Since 2005, Daryl Rand and Poonam Khubani have been organizing and leading North American businesswomen’s Missions to India to build linkages and establish relationships with women similar to the Mission participants. To date, approximately 110 women have traveled as part of this group of associates, known as “Friends of India.”
The focus of Friends of India has been centered on fostering women’s business exchanges, economic empowerment and gender parity, while promoting meaningful long-term dialogue and networking among business and professional women in both the United States and India.
These respected women are committed to continuing and expanding initiatives promoting gender impact investing, economic exchanges and empowerment opportunities, in addition to spurring trade between the United States and India.
Both the U.S. State Department and Department of Commerce, along with the Office of the Consul General of India, have provided access and exposure to their resources for each of the delegations, including one which was certified by the Department of Commerce.
Key to the success of these week-long Missions has been the participation and support extended by Dr. Indu Shahani, Dean of H.R. College of Business, a division of the University of Mumbai. She has also served as the Sheriff of Mumbai, which provided a platform for her to address women and children’s issues in the sprawling, densely populated city of Mumbai.
Along with the Women’s Division of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Indian Merchants Council, the group has arranged for experiences which have been life changing, both professionally and personally. At the epicenter of these Missions have been friends from Children’s Hope India, Inc. a children’s focused charity which has done amazing work with a small army of volunteers. As sisters and colleagues, the volunteers have facilitated each of Rand’s journeys and exposed the groups to the meaningful projects they oversee on behalf of Indian women and children.