skip to Main Content
Celebration Of Diversity: Global Roots In Business

Celebration of Diversity: Global Roots in Business

Leading up to our Celebration of Diversity on August 23rd, we will be highlighting local immigrant CEOs who have built successful companies and cultivated empowering and dynamic corporate cultures. To purchase tickets for the event, please visit the event page.

KR Sridhar, Ph.D, President and CEO, Bloom Energy: Originally from Tamil Nadu, India

Recognized by Fortune Magazine in 2000 as “one of the top five futurists inventing tomorrow, today,” KR Sridhar is one of the few early green tech pioneers who has been able to turn their vision into a commercial reality. Bloom Energy, the company KR founded in 2001, and leads as CEO and Chairman today, manufactures, sells and installs clean, affordable and reliable electric power systems based on fuel cell technology. The company has grown to employ approximately 1,200 people in the US and, following a successful IPO in July 2018, is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Prior to founding Bloom, KR was Director of the Space Technologies Laboratory (STL) at the University of Arizona where he was also a professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. Under his leadership, STL won several nationally competitive contracts to conduct research and development for Mars exploration and flight experiments. His work for the NASA Mars program included programs to convert Martian atmospheric gases to oxygen for propulsion and life support.

Today, in addition to leading Bloom Energy, KR serves as a strategic limited partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and as a special advisor to New Enterprise Associates. In 2016, he was selected as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. KR received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with Honors from the University of Madras (now called NIT, Trichy), India, as well as his master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering and Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Tenzin Seldon, Co-founder and CEO, Kinstep: Originally from Indian Himalayas

Tenzin Seldon was raised in the Indian Himalayas, her family having fled there from Tibet. Tenzin is the CEO and Founder of Kinstep, a social enterprise that connects immigrants with jobs across the US. She immigrated to the United States as an adolescent. Tenzin graduated with honors from Stanford University, followed by University of Oxford, where she was the first Tibetan-American Rhodes Scholar. Ms. Seldon has spent her career advocating for disenfranchised communities, leading Climate Justice League chapters around the United States, working on negotiations with Israel and Palestine, and, most recently, at the United Nations Regional Office of Asia and the Pacific. At the UN, Tenzin witnessed many young migrants experiencing hardships assimilating to a new country. She was a visiting lecturer at Rangsit University and University of California, Berkeley. Tenzin’s work has been recognized around the world: as a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree and Forbes magazine “Most Likely to Impact the Next Century.” She is also recognized as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, a Harry S. Truman Scholar, and one of OZY Magazine’s “5 Civil-Rights Leaders for a New Generation.”

William Hadaya, President and CEO, WMH Corporation: Originally from Lebanon

William is President and CEO of WMH Corporation with over 30 years of experience in project management and coordination of large infrastructure engineering projects. Before joining WMH, William was Senior Vice President and Western Regional Transportation Manager with URS Corporation, a $15 Billion company recently acquired by AECOM. His expertise in managing large multi-facetted design teams has resulted in the successful completion of over $2 billion in infrastructure projects for virtually all transportation modes: highways; light and heavy rail; automated guideway; and bus systems. In his previous capacity as Integration Manager of Corporate Development for mergers and acquisitions with Parsons Brinckerhoff, he was responsible for integrating new acquisitions, which involved the reorganization of the company’s overall operational function and management structure. As president of WMH, William reviews all significant decisions and commitments made by the firm, including acquisitions, new initiatives, operating budgets, capital commitments, credit obligations, and investments.


He is thankful for the many choices he made in his life.  He left Lebanon during the civil war at age 17 and moved to the States to pursue his education.  He made this great country his home. His country educated him, offered him a career, a peaceful life, and many opportunities, and for that, he is very grateful.

Padmasree Warrior, CEO and CDO, NIO; Originally from India

Padmasree Warrior is Chief Executive Officer of NIO U.S and the Chief Development Officer of NIO. She is responsible for the brains of NIO’s autonomous, electric vehicles and the overall user experience. Previously, Warrior served as the Chief Technology & Strategy Officer (CTSO) for Cisco. Before joining Cisco, she was executive vice president and CTO at Motorola. Warrior serves on the boards of Microsoft and Spotify. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi and a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University

Tarkan Maner, CEO and Executive Chairman, Nexenta: Originally from Ankara, Turkey

Tarkan is the executive chairman, CEO and one of the leading investors at Nexenta, global leader in Open Source-driven Software Defined Storage. Team Nexenta are committed to disrupting and freeing the storage industry from the shackles of the past; to democratize infrastructure computing for faster and ultra-low-cost business innovation worldwide with the first Software-Only data storage model in the industry.

Prior to Nexenta, he held executive roles at Dell, Wyse, CA, IBM, Quest, Sterling Commerce, and Sterling Software disrupting and revolutionizing one segment or another. He is the founding chairman of TechAmerica’s cloud computing commission. He serves/served on the boards of the Bay Area Council, World Economic Forum’s Cyber-Security Alliance, Silicon Valley Education Foundation, and Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a coalition of senior executives to improve the quality of life for all citizens of the region and the world through its advocacy around public and private policy issues, from the mecca of innovation and progress, Silicon Valley. In addition, he is leading, advising and/or fund-raising for several global not-for-profit organizations and programs around economic development, poverty elimination, entrepreneurship, education, and social justice, including; E&Y Entrepreneurship, Strategic Growth and Innovation Programs, Americas Society/Council of Americas (AS/COA in the US, Canada and Latin America), MIT’s Collaborative Initiatives, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), Project Skolkovo (Russia/CIS), NASSCOM (India), ATAA/TABC (Turkey), and eLearning Africa. He is an advisor to several IT start-up company boards.

He is the winner and lead judge of the E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Program; and the recipient of the TechAmerica Community Service Innovator Award. He is a frequent speaker, commentator, and author on current business, economic and social issues in the media and academic circles. He graduated from Istanbul Technical University in Turkey with a B.S. degree in Engineering Management; received an MBA degree at Midwestern State University in Texas, and attended Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. He is an avid fan of sports, politics, arts, books, history, nature, and Earth; and committed to learning and sharing truths around innovative things, ideas, people, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Patrick Lo, Chairman and CEO, NetGear: Originally from Macau

Patrick C.S. Lo is the co-founder of NETGEAR and has been the Chairman and CEO since 2002. Patrick founded NETGEAR with Mark Merrill with the singular vision of providing the appliances to enable everyone in the world to connect to the high speed Internet for information, communication, business transactions, education, and entertainment. From 1983 until 1995, Mr. Lo worked at Hewlett-Packard Company, where he served in various management positions in sales, technical support, product management, and marketing in the US and Asia. Mr. Lo was named the Ernst & Young National Technology Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006. Mr. Lo received a BS degree in electrical engineering from Brown University.



Manish Tandon, CSS Corporation: Originally from India
Manish Tandon serves as the CEO of CSS Corp and is focused on making CSS Corp the global leader in IT services and technology support. Manish introduced the ‘Digital Career Progression Framework – Reimagine’, which has not only been instrumental in developing the career path of employees but also helped to drop attrition rates.

Prior to joining CSS Corp, Manish has served as the Executive Vice President and Head of Healthcare, Insurance, Life-Sciences, Hi-Tech and Manufacturing units at Infosys. While playing this role, he built a $3 Billion business in US at Infosys. He joined Infosys in 1996 and successfully led multiple senior management roles in business, delivery and sales. He grew the Testing business for Infosys significantly, and operated across a range of geographies, horizontals and business verticals – including Retail / CPG and Financial Services & Insurance. While his role of a Global Delivery Head of IT services for Financial Services and Insurance (FSI) at Infosys, he was responsible for nearly 35 percent of Infosys revenues. Additionally, he was on the Board of Infosys Public Services, EdgeVerve, and Infosys Lodestone.

Geetha Vallabhaneni, Founder and CEO, Luminex: Originally from India

Geetha is passionate about technology that solves real problems. A computer engineer with 18+ years of sales and customer-support experience under her belt, she is deeply committed to transforming the way people interact with enterprise software and information. Growing up in rural India has taught her the value of community, which she strives to nurture within her team and throughout Luminix’s network of customers and partners.

Luminix was founded in 2011 with one question in mind. How can it solve the single major pain point experienced by the users of cloud business services – the dependency of the cloud on network connectivity ? The answer was obvious enough: a mobile and offline client that can be brought along anywhere, including to remote areas of New Zealand, small farms in Asia and at natural gas wells in the Appalachian Basin. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, Luminix technology allows you to manage your opportunities on the field, visit reports in transport, fill out surveys and take orders while onsite with customers.

Peter Pau, Principal and Co-founder, Sand Hill Properties: Originally from Hong Kong

Peter Pau is the Principal and Co-founder of Sand Hill Property Company. He has been in commercial real estate development for 30 years and his experience cover all aspects of the Profession. Pau holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s degree in construction management from Stanford University. He was born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong. For over 30 years, he has made his home in the Silicon Valley.

Sand Hill Property Company was founded in 1988 by Peter Pau and Susanna Pau. Today, the Company is recognized as one of the reputable and successful real estate investment and development companies in the Silicon Valley. Over the past three decades, the company has developed several billion dollars’ worth of real estate projects.

Najat Badriyeh, Founder, President, and CEO, Naprotek Inc.: Originally from Lebanon

Najat Badriyeh is the owner of Naprotek, Inc., a Women-Owned Business which was established in 1995. Born in Lebanon, she immigrated to the US at a young age and joined the electronic industry in the early 80s. Najat considers it an auspicious timing as it allowed her to witness and participate in the electronic revolution. She quickly showed leadership and managerial qualities and acquired management positions in Silicon Valley Companies like Best Labs, Diasonics, SCI and Fine Pitch Technology. Najat’s experience in startup companies and her success in developing and improving SMT processes proved to be significant assets in building and developing her own business.

Amar Panchal, Co-founder and Chairman, Akraya: Originally from Pune, India

Amar, along with Sonu Ratra, founded Akraya in 2001. He possesses over fifteen years of management, international business development, technology consulting, product management, and software engineering experience.

As a Co-Founder of a high-growth services company, Amar leads by example. Clients consistently appreciate his dedication to delivering outside-the-box custom solutions to meet any challenge. Amar’s eye for talent and his deep-seated faith in empowerment and accountability has helped Akraya grow into an employee-driven organization where each team member values autonomy and respects the responsibility that comes with it.

As a fervent advocate of fighting climate change in the corporate office, Amar invests time and resources to ensure that Akraya’s carbon footprint is minimal. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Pacific Service Credit Union (PSCU), one of the largest Credit Unions in the US with over $1 billion in assets. Amar holds an MBA Degree in Information Systems from Symbiosis International Education as well as a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from the University of Pune, India.

Sponsorship opportunities: 
Please contact Shannon De Atley-Johnson, Special Events Director for more information. [email protected]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Back To Top