Chino Hills BAPS hosted Women’s Conference with theme of ‘Moving Forward’
Los Angeles, March 22, 2015
NRIpress-Club, LA-Karen/ BAPS
Women have long served in molding future generations through their invaluable contributions within their homes and communities. Encouraged to pursue their personal, professional, and humanitarian goals, women are utilizing the support of one another and their communities alike. BAPS began hosting the Women’s Conference in 2007 in an effort to provide a forum for women to connect, share, and celebrate the vital roles they play. This year BAPS hosted its ninth annual Women’s Conference, that took place at 11 centers across North America, to inspire generations of women to pursue leadership positions, while making a commitment to bring other women along. The conference, themed “Moving Forward,” focused on creating positive change that starts from within.
From left to right: Ms Aparna Hande, Mrs Swati Desai, Mrs Hetal Patel, Laxmi Thirumani, Miss Swara Modi
On March 14th, over 500 women gathered at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir in Chino Hills, CA to participate in the annual conference. Moving Forward covered three key concepts: compassion, forgiveness, and perseverance. The conference commenced with a hindu prayer sung by Ms. Swara Modi, followed by a stuti dance performed by Ms. Lakshmi Thirumani, who is accomplished in Kuchipudi, a form of Indian classical dance.
The speeches commenced with keynote speaker Ms. Aparna Hande, honored as 56th Assembly District “Woman of the Year” in 2012 by Assembly member Tony Mendoza. She praised the BAPS community of women, saying, “These women are dedicated to empowering themselves and others. They are driven by compassion and forgiveness to work together towards common solutions.”
The conference continued with a session on forgiveness, and how this tool can help one advance her life in ways previously thought unimaginable. “Forgiveness is like a muscle – the more we practice it, the stronger it becomes,” beautifully quoted by the next speaker, Ms. Swati Desai, attorney and certified family law specialist. She led the audience through an interactive discussion on practicing the art of forgiveness and left attendees with a challenge to move forward from negative situations and circumstances. In this awe-inspiring presentation, the audience was encouraged to put themselves in the shoes of another and learn to let go, as forgiveness leads to healing and happiness.
Ms. Hetal Patel, a third year Doctor of Chiropractic candidate at the Southern California University of Health Sciences, eloquently spoke of compassion, one of the strongest attributes she holds as a leader. She shared her personal journey of finding happiness through compassion for herself and others. Ms. Patel elaborated on how this quality made her an effective leader and mentor in life, stating, “Many of us think compassion drains us, but in fact it enlivens us. For this, women are strong. We are strong. We have the opportunity for generations to come to teach ourselves and our daughters how to unleash the power of compassion.” The audience was moved by her experiences and recognized the value of shifting one’s perspective to build a positive outlook to accomplish goals.
In closing the conference, Ms. Pratiksha Amin, a third year dental student pursuing her Doctorate at the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, motivated the audience by encouraging introspection. She asked the attendees to think of all the obstacles and failures they face in their day-to-day lives and take note of the small instances where they have persevered. By sharing her own struggles, she took the audience through a journey of overcoming challenges by recognizing patterns of failure and correcting them with more achievable, measurable goals. Ms. Amin created an environment of camaraderie amongst the women in the audience to realize that the power of perseverance was within them all, they just need the right strategies and motivation to continue moving forward in life.
Among the honored guests in attendance were Ms. Manisha Sulakhe, an accomplished chemist, dancer, and active community leader; Ms. Depti Patel, an experienced IT professional; Ms. Alka Patel, civil engineer, buisnesswoman, and President of UFICA, and Ms. Anu Jain, Director Operations and Outreach at SAHARA. Sharing her thoughts on the conference, Ms. Jain stated, “It was not just an insightful but an intellectually stimulating event. The three guiding stones of today’s conference are so important to ensure that we all have harmonious relationships in moving forward.”
After the conference, speakers were available for one-on-one mentoring to help attendees with their own professional and personal growth. All left the conference with a profound feeling of unity in womanhood, knowing that change and growth are possible with the help of positivity, forgiveness, and introspection.