Lalitha Byra of Indian Women Empowerment Forum
01 Sep 16
Asia Today had the heartfelt pleasure of spending some time with a remarkable woman, Lalitha Byra who is bringing Arizona its first Indian Women Empowerment Forum on September 18, 2016 at the Indo American Hall from 4 PM – 8 PM.
A little history…
Born in Tamil Nadu to a well-educated family of civil engineers and businessmen, Lalitha did her schooling in Chennai and has a Masters in Mathematics. After getting married to ShyamByra in 1991, they both moved to the city of love Paris. A transfer from Paris to Phoenix Arizona with a position of Director of Engineering in 1994 brought both of them to Phoenix in 1995. Her first few years, she was a home maker and blesses with two beautiful children Shruthi and Shravan. However, once they started school she had more time on her hands and could not deal with sitting idle.
Lalitha’s role model is her mom. Even though her mother was from an orthodox family, her thinking was very forward. She brought the whole family up with good values and taught them not to be jealous our envious of anyone. Being a strong women herself, she passed that on to her. Her greatest supporter is her husband, Shyam- Byra. Lalitha is proud to say she would not be where she is without Shyam’s support and guidance!
In 1996, with help and support from a few friends, she started Vensoft Inc. – a software design company. As a women entrepreneur, Lalitha faced many challenges and was overwhelmed. Since it was a startup, she had to play all roles from marketing to finance to administrative duties like faxing and photocopying and taking care of all aspects of an organization’s dynamics. And of course the dynamics at home. Shyam, her husband, was a huge supporter always backing her up and guiding and mentoring her all the way. Later, he also joined her in the growing venture Vensoft. Today, it has grown into a multi-million dollar company that comprises of a group of companies diversified into multiple areas with employees throughout the US. The company also has an offshore development office in Hyderabad, India.
Vensoft works on many web portals dedicated to women and chidlren’s causes focused on children, mothers, parents, and women. Their women’s ventures focused on women of all ages and mothers include Her Gamut, Glamor One, Active Moms Network, Active Kids Time, Yummy Food Recipes, and many more. Aside from the social cause ventures, there is also a focus on online marketplaces for finding and managing different services. An example of this is CampNavigator. com, one of the top four summer camps and teen programs search engine in the world with lofty goals to becoming number one very soon. They also have a strong global market presence with multiple news and information portals for all walks of life under the brand “WisheshDiigtal Media.”
Lalitha believes in hard and smart work and learning from everyone. This attitude of constant learning and jumping in head first is what has made her successful as an entrepreneur.
Lalitha is heavily involved in community and social service and first got involved with volunteering in 2003 by helping Balagokulam, an organization dedicated to helping Indian children learn their culture, tradition, and build stronger personalities. This tradition of social servicecomes from the family. Her father-in-law, Mr. Byra Prasad Rao was a leading advocate and leader in Guntur district in Andhra and a strong supporter of women empowerment and giving back to the community. As a family, they continue this tradition. They have sponsored many children in India for studies, helped families that were poor with costs such as healthcare and marriage. In memory of her father-in-law, they are also running a free hospital in Andhra since 2007 where free medical consultation and medicines are provided for all. Many of the patients that visit the hospital are poor women who cannot afford to go to nearby towns to visit doctors.
Indian Women Empowerment Forum (IWEF)
Being a strong woman herself from a supportive family and having the luck of being married into a family that has supported her so much, she is definitely an empowered women so it is natural that she would be the one to bring Arizona its first Indian Women’s Empowerment Forum. Lalitha feels that they have helped with so many people with so many issues but always wants to do more for those women who do not know where to go seek help. There have been increasing stories of daughters, daughter-in-laws, or just married women being abused. This is where the idea started developing. Why not bring all women together on one platform to connect with each other and create a stronger force to help the community for the greater good. That is how IWEF was conceived. Women volunteers at Hindu SwayamSevak- Sangh, in collaboration with IACRF and other organizations are bringing this much needed forum to all Indian women.
IWEF’s idea is to establish a support network for women to offer resources and help families in crisis. Through various seminars and activities, IWEF will increase knowledge on topics such as immigration, health, and other relevant issues as well as recognize women who are giving back to the community. When asked how she would measure the success of IWEF, Lalitha fondly replied that the biggest success for them would be all women coming together and making this event a grand success. What would be better than women coming together and supporting each other for the greater good?
Future Plans and Message to the Community
Lalitha’s future plans are to help in whatever way she can and give back to the community. She is dedicated to strengthen the services of bringing Sanatana Dharma, our rich heritage and culture, and respect for India to the next generation of kids. She has a vision of a truly volunteer ased, nonprofit organization that helps children, women and the elderly by streamlining social services under one umbrella with a focus on Knowledge, Empowerment, and Service to help the needy with a goal of making sure 100% of contributions reach the needy with 0 overheads.
Her final message to the community is to focus and strive harder and don’t stop if you hit hurdles. Don’t waste your time bickering about the negatives in your life and don’t waste your time blaming others. That only contributes to wasting precious time so learn from your past, move forward, and work harder. We are so lucky to be in the land of opportunities; make the most of it and you will definitely succeed!Last, but not least, she encourages women to stand up for themselves and come out their shell. That would be the greatest progress for any woman and for the women’s movement in general.
Asia Today is grateful for the opportunity to meet such an amazingly strong woman and hear her story and extremely proud of her supportive husband who has stood by her through all her endeavors. We wish Shyam and Lalitha Byra and their family all the happiness in the world and wish them success in all their professional and social ventures.
Please be sure to visit www.IWEForum. com, call 602/770-3945, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information regarding the Indian Women Empowerment Forum. We look forward to seeing you at Indo-American Hall located at 2809 W Maryland Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85017 on September 18, 2016 from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM (followed by dinner) to support this great cause!