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January 9, 2020

2019 Flashback: Hiking, Cycling, and Having Fun at Work

Congratulations... You have made it into 2020!! 

At the end of every year, looking back on milestones can help motivate us to see what we have achieved and also help us to prepare our mind and motivate us for the year ahead.  

Hope you had a great year in 2019!! I had a great year personally and professionally as the Managing Director and coach of Authentic Journeys. I thought I'd use this post as a platform to shoot the breeze with you about some of the cool things I experienced in 2019. Feel free to browse and comment on this post with some of your amazing accomplishments or memorable events of 2019.

Personal Fitness Accomplishments of 2019

Anyone who follows me on Facebook knows 2019 marked the year I started going to the gym regularly, for the most part. Going to the gym helped me achieve other fitness activities in the great outdoors of Utah in cycling and hiking. 

Hiking in Utah

In 2019, my husband and I hiked 65.8 miles on 36 trails. The average trail was two miles, with the longest being five miles. Though it was tough, I'm selecting the top 3 hiking trails of 2019 in Utah. 

Living Room Trail in Salt Lake City
Living Room Trail in Salt Lake City with my husband, Krishna.
2.5 miles, 984 feet elevation gain.
See our trail recording and pictures at AllTrails.
Bryce Canyon National Park- Bryce Traverse Trail
Bryce Canyon National Park- Bryce Traverse Trail
4.6 miles, 1,007 feet elevation gain
This trail is perfect to do when the shuttle runs. We parked at Bryce Point, did the hike, then took the shuttle from Sunset Campground back to Bryce Point. (Don't forget to take water, sunscreen and snacks.) This was a hike we have wanted to do for a long time, so it was fun. Plus, you get to see most of the canyon floor in this hike. I'd suggest to start as early in the morning as possible. By the way, I am the 'ant' in the photo above walking down into the canyon. See our hike gpx and more photos at AllTrails.
Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park
Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef National Park, Torrey, Utah
2.2 miles, 479 feet elevation gain
This picture, taken by my husband during the hike, really gives the true feel of what you see and experience here. If you click on the larger size, can you find me in the photo? This is a huge arch and just makes you feel so humble and awe inspired. I'd like to go here again. We did this hike on the long weekend we had on July 4th, and ran out of time before sunset. I'd like to go maybe in the spring or fall when it's cooler, so we can spend more time here.
See more photos of the trail and our trail gpx at AllTrails.
Monarch Cave, Anasazi Ruins in SE Utah
Monarch Cave, Anasazi Ruins in SE Utah
We have explored a few of the Native American ruins in South East Utah near Bluff and bordering the Bears Ears National Monument. Two things are always guaranteed, being fascinated by how these structures came to be and how people got up into these alcoves and caves that tend to be built high up into the rock cliff face (this particular ruin was easier to get up into than most) and that we will always miss something on the trail we find out about later and want to go back again.
Lower Bells Canyon
Lower Bells Canyon
Gaining 500 feet in about a mile is no walk in the park! Going up and down posed their own challenges. I would like to try this hike again. This is closer to Sandy, Utah (south of Salt Lake City). 
Sand Dune Arch Loop Hike, Arches National Park
Sand Dune Arch Loop Hike, Arches National Park
We completed the Sand Dune, Tapestry and Broken Arch hikes into a loop hike of about 3.5 miles with 318 feet elevation gain. This is an incredible hike which you will really feel a bang for your buck (or so many cool arches in a short period of time with little elevation gain). To top this, the scenery just blows your mind. To see more pictures of the arches and exotic desert landscapes, see our recording and images at All Trails.

Night Hiking

This was the first year we did night hiking, albeit these hikes were short and sweet from  a distance perspective. These four photos were taken in National Parks (rounding out our visit to all of the Mighty 5 - Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef, Zion and Bryce). All these photos were taken by my husband, Krishna. Would you believe that the photo that looks like it's sunny out was actually taken at midnight? What looks like the sun, well, that's actually the MOON! I think that was a full moon night. Walking out that night was fun and not scary because you could see by just the moon light. The others were taken in a moonless sky. We used a headlamp to get to the spot. It was pitch black and scary. The Double Arch Trail is easy to follow without gps. But, the Mesa Arch and Skyline Arch trails are a bit more challenging. We downloaded the gpx map in town before going in. Each of these walks or hikes started and ended in the dark/after sunset (between 11pm -1am). Skylight Arch is the only trail we did in the dark without ever doing it in the daylight. Each photo will be marked with the location if you are interested.

Double Arch at Arches National Park on a moonless night
Photograph of Double Arch at Arches National Park on a moonless night at midnight.
Skyline Arch, Arches National Park Night Photography
Skyline Arch, Arches National Park
This hike was unlike any of the others because this was the only hike we had never been on in daylight hours in the past. To this day, we have not done this hike during the daytime. It freaked me out as it was a moonless night and there were lots of noises!! It's not a long hike, but in the dark, especially if you are afraid of the dark, like me, it feels long and scary!
Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park
Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park
This photo, probably taken around 10 pm was an incredible starry night journey. Though we have been on this trail 5 or 6 times in the past during the day, we downloaded the gpx of the trail on AllTrails in town become coming into the park (where there is little to no cell phone service). This helped us follow the trail in to the arch and back to the car. We were the only ones out here... again it was a bit spooky for me, but this photo is a great tribute to that hike. 
Turret Arch on a Moonlit Night
Turret Arch on a Moonlit Night
Would you believe this photo was taken around midnight? Looking at it quickly, it looks like the sun is out, but it's really the moon! Arches National Park, where this arch is, and other National Parks (at least in Utah) are open 24 hours a day.

Cycling in Utah and Wyoming

The cycling accomplishments shown in this section are my own personal accomplishments, not being a part of a public cycling event.

Cycling at Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Looking for a unique cycling adventure that is easy and fun? Come to Grand Tetons during April when they close the entire length of the park road to motorized traffic. It's an incredible ride with very little elevation gain. The entire length of the road one way is about 15 miles, maybe with 400 feet elevation gain, but there are no tall hills on this route. Though it's snowy, if its sunny out, you can heat up real fast due to the fact that it doesn't tend to get humid here. However, keep in mind there are parts of the road that may not have portapotties or toilets. Ask at the Visitor Center in advance. Carry your own water and snacks. In 2019, the memorable aspect of this ride was that we did finish the entire road (in two sections over two days). See our recordings from 2019 and 2018 at All Trails.
Cycling: Snow Canyon State Park and the Snow Canyon Loop
Cycling in St. George, Utah - Snow Canyon State Park and the Snow Canyon Loop. Riding in Snow Canyon on the Whiptail Trail is a little challenging for new(er) cyclists (like me). In such cases, riding on the park road where cars drive will make the ride easier. Riding on the Snow Canyon Loop trail, there are many challenging climbs, especially on the route 18 side. Possibly, since the multi use paved trail is so challenging, we see many riding on the road, which has it's own challenges. This photo of me was taken on that multi use trail along route 18. That was so hard, I had to walk the bike quite a bit, up the steeper hills. The other side of the Snow Canyon Loop on East Snow Canyon Parkway is a much easier trail with one or two small hills. This side of the trail is more residential, where as the route 18 side is less populated with homes and makes you feel like you may be on Mars, especially if you are riding during sunrise or sunset. St. George is not too far from Las Vegas, if you are on a trip to Vegas and want to change your scenery, come to Snow Canyon State Park in St. George or Zion National Park (East of St. George and Snow Canyon).  Some more recordings and photos of our Snow Canyon area rides at All Trails found here.
Cycling in Arches National Park
Cycling in Arches National Park
This 8 mile, 1,224 feet elevation gain ride was challenging but, yet, fun. I mixed the ride with hiking by walking around Balanced Rock and the Windows. See my cycling map and photos at All Trails
Hubby's Cycling Accomplishments
I also want to share some of the accomplishments of my husband in 2019. He entered about 8-9 rides and rallies around Utah. The photos of the rides below are not of the rallies, but of rides he did on his own. I was so excited he got a chance to do these rides. These rides are tough because they would have steep elevation gains, ones that I am not ready for yet.

Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive and Capitol Gorge Cycling
Capitol Reef National Park Scenic Drive and Capitol Gorge
This 22 mile round trip ride (about 800 feet elevation gain) has about 3-4 miles of dirt bike riding through an amazing gorge that cars can also travel on. See more photos of this ride at All Trails.
Cycling at Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park
Kolob Canyon, Zion National Park
This 10 mile round trip bike ride has an elevation gain of 1400 feet. The scenery here is incredible!
Cycling on the Park Road in Bryce Canyon National Park
Park Road in Bryce Canyon National Park
This road cycling adventure was a 39 mile round trip with a 2200 feet elevation gain.  This photo was taken at the Natural Bridge viewpoint.
Riding Bike on Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah
Little Cottonwood Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah
This 16 mile round trip ride was on a heavily trafficked road which takes you up the canyon to ski resorts. Riding 8 miles up, one gains 3300 feet elevation. This is not for the faint at heart. The view you see from the handle bars is Salt Lake Valley from Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Krishna finished the Tour of Utah Ultimate Challenge Ride. Isn't he awesome!?

Couples Ride Accomplishments

In 2019, my husband and I completed two public bike rallies together. These were incredible experiences in Utah! 

Tour of St. George Fall 2019,  35.9 miles, 1468 feet elevation gain.
Salt Lake City Marathon
Salt Lake City Marathon, Bike Tour Finishers. 26 miles, 900 feet elevation gain.
Professional Events and Accomplishments 2019
Now that I have mostly exhausted you with our hiking and cycling (and, that was only part of it!), I will share some of my professional memories of 2019.

Visit to India and Networking

In May 2019, we spent a few weeks in Kochi, India mostly for family events, but also I snuck in a little but of other fun through work! See some of the images below to see what fun I had working in Kerala, India in 2019.

NRI TBI Office Visit
NRI TBI Office Visit
Authentic Journeys Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. has a virtual office in Infopark at NRI TBI in the Thapasya Building. I met with Christy Thomas to share updates about our work.
World Trade Center, Kochi
World Trade Center, Kochi
House of Communication
I had a long talk with the captivating Jisha JS and Saneesh Salim of House of Communication at BNI Synergy in Le Meridien. 
Thomas Zachariah, BNI Synergy
I finally got to meet Thomas Zachariah (of Aabasoft) who also invited me to the at BNI Synergy meeting in Le Meridien.
Third Wave team based in Thapasya Building, Infopark.
Third Wave team based in Thapasya Building, Infopark. 
Praveen Nair
Praveen Nair, who works in Orion in the Lulu Cybertower.
Codework Solutions team based in Thapasya Building, Infopark
Codework Solutions team based in Thapasya Building, Infopark

Programs and Training Planning 

I met with partners are Advenser Engineering Services in Cochin Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) and Cabot Solutions in Infopark to discuss and deliver training. I appreciate your support and encouragement all throughout! 

Advenser Engineering Services - Specializing in CAD and BIM
US Culture Training for Teams in India
Working with US Americans on Virtual Teams Seminar at Advenser. Helping teams in India understand what makes Americans tick and how to effectively build relationships across cultures.

Advenser Team Photo

The class at Advenser is ready and happy!!

Cabot Solutions - Custom Software Development Specialists 
Team Cabot Solutions
I was excited to meet the team in person that I had been meeting with online. 
The Management Team Cabot Solutions
The Management Team Cabot Solutions

I also attended a panel discussion in January 2019 in India, virtually. This was the first time I had ever done anything like this! I was on big screen sharing ideas with some leading thought leaders in Kochi, India. Thank you to the Vijayee Bhava Alumni for this one of a kind experience!

Vijayee Bhava Alumni

Vijayee Bhava Alumni

Training Accomplishments

231- that's the number of professionals I trained in 2019 over the Internet in a live, online classroom. Naysayers told me I couldn't do it. That clients, especially in India, wouldn't sign up. Well, 231 is no small number! More fun facts - 2019 Authentic Journeys' Stats:
  1. 156 of the 168 training hours with professionals in India took place online!
  2. The total number of people I trained last year was 318, so roughly 73% or 3/4 of my work was done virtually. I think that's pretty good!
  3. 77% of the participants were from India. The remainder were from the US (20%) and other (3%).
  4. Cities represented in India: Bangalore, Delhi, Kochi, Trivandrum, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Hyderabad
  5. Only 2 programs I delivered were more than 25 people. 90% of the programs were one on one or small group coaching of 4-8 individuals.

View the Authentic Journeys Training Map

This map shows where our participants have attended our programs in India since 2011. Click on the city to see the stats.

Networking and Programs in the US

I was blessed to have an opportunity to deliver a talk at the University of Utah to the MBA students on working abroad as an expat. I also was active in several networking events through the World Trade Center, Utah as catalogued through pictures below.

Guest Speaker, University of Utah
Talk on Being a Successful Expat to the eMBA students at the University of Utah. 
Doing Business with India, via the World Trade Center, Utah
Read more about this event - Doing Business with India, via the World Trade Center, Utah

Doing Business with Romania
Doing Business with Romania, hosted by the World Trade Center, Utah 
Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, 2019
Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, 2019
Educational Achievements
In 2019, I completed 95 hours of ICF (International Coach Federation) approved coach training through Life Purpose Institute and Solutions Academy. I also completed a 120 hour TEFL/TESOL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language/ Teaching English as a Second Language) certificate through the University of Arizona. What an experience it was to be studying again! One of my clients actually made an interesting observation when I mentioned these accomplishments by saying, "All your own training inspires me to keep learning. It's really nice to see you not only inspire others to learn through training them, but also keeping your own knowledge up to date!" What a nice thing to say!

Solutions Academy InterActional CoachingLife Coaching Certificate 2019
TEFL TESOL Certificate University of Arizona

This post was written by Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director of Authentic Journeys. Jennifer Kumar, an American citizen, has been an expat in India for 10 years. She has earned a master’s degree in India and also started Authentic Journeys in Kochi, India. Currently she resides in Salt Lake City, Utah. She specializes in cross-cultural business success, communication strategies and relationship building between the US and India. Since 2011, through Authentic Journeys she has coached and trained over 3,500 professionals in 40 companies in India including Lexmark, Allianz and others listed to the right. In addition to conducting culture and language training through Cartus and inlingua, she volunteers for ESLC, teaching ESL to senior citizens. 

See her profile at LinkedIn.

Contact her at LinkedIn or by email.

 Additional Notes: 

  1. Authentic Journeys is able to invoice within the US and India. 
  2. Jennifer Kumar legally able to work in the US and India.

December 19, 2019

Writing Easy to Read Emails (Video Tutorials)

"Jennifer, when you taught this to my team, it decreased my management intervention in email communication by 75%! I could then use this time to more effectively manage the project and do other critical tasks. Thank you!" 

Learning to write effective emails is a SKILL. This is regardless if you are a native English speaker or an English as Second Language (ESL or ESOL) learner. Due to this, it takes time and patience to learn how to read, re-read and self edit. 

When learning and implementing this skills the outcomes are: 
  • the reader of your email will be able to read your email much quicker, sometimes 5-10 times quicker than before
  • readers will respond quicker because they can read it quicker
  • you will get your questions answered and requests filled quicker 
  • you will be able to handle more email interactions without manager or colleague intervention

I have seen the transformation and it's incredible. I am sharing some free tutorials in this post that will help you achieve that aim. Keep in mind that I am available for online, live classes for you or your team. Do get in touch

The videos will not only walk you through how to use formatting tools in your email client to create lists, but the dos and don'ts of correct punctuation and formatting in these lists.

Note: These tutorials only show how to create the list part of the message, not how to write or format the entire email. In these tutorials I have started by using a list. In many cases, those I coach write the list in a paragraph format in their first draft. If you do this, it's completely normal. Most people do this. Learn to start writing lists in your emails as lists rather than sentences, which will make this process all the easier. I'll introduce each video with a comparison of the paragraph format versus starting with a list format (which is not in the video).

So, let's get started. 

Making a Grocery List in an Email

While making a grocery list is probably not something you would be emailing to a client (unless you were creating an ecommerce website), it's a good example of how to go about the process of making a list in an email client.

Initially, the content in the list may be written in a sentence, such as: 

When you go to the store, could you please pick up these Indian foods: toor dhal, mustard seeds, sambar masala, curry leaves, brinjal, and onions? 

Possibly, the entire email could look like this (first draft): 


In tomorrow's Indian cooking class we will be making sambar. I heard from Tom you will be going to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients. When you go to the store, could you please pick up these Indian foods: toor dhal, mustard seeds, sambar masala, curry leaves, brinjal, and onions? 

Thank you and do let me know if you have any questions or trouble finding anything. 

Jennifer Kumar

When writing the ingredients into a list, it may look like this: 


In tomorrow's Indian cooking class we will be making sambar. I heard from Tom you will be going to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients. 

These are the ingredients to make sambar:
  1. toor dhal
  2. mustard seeds
  3. sambar masala
  4. curry leaves
  5. brinjal
  6. onions
Will it be possible for you to pick them up? Thank you and do let me know if you have any questions or trouble finding anything. 

Jennifer Kumar

Take a look at how these two emails look on mobile. 

Screenshot of an easy to read email

In your opinion, which email is easier to read? Most would say the second email. Some may respond that the second email may not be preferred because it seems too long. However, keep in this in mind; if Debbie reads this email on her mobile, she could easily take a screen shot of the list (as shown below), and have this handy, easy to read text when she's at the store to assure she has all the ingredients. It may not be as quick to read and check off in a sentence format. What do you think? 

In the tutorials below, I walk you through how to use the email formatting tools to create these lists. I talk about the differences between bulleted and numbered lists and important dos and don'ts for perfectly formatted lists that will make your emails stand out. What is missing from the tutorials is what you read above - how to open the email, how to have the request or "call to action" at the end, and how to use English and spacing properly in the entire flow of the email to make it easier to read, get a good flow and have a positive, polite tone (especially when interacting with US Americans). This will be covered in an additional tutorial at the end of this post.

Use Formatting Tools to Create Lists in Emails: Tutorial 1 of 3

Common Problems in Typing Numbered List (versus using formatting tools): Tutorial 2 of 3

Numbered vs. Bulleted Lists: Tutorial 3 of 3

If you found those tutorials useful, take a look at the next set of tutorials in the playlist below. This will walk you through how to create an entire email from opening to closing. 

Sometimes it's hard to know where we are going wrong without a coach. Jennifer Kumar, author of this post is here to help you. She can not only train your team, but can do a consultation, looking at a sample of your team's emails, seeing where the main problems are and customizing a coaching and training intervention that suits your team's needs. In addition, if your team works with US Americans, she can help your team localize their English to the US market. Your team will learn the correct phrases to say, the American English ways of asking questions, being polite, and building relationships in written communications. Get in touch with her today. She has already worked with over 4,000 global team members like yours in over 50 companies.

December 17, 2019

How to Pronounce "Medicare" with an American Accent

It may seem like an easy word to pronounce, but the word Medicare is easy to mispronounce to a US American if one is not familiar with the US English phonetics. 

Recently, I created a tutorial on how to pronounce Medicare with a US American accent. This tutorial is so long (over 5 minutes), because I break down the phonetics and describe to you how to make the sounds using your mouth, jaw, and tongue. 

If you happen to know US phonetics and don't have time for the video, here's the recap of the tutorial in a few pictures. The video tutorial is below these images.

Step 1: Take the word and divide it into syllables: ME - DI - CARE

Step 2: Isolate the first syllable: ME

Step 3: Isolate the second syllable: DI

Step 4: Isolate the last syllable: CARE

Step 5: After isolating the syllables, bring them together, pronouncing them slow, medium and fast, until you get a good flow. This is demonstrated in the video below.

I hope you found this tutorial useful. If you're curious why I created this tutorial and post, I am Jennifer Kumar, I train many individuals who live in India how to work effectively in virtual environments and in global teams. I have coached many who work in medical related processes where the word 'Medicare' is often used (customer support, email support, software support and creation, back office support, etc.). Often this word was mispronounced. In such cases, Americans were having a hard time understanding what was being said. Since this was such a critical word in so many conversations, it was important to get it right. While I am not an accent expert per se, I am a cross-cultural business facilitator coach and global communication strategist who's goal is to help you be understood by your global counterparts, through clear speaking (not faking an accent) and learning how to make small talk, build conversations and relationships in business. In some cases, it is imperative to learn a local pronunciation to localize your customer service. Articulating words and phrases in a way the team members, customers or others understand easier paired with a cultural understanding of how to provide good service is the goal behind what I do. I thought as there are many people working in such processes who may wonder why US Americans often ask for a repeat, I would create and share this tutorial with you. I am here to work with your team on cross-cultural understanding behind how to provide good, culturally-relevant customer service while learning to localize English to a more English vernacular to enhance the efficiency of spoken English. I currently live in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA (about 400 mils NE of Las Vegas). I have lived in India for close to ten years. My business (Authentic Journeys) is registered in the US and India. I provide live online classes over time zones to your team preparing them in the most relevant way to working, presenting, and communicating effectively in a virtual environment.

Contact me here
See our communication, team building, and corporate coaching solutions for your team or you personally!

More related posts:
Welcome Irate or Emotional Customer Care Calls With These Tips
Tips on putting callers on hold 

November 23, 2019

Doing Business with India Seminar at World Trade Center Utah (Nov. 2019)

While I had been preparing to attend this event since it's originally scheduled date back in July, the morning of this event was quite hectic for me as I had meetings with clients in India and also signed up to attend an online program. While the event started at 9am MST, and I had woke up at 5am, the three and half hours before I was to leave passed by like lightening. When I realized it was time to go, I barely had time to get ready. I had initially wanted to wear a sari, but did not have the time for that, so instead wore a long top that my sister in law got me from India with leggings and professional looking boots. Though it was cold out, I did not take a coat because I was gonna jump in an Uber and go. Fortunately, as we live in downtown Salt Lake City, an Uber ride would only take about 5 minutes if all the planets aligned! And, fortunately, they did. My Uber came within 2 minutes of requesting it, and the ride took about 3-4 minutes. Funny enough, the Uber driver's name was Van and he drove a Chevy Silverado. It was the first time I ever been in a truck like that. It was pretty cool...and very spacious inside. It felt just like a car. When I commented to Van about that... he said, "See with me, you get both a Van and a truck!!" Ha ha! He was an interesting and humorous guy.

Business in India Summit. Utah

When I entered the venue location at 111 South Main in Salt Lake City and asked for the way to the Tanner Room, I was sure the event had already started as I entered the building at 9am on the dot. But, fortunately, when I entered, the networking and chit chat was still going on (one thing I have noticed in Salt Lake City is that the networking portion of an event tends to happen before the event, with little opportunity to network after the event, another reason I was upset to be running 'late'). Since I was thinking the event would start soon, I thought of talking to the person closest to the door who was not in a big group (as most people were standing in groups of 5-6 people). By the luck of the draw, it turns out the first person I talked to was one of the keynote panelists- Ambassador Sanjay Panda, Consul General of India based in San Francisco and his friend who was hosting him in Salt Lake City. What a coincidence! Maybe it was good I was running late! When I was talking with Ambassador Panda, I asked him where he was from in India. He said, "The eastern part..." When I answered with, "Is that near Calcutta or the state of West Bengal..." He shockingly responded with, "You know the geography of India!? Actually, no, but a little south of there..." To that I asked, "Odisha.. Orissa?" He was impressed that I knew the places and then asked me about how I knew this.. I was able to spend a little time with him and also learn a little about him as well. We actually got to speak for about 10 minutes. As few other audience members came to speak with him, I offered my business card, to which he handed me his, saying, "I am running out... I like it when people take a photo of my card, so I can carry fewer..." I took him up on this offer as we were finishing our conversation. I had put his card on the table, and took a photo of it, handing it back to him. He seemed pretty happy about that! 

As it was about 9:15 at this time, I was thinking the event would start anytime, so I decided again to talk to someone who was standing alone. There was a man standing next to the coffee table sipping coffee. I decided to introduce myself to him. It turns out this man, Gary Wood, Director of International Solutions, had spent quite a bit of time on my website the night before. So, we spent some time talking about each other's work. We only had about three minutes before the event host announced the event was to start.

The first part of the event was a panel discussion introducing the audience to business in India with Mr. Panda and Dr. Mukesh Aghi the CEO of USISPF (US-India Strategic Partnership Forum). The conversation was kicked off by Mr. Panda as seen below in the short clip. 

During this talk, it was also mentioned how the state of Rajasthan in India has recently signed an MOU with Utah in the Energy Sector. I wasn't too surprised to hear about this in a way as there is a wind farm in Central Utah (Spanish Fork Canyon Windmill Farm) with turbines made by Suzlon (a company based in Pune, India, state of Maharashtra). We have personally been by this wind farm many times as it is on route from Salt Lake City to Moab on route 6. 

During his talk, Mr. Panda commented that the gems of Southern Utah need more visibility to people from India or of Indian origin. Interestingly, enough the previous week, the local radio station KSL reported on "Record breaking year for Utah’s tourism industry," where it was mentioned that as far as international tourists are concerned, Utah would like to tempt more Indian tourists to come to Utah: 

The state is getting a lot of visitors from Canada, Europe and especially China.  However, Varela says there’s another market they want to tap into.  They’re trying to lure in tourists from India.  
Varela says, “They like to travel as families.  They like to have adventures.  Most importantly, they travel off-season. (source
After Mr. Panda and Mr. Aghi wrapped up the opening of the program the remainder of the panel took their seats at the table- Vishesh Puvadi (HSBC), Chris Shurain (Utah Regional Investment Fund), Anshul Jain, Dominic Thomas, and Troy (sorry, I did not get his last name, he was sitting in for Will James of BKD). 

World Trade Center, Utah
The event was packed! Standing room only!
One of the interesting excerpts of this conversation was on ways foreigners or expats coming to India can structure a business.

There are several ways to set up a business entity in India if you are entering from outside the country: 
  1. Merger and Acquisition (least control) 
  2. Joint Venture (share control) 
  3. Division of foreign company (full control, but least local knowledge, start from scratch)
Filing Types: 
  1. A separate legal entity (branch or liaison office) - May need approval from RBI  
  2. Private Limited (Authentic Journeys, the business behind this blog is registered as a Private Limited in India and an LLC in Utah.)
Listen to the clip more for more information. 

A few interesting points mentioned by Dominic Thomas of Sarva Consulting (that are not in the clip) were: 

  1. 50% of new patents inIndia come from US companies in India as their R&D sectors are based in India. Basing it in India saves on labor costs, as well as helping to improve turn around time as while the US sleeps, India works, and while India sleeps, India works.
  2. India is the home of frugal innovation. This is one of the strengths of working with India as Indian tend to work in smaller budgets with excellent results. (The Hindi term for this, which was not mentioned is jugaad.) 
After this panel discussion completed, the audience only had about 5 minutes to network because the panelists were to be whisked off to another event, to which the audience could not attend. Fortunately, I had a moment to introduce myself to Dominic. I had a feeling he may originally be from Kerala, so I jolted up to the panel to introduce myself and find out about his native place. First I had happened to ask where he was from... missing the word "native place," so he answered with Mumbai as that's where he grew up... so I realized I had to ask the question using the phrase "native place," to which he was surprised I knew this Indian English term. I noted I have lived in India for close to 10 years. After a series of what Americans would consider very intrusive questions, I found out his native place is literally in the backyard of where I lived and worked in Kerala [as an expat]! He was so shocked and happy, he reached out to hug me! It was kind of an interesting interaction because of cross-cultural code switching. I don't normally expect Indians to hug.. but of course he has been back and forth between the US and India, so maybe he's more comfortable with the US interaction. Or, maybe there are other reasons! Anyhow, it was a great experience. I hope to meet him and his colleague, Steve, again.

After speaking with Dominic, the panelists left the room very quickly to go to their next event. As there were a few more people in the room, I went to talk the few remaining individuals. I ended up speaking with ranchers from Montana, a professor at Salt Lake Community College, some Indian hoteliers from Nevada (near Las Vegas), and an Indian businessman who runs a pharmaceutical company in New Jersey. There was another lady who came from Delaware for the event, as well. I was surprised that so many people attended this event from so far away! 

Soon, everyone left this room, so I did as well. I went down to the lobby thinking to go back home. Some of the hoteliers entered the lobby, so I asked one of them to take the photo of me you see in this post. I sat and spent about 20 minutes talking with them until I called an Uber. It was really an interesting event, where I got to learn some new things and meet some interesting people.

Jennifer Kumar, Authentic Journeys, Kerala & Utah

Author of this post, Jennifer Kumar is an American who has lived in India for 10 years over the last 20 years. She has earned a Master's in India and also started a business in Kochi, India. Her business, Authentic Journeys is registered in Utah and Kerala (India). She helps people like you to build context to doing business between the US and India. She has run expat preparation sessions for expats moving between both countries, business people considering opening business in both countries, those on sales teams, and those working on established virtual teams. Feel free to get in touch with us to learn more. 

Note: The mention of individual's names and company names is purely for narration purposes only. Authentic Journeys is not endorsing any entity mentioned on this page, does Authentic Journeys have any partnership with any person or brand mentioned on this page, nor is Authentic Journeys earning any ad revenue from mentioning them.

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.