South Asian Youth Alliance Holds 4th Maiden Event: Coffee with The CEO

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By Hafeeza Shaikh

HOUSTON: South Asian Youth Alliance (SAYA), an initiative of Indian Muslims Association of Greater Houston ( IMAGH), was launched on April 27, 2014, to help the South Asian Young Adults, find mentors, develop leadership skills, build a peer supported network, and learn about their heritage. SAYA’s goal is to have young representatives from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan as its members.

SAYA had its fourth event, Coffee With The CEO at the Marriott Westchase. This event is a discussion based series with CEOs from many different companies coming to share their success story.  The invited guest was Global Vice President, P.J. Purujit Patel from Stellium Inc. Stellium Inc is a specialized management consulting firm, designing and delivering solutions to improve businesses worldwide. Patel is a recognized IT and Business Leader, bringing more than 15+ years’ experience in manufacturing and oil and gas industry.

Mohammed A. Khan, President, SAYA welcomed Patel and SAYA members. Hafeeza Shaik, Secretary, and Zaid Hussain, Historian then introduced the objectives of South Asian Youth Alliance and this event.

Patel began sharing his journey in life and the steps he has taken to reach the position he is in today. Like many typical Indian parents, Patel’s family also had expectations that he’d also study medicine and become a doctor like his father. Although he grew up in India, they did not force him to follow his dad. After getting admitted into Medical School, Patel changed his mind and went to an Engineering School to pursue his passion.

Patel holds Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, (Baroda, India), Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering from University of Houston, and an MBA from Rice University with focus on Finance and Entrepreneurship. After completing his Masters, Patel had aspired to achieve the highest level in the technical branch. Post-MBA, he learnt to see the whole spectrum of business. Patel added, “If I can do that again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.” It shows that learning never stops and education truly breeds success in the minds that acquire it.

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During the discussion at the Coffee With The CEO event

In leadership lecture series, guests are free to talk about lessons they learned growing up and what qualities buoyed them to success. Patel explained that together with technical skills, it is perhaps more important to develop ‘people skill’. Everyone is different and have different ideas. As a colleague, employee or employer, it is important to respect everyone and show concern and understanding. This does not mean to comprise with one’s own values or point of view. Patel emphasized, “If you can’t work with people, the probability of success will diminish. But it also important to stay true to yourself.”

Last but not least, Patel advised to work hard and study well. There is so much to learn and so little time. Learning never ends and it is something which everyone should pursue. Only those succeed who have a passion for what they are doing. He also advised to balance personal life and career. He defined success by personal happiness.

Latafath Hussain, President of IMAGH thanked Patel and all the SAYA members who joined for the event. He added that SAYA members definitely benefitted by Patel’s discussion.

After Patel had shared his story, the room was opened up for discussions. There were many questions regarding business, education, entrepreneurship, internship, growing up South Asian etc.

For further information, call Latafath Hussain at 713-269-6171 or Email: or Facebook: