Here is our list of the men and women whose power, talent, or moral example is changing the face of South Asians in America.
2006 has been the biggest year thus far for actor Kal Penn. He has come a long way from his humble beginnings in the cult classic â€œAmerican Desiâ€. In 2006, Penn had roles in, Man About Town, Bachelor Party Vegas, Superman Returns, Namesake, Vanwilder 2: The Rise of Taj and The Danny Comden Project. Due to release in 2007, the twisted minds of two of the six writers of “Scary Movie” tackle the biggest mega-blockbusters of all time in “Epic Movieâ€ which stars Penn. In 2008, his releases include the untitled Harold and Kumar sequel and Under New Management. He has been the pioneering figure to show America South Asian characters that don’t fit the typical gas station owner stereotype.
Occupation: President & CFO of PepsiCo, Inc.
Indra is responsible for all of PepsiCo’s corporate functions, including finance, strategy, business process optimization, corporate platforms and innovation, procurement, investor relations and information technology. PepsiCo is the world’s fourth-largest food and beverage company. On August 14, 2006 she was named the next to succeed Steve Reinemund as chief executive officer of the company. Reinemund, 58, retired on October 1, 2006. According to Forbes magazine’s 2006 poll, Mrs. Nooyi is the fourth most powerful woman in the world . She has been named the #1 Most Powerful Woman in Business in 2006 by Fortune Magazine. A subsequent issue of Forbes named her the 28th most powerful woman and indicated she would take over as Chairwoman on May 2, 2007. It is unclear why she is ranked as both 4th and 28th by the same publication. With all the fortune and recognition, she still stays true to her Indian roots, Nooyi attends formal PepsiCo events dressed in a saree.
Occupation: Head Honcho of US Soccer
Gulati is the current president of the United States Soccer Federation or USSF and President of Kraft Soccer for the New England Revolution in Major League Soccer. Elected in March 2006, Gulati is one of the most influential figures in the development of US soccer over the past 30 years. Former USSF president and Major League Soccer founder Alan Rothenberg called Gulati “the single most important person in the development of soccer in this country.”
He is the developer of the concept of micro credit, the extension of small loans to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Yunus is also the founder of Grameen Bank. In 2006, Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, “for their efforts to create economic and social development from below.” Yunus himself has received several other international honors, including the ITU World Information Society Award, Ramon Magsaysay Award, the World Food Prize and the Sydney Peace Prize . He is the author of Banker to the Poor and a founding board member of Grameen Foundation.
Occupation: Software Developer
This 27 year old is best known for being one of three founders for the popular video sharing web site, YouTube. YouTube.com is ranked as the 7th most popular web site in the world. Born to a German mother and a Bangladeshi father, he grew up in Germany and his family moved to the U.S.A. in 1992. When YouTube was acquired by Google, Karim’s 137,443 shares of stock were valued at $64.6 million, while his cofounders each earned around $326 million. He also uploaded YouTube’s first video. Now in a two-year master’s program, Karim says he’s considering another start-up but declines to give details.
Occupation: Executive VP and CTO of Motorola
She was named one of the four “Women to Watch 2006” by FORTUNE Magazine. She admits that “women have to walk a tighter rope and prove themselves more” but 18 years with Motorola, she finds herself at the top. Trained as a chemical engineer, Warrior oversees the Illinois-based tech giant’s $3.7 billion research and development budget as well as 25,000 engineers in labs all over the world. Not to mention, she has an amazingly insightful blog to take you every step of the way!
Occupation: U.S. Congressman (Republican)
2006 was a great year for Bobby. He was re-elected to congress in the 2006 election with 88 percent of the vote in his heavily Republican district. He is a candidate for Governor of Louisiana in the 2007 election . He is the only Indian-American currently serving in Congress, and the second in congressional history after Dalip Singh Saund, a Democrat who represented California’s 29th District from 1957 to 1963. Interesting fact you might have not known, he converted from Hinduism to Catholicism in high school.
Occupation: Writer and Performer for The Office
In late 2004, she was hired as a writer and performer for the upcoming American version of The Office. Originally, producer Greg Daniels wasn’t sure where to use her on screen in the series until the point came in the script for the episode ” Diversity Day ” when Steve Carell ‘s insensitive character Michael Scott needed to be slapped by a minority. “Since then, I’ve been on the show,” Kaling stated in an interview. She had her first onscreen role in a feature film in The 40 Year-Old Virgin . In April 2006, she was a guest writer for Saturday Night Live. Overall, 2006 has been a great year for Mindy, as The Office won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 2006.
Her novel The Inheritance of Loss won the 2006 Man Booker Prize. It was her second book and has been widely praised by critics throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States. The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, also known as the ‘Booker Prize’, is one of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes, awarded each year for the best original full-length novel written in the English language It can be said, great writing is in her blood, she is the daughter of the noted author Anita Desai.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Occupation: Physician and CNN/CBS Correspondent
You might have thought Dr. Sanjay Gupta reached the pinnacle of his career when he was named one of the Sexiest Men of 2003 by People! But 2006 has proved to be a great year for Dr. G, in December of 2006, CBS News President Sean McManus negotiated a deal with CNN that will have Sanjay Gupta file up to 10 reports a year for “The Evening News With Katie Couric” while remaining CNN’s chief medical correspondent and associate chief of neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital. He will now be the most prominent South Asian face on Basic and Cable television.
You may know this American hotelier of Indian Sikh heritage because of his independent hotel group of 9 luxury hotels in 5 cities, which goes by “Hautel Couture by Vikram Chatwal”, with the flagship Dream Hotel. You might also know him because of his playboy lifestyle and rubbing elbows with the likes of Paris Hilton and Co. But in 2006, he gives us new reasons to put him in the spotlight, in June he made the cover of Forbes Asia. And his February 2006 wedding to model Priya Sachdev was called “The Wedding of the Century” and “India’s most Extravagant Wedding to date.” Covered by 100 journalists in 30 languages and countries. Attending the wedding reception in Delhi, India, were steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal , the world’s fifth richest man and former American President Bill Clinton, close friend of the family.
Occupation: ABC Anchor /Correspondent
This ABC News correspondent served as lead co-anchor for ABC ‘s World News Now, from August, 2006 to February, 2007. He won us over with his big brown eyes and boyish good looks and made many a young lady stay up a little later to watch the news. He has taken the step from late night news to the fast growing world of pod casts, Sreenivasan co-hosts the behind-the-scenes pod cast”ABC News Shuffle.” He also works very closely with SAJA, the South Asian Journalists Association and the Asian American Journalists Association to try and encourage more men of color (Asians even more so) to enter the business. With his wit and charm, it looks as if 2007 might be an even better year for Mr. Sreenivasan. Hari is also the owner of OMpower, a media consulting firm.