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Anju Bhargava, a management consultant, is a member of President Barack Obama's inaugural Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnership.
A change catalyst pioneer, a management consultant and banker, has organized and advocated to build healthy American communities and corporations, while managing risks. Her distinctive, research-based approach leverages best practices from many spheres – education, government/politics, civic/social, religious/faith-based, corporate/business, for hands on grass-roots level nation building, organizational development, risk management and individual coaching.
Bhargava is a strategic business transformation and risk management consultant dedicated to creating multi-dimensional strategies to address critical issues and maximize return on risk and value in an interdependent global environment. She works at the intersection of strategy, risk, leadership (people), process, technology and culture through a combination of both business and human levers. She began her career nearly three decades ago as a banker and has held senior level positions in Corporate America, focusing on global business transformation, organizational development and risk management (credit and operational risk). Her internationally cited research a super-regional bank’s Loan loss experience was published by The RMA Journal, and received recognition from the Office of the Comptroller of Currency. She worked with Rutgers Business School, as a Fellow of Department of Accounting, Business Ethics and Information Systems to frame thoughts on current risk assurance and Enterprise Risk Management issues. Ms Bhargava has consulted for global companies in diverse industries, coached and mentored talent and provided thought leadership in the public and private sectors. She has held senior positions at Bank of America, Bear Stearns, BB&T Bank, IBM Global Services, Fleet/NatWest Bank and Chase Manhattan Bank. She has developed an Executive Education program, Chakravyuhu or the labyrinth, a program for mentoring women (India and U.S.) to make the "step-change" in their careers in the global Corporate World. She has taught Organization Management at Rutgers Graduate School of Business.
Shortly after her appointment to the President's Inaugural Advisory Council in April 2009, Bhargava founded Hindu American Seva Charities a progressive American organization advancing seva (community service), interfaith collaboration, pluralism, social justice and sustainable civic engagement to ignite grassroots social change and build healthy communities. HASC is working to unite faith and secular communities in social equity projects and to strengthen the diaspora immigrant civic engagement of the New Americans, for the common good. Through these efforts HASC is pushing out boundaries for social justice and interfaith collaboration.
As the only member of eastern tradition in the Council, she brought to the White House more awareness of the issues facing the Dharmic community (*Dharmic is generally defined as Buddhist, Hindu, Jain) and the New Americans, the post 1965 immigrants. She saw a need for greater integration of America’s cultural and religious diversity and leveraging their skills to strengthen America domestically and globally. Hence, along with the Council recommendations, with the HASC team, she authored a comprehensive community assessment report “Call to Serve” and presented it to the President and Senior Administration officials. This became a strategic and visionary road map for integration of the Hindu community to make service and volunteering a defining part of Hindu/Dharmic American life and culture. The overall goal is to increase civic engagement, to increase and promote volunteering and interfaith collaboration while addressing the nation's needs. She developed tools for faith-based, inculture, approach to development for the Hindu/Dharmic community to serve such as UtsavSeva. This approach has received widespread support from key spiritual leaders, including the Dalai Lama, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Amma, ISKCON, Chinmaya Mission and others.
Bhargava played a key role in co-hosting 3 historic conferences with the White House to help the community and the government connect more to serve and strengthen America, while bringing the strategic vision presented to the President and White House to the forefront: (1) Energizing Dharmic Seva: Impacting Change in America and Abroad” (July 29–31, 2011), (2) Strengthening Dharmic Places of Worship (April 20,2012) and (3) “Dharmic American Future: Seva, Innovation and Tradition" (August 3–4, 2012).
Bhargava blogs frequently for Huffingtonpost and Washingtonpost. She is a frequent speaker at many forums, including The Conference Board, Universities, Corporations, Risk & Regulation.
Prior Community Building Experience
Bhargava was the only Indian-American to serve in the Community Builder Fellowship, President Clinton’s White House initiative (1998–2000). During this time, she conducted the 1st study of Asian American immigrants needs in New Jersey which became the foundation for many government and community organizations programs (2000). She was an advisor to Community Foundation NJ which brought diverse parents (the New Americans) in Elizabeth and Jersey City together to breakdown cultural barriers. She educated diverse communities on HUD programs and worked to identify ways to empower communities, increase affordable housing and homeownership, reduce homelessness, promote jobs and economic opportunity and fight for fair housing. She was recognized by the Partnership for New Jersey and Governor Whitman as a founder of New Jersey Diversity Network.
Anju Bhargava attended the 1st briefing of Asian Women[permanent dead link] in 1983, President Reagan's White House initiative. With Asian Indian Women in America and the City of New York, Bhargava played a key role in co-organizing the 1st job fair for underserved communities in 1986. AIWA has empowered women by promoting mentoring and leadership development (such as with Asia Society and Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute), development of the 1st domestic violence shelter and micro-finance for rural women in India.
A Vedantic teacher/ordained pujarin, Bhargava strives to combine philosophy and practice from a contemporary view. For over 25 years she has worked to advance pluralism and tolerance through interfaith dialogues at the local, state, national and international levels. She advised Livingston Township, Board of Education, Clergy in developing diversity and inclusion strategies to integrate global, multicultural residents while enhancing the Township’s image and resulting property values. She has organized community-based affinity groups (the first networking forum for South Asians in Corporate America – 1988–1995) and has created a language and cultural education infrastructure to facilitate adaptation and integration. In 2006, she initiated Utsava, the 1st Festival of India in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, an event linked with Winston-Salem's strategic direction to revitalize downtown and enhance bio-science workforce development, and with North Carolina's global education vision and goals for school children. The Indian community provided an inculture, first hand, global education to the people of Winston-Salem; the world in America. She was a founding member of NJ Corporate Diversity Network, an initiative formed with Partnership for New Jersey to "maximize effectiveness of diversity initiatives to enhance business results and positively affect our communities and the economy".
Bhargava has received many awards for her work in various fields.
In 2012 Bhargava was recognized by the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Engagement for her pioneering and community transformation work.
Bhargava was named one of 10 Inspiring Women Religious Leaders by Huffington Post. (She blogs for Huffington Post and Washington Post).
She is a recipient of Fleet Bank’s prestigious “Strategies for Success” Award.
Bhargava is a graduate of Stella Maris College, Madras University, India, Rutgers University (MBA), with training at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, American University, and Kellogg.