On behalf of IAGB, we wish all readers a very Happy New Year. For all expatriates January brings in memories of flying kites, sharing Til and Gud (sesame seeds and jaggery), and singing and dancing around a bonfire celebrating Lohri, depending upon which region in India one spent their formative years. These are just few of the many traditional celebrations that happen all across India in celebration of Sankranti - a festival that is celebrated as per the Solar Calendar (unlike most other festivals that go by the lunar calendar). Additionally, every 12 years the largest human congregation (100 million plus) of anywhere on earth happens in the month of January during the Kumbh Mela. Another childhood memory for most of us would be the annual parade in front of India Gate in New Delhi. Now for our kids growing up in Massachusetts, January will lock in the memories of IAGB Republic Day celebrations and the wide variety of competitions and performances during the day long event.

In this edition you will see:
  • Note From IAGB President - Aditi Taylor
  • Guest Column - Sanjay Kudrimoti
  • SPOTLIGHT - Mr. Pranav Gill, General Manager for Herb Chambers BMW of Sudbury
  • Announcements
  • IAGB Upcoming Events
  • IAGB Recent Events
  • Community Calendar
  • Our Sponsors
  • Our Media Partners

Like always we invite you to submit guest columns on diverse topics for inclusion in the newsletter. Your feedback and suggestions and welcome!! Please contact via Email if you wish to make community event announcements through this newsletter.

Please visit our Website to sign up for annual family/single or life membership of IAGB. Contact Us if you are interested to volunteer at our upcoming events.

IAGB joins millions of Americans in urging both the Executive and the Legislative branches of government to start negotiating and arrive at a compromise and end the partial shutdown of the US government. Federal employees as well as many thousands of private contractors who work for or on behalf of Federal government want to and need to get back to work and get paid!

Dear IAGB Members and Supporters,

Happy Makar Sankranti, Uttarayan, Maghi, Pongal and Suggi to all those celebrating!!

After the success of IAGB Antakshari Semifinals on January 12th, we are now eagerly looking forward to the big Republic Day Mela on January 26, 2019 at Burlington High School, Burlington, MA. 

Like all IAGB events, this year's Republic Day Mela 2019 too will present an opportunity for exhibitors and advertisers to showcase and offer latest Indian clothing, costume and jewelries, and professional services including tutors, real estate services, banking and a whole lot more. IAGB events provide a wonderful opportunity to reach out to a wider audience in the New England area and beyond. We still have few spots open, so sign up today to reserve your spot. For pricing and other details please visit our website  https://iagb/org/sponsorship

The event will begin at 1 pm with the following competitions for all ages: chess, art, carrom, story telling (elementary school only) and trivia. Participation is free for all members. Click  here   to sign up. This will be followed by a joint segment across the cultural performances and the IAGB Antakshari Grand Finale starting at 4 pm. 
Delicious snacks and dinner will be available brought to us by Godavari. 

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our platinum sponsor, Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare and our gold sponsors, Pranav Gill of BMW Sudbury and Jobiak. IAGB offers free events to bring our community together and we cannot accomplish this without the continued and generous support of our sponsors.
 - Aditi Taylor

Nostalgia has always been a curious human nature. The dictionary meaning of it is “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. So with every bit of news items on bankruptcies filed by iconic companies such as Brookstone and Sears tugs at the hearts of every American consumer. It is true that some of the major players going extinct makes perfect sense given the fact that technology changes were too fast and too significant for those companies to keep up the pace and adapt simultaneously. The best examples in this category could be Kodak, Blockbuster Video, etc. These firms had made sizable investments in the existing technologies of their time that could not be abandoned on the fly.

That said, the irony is we as consumers are partially responsible for the failures of many of these, specifically some of the brick and mortar retail store chains across the United States. Many of us have spent countless hours flipping through the pages of the books and magazines at Borders but walked away with no purchases. We allowed our kids to play with toys in the aisles of Toys’R’Us and then go home and order the same from online retail giants to save a couple of dollars. 2018 was especially harsh for the clothing stores in the retail market. We bid complete good byes to the brick and mortar versions of Nine West, Bebe to name a few. Even more shocking was when Macys announced in late 2017 that it would be closing down hundred plus of its stores.

So what does all this mean for our future as far as our shopping experience is concerned? While consumer spending is on the rise, the bargain hunting is robbing us of the opportunities to touch, feel and try and help us in our decision making in regards to our purchases. This also bodes ominous for high school / college kids as regards to part time employment opportunities.

Over the past few years I personally started to have a different outlook towards these businesses. Earlier my focus was only on the products - the tennis racket at Sports Authority; the cozy comforter at Linen n’ Things and I took for granted the service provided by these retail stores and their employees. Now, I pause and appreciate these ‘service providers’ and I have started doing my part, to spend my dollars at the physical cash registers to the extent I can. So on Amazon Prime Day I went to a Hunts retails store and brought my Cannon Mark IV.

Like every year this year too at the IAGB Republic Day celebrations at Burlington High School you will find many vendors marketing their products from jewelry, clothing to many other products and services. I would encourage all readers to stop by these outlets and make an effort to find value in the product and service that they bring with a smile. We have to do our part to not make them extinct because the alternative is to simply learn to live our lives in nostalgia.
Members interested in submitting a guest column in our newsletter can send an email to iagb@iagb.org.

eNews edition  shines SPOTLIGHT on Mr. Pranav Gill, General Manager for Herb Chambers BMW of Sudbury

IAGB : Welcome to IAGB SPOTLIGHT. Can you share with us your journey tracing back all the way from your childhood to your current employment as the General Manager at a Herb Dealership?
Pranav Gill : Both my parents are Indian. My mom grew up in Mumbai and my Dad is from New Delhi. After they got married they moved to Austria. I was born in Austria. My parents worked in the Hotel services industry for fifteen years in Austria before moving to United States when I was five years old. All along we have lived in Massachusetts. My parents worked hard and eventually opened up an Indian restaurant in Framingham, which they operated successfully for a number of years. Unfortunately, my dad passed away when I was 16, at which time my mom shouldered all the responsibility and toiled hard to keep the lights on at the restaurant. At that time, I was in high school and helped out during after school hours and on weekends and holidays. A couple of years after, we suffered another setback. My mom was diagnosed with cancer and she passed away a few years after losing her battle to cancer. During this period, we ended up selling our restaurant when I still was in college. I attended Nichols College in Dudley, MA thanks to a generous scholarship. During her last year I took a year break from my college and went to work to help out with anything I could. After delivering large Poland Spring water bottles to offices in downtown Boston I realized that it was important for me to finish school and work towards building a career.

I graduated with a degree in Business and a stack of loans in a weak job market. But with a willingness to work hard I found a job as sales representative at Herb Chambers. At that time, I knew nothing about sales, nothing about cars and nothing about automobile business, but I did know how to work hard. I rose up through the ranks pretty fast thanks to my hard work, dedication and discipline, and currently I am the General Manager for Herb BMW Sudbury. Under my leadership we have grown to 125-130 employees, we are one of the top BMW dealerships in the country, we have won various awards over the years including BMW center for excellence, the JD power of excellence award last year and are on track to win more and repeat some. The Center for Excellence award is most prestigious and as the winner of the award, it puts us in the top 10% of all BMW dealerships in the country. Also last couple of years I have been personally honored as the ‘General Manager of the Year’ award for the Herb Chambers Group. This is among the 56 dealerships that are part of the Herb Chamber group. Herb has helped me change my life in many ways and I look forward to work for him for many more years.

IAGB : What type of skills are needed in this line of work to succeed?
Pranav Gill : To succeed in this line of business, success comes out of one’s personality. You have to like people. It’s a sales position, hence the required sills are pretty general. So ‘Likeability’ takes priority. Likeability comes from one’s positive attitude and their enthusiasm. That said there is really no substitute for hard work. One has to be relentless, and prospecting. One has to seek new clients and maintain relationship with existing clients for repeat business. In our new hires we look for people with ability to comprehend the product knowledge and their ability to work hard. This is one of the few businesses where in people even without a college degree can potentially earn six figures salary annually. 

IAGB : How do you navigate through the ‘negative image’ of ‘car salesmen’ that has been ingrained in people’s minds, especially via pop culture?
Pranav Gill : I dealt with this image especially at the beginning of my career. Sales jobs are not particularly encouraged especially in the Indian community. Even folks close to me questioned my career choice and expressed surprise that I would be selling cars after finishing my college. And because of this negative connotation at the beginning of my career even I felt shy at times in talking about my job as car salesman. There is some element of truth to this bad image that got carried over from the earlier times. Some car salesmen took advantage of customers for their own benefit. Also this is not unique only to auto industry. Similar examples can be seen in Real Estate, Banking, Insurance and few other industries where prospective customers were preyed upon. This is unfortunate.

Now, why I like working for Herb is, this is the exact reason why Herb got into this business. Herb personally was at the receiving end of some poor service when he walked in to a dealership to buy a car for one of his relatives years ago. Right then and there he decided that there has to be a better way of doing this business. It was at a time when he had cashed out of his copier business and was flush with liquidity so he ended up buying the dealership at which he had gone to buy a car. That’s when he started his quest to change the way this business was being done. Going forward, now the focus is on who is being hired and how the training is being imparted so the culture of positivity continues. In the current market conditions, once the customer has narrowed down their choice to the brand, the product itself is indistinguishable between dealerships. Thanks to the internet the pricing information too is not a secret sauce anymore. The only distinguishing feature that is left now is the quality of service. For us at Herb Chambers’ Dealership the objective is to not only attend to the needs of the customer at the time of sale but also follow up on any complaints to the fullest extent and continue to provide excellent service throughout the years of their ownership of the car. All this circles back to the fact that we can now proudly say that we sell cars.

IAGB : What are your views and plans on ‘giving back’ to the community?
Pranav Gill : Giving back to the community can be in a number of different ways. It could be financial, time investment, skills, contributing ideas, resources etc. How I determine what is important – is based on what I experienced growing up. For me personally, I grew up frugally, I grew up with hard working parents that worked 2 and 3 jobs a day to make ends meet and provide us the best. For me couple of things are important. The first is children. I want to start with kids in high school looking for jobs, help them if they don’t know what they are looking for in career, let them shadow for a day. Whether it is kids coming out of college or whether it is kids in lower elementary schools, how do we find them the positive and supportive influence, how do I help create a network of professionals from different fields and work together to help provide needed resources that the kids can rely upon. In 2019 my focus will be on identifying causes specifically related to children and education and poverty alleviation projects.

IAGB : What is your motivation towards community service and how do you spread the spirit of community service?
Pranav Gill : As much as we struggled growing up and as much as it was challenging to make ends meet, my mom and dad were heavily involved in community service. We were part of the Sai Center growing up and we went to Haley House one Sunday a month. My dad would wake me up at 5 in the morning on those days. We would drive into Boston with 10-15 other people, we would cook breakfast and lunch for homeless folks and serve about 200-300 people. The groceries for that would be split between my parents and number of other members. Now most of these people including my parents who split the expenses could not really afford but that’s how important this was for them. So my motivation comes from the fact that if my parents could do that with much lesser means they had than I have now, so why can’t I. 

How do I influence others – mostly by talking about it within my network of people that mostly happen to be second generation Indian Americans.

IAGB : Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Pranav Gill : It’s been a great career for me so far - starting off as a salesperson and now as one of the top General Manager for Herb Dealerships. 5 – 10 years from now I see myself being at the Corporate level managing some level of sales operations or overseeing multiple stores. I hope I will be working for Herb till the end of my career or until Herb has this business. But by the same token I am very fortunate to be recognized in Automotive news as one of the top 40 under 40 managers and since then I have been solicited by lot of dealers all over the country. For me Boston is home and I don’t want to leave and I love working for this company so much that as long as this company affords me the opportunities to grow, I will be here at some at some capacity at a higher management level.

IAGB : What would be Pranav Gill’s legacy?
Pranav Gill : I would categorize the legacy I wish to make a mark on into two levels. On the career front I have been focusing on for the last couple of years, helping people around me grow. I am successful and the store is successful. That is a priority and I need to keep that. Part of my other job is to help guys and girls around me to grow into positions like mine. Over the past three years I have successfully groomed some of the employees here into upper management executive positions and I continue to work for more strong positive results on this front. From a career standpoint I would like to be known for not only as a successful operator but also as someone who has helped many people to grow both financially and career wise.

On the personal front, me and my wife have discussed this, we hope to start a scholarship for a student on an annual basis. We still haven’t figured out the dollar amount and conditions and criteria but we are working on it. I want to be known as a good person that has helped a lot of people. I know as of now I am not anywhere near there, and I have a lot of work to do before I get there but I know that is something I need to focus on and that is a good start.

IAGB : What is your favorite pastime?
Pranav Gill : I am in the office typically six days a week. So any time I get free that is not dedicated to work activity or community activity, I dedicate that time to my children and my wife. That is what brings me joy. I have a 4-year-old and a new born. Me and my wife Shivani are married for seven years. We are big on family. I met my wife when I was working at a Lexus store where her dad was a customer and she later ended up getting a part time job at the dealership. Our first date was at an Indian restaurant and the rest is history. Two years later we got married and now with two beautiful kids I have the best family. So any time I am not working or attending one of the different events here, I am spending time with my kids and my wife. That said I love sports, I like to go to sporting events, I am a big Patriots fan. Another favorite family pastime is traveling. Anytime we get vacation time we are traveling. I still do have family back in India but I haven’t had an opportunity to travel to India in last 20 years. The challenge for me is I get short vacation days and for India trip I will need to carve out a little longer vacation period to make it worthwhile and I do plan to make it in near future.

IAGB : Who do you look up to? Who is your idol?
Pranav Gill : I have a couple of role models, starting with my father. I cannot imagine having to move my family across the world and starting a new life with very limited resources. The courage it takes, the confidence it takes, the intensity and the hard work it takes is just another level. For him and my mom to bring us to this country, raise us the way they did is why I am where I am today and I will never forget that. He loved cars but never had an opportunity to buy his dream car. He worked hard but never complained. I remember a story from my middle school days when I came home from school crying because I had some tough time from my friends at school because of the simple sneakers I was wearing. My dad was so upset that he took me to a store right away and asked me to pick a pair of any brand of sneakers of any value. Looking back, I feel bad because I don’t know how much extra hard he had to work to pay that off but just knowing that he did it unselfishly for us, that I can’t thank him enough. These experiences and struggles that I experienced are probably the exact things that put me where I am today. But for his sacrifices I may not have worked so hard today. Maybe I might not have appreciated the opportunities that I have right now. All of this is applicable to my mother too. She was in all of this toe to toe with my father.

Another individual who is my role model is Herb himself. Any meeting that I have with him, I come out of that meeting more pumped up and no matter how much better I might have done that month. I come out with a feeling that I can do so much better. The amount of love and support he provides to someone like me and the motivation that he provides me is unimaginable. It’s an honor to work for him. He reminds me that I have earned every dollar that I have made and thanks me for the way I treat him when I actually feel it should be the other way around.

Then there is uncle Joe, my parents’ very good friend. When both my parents passed Uncle Joe took ownership of my sister and helped watch over her and took care of her and now they help support and guide my way along. He is not my father by blood but he has always treated me like his child.

One additional note I must make is that this business takes a lot from one’s spouse. The long hours on job would mean she too is sacrificing the family life along with me. She has taken charge on the home front that has given me the opportunity to solely focus on my job. So I am very lucky to have a girl like her in my life. 

IAGB interviewing team:  Sanjay Kudrimoti / Sanjay Kenchegowda

Spirit of Giving Month @IAGB
December the giving month of the year...time we look back at our accomplishments throughout the year and count our blessings....

IAGB arranged two community events to bring together Indian American Community here in New England area and to give back to the land we live.

The first community event was held on December 1, 2018 at 'Community Servings' (Jamaica Plain) an organization which serves nutritious meals to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. Community Serving provides meals to over 2,300 people all over Massachusetts and some parts of Rhode Island. IAGB and its volunteers were part of the kitchen crew, prepping and packing meals. Volunteers thoroughly enjoyed helping out in the kitchen and being part of this noble cause.

Our second community event was on December 8, 2018 at 'Greater Boston Food Bank' (Boston)- an organization working to end hunger by providing food and resources to families in need. IAGB volunteers helped to sort and arrange food donations which then go to next assembly line to be packaged as per varied requirements of the individuals and families in need.

A big thanks to those who joined in these events. We are glad we could show the strength of our growing community in New England.

If you missed these or would like to join us please look out for upcoming events in 2019.

Upcoming community events
March 2019
May 2019

Vaishali Gade, Secretary IAGB

IAGB is in the process of upgrading its website by adding few additional features for better user experience. If you have experience with website development and are willing to help, please reach out to us at iagb@iagb.org

Like all IAGB events, this year's Republic Day event too will present an opportunity to showcase art, jewelry, and other products and services for all our local vendors and supporters. Additionally, you can submit advertisements in the event brochure.

For pricing and other details please visit our website https://iagb/org/sponsorship. This link will allow you to complete your registration and payment.

Corporate and Annual Sponsorship are available in addition to social media and newsletter packages. Please reach out to iagb@iagb.org for complete details
IAGB is grateful to  #Jobiak  Inc for being a Gold Sponsor for  #RepublicDay Mela 2019. Jobiak is a startup and its mission is to fuse machine learning technology together with practical approaches and long proven marketing funnel strategies to transform recruitment process.
Heartfelt thanks to Herb Chambers  BMW of Sudbury (and General Manager -  Pranav Gill ) for being a Gold Sponsor of Republic Day Mela 2019. BMW of Sudbury, a state-of-the-art facility in Sudbury, focuses on time, energy and resources on the mission of finding the perfect car for you and your lifestyle. If you desire a shopping experience commensurate with the high-quality vehicle you want to drive, plan a in-person visit, contact online or via phone @(877) 203-5102. BMW of Sudbury caters to your every need.
Thank you  Pranav Gill  for your continued support for IAGB.
Thanks to  Harvard Pilgrim Health Care  (HPHC) and  Brenda Cole  for being our Platinum Corporate Sponsor for  #RepublicDay  Mela 2019. Harvard Pilgrim and its family of companies provide health benefit plans, programs and services to more than 3 million customers in New England and beyond. Thank you  Brenda Cole  for your continued support and love for IAGB and the community for many years!
Antakshari Semi Finals at Priya Restaurant, Lowell

Editors: Sanjay Kudrimoti & Nagendra Rao
IAGB Communications