Aparajita Chauhan – Crew Leader

It’s not everyday you come across a South Asian American athlete participating in crew. As a matter of fact, Aparajita is our first and only member to be a crew athlete. Check out what this Yalie and member of the U19 National Crew Team has to say about being a South Asian in sports!

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Current Location: Yale University, New Haven, CT

Current Occupation/Organization: Student, Coxswain on the Yale Women’s Crew team.

What has your journey to becoming an NCAA rower been like? Can you give us a few highlights?

A coxswain is like the coach in the boat- my job is to steer, execute the race plan, keep an eye on technique, and give information (placement, meters, speed) during the race. In the summer of 2017, I made the U19 National Team where I represented the United States at the U19 World Championships in Lithuania, and placed 7th in the 8+.

I coxed all four years for my high school team, Holy Names Academy in Seattle, and medaled three times at Youth Nationals, culminating with a gold medal in 2017 in the Lightweight 4+ event. I was also on the U19 CanAmMex team in 2016, placing 1st against Canada and Mexico. Having the goal of making the National Team pushed me to become better throughout my high school career and helped me to become the top women’s recruit when looking at colleges.

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What is the best part of being a student-athlete? 

You have an incredible support system on the team the second you get to school. Being a student athlete also means that I get to continue the sport I love at the highest level while expanding my horizons in the classroom. I’ve learned to manage my time even better in college because having two practices a day while taking rigorous classes forces me to utilize my time efficiently.

What is it like being a South Asian American student-athlete?

Rowing is a highly Caucasian-dominated sport, so I haven’t encountered many South Asians in my sport. Generally, I’ve noticed a lack of South Asian American student-athletes at my school. For anyone, representing a minority in any field is an honor and a privilege—its natural for others to be inspired by your success—like I was inspired by the upperclassmen I rowed with in high school.

What do you think the next generation South Asian community needs to increase NCAA participation? 

I think it is important for the South Asian community to recognize the importance of sports in earlier stages such as middle and high school. It is easy to get too focused on only doing well in school and clubs, but sports provide important life skills such as teamwork, time-management, and physical and mental discipline. I think many parents fear that their children will sacrifice grades if they focus too much on sports, but the discipline inculcated by sports has benefits in the classroom as well. In high school, I had practice every day after school (and before school in the spring), but was able to maintain my focus in the classroom and graduated Valedictorian.

Do you want to have a career in sports after you graduate?

I am keeping my options open. As of right now, I plan to go into technology and philanthropy, but I know that I can’t stay without crew for too long. I am looking to pursue the USA U23 team so I may end up pursuing the Senior and Olympic teams as well.

When she isn’t practicing with her team, you can find Aparajita on Twitter: @aparajita_ch and Instagram: @aparajita_c

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2017 End of Year Roundup

Happy New Year!

As we bring 2017 to a close, we would like to thank our members for an incredible year. It’s been so fun meeting South Asians working in sports at our events, online and around town. We are so encouraged to see our community growing on a weekly basis and look forward to taking SAinSports to new heights.

2017 has been a very successful year for SAinSports, check out the standout moments we’ve selected for each month in 2017:

b3800287-0848-413f-aea6-7d68c586f576January 2017
Canadian Ice Hockey player, Jujar Khairascores his first NHL goal!

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February 2017
Akshay Khanna, VP of Strategy for the Philadelphia 76ers led the acquisition and merger of two eSports teams and negotiated an estimated $25 million jersey sponsorship deal with StubHub!

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March 2017
SAinSports hosts our first ever event, a panel discussion and networking event in Manhattan, NYC!

d5935af7-0ac4-49b2-9d1a-bf99dbdb359dApril 2017
Kavita Akula becomes the first Indian female to get a NCAA Division I scholarship!

1d824772-6313-4512-af8c-b1b7ba0a86c4May 2017
Vasu Kulkarni’s Krossover acquired by Blue Star Sports!

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Also in May 2017
FIBA agrees to let Sikhs and Muslims play basketball with their turbans and hijabs!

ramkumar-ramanathan1400-1498629156_1100x513June 2017
Indian tennis player Ramkumar Ramanathan has arguably the biggest singles win of an Indian tennis player since Leander Paes (df. Pete Sampras 1998) beating Dominic Thiem in straight sets!

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Bristol, CT – July 18, 2012 – Studio F: Kevin Negandhi on the set of SportsCenter. (Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

July 2017
ESPN has announces that Kevin Negandhi will anchor ESPN College Football on ABC for the upcoming season.

2c7509b7-e443-4ce6-8368-a719da2e1515Also in July 2017
Atul Khosla becomes Chief Corporate Development and Brand Officer of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!

049285d8-9874-49ae-b78b-b14d210923bcAugust 4th
Congrats to 200th ranked India pro tennis player Yuki Bhambri on reaching the Quarterfinals with some big upsets along the way at the ATP Citi Open.

21224443_1920486454861086_4060414338781937664_nAlso in August 4th
Randip Janda of Hockey Night in Punjabi  is now helping launch the new Sportsnet 650 in his hometown.

f6473a1f-260e-49e5-b455-e291f3cad85bSeptember 2017
South Asians in Sports hosts its first event in Chicago, Il!

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Photo Credit: Juliette Sandleitner

October 2017
South Asians in Sports hosts our third event, a panel discussion and networking night in Manhattan, NY!

33e00b55-5782-4ac7-a08f-dccec8ee1a6aNovember 2017
Sports Illustrated journalist, Priya Desai, sat down with the NJ Senator to discuss race, anthem protests, and what they represent to him.

sVnlJfwcAlso in November 2017
Preetam Sen of City Football Group is named one of Forbes 30 Under 30 Sports

716fe1fd-8724-478f-8836-6ad2b9b05ba8December 2017
Sports Illustrated journalist, Rohan Nadkarni cohosts SI TV’s The Crossover: A basketball lifestyle talk show about the players, games, culture, fashion and memes.

We look forward to more success in 2018!

Have you joined the SAinSports community yet? Don’t miss out on member exclusive events and perks in 2018! Click here to join today!

 

SAinSports Third Quarter Recap

We are nearing the end of 2017 and South Asians in sports just can’t stop, won’t stop making waves this year! Check out a quick recap of just a few stand-out moments for SAinSports in the third quarter of 2017:

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July 5th

Congrats to Kavitha Davidson on her 1 year anniversary at ESPN! Keep paving the way.

 

 

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July 21st 

A huge congrats to Atul Khosla on his new job as the Chief Corporate Development and Brand Officer of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!

 

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August 4th

Congrats to 200th ranked India pro tennis player Yuki Bhambri on reaching the Quarterfinals with some big upsets along the way at the ATP Citi Open.

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September 15st

Ghayas Zahid becomes the first Pakistani-origin footballer to play in the Champions League!

 

 

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September 21st

South Asians in Sports hosts its first event in Chicago, Il!

 

 

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September 25th

There will be a chapter on PT Usha in India’s school text books. A big step forward for South Asian women in sports!

 

 

Have stand-out moments you’d like to contribute? Email us at info@sainsports.com

New York City Recap

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On October 5th 2017,  South Asians in Sports hosted a panel discussion and networking night for the South Asian sports professional community in New York City. Our event brought together a panel of successful professionals working at the burgeoning intersection of sports and technology including: Deepen Parikh, Devi Mahadevia, Ammad Sheikh, Manny Anekal and sports journalist Adi Joseph (as moderator). They spoke to our New York area members about their paths to sports, the current challenges they face, future trends in technology and what it takes to ‘break-in’ to the business of sports. From listening to their success stories, it is clear that each panelist has overcome familial pressures, stereotypes and competition to have thriving careers in the business of sports.

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Our event brought together a wide array of South Asian sports professionals working in a diverse set of industries from; the media, the NBA, academia, startups, sports academies, and students. It was great to see some familiar faces and a lot of new members since our first event in March, 2017.

Check out our event photo gallery below!

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Priya Narasimhan

New York Sports Leader, Priya Narasimhan

Priya Narasimhan will be a panelist at SAinSports upcoming New York Event.

Priya Narasimhan is a Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests lie in the fields of dependable distributed systems, fault-tolerance, embedded systems, mobile systems and sports technology. She serves as the academic lead of the Intel Science and Technology Center in Embedded Computing (ISTC-EC) that comprises Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, UIUC, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, UC Berkeley and Georgia Tech.

Priya Narasimhan is the CEO and Founder of YinzCam, Inc., a Carnegie Mellon spin-off company focused on mobile live streaming and scalable video technologies to provide the ultimate mobile fan experience to 40+ professional sports teams/venues. Priya’s entrepreneurship has earned her a 2012 International Bridge Award from Global Pittsburgh, and a 2011 ad:tech Innovation Award.

Her spare time is devoted to to watching professional (American) football and ice-hockey games. She is a rabid fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Sports and Technology panel and networking night.

Date: Thursday, October 5th, 2017
Time: 6:30-9:00pm (Panel starts at 6:40pm)
Location: WeWork Grand Central (450 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017)

The event is FREE! Please RSVPhere and help us get the word out by telling your friends. We can’t wait to see you there!

SAinSports Oct 5th Final

My Sports Career Journey: The Boomerang Approach

Written by SAinSports member, Akash Bhat

I always wanted to be at the forefront of using digital technology and entrepreneurship to promote sports and entertainment. For me, as a computer science engineering graduate, understanding digital media and its technical applications, was the missing piece in the puzzle. Working in the sports and entertainment digital media industry requires envisioning the future, leveraging technology and practicing with the best in the business. That brought me to Columbia University and its Sports Management program. Here, I landed three highly coveted internships – one at Wasserman (a sports and entertainment agency in New York), one at New York City Football Club (the MLS franchise) and another at Columbia Athletics (Media and Communication department). I also worked as a freelancer at two companies – Leverage Agency (a sports marketing and sponsorship agency) and Inside Crowd (a PR and marketing startup based in Brooklyn), undertook a digital media project for Yahoo! Sports and AOL, volunteered at at-least a dozen sports conferences and events in the city, and coached the U-17 South Bronx United Boys’ soccer team. Now, a month after graduating from the program, I’ve joined a near-dream job at a sports digital-tech company called Grabyo in New York.

In my senior year in undergrad, I did a marketing/operations internship at Nasscom 10,000 Startups – a platform that provides mentoring, incubation and acceleration to young startups in India. I can claim to have learned two things here –  the relentless attitude and bootstrap skills of entrepreneurs. Simply watching this unfold before me helped me in the long run. I began noticing how different entrepreneurs reacted and approached situations and setbacks. It was a live case study of sorts. Beyond networking, I observed something unique to the entrepreneurs around me. They spoke openly about their plans – what they want to do, where they want to be and who they want as part of their team. I made a mental note of this practice. It would be handy someday I said to myself.

Having previously worked on my own startup, with startups and big corporate companies such as Facebook, I returned to pursue my ‘dream’ – a career in sports and entertainment (and therefore the Sports Management program at Columbia University). I really wanted to be at the intersection of sports, digital media and technology, and shape the industry in years to come. However, I didn’t know where to start.

In New York, you’re surrounded by people from all walks of business. Everyone will tell you that ‘networking is the key’ and share stories of how they ‘networked their way’ to a job. I strongly endorse that piece of advice; however, I’m not going to ask you to network, you’re going to do that anyway (at least I hope you will). I’d recommend another strategy which complements business networking. I call it the ‘boomerang approach’.

What is the boomerang approach?

It’s simply the practice of sharing your career plans with everyone you meet. Start incorporating ‘what you want’ into your personal pitch. You throw it out there in the universe and wait for it to come back to you. Now irrespective of your status you will either be looking for an internship or a job sooner or later. The competition out there is fierce, more so in niche fields (surprising, right?!). The Columbia (or any other) brand will help you stand out and jump 90% of the candidates, but that isn’t enough! You’ve now entered the top 10%. This is the true test of your competence and creativity.

We all try hard to strike a rapport with the people we meet. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. This approach works (most times) irrespective of whether you forged a relationship or made an impression. For instance, during networking events, I told people who I was and what I wanted to do – “Hi I’m Akash Bhat, a former entrepreneur and a sports management graduate student at Columbia University… I’m currently exploring opportunities/interested in working for a sports-tech company in the digital space”. The emphasis on ‘sports-tech’ and ‘digital’, was the key to being memorable. It’s easier for someone to register and relate to you when you tell them about what you want to do. At most networking events students don’t know what they want to do, they come off seeming very abstract. I’ve often heard my fellow colleagues saying, “I want to work in the NBA or MLS (or PwC)”. As good as it sounds, it’s still very vague. The NBA or the MLS for instance are split across various sub-verticals such as fan development, player development, marketing, ticket sales etc. You’re not the first person who an employer meets and certainly not the last. Start by identifying your niche and make sure your share that with as many people as you can. It registers. Next time they come across an opening or know someone looking for a candidate, they will go – ‘Hey I know someone who wants to work in sports-tech/digital space’. That’s exactly how I landed an internship and then a full-time job! Today, I’m loving every minute of everything I do – soaking in the experience and expanding my network.

I want to get back to entrepreneurship and start my own business in the future and I tell that to everyone I meet. It’s bringing me one step closer to my dream. It’s as if the boomerang approach albeit practical also has a philosophical side to it.

I’m proud to be a member of South Asians in Sports, where I feel I can continue to network with like minded professionals, share my experiences and learn about the sports industry. I’m excited to attend the upcoming Sports & Technology panel discussion and networking event on Thursday October 5th, at WeWork Grand Central, right where our Grabyo office is. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Follow Akash on Twitter @Akashashky

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Akshay Khanna

New York Sports Leader, Akshay Khanna

Akshay Khanna will be a panelist at SAinSports upcoming New York Event.

Akshay K. Khanna joined the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils/Prudential Center in July 2015 as the Vice President of Strategy and head of the business strategy department, where he is responsible for driving the organization’s strategic direction and new business initiatives and investments. This includes responsibilities in aligning the ticket sales, corporate partnerships, marketing, fan engagement, and customer acquisition functions of the teams, as well as advancing the growth of the combined Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils organizations.

Over his past year and a half with the Sixers organization he has played a crucial role in initiating some of the sports industry and NBA team’s most innovative and groundbreaking business decisions. Under Khanna’s guidance the Sixers have become the first team in North American professional sports to acquire and merge two eSports teams; launched the most dynamic Innovation Lab managed by a professional sports team in the United States; developed a groundbreaking ticketing platform that has revolutionized the live event industry and ticketing ecosystem; and signed a landmark agreement to become the first professional team in “Big Four” North American sports with a jersey patch sponsor.

Khanna was recently selected to be a part of the prestigious Forbes 30 Under 30 class in 2017. In addition to his duties at the Sixers, Khanna was an Adjunct Professor of Sports Business for the Sports Administration graduate program at Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies. Additionally, he serves as an Industry Expert for Columbia University’s online Sports Business program. In May, 2015 he published a case, The Philadelphia 76ers: Innovation at the Forefront of a Sports Business Turnaround, for The Wharton School of Business Wharton Digital Press. He currently guest lectures at a class on Sports Business Methods for The Wharton School of Business MBA program.

Khanna will deliver an individual lecture on innovation in the sports industry at the revered Sloan Analytics Conference in March, 2017. He has previously been invited to speak on the connection between the NBA and eSports at the TEAMS Conference (2016) and has additionally spoken at the Landmark Media and Technology Summit (2016) on innovation and the sports business landscape. Khanna is a regular guest lecturer at the Wharton School of Business’ graduate and undergraduate programs, leading discussions on sports innovation and the use of analytics for ticket pricing, sponsorship, marketing and fan engagement. He was invited to speak at the Lauder Graduate Association Weekend in 2016, on the importance of sports brand recognition and growth.

Before joining the 76ers, Khanna served as an Associate at Sycamore Partners, a consumer retail-focused private equity firm in New York City with more than $3.5B under management. While at Sycamore Partners, Khanna was involved in evaluating and executing leveraged buyouts and assisting portfolio companies with strategic initiatives and add-on acquisitions. Prior to Sycamore Partners, Khanna was an Analyst at Audax Group, a middle-market private equity firm in Boston with more than $9B in assets across its equity, mezzanine debt, and senior debt businesses.

Khanna earned his A.B., graduating magna cum laude from Middlebury College. He graduated with honors with an MBA from The Wharton School and an MA in International Studies from The Lauder Institute at The University of Pennsylvania. Khanna serves on the National Executive Committee for Minds Matter, an education non-profit, and on The Wharton Club of Philadelphia Board. He currently resides in New York, NY.

Event Details:
Date: Thursday, October 5th, 2017
Time: 6:30-9:00pm (Panel starts at 6:40pm)
Location: WeWork Grand Central (450 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10017)

The event is FREE! Please RSVP here and help us get the word out by telling your friends. We can’t wait to see you there!

new york oct

Adi Joseph

New York Sports Journalist, Adi Joseph

Adi Joseph will be our moderator at SAinSports’ upcoming New York Event.

Adi Joseph is the deputy managing editor of CBS Sports, leading NBA and college basketball coverage. He’s covered sports for a decade, including NBA All-Star and playoff games, U.S. Open tennis, NASCAR races and more.

Follow Adi on Twitter for some entertaining tweets @AdiJoseph

South Asians in Sports will be hosting a FREE networking event in midtown Thursday September 21st! Meet with a powerhouse panel of professionals in Sports & Tech. The event is FREE for members so be sure to JOIN and RSVP

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Devi Mahadevia

New York Sports Leader, Devi Mahadevia

Devi Mahadevia will be a panelist at SAinSports’ upcoming New York Event.

Devi Mahadevia leads Global Strategic Partnerships for sports leagues and governing bodies at Facebook. In this role, she works with partners worldwide to help them reach new audiences, experiment with innovative forms of distribution and achieve their business objectives. This consultation covers initiatives across Facebook’s family of apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus.

Devi joined Facebook after a career in digital sports licensing and corporate development, with stops at the NFL, NHL and Comcast. She received an M.B.A. in Marketing and Strategy from Wharton School of Business and a B.S. from the University of Maryland College Park.

South Asians in Sports will be hosting a FREE networking event in midtown Thursday September 21st! Meet with a powerhouse panel of professionals in Sports & Tech. The event is FREE for members so be sure to JOIN and RSVP.

new york oct

Chicago 2017 Recap

On September 21st South Asians in Sports hosted a panel discussion and networking night for the South Asian sports professional community in Chicago, IL. Our panel of industry leaders: Pooja Van Dyke, Ram Padmanabhan, Rashid Ghazi, Sahadev Sharma, Vinay Mullick and moderator Payal Patel spoke about their paths to sports, current challenges and future trends in their companies and what it takes to ‘break-in’ to the business of sports. They also shared some amusing anecdotes about working in sports as a South Asian minority.

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It was inspiring to see such accomplished professionals as well as athletes, recent grads and students come together to network in Chicago. We can’t wait to be back in Chicago for another event and to see the community grow even bigger!

Check out our event photo gallery below!

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Join us for our next event in New York City on October 5th. You can RSVP here.