The following eight candidates are running for five board slots.

You can select up to FIVE of the following candidates. More than five and your vote will be null and void.

Full SAJA members can vote here.

You must be logged in to vote. Any questions, please contact SAJA VP Ankita Rao at ankitarao87@gmail.com
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Ali Rizvi
Video Producer, McClatchy DC

As a South Asian origin person working in a newsroom setting, it's been an eye opening experience. The pace at which news moves today is mind boggling. But with that pace, comes a need for great nuance, and I personally am dismayed at how much ground we still need to cover in terms of basics when it comes to regions far away from the United States or the proverbial West.

I'd like to run for the SAJA board because I believe the newsrooms in the United States are shockingly inadequately staffed regarding South Asia – or are equipped with people who not only don't know how to cover the region, but also don't want to know and invest in ground realities. I want to help more young South Asian origin people – and anyone interested in the region and it's issues – getting into the journalism world. Specifically, my focus is on the video side, which is even less diverse and knowledgeable than its print, digital, or other counterparts.

I'd like to figure out ways to entice more people, from all over the U.S. By going to universities, and cities, and convincing young adults to pick up journalism as a career, and focus on the importance of the South Asian region in the future.

Anu Mahadev
Editor-in-Chief, Jaggery Lit; Quills Edge Press; The Woman Inc.

As a woman of South Asian origin based in the U.S. I believe strongly that there has never been a more appropriate time to represent the views of the South Asian minority, given the current global political climate. I have always been passionate about the cause, and have been engaged in giving a medium of expression to voices that need to be heard and made visible, via poetry, and now fiction, art and essays/reviews through Jaggery Lit and the Woman Inc. I believe SAJA with its reach in the world of journalism could benefit from a different perspective that I bring as a poet, and in turn could be very enriching for me to interact with journalists of the highest caliber who bring such power to the written word. Together with such diverse voices, I would like the opportunity to help the South Asian diaspora have a greater impact on society.

John Laxmi
Former journalist

Please vote for me as one of your representatives on SAJA’s board. I have served as a Board member since 2001, initially as secretary and later as treasurer and recently as an advisor to the Board. My participation in the board will assure SAJA of experience and continuity. In voting for me, you will be endorsing focus, dedication, discipline and compliance.

FOCUS: SAJA is well-known and provides a wide range of services to members and the broader community. As SAJA’s programs grow, so do demands and pressures on the organization’s capacity and resources, requiring triage, prioritization and focus on the organization’s core mission. My goals are to sharpen SAJA’s focus on core scholarship, educational and training programs.

DEDICATION: SAJA depends on each of us to devote CONSISTENTLY to its programs. Over the past 15 years, I have had the privilege of participating in SAJA’s activities in many different ways, despite the growing demands on my time from my personal and business interests.

DISCIPLINE: While many non-profit and journalism groups have suffered severe financial setbacks in recent years, SAJA’s financial reserves and donor base have steadily grown, with debt remaining at zero. This gives SAJA a strong outlook for maintaining its educational and outreach programs. As treasurer and advisor, I believe I have contributed to SAJA’s financial stability and discipline.

COMPLIANCE: For over a decade, SAJA has entrusted to me important recordkeeping and reporting obligations. These responsibilities have been fulfilled consistently and accurately.

Working with you, volunteers and other board members, I will continue to help in governance, financial management, fundraising and membership drives. I will be a champion of quality, excellence and controlled growth.

Madiha Waris Qureshi
Freelance writer

For me, being part of the SAJA Board will be a unique opportunity to contribute my knowledge and skills to make a difference in the development and growth of American journalists of South Asian origin.

I see SAJA as a great platform to be acquainted with and learn from journalists and writers with common heritage, and to jointly tackle some of the common challenges that face many in the South Asian diaspora in America today. Across American and international media, there is a lack of enough voices and stories that reflect the true diversity within this diaspora. SAJA is making a significant contribution in encouraging such voices to come forth. I am excited to become a part its efforts, and to bring my own experiences as a Pakistani immigrant, a Muslim woman, a single parent, and an international development writer to the table. These identities have shaped my own career and voice, and I look forward to sharing what I have learned with others.

Meena Ganesan
Social Editor, FiveThirtyEight

When I started my first job out of journalism school, I was elated to see another South Asian. I had heard of my then colleague, Hari Sreenivasan, before but, in the news industry at the time, I only knew a handful of South Asian names. In school, no one else who studied journalism looked like me – and I knew this was a future I wasn’t comfortable with. I want to join the SAJA Board because when I learned of SAJA and met its members in Washington, D.C. and in New York, I felt good knowing there were others who looked like me, who maybe had similar backgrounds as me, and were bringing their much-needed perspectives to newsrooms. I would love to help future SAJA members find that comfort through networking, mentorship and, hopefully, events that aim to inspire.

Navneet Chugh
Chairman, Chugh LLP

I think journalists will play a big role in South Asia’s climb back up to have a fair share of global wealth. South Asia is 25% of world population but only 5% of world GDP. Also journalists will play a big role in fixing all of South Asia’s problems in the near future. Law and order, judicial system, poverty alleviation, sanitation, individual human rights, corruption, and educating & awakening the public are all areas where journalists need to play a bigger role and will. Investigative reporting needs to be stronger in South Asia so that there are checks and balances. We also need to teach civics, history, ways to create wealth, how to manage money, how to live a healthy life as we go along doing our reporting jobs. I think SAJA can play a huge role in uplifting the lives of journalists in USA, and increase their job satisfaction. We need to create more chapters of SAJA around USA. SAJA members should be sought after speakers at events around the country. We need to increase the respect journalists get.

Sovy Azhath
Producer, CNN

I’m Sovy Azhath and I'm a Producer for CNN in New York. I’m asking for your vote once again as I’m looking to serve my 5th term on the board. The past 8 years on the board, I served: 2010 as events coordinator; 2011 as Secretary; 2012 as VP; 2013 as the national President; and the last 4 years as a senior advisor.

My passion for SAJA is to get more members connected to major media companies and help their career growth. I’ve hosted numerous *exclusive* newsroom tours with CBS News, Dow Jones/WSJ, ABC News, NY Times, Huffington Post, CNN and Bloomberg to name a few. If re-elected, I would like to continue to host more of these newsroom tours and add more companies to the mix.

I’ve also hosted numerous mixers, panels, job fairs, career workshops, mentoring sessions not only at our hub in NYC but also in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. With your vote, I would like to continue to host these events in other cities to help connect SAJA members from around the country.

In the past, I helped hosted major events/galas where members can connect with notable speakers such as ABC’s David Muir, ESPN's Kevin Negandhi, MSNBC’s Ali Velshi, 2014 Miss America winner Nina Davuluri, and Emmy award winning reporter Soledad O'Brien. I also volunteered as SAJA reporter and interviewed Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai at the UN.

I hope you can elect me to the board again so I can continue to serve you – the members.

Swati Sharma
Assignment Editor, The Washington Post

The SAJA community has been a huge support for me throughout the years. When I was in college, I gained confidence by meeting other South Asians who were thriving in journalism.

When I graduated college without a job, SAJA members were constantly helping me with job opportunities and with what I needed most: encouragement. The organization has also been a source of great friendships. Now, it’s my time to give back. I would like to help build on SAJA’s great network and help mentor college students and graduates navigate the journalism world.

I would do this by trying to help with creating more networking opportunities in Washington, D.C., create a network where we can easily track recent graduates and allow them to easily reach out to some SAJA veterans for career advice and job opportunities. I would also be happy to work with other organizations like NAHJ, NABJ and AAJA, where I have very strong connections.

I think it’s imperative to help a new generation of journalists to become the leaders in newsrooms, and I believe SAJA can be a huge force in making that happen.


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