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US rep meets Indian Americans: Women in spotlight

August 10, 2011 21:13 IST

Lorraine Hariton, the State department's special representative for commercial and business affairs, met Indian Americans at a luncheon meeting in San Jose, California, July 15.

The event, organised by the Silicon Valley-based nonprofit American Leadership Forum, aimed to create a regional network of diverse senior-level leaders across private, public and the nonprofit sectors. Members of the Global Women's Leadership Network and the Indian Business and Professional Women, a nonprofit business-support network, were also present.

Hariton, who worked in the information-technology sector before joining the State Department, said, 'I particularly enjoy my role with the support of the State Department and the embassy. I get to meet people from diverse communities.'

She focused on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference starting September 12 in San Francisco. Hariton added that the government is concentrating on strengthening export ties with the APEC's 21 member countries. Deepka Lalwani, founder of the IBPW, said Lorraine, who is also a senior fellow of the ALF organises many women-oriented programs.

 "I am pretty surprised by the response from the Indian-American community at the meeting. It shows that women are trying to fill the gap between their professional and family lives," she said. "I know India is not a part of the APEC, but whatever happens in the APEC countries, I am sure it's the same with India. It's just a different country but issues are the same. There are many aspects there that interest me, and so I have planned to attend the conference," Lalwani added.

"I am looking forward to attending the APEC conference," said San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra. The Asia-Pacific region, he said, is important to San Jose and the Silicon Valley for its growth.

"This is the time when the economy is trying to turn around, we should see how we can partner together our relationship, resources, technology and talents," he said. "We work with companies that work with a number of countries in APEC, so we have to make sure that we have a good relationship with them."

Neerja Raman, visiting scholar at Stanford University and mentor of the IBPW, said, "I am interested in building US-India relationships for economic empowerment."  Debbie Ford-Scriba, vice president, network relations, ALF, added that there was a good response from the IBPW.

Ritu Jha in Washington