Quarterly, we will host LadyDrinks Networking Dinners where we've handpicked 8 trailblazing women to attend, build best practices and, hopefully, build business.

 

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DINNER #2 @ Devi Restaurant Thursday August 15th

BIOS

Piya Paulus, President and CEO, Catalyst Systems

Catalyst's objective is to expedite client's IT growth through Staff Augmentation and Rapid Application Development. Many companies turn to Catalyst for quality IT Resource Management solutions. 

The company's broad portfolio of services enables it to meet a specific project as well as staffing requirements across all divisions and departments, from office to marketing, finance to engineering plus law, science, information technology, education and many others. 

Payal Kadakia, CEO and Founder, Classtivity.com

A dancer herself, Payal is the founder of a contemporary Indian dance company called The Sa Dance Company in NYC and Classtivity.com. a web portal that puts fitness classes at your fingertips.  A self-proclaimed “dancetrepreneur,”  Payal worked as a consultant at Bain & Company and in Warner Music Group’s Digital Strategy and Business Development Group.  Payal also has a degree from MIT in Operations Research and Economics >helps people find classes in everything from yoga, dance and martial arts to cooking and music. The website pulls in information from 15,000 studios and 115,000 classes per week, so visitors can find what they're looking for and at a time that suits them. Eight cities are currently listed on Classtivity, covering both coasts as well as Chicago. The company already employs 10 people, with plans to expand in the near future.

Amita Kalra, Principal, ASK LLC

A real estate developer and entrepreneur, Amita has developed and managed real estate in Greenwich, CT; and is now in the process of expanding her venture in the New York market.

Her background is in Risk Management, where she pursued a career at Merrill Lynch and at Deutsche Bank covering trading risk with hedge funds in fixed income and credit. Having lived and worked in New York and London, Amita brings a depth of knowledge to her new venture and career. An avid skier, Amita studied fashion and marketing in the earlier part of her life, then to be challenged by a graduate degree from Columbia University and a dynamic career in finance.

Nathalie Molina Niño, Co-founder of Entrepreneurship@Athena at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College

A business consultant and playwright, Molina Niño is a consummate entrepreneur who launched her first tech startup at the age of 20.  She also was involved in launching and growing a multinational business within Lionbridge (NASDAQ: LIOX) into a nearly $100M operation within 6 years.  Nathalie spent 14+ years advising industry leaders in both the for- and non-profit sector ranging from multinationals (Disney, Microsoft, MTV, The Discovery Channel, Mattel), early stage startups (Cranium, Onvia) and non-profits (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Affairs Council, Seattle International Film Festival, Hedgebrook). She is passionate about supporting women entrepreneurs and believes that the single most important skill in business is storytelling.  

Meera Patel, Co-Founder, Deviscloset.com

Meera has 10 years of brand and shopper marketing experience from leading CPG and media companies working on brands such as Dove, Suave Caress, Ponds, Motor Trend, and InStyle, to name a few.  passion for Indian clothes and designers began when she was planning her own wedding and had to pick outfits for herself and her family members led to her forming Devi’s Closet.

She completed a Management training program at Pepsi Bottling Group and has a degree from Boston University in Business Management, with a concentration in Finance and Marketing. Meera's additional certifications include a Marketing Management certificate from New York University and Spanish Proficiency from Formula Si in Madrid, Spain

Sarika Doshi, CEO and Co-Founder, RankandStyle.com

Sarika brings broad based startup and business building experience to founding Rank & Style. As a member of the management team at a venture-backed growth company, she was responsible for growing and managing a $20 million business segment in London and New York. In this role, she gained hands on experience in product development, business development, marketing, operations and strategy. Prior to that, Sarika spent three years practicing international corporate law in London. Sarika studied at Columbia University and the University of Michigan Law School.

Jenan Agnihotri, DMD, Private Practice

Jenan Agnihotri is a senior staff dentist for one of the largest unions in the United States. Currently operating out of their headquarters in Chelsea, New York City, Dr. Agnihotri sees thousands of union members who have little or no access to oral health care, because of a lack of health insurance.   

Next month, she travels to Guatemala with the non-profit KIDS to treat thousands of underprivileged children. This lays the groundwork for her future hopes of opening a private practice and specializing in the field of pediatric dentistry.  In her spare time, Jenan enjoys running, reading and spending time with her family. She hopes to one day train for a marathon. 

Bhavna Sethi, Managing Director at Cinapse LLC

Bhavna provides IT Strategy, Governance, and Program Management services to companies in the Financial, Retail, Technology, Legal and non-profit sectors. She is also currently serving as CTO of MelaArtisans.com, a luxury lifestyle and ecommerce brand that contemporizes traditional handcrafted techniques and celebrates local artisanal skills along with fostering entrepreneurship and sustainable uplift in local communities. Bhavna has studied at Cedar Crest College and University of Pennsylvania and is an avid scuba diver.   

Manaswi Jhala, Founder and President, Jhatak Matak

As a self-taught designer,  Manaswi conceptualizes and designs evening handbags and jewelry. Jhatak Matak marries a modern aesthetic with ancient Ijndian craftsmanship to provide fun products for the discerning female consumer. It also provides a source of income to women artisans all over India.

Before starting her own venture, Manaswi spent a decade in Investment Banking focused on IPOs and equity transactions in the Healthcare, Natural Resources, Power and Alternate Energy industries. She has an MBA from the University of Michigan Business School and trained as a Chartered Accountant in India. 

Manaswi currently uses all her spare time hanging out with her one year old daughter.

(from left to right, clockwise) DINNER 1 Rajeshwari Chakravarty, Galileo Advisors (Finance), Erin Cutraro, VP and Political Director of Women's Campaign Fund, (Politics), Hamel Vyas, Mt. Sinai (In-house counsel), Judy Vincent, Sapient Technology (Tech space), Neena Dutta, Dutta Law Firm (Immigration Law), Kavita Mehra, Glamour Gals (Non-Profit), Mary Kopczynski, CEO 8of9 Consulting, LLC. (VC Space), Meghana Rao, Aniika.com (Retail and e-commerce), Nalini Dhar, Bank of America (Retail banking), Payal Sharma, co-owner and host, Pranna Restaurant.  A big thank you to Pranna Restaurant for hosting us in the private dining room and to Gloria Feldt for donating her book "No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power ( Seal Press, 2010)" to every woman tonight

(from left to right, clockwise) DINNER 1

Rajeshwari Chakravarty, Galileo Advisors (Finance), Erin Cutraro, VP and Political Director of Women's Campaign Fund, (Politics), Hamel Vyas, Mt. Sinai (In-house counsel), Judy Vincent, Sapient Technology (Tech space), Neena Dutta, Dutta Law Firm (Immigration Law), Kavita Mehra, Glamour Gals (Non-Profit), Mary Kopczynski, CEO 8of9 Consulting, LLC. (VC Space), Meghana Rao, Aniika.com (Retail and e-commerce), Nalini Dhar, Bank of America (Retail banking), Payal Sharma, co-owner and host, Pranna Restaurant. 

A big thank you to Pranna Restaurant for hosting us in the private dining room and to Gloria Feldt for donating her book "No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power ( Seal Press, 2010)" to every woman tonight

BIOS

Hamel Vyas (HR Director, International Personnel)

Hamel Vyas joined The Mount Sinai Medical Center located in New York City in January 2005 as the Director of International Personnel in the Human Resources Department.  She is the sole legal counsel/advisor on employment based immigration related matters for the Medical Center.  She oversees and manages an annual case volume of 2000 immigration visa based matters which include immigrant and non-immigrant matters. She oversees general issues associated with nonresident alien taxation within the IRS Code and year end filings.  Ms. Vyas presents monthly educational immigration seminars for staff and faculty and also conducts tailored information sessions for departments.

Nalini Dhar, Vice President of Investments at Merrill Lynch (Retail banking)

Nalini Dhar is Vice President of Investments at Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management’s International division.

Nalini has been in the financial services industry for over a decade, having worked with HSBC and Citigroup, she joined Merrill Lynch in 2007. She focuses on developing strategies and solutions for high-net-worth individuals, their families and their businesses to help them achieve their financial and lifestyle goals. Her approach to wealth management is consultative, objective and committed to excellence.

Nalini is a member of Merrill Lynch’s ‘Presidents’ Recognition Club’, which recognizes the company’s top advisors. She has also been a member of the firm’s prestigious ‘Advisory Committee To Management’..

Kavita Mehra, Vice President of the GlamourGals Foundation (Non-profit)

Her work has included program development and expansion, special events, government relations, marketing and communications, and strategic planning for the organization. Since joining the organization, GlamourGals has doubled its program size; launched a Scholarship and a Fellowship program; secured additional national press, including a segment on CBS The Early Show and a makeover with the New York Yankees; doubled the size of its Advisory Board; and developed new strategic relationships to accelerate the organization’s growth and national presence.

In January 2013, Kavita was one of 21 young leaders in New Jersey accepted into the New Leaders Council’s Fellowship class.

Prior to joining GlamourGals, she has worked with a host of organizations, including New York Asian Women's Center, New York Taxi Workers Alliance, Easter Seals New York, South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!) and Asian Women In Business

Rajeshwari Chakravarty, Galileo Global Advisors,  (Finance)

Rajeshwari is an accomplished corporate strategy professional with deep knowledge and expertise in the emerging markets. She has spent the last five years at Galileo Global Advisors, advising small and large corporations on mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, partnerships, investment opportunities and capital raising. Prior to that, she was a Business Analyst and Project Manager at Bank of America.

In her spare time, Rajeshwari teaches and performs with Bollywood Funk NYC. She is also passionate about art and en route to starting an online art gallery called Candle8.

 Judy Vincent, Sapient Technology (Technology recruitment)

Judy has 17 years of experience in the recruiting field.  The earlier part of her career was spent as a technology recruiter at a contingency recruiting firm, where she focused on placing both full-time employees and consultants primarily in the financial services industry in the New York Metro area.  Since 2010, she has been an in-house recruiter, first as a Vice President on the Lateral Recruiting team, and then as a contract recruiter at The Capital Markets Company (Capco) and Ipreo Holdings LLC before starting with Sapient Global Markets in September 2012. 

 She is currently focused on hiring for our Global Markets Design and Innovation practice which is aggressively growing in response to the tremendous increase in client business and evolving needs in the User Experience space.

Meghana Rao, co-founder of Aniika.com  (E commerce retail portal)

Meghana Rao, is the co-founder of Aniika (www.aniika.com) - the only online destination for buyers in the U.S to shop for contemporary Indian products from emerging Indian designers. She also believes that these designers and products will break clichés about Indian design and bring unique products to those who respect Indian craft yet seek out the edgy. At Aniika, Meghana combines her management consulting experience of the last many years with her passion for edgy Indian design. Meghana is a graduate of the London School of Economics and Political Sciences

Neena Dutta, Dutta Law Firm (Immigration Lawyer)

Neena Dutta is the Principal attorney for the Dutta Law Firm, P.C. which an immigration law firm dedicated to business and individual immigration solutions.  After 10 years in the field working for several large and prominent firms, Ms. Dutta opened this firm with the hope of providing bespoke solutions for boutique hotels, entrepreneurs and start-ups.  As a member of the Executive Board of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Ms. Dutta dedicates much of her practice to advocacy immigration work and pro bono cases.  As well as the practice of law, Ms. Dutta is the proprietor and partner at a bar/restaurant in Manhattan, The Brooklyneer.

Mary Kopczynski, CEO 8of9 Consulting, LLC. (VC Space)

Mary Kopczynski is CEO of management consulting firm 8of9 Consulting, LLC. She is recognized as one of the leading financial regulatory consultants, having advised some of the world's largest global investment banks in this area. 8of9's specialized focus is assisting banks and other financial institutions with legal project management, as well as helping navigate complex regulatory requirements such as Dodd-Frank, FATCA and the Basel Accords, among others. 

Before founding 8of9 Consulting in 2009, Mary spent four years fundraising for Santa Clara University, followed by a further four years fighting poverty and devising fundraising strategies for World Vision, the international relief and development agency. She also worked in various areas of the legal field, including derivatives, energy and immigration. 

Mary holds a B.A. in English and Classical Studies from Santa Clara University, a J.D. from Rutgers, where she was a Wittes Scholar, and a Ph.D. in Global Affairs, also from Rutgers, where she won the Graduate Student Excellence Award. Mary can recite first 19 lines of Canterbury Tales in Middle English in one breath, and, on the rare occasions she’s not working, she can be found exploring distant and exotic locales.

 Erin Cutraro, Vice President and Political Director of WCF, (Politics)

As the Vice President and Political Director of WCF, Erin is responsible for leading WCF programs and political operations as well as the highly successful She Should Run in Action to encourage women to become involved in the political process. In addition, Erin leads all candidate endorsements made by WCF PAC and the research efforts of She Should Run. Before joining WCF, Erin designed and implemented a variety of strategic programs for companies, campaigns and organizations that traverse the public policy, non-profit and financial business arenas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree in Communication from Saint Louis University

Payal Sharma, Co-Owner, Pranna Restaurant

Looking towards Manhattan as far back as 1998, the widely established Long Island restaurateurs, Rajiv and Payal Sharma, ventured to open PRANNA—a unique and awe-inspiring restaurant that would bridge the cuisines of Southeast Asia with the American palette. Conveniently situated in the heart of Manhattan, PRANNA is their ideal vision of a modern Southeast Asian restaurant, bar and lounge that embraces their appreciation for delicious cooking and cocktails—and all that is salty, sour, spicy and sweet.  After many months of construction, renovations and consultations with the best-of-the-best, the doors to PRANNA were opened in October of 2008.

Payal Sharma—who has a background in communications and marketing for fashion and entertainment—is a hip-and-trendy mother of three who has spent the past five years following food blogs and monitoring trends, while building personal relationships throughout the city. She has an innate understanding and appreciation for the hospitality industry which makes her a natural fit for the front of house—and the other side of the velvet rope.