We are excited to introduce our CAPM board members for 2013. Today we have Shanti Shah.
Who are you?
My name is Shanti Shah, I grew up in India. I have been in Minnesota since 1974. My husband Stefan and I have been married for 30 years, we have one son. I have degrees from University of Minnesota and St. Thomas. I have been working in the Information technology field for over 35 years. I have been involved in the Twin Cities Indian American community for as long as I have lived in Minnesota. I was adjunct faculty at Metro State University for 20 years and I am currently an adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota.
Tell us about your community. What some of your current involvements in the community?
In Minnesota, the Indian American community has evolved significantly over the last 45 years. Its size has increased steadily. It is as diverse as India itself. We have Indian Americans from nearly every state with its distinctive language, food, clothing, dance, music and art. We are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Muslims, Sikhs, Zoroastrians and Christians, just to mention a few religions we follow. This highly educated group of immigrants is represented in every professional section and not to mention business ownership. It is a vibrant community with many active organizations supporting India’s regional, religious, and cultural diversity.
I have been active in my community for a long time. I was one of the founders of School of India for Languages and Culture (SILC) which continues to provide an opportunity for children of Indian descent to learn about their heritage and engage with their community. I have been very involved with the India Association of Minnesota (IAM) which is an Indian umbrella organization that sponsors major programs and events such as India Day on the State Capital grounds. I am a past present of Jain Center of Minnesota and board member on number of organizations representing the Indian American community to the community at large including Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. Until last year, I was a Chair of IAM Trustee Advisory board. I am currently involved in future strategies for IAM and representing Indian Americans in the political process. For the 2012 election, I served as a Presidential Elector and I am involved in my Senate and Congressional District as a representative for my community.
What do you hope to accomplish on CAPM’s board?
I want to support CAPM’s strategies and goals as it continues to represent an increasingly diverse pan-Asian community. I hope to accomplish two things: to help CAPM to increase its influence on state budget and program priorities in support of pan-Asian communities and increase the visibility of this community through CAPM in addressing issues unique to these groups such as education, health care and women’s issues.
Is there a person in your life that has been the most influential? Why?
My family has been most influential in my life. They taught me that I am only whole when my community is also whole. I learned to give back to my community at an early age. It meant welcoming anyone in our home, leading efforts to feed the poor, to help the earthquake victims, help build organizations and institutions such a community temple, and working to elect political candidates who would represent people who never had been represented before in India’s young democracy.