The Board of Directors of Vision-Aid, a Lexington, MA-based nonprofit organization, has appointed Puran Dang as Chairman Emeritus, a life-time position, and Veena Handa as Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for a term of five years, in recognition of their contributions to the cause of the visually impaired.
Mr. Dang has been a community leader for over fifty years. He has founded many organizations of international repute. He founded the very first IIT Alumni Association of the IIT Alumni, which has evolved into PAN-IIT all over the world. Over the last 25 years, he has been Chairman and now Chairman Emeritus of MIT Heritage of The Arts of South Asia – MITHAS and Ekal Vidyalaya. He has played important role in TIE-Boston, Akshaya Patra, Indian Americans of Lexington (IAL), are a few other organizations where he held leadership roles.
Mr. Dang is also a Professor of Leadership & Entrepreneurship at Adamas University, Kolkata. His devotion to Ekal and Akshaya Patra is deep seated. He is also an ambassador of the Perkins School for the Blind. Currently, he is focused on Vision-Aid as its Chairman. Helping visually challenged children and adults is his major goal. Mr. Dang has won many awards for his humanitarian service. His alma-mater IIT Kharagpur honored him with first “Distinguished Service Award” out of some 45,000 alumni. Most inspiring for him is the love of his family and friends who always stand with him.
Mr. Dang says that all that he has achieved in his life is because of the love of his wife, Kamlesh, who has always whole-heartedly supported him in all his endeavors.
Welcoming the appointment, Vision-Aid President Lalit Sudan said that for many years, Vision-Aid has been fortunate to have the benefit of Mr. Dang’s leadership, compassion, dedication, and generosity.
“He truly has been an inspiration for all the volunteers and team members of Vision-Aid. His tireless devotion and goodwill ambassadorship has helped Vision-Aid to enable, educate and empower an increasing number of visually impaired individuals across India to lead productive and independent lives,” said Mr. Sudan. “It gives us immense pleasure to bestow the most deserving honor of Chairman Emeritus for life to Puran Ji. We are looking forward to his continued involvement and mentorship over the coming years.”
Ms. Handa holds a Master’s Degree from Lady Irwin College, Delhi. She has held many senior roles for world class companies in India, Australia and US. Since she arrived in USA in 1972, she has held executive positions working for 3 of the leading Fortune 500 Financial Institutions (MetLife, Fidelity Investments and finally John Hancock Financial). During her career, she managed multiple operations with hundreds of resources across Boston, New Hampshire, Toronto and Philippines. and travelled across the globe to oversee her operations.
Throughout her career, Ms. Handa was a mentor and a coach for employees, as well as an advocate for their career development. She initiated Robotics Process Automation for John Hancock organization which is currently used for multiple operations which enabled them to save over 30% of their budget. She served on the Advisory Board for John Hancock’s Global Women’s Alliance for over 3 years and sponsored multiple programs, namely, Mentor and Mentee coaching, extending Family Leave from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, Networking and Leadership events. During her tenure, she earned an Excellence in Service Award from MetLife and a STAR of Excellence Award from John Hancock.
Since her retirement at the end of 2017, Ms. Handa has been volunteering for Vision-Aid as an Advisory Board Member and readily admits it is her most favorite non-profit organization as she believes in the cause it serves. Among other voluntary work, she is on the board for Non-Profit.Net of Lexington and a member of AIF Circle of Hope.
Ms. Handa volunteers at LexingtonCommunity Center where she works on special projects and has delivered talks on Budget Planning and Retirement Plan Services. Most recently during the Covid pandemic, she joined “Sew We Care” Team which provided over 20,000 masks and scrub caps to hospitals, health centers and senior centers and she personally made over 1,000 masks and scrub caps as part of this team. She also volunteers for Minuteman Senior Services as a Money Manager helping Seniors who cannot do it themselves pay their bills, and as a certified Shine Counselor educating seniors with their healthcare needs through Medicare and Supplement Insurance.
Ms. Handa states that her biggest support and inspiration is her husband, Pramod Handa, who has always encouraged her and stood by her to do her best in every role whether it was her career or now her passion for volunteer work.
Vision-Aid founders Ramakrishna (Ram) Raju and Revathy Ramakrishna warmly welcomed the appointments of Ms. Handa as Vice Chair, saying “We are honored and delighted to welcome Mrs. Veena Handa into the role of Vice Chair. She is an exemplary board member, tirelessly contributing her time, energy and talent in many ways to Vision-Aid’s cause. We feel fortunate to have leaders like Mr. Puran Dang, Mrs. Veena Handa and Mr. Lalit Sudan at the helm of Vision-Aid, setting the stage for the next phase of Vision-Aid’s exciting trajectory as it scales up its programs to reach many more visually impaired in the coming years.”