will be felt for generations.”

The annual AAHOA Northwest Regional Charity Golf Tournament has raised over $300,000 during the last decade. It is one of four annual charity tournaments held by the association across the United States.

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JDA Announces $570 Million Equity Investment from Blackstone and New Mountain Capital

Aug 19, 2016 0

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz–JDA Software Group, Inc. announced that it has completed an agreement with funds managed by Blackstone (NYSE: BX) and New Mountain Capital (NMC) to effect a recapitalization of the company through a $570 million equity investment.

Viral Patel

Viral Patel

The new capital will be used to fuel JDA’s product innovation and growth plans to deliver next generation cloud-based solutions and accelerate opportunities for current product development and enhancements. With this strategic investment, JDA will be well-positioned to continue building on its market-leading portfolio of supply chain and omni-channel retail solutions. The new equity investment is expected to be completed by early Q4 2016, pending customary closing conditions.

“We are thrilled to partner with New Mountain Capital to make this strategic investment in JDA,” said Viral Patel, Managing Director at Blackstone. “We are confident that the company is primed for accelerating growth in the years ahead.”

Blackstone is one of the world’s leading investment firms.

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Women Start 50 Percent of Businesses but Get Only 3 Percent of Venture Capital Funding

Aug 18, 2016 0

PROVIDENCE, RI–With a packed crowd that allowed for minimal standing room, the IIT Alumni Leadership Conference in Providence kicked off to a great start with a well-organized set of sessions by the IIT Women, saying that although women start about 50 percent of businesses, they receive only three percent of venture capital funding.

2016 Leadership Conference, which was held at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, RI, from August 12 to 14, was organized by the IIT Association of Greater New England and PANIIT. The theme of the conference was: “Leading Transformation for a Better Tomorrow: Technologies that lift the human spirit.”

iit-women-audience-sThe conference was chaired by Raj Laad and co-chaired by Mandy Deb Pant.  The conference brought together an array of thought leaders in areas where New England leads the rest of the world, such as Life Sciences and Healthcare, Energy and Environment, Big Data, and Education.

Mandy Pant

Mandy Pant

In her introduction speech, Pant, IIT Kharagpur alumna and Co-Chair of the conference, emphasized conference goals of networking, learning, inspiring and influencing.

The panel on May the Force Be With Women Entrepreneurs was moderated by IIT Kanpur alumna, Gitanjali Swamy, an entrepreneur herself.

“The panelists shared some very startling statistics including the fact that women entrepreneurs start about 50% of businesses, but get only 3% of VC funding– a stat that hasn’t changed over a decade,” Pant said. “The panelists agreed that women are enterprising about finding solutions to funding needs, but additional techniques that could help range from establishing deeper networking for women to recognition for men who enable women entrepreneurs.”

The panel on solving the hidden challenges that women face in leadership moderated by IIT Bombay Alumna, Durriya Doctor talked about micro-inequities that make it harder for women to climb. Panelist, Anu Chitrapu quipped on the importance of women speaking up and raising their hand to volunteer whenever an opportunity arises as it may open new doors.

IIT-women-1-s“What differentiated this panel from other panels on similar topics was that here all the women related their personal stories of their challenges and how they overcame them,” said Chitrapu. “This was a panel where topics like unconscious bias were discussed via real experiences with solutions on how to deal with them.”

Anu Chitrapu

Anu Chitrapu

A session on how to become a person of influence was led by Jo Miller on Friday. Saturday saw two powerful panels, one on women advancing the common good through technology and one on women impact the next generation of STEM professionals. The former featured India New England News 2013 Woman of the Year, Poonam Ahluwalia and India New England News  2012 Woman of the Year and IIT Bombay alumna, Ranjani Saigal who shared deep insights on how each has impacted the social community through their work.

Panelist and IIT Madras alum, Savitha Sridharan, through her startup, talkied about targeting lighting up 100 villages across the world with renewable energy solutions . Young panelist Amrita Saigal inspired the attendess by sharing details about her MIT startup that has been launched to provide women in rural India access to biodegradable sanitary pads. The STEM panel was moderated by INEN 2016 finalist, Rita Advani.

The fact that the parallel system of expensive tutoring is what is impeding girls in India today from making it into coveted STEM institutions of higher learning was shared by panelist Prof Sudeshna Sarkar, IIT Kharagpur alum and now HOD of the Computer Science and Engineering department.

A dynamic mentor/mentee session led by Ranjani Saigal and Meenakshi Narain (IIT Kanpur alum and Brown Univ professor ) wrapped up the women’s sessions at the conference on Sunday, where conference co-chair, Mandy Deb Pant requested that in addition to the initial goals called out at the conference start, the attendees should take what they have learnt forward helping each other out.

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Vandana Tilak Joins Akshaya Patra USA Board of Directors

Aug 18, 2016 0

Stoneham, MA – Vandana Tilak, Los Angeles Chapter Chair, Ayurveda practitioner and long-time supporter of Akshaya Patra has joined the Akshaya Patra USA Board of Directors. In this role, Tilak will continue her crucial work of spreading and growing awareness about Akshaya Patra in all 13 Chapters in the US and in India, building on the organization’s expansion plans via new kitchens and the number of children served.

Vandana Tilak

Vandana Tilak

Akshaya Patra operates the world’s largest school meal program, serving 1.5 million children daily in 10 states in India from 24 kitchen locations and is continually expanding to reach its objective to serve 5 million children.  Akshaya Patra recently celebrated its 2 billionth meal served since inception.

Commenting on her new role, Tilak stated, “It is an honor and a privilege to serve India’s children by joining the Board of Directors of Akshaya Patra USA.” Akshaya Patra USA’s Los Angeles Chapter, held a benefit dinner on August 6th to honor Manu and Rika Shah who donated over $1 million towards a new kitchen in Bhuj, India.

Emily Rosenbaum, CEO of Akshaya Patra USA welcomed Tilak, saying, “Vandana works for the children like no one else I have ever known. She wakes up every day thinking about the cause, the children and their hopes and dreams.”

Chairman of Akshaya Patra USA’s Board of Directors, Desh Deshpande added, “Akshaya Patra is very fortunate to have a caring, compassionate, and genuine leader like Vandana Tilak in our organization. Her dedication shows through in all of her hard work, all of her interactions, and everything she does to help move Akshaya Patra to the next level.”

Akshaya Patra’s hot, fresh school meals have been linked to increased school enrollment, and improved health and academic performance for the disadvantaged children attending India’s government schools.

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Infer Launches Industry’s First Predictive Account-Based Behavior Scoring

Aug 17, 2016 0

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.–Infer Inc., a provider of predictive technologies, launched an advanced account behavior scoring offering, which helps companies accelerate revenue generation by supercharging their account-based marketing (ABM) programs.

“Our newest predictive models empower sales and marketing teams with previously unattainable ABM metrics that show which accounts – and specifically which contacts at each account – are expressing the highest levels of marketing engagement,” said Vik Singh, co-founder and CEO of Infer. “We deliver this unprecedented transparency by using advanced machine learning to produce crystal-clear predictions that make it even easier for any business to identify whitespace gaps in its pipeline and find high-potential target accounts that deserve more attention sooner rather than later.”

Vik Singh

Vik Singh

This latest predictive innovation bolsters a company’s ABM strategies and tactics by helping to identify marketing-qualified accounts (MQAs), drive engagement with the right people at the right times, gather faster feedback on ABM programs, and measure pipeline acceleration. Infer’s Account-Based Behavior Scoring brings valuable account engagement insight right into a company’s CRM system, so that go-to-market teams can easily see which people are showing increased activity, and then pinpoint accounts that are predicted to buy a particular product within a set time period (i.e. the next three weeks). As a result, marketers can analyze the quality of their ABM campaigns in real-time and use this information to continuously test-and-invest various content, brand assets, channels and initiatives.

Founded in 2010, Infer delivers a predictive-first platform that helps companies win more customers. It leverages proven data science to rapidly model the untapped data sitting in enterprises, along with thousands of signals from the web. Customers include several large enterprises and numerous high growth companies like AdRoll, Atlassian, Cloudera, Concur, New Relic, Tableau, Xactly and Zendesk. Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Infer is funded by leading investors, including Redpoint Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Social+Capital Partnership, Sutter Hill Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners.

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Mercer and Accolade form alliance to help navigate the complexities of the healthcare system

Aug 13, 2016 0

SEATTLE–Mercer, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, and Accolade, an on-demand healthcare concierge for employers, health plans and health systems, have launched Mercer Complete Care, powered by Accolade, a comprehensive, high-touch healthcare engagement and clinical management solution, according to a company statement.

“We build trusting relationships with members unlike any other healthcare organization, and the results are smarter healthcare decisions and better health outcomes,” said Rajeev Singh, Accolade’s CEO. “Mercer is a trusted advisor to top employers all over the country and our alliance is a strong endorsement of our proven solution. We share the vision that consumer engagement is driven by a combination of compassion, science and technology and we’re thrilled to work together to make Mercer Complete Care an industry-leading solution.”

Rajeev Singh (Photo:  Accolade)

Rajeev Singh (Photo: Accolade)

The need for employers to offer their employees a trusted person to support them through the healthcare system is underscored by the fact that 80 percent percent of consumers say they would value this type of service yet only a little more than half (56 percent) of large employer programs include even a basic advocacy solution, the statement said.

Mercer Complete Care unifies the clinical resources and expertise of both organizations, bringing together Accolade’s technology platform, support infrastructure and Accolade Health Assistants® with Mercer’s program design, implementation and clinical oversight. Consumers using Mercer Complete Care simply contact an Accolade Health Assistant via the phone, mobile application or online to address their questions and begin their relationship. The program is employer–sponsored, compatible with most insurance carrier(s) and will contain performance guarantees related to return on investment.

Accolade Health Assistants will serve as a single point of contact to help Mercer Complete Care members navigate the complexities of the healthcare system and access the providers and services available to them through their benefits. The Health Assistants work closely with a team of nurses, doctors, pharmacists, social workers and behavioral and other specialists who support members as they receive their care from their own providers. Accolade’s open technology platform integrates with other technology and healthcare point solutions to drive market-leading utilization and engagement levels across the entire healthcare ecosystem.

“We are very excited to combine healthcare engagement and clinical management into one comprehensive solution,” said Mercer’s Jim McNary, North America Region Business Leader for Health & Benefits. “We believe Mercer Complete Care is a truly unique advocacy and clinical management model for the complex and fast-moving health care environment that all of our clients, and their employees, find themselves in today.”

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Intercontinental Exchange Launches ICE Swap for Trading Credit Default Swaps

Aug 13, 2016 0

NEW YORK–Intercontinental Exchange, an operator of global exchanges and clearing houses and provider of data and listings services, announced the launch of ICE Swap, a platform for trading cleared single name credit default swaps (CDS) in a central limit order book, the company announced.

ICE Swap leverages Creditex’s electronic trading technology and consolidates orders from both buy- and sell-side market participants to create a pool of liquidity for single name CDS.

Krishan Singh

Krishan Singh

“ICE Swap is the only single name CDS platform offering cleared-only liquidity across the credit spectrum while extending established electronic trading protocols to the entire CDS market,” said Krishan Singh, President of ICE Swap Trade. “We’re pleased that a number of trades have already been executed by both the sell-side and buy-side in the first few days post launch. We worked closely with a range of participants to optimize our protocols to improve liquidity, transparency, and confidence in this important market.”

ICE Swap is the first platform to include several innovative features, including both anonymous and ‘name give up’ execution in the same order book, meaning that participants can choose to reveal their identity after the trade is consummated. It also has full pre- to post-trade connectivity, including pre-trade credit checks and direct-to-clearing workflow.

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Carrum Health Named Finalist in Harvard Business School-Harvard Medical School Health Acceleration Challenge

Aug 12, 2016 0

BOSTON– The Forum on Health Care Innovation, a collaboration between Harvard Business School (HBS) and Harvard Medical School (HMS), announced the four finalists in its Health Acceleration Challenge, which focuses on taking compelling, already-implemented health care solutions and helping them to grow and increase their impact through powerful networking and funding opportunities.

One of the finalists is Carrum Health, which is founded by Sachin Jain. Carrum Health directly connects self-insured employers to top-quality regional healthcare providers through the industry’s first comprehensive bundled payment solution. Jain founded Carrum Health in San Francisco in 2013. Prior to that, he served as a management consultant Booz & Company.

Sachin Jain

Sachin Jain

Addicaid, Carrum Health, Ochsner Health System, and Radial Analytics emerged as the 2016 finalists in the challenge. The finalists will share $150,000 in prize money now, with an additional $50,000 going to the eventual winner, who will be named a year from now, after the four finalists have pursued their dissemination plans. All of them will become the subject of an HBS case study.

Since its launch in 2014, the Health Acceleration Challenge has received over 600 applications and attracted more than 25,000 online visitors from 29 countries.

The 2016 Health Acceleration Challenge finalists are:

Addicaid: An addiction wellness platform for patients, payers, and providers.

Carrum Health: Rationalizing cost and quality in healthcare…bundle by bundle.

Ochsner Health System: A technology-enabled and precision-based model of care to conveniently and proactively manage the nation’s most prevalent chronic condition.

Radial Analytics: An evidence-driven decision support platform to help hospitals reduce post-acute costs for shared-risk patients while improving outcomes.

A team of 24 judges–a mix of clinicians, health care professionals, and academics–specializing in health care and innovation, reviewed the applications. Applications were rated based on the three Challenge criteria of impact, evidence, and dissemination, and given an overall score to create a short list of 21 innovations. These 21 innovations went through additional rounds of judging to identify 7 ‘shortlisted’ candidates and, ultimately, 4 strong finalists.

The funding for the Health Acceleration Challenge was provided by a generous gift from Howard E. Cox, Jr. (MBA 1969), a former general partner and now advisory partner in one of the country’s first and most successful venture capital firms, Greylock Partners, and a member of both the HBS Healthcare Initiative Advisory Board and the HMS Board of Fellows. During his long and distinguished career, Cox has been involved in the funding and development of many successful healthcare ventures.

“Health care delivery often suffers from extreme fragmentation and localization. This Challenge is a step in trying to change that,” said Cara Sterling, Director of the HBS Health Care Initiative. “It’s exciting to see innovations dealing with all different parts of the health care value chain. These ideas, and many others we received, have the potential to make a great impact on the U.S. health care system if scaled up in a dramatic way.”

The HBS-HMS Forum on Health Care Innovation is led by a steering committee composed of Sterling as well as MBA Class of 1961 Professor of Management Practice Richard G. Hamermesh and Albert J. Weatherhead III Professor of Business Administration Robert S. Huckman, all from Harvard Business School, and from Harvard Medical School, Dr. Barbara J. McNeil, Ridley Watts Professor and founding head of the Department of Health Care Policy, and Joseph P. Newhouse, John D. MacArthur Professor of Health Policy and Management.

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Microsoft most innovative place to work

Aug 12, 2016 0

San Francisco– Microsoft’s employees are more innovative than Apple’s, and Facebook’s staff are less creative than most tech workers, says a study led by Indian-origin entrepreneur.

The findings showed that Facebook lags behind the others in cultivating a culture of creativity. Microsoft employees are more innovative than those at Apple.

“The study data tell us that in terms of adventurousness, Microsoft employees tend to be neck-and-neck with Apple’s, and much more adventurous than Google, Facebook, or IBM employees,” Samar Birwadker, Founder and CEO of Good&CO, was quoted as saying to fastcompany.com on Friday.

Satya Nadella

Satya Nadella

As a result of being among the first social media platforms on the Internet, Facebook may be considered among the most innovative companies in the world. However, its early successes have resulted in a more conservative effort to sustain them.

“They have (Facebook) always had that reputation [of being innovative], and I think that now becomes a subconscious thing, that Facebook is innovative, but the current place they are in as a business doesn’t require them to personally be innovative,” Birwadker said.

“They (Facebook) invented social networks, and there’s always been this layer of innovation,” Birwadker explained adding, “but with more pressure on revenue, and especially on mobile and advertisements, I think we are seeing a lot less risk taking and adventurousness by their employees.”

On the other hand, Microsoft is often perceived as less innovative, because the more established tech giant has lagged behind the growth of its competitors.

Microsoft has always made a lot of money doing things the right, traditional, organised way, the study said.

“But with the success of social platforms and companies like Google Microsoft realised that they need to focus on consumer first, whereas they have always been B2B,” Birwadker stated, pointing out that with the arrival of Microsoft’s latest CEO, Satya Nadella in 2014, this wave of innovative energy started.

Samar Birwadker

Samar Birwadker

Although the giants of the technology industry have a lock on employer branding by their quirky hiring practices, free food, and other perks that make work “fun”, the analysis of the personalities of their staffs presents a different picture.

Companies like IBM, Facebook and Google aren’t necessarily providing the working atmosphere that is reflected in their recruiting materials, the study showed.

“You can’t have 10 people in a boardroom deciding what the culture of the company is. It is defined by the people who already work there,” Birwadker noted, revealing that employees who discover that their company culture is different than advertised are more likely to leave.

In the study, published by Good&Co, the team analysed the psychometric data gained from anonymous personality quizzes completed by 4,364 tech employees of what they believe are perceived as the five most innovative companies in Silicon Valley: Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and IBM.

In total, the two-year-long study also analysed 10 million responses from 2,50,000 users. Questions ranged from thoughts and feelings about networking to how they handle problems at work.

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Prosecutors demand prison for 83-year-old dad of Indian-American Congressman

Aug 11, 2016 0

New York– Federal prosecutors are demanding a prison sentence for 83-year-old father of the embattled Indian American Congressman, Amerish Ami Bera, in an election funding fraud case, even though other officials have recommended only probation when the court decides the penalty next Thursday.

Assistant US Attorney Philip Ferrari wrote to the Sacramento federal court in California that because of “the serious nature” of his offence,” Babulal Bera did not deserve leniency, the Sacremento Bee newspaper reported.

Ami Bera-sizedBabulal Bera admitted in May before Judge Troy L. Nunley that he was guilty of election funding fraud.

The admission – or guilty plea – avoided a lengthy trial while his son, Ami Bera, the only Indian American in US Congress, faces a tough battle to retain his seat in the House of Representatives.

Ferrari wrote that the probation officer had said that sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of between three years, 10 months and four years, nine months but recommended that he serve no time in prison and pay a fine of only $30,200. The maximum sentence for the two offences that Babulal Bera admitted to would be five years for each of them.

Both the recommendations of the probation officer were challenged by Ferrrari, who said the prosecution would agree to a prison term less than the recommended guidelines but would not spare him incarceration, the newspaper said.

When Babulal Bera pleaded guilty in May, prosecutors had said that they would request only two-and-a-half years or less in prison.

The Califnornia Democrat Congressman is running against the influential local Republican Sheriff Scott Jones. In the 2014 election he narrowly defeated his then Republican rival, Doug Ose, by just 1,455 votes, a margin of less than one percent.

Babulal Bera has admitted that that he funnelled $268,726 in illegal contributions to his son’s election campaigns in 2009 and 2011. To circumvent the legal contribution limits, he had 90 people send in the money in smaller amounts in their names and then reimbursed them for what they gave.

The other participants in the fraud have not been charged or identified by the prosecutors.

Prosecutors have cleared Ami Bera of any involvement in the fraud, which he said was carried out by his father without his knowledge. The Congressaman told the Sacramento Bee, “I wish we knew what he was doing. I wish somebody had told me, because we would have put a stop to it.”

Ami Bera’s election adversary, Jones told newspaper that he found it difficult to require an 83-year-old man go to prison but doubted he acted alone.

Jones is himself facing allegations of making unwanted sexual advances towards a subordinate, the Sacramento Bee reported. The allegation surfaced in a case filed by four women employees against his department asserting that they had faced retaliation, the newspaper said.

Jones has denied the accusations. (IANS)

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