Biden announces intent to appoint four Indian-Americans to AANHPI Advisory Commission

In all, the White House announced 23 advisory members

U.S. President Joe Biden on December 20 announced this intent to appoint four Indian Americans — Ajay Jain Bhutoria, Sonal Shah, Kamal Kalsi and Smita Shah — as members of his Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.

The Commission will advise the President on ways the public, private, and non-profit sectors can work together to advance equity and opportunity for every Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) community, the White House said.

It is also charged with advising the President on policies to address anti-Asian xenophobia and violence, ways to build capacity in AANHPI communities through federal grantmaking and policies to address the intersectional barriers that AANHPI women, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities face, a media release said.

In all, the White House announced 23 advisory members.

Mr. Bhutoria is a Silicon Valley technology executive, community leader, speaker, and author that has been recognized for his work, the White House said.

He is a passionate advocate for the South Asian and AAPI communities in the areas of small businesses, educational opportunities, immigration issues, and technological advancement.

His expertise in the areas of organizational transformations and change management has supported critical advancements within the AAPI community, and he is committed to the creation of a compassionate and empowering environment for all, the White House said.

An emergency medicine physician from New Jersey who served in the Army for 20 years, Dr. Kalsi was awarded a Bronze Star medal for his work taking care of hundreds of combat casualties on the front lines in Afghanistan.

"He has transitioned into the Army reserves, and now serves as a senior advisor for Policy Vets and a Fellow of the Truman National Security Project’s Defense Council. He founded the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA) in order to promote diversity, religious freedom, and service,” the White House said.

Sonal Shah is a social impact and innovation leader who has launched and led social impact efforts in academia, government, and the private and philanthropic sectors for over 25 years.

She is the founding president of The Asian American Foundation (TAAF), starting the largest philanthropic effort to serve the AANHPI communities.

Prior to TAAF, Ms. Shah founded and led Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation, providing students a first-hand opportunity to work on social impact projects in the public, private, and social sectors.

She served as Deputy Assistant to then President Obama and created the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, worked on international development at the Department of Treasury, and led social impact efforts at Google and Goldman Sachs.

Smita N. Shah is an engineer, entrepreneur, and civic leader serving as president and CEO of Chicago-based SPAAN Tech, Inc, a multi-disciplinary firm with expertise in public and private infrastructure projects including transportation, aviation, and facilities. She serves in various roles with the Chicago Plan Commission, MIT, the Museum of Science and Industry, After School Matters, Delhi Chicago Sister Cities Program, YPO, the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, and the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, according to a White House release.

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