Featured Speakers

Ravinder Singh Bhalla
Mayor of Hoboken, NJ

Born and raised in New Jersey, Mayor Bhalla is an 18-year resident of Hoboken, serving eight years on the Hoboken City Council before being elected Mayor in November 2017.

Ravi first set his roots in Hoboken at the age of 26, a bachelor fresh out of law school starting his first job at a small law firm in Newark, New Jersey. Ravi developed expertise as a civil rights lawyer, earning national recognition from The New York Times for his legal advocacy after suffering a violation of his own constitutional and civil rights during a jail visit to a client. The incident motivated Ravi to lead a successful campaign to reform the federal government’s visitation policies at correctional facilities nationwide.

Ravi successfully ran for Hoboken City Council, promising to restore honesty, professionalism, and fiscal responsibility to Hoboken. Once in office, Ravi worked hard to establish tangible reforms to the way government is run in Hoboken. Municipal taxes were reduced and Hoboken’s finances were put on a responsible long-term path. The City’s bond rating was improved from junk bond status in 2009 to AA+ in 2013, the second highest rating, and had a responsible cash surplus for the first time in years.

As his very first act as Mayor, Ravi signed an Executive Order declaring the City of Hoboken a Fair & Welcoming City. This order, along with a Police Directive from the Hoboken Police Chief, mandates that local law enforcement resources will not be used to enforce civil immigration laws. As Mayor, Ravi has pledged to ensure Hoboken sets the highest bar in advancing local issues such as smart city technology, infrastructure, recreation, and open space, while promoting a progressive policy agenda protecting the rights of Hoboken residents from assaults against the federal government.

He received his undergraduate education from the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in Political Psychology. Upon graduation, he attended the London School of Economics (L.S.E.) in the United Kingdom and received a Master of Science degree in Public Administration and Public Policy, and a Juris Doctor Degree from Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ravi and his wife Bindya live in Hoboken with their two children, Arza Kaur, age 10 and Shabegh Singh, age 6.


Inni Kaur
CEO of Sikh Research Institute

Inni Kaur serves as the CEO of Sikh Research Institute (SikhRI), with a mission to connect people with the influential and inspiring teachings of Sikhi.

As an accomplished representative of the Sikh community, she is a dedicated advocate for raising awareness on key interfaith and women’s issues. Inni Kaur’s list of career achievements include addressing the U.S. Office of the Pentagon Chaplin several times, speaking at Yale and Fairfield Universities, as well as presenting to the Connecticut Board of Education and local police departments to further dialogue regarding the Sikh identity.

Presently, Inni Kaur is an active member on the Board of the Interfaith Council of Southern Connecticut, an organization devoted to increasing interfaith understanding. She serves on the editorial board of Nishaan, a magazine celebrating Sikh heritage, and is a board member for Munshi Bishan Singh Kochhar Foundation. Inni Kaur continues to extend her services and expertise on the Advisory Board of the Sikh Family Centre and is a frequent contributor for the daily online magazine, Sikhchic.com. In addition, she serves as a local Justice of the Peace.

Inni Kaur is an esteemed and passionate author, poet and painter. She broadened her creative artistry into publishing a children’s book series, Journey with the Gurus that was inspired by the life and teachings of Guru Nanak Sahib. Her other children’s books are Sakhi-Time with Nani ji and Thank-You, Vahiguru. She is passionately involved in trans-creating Sabad and the writings of Bhai Vir Singh.

A uniquely transnational identity, Inni Kaur was born in Kuwait, then lived in New Zealand, Australia and Greece, before relocating to the United States in 1982. Today, she resides with her husband in Fairfield, Connecticut, and continues to bring multi-faceted perspectives to her work.


Kanwar Singh
Art of Punjab


Kanwar Singh is globally recognized as a preeminent painter of Sikh history with artwork exhibited in prominent public spaces such as the Virasat-e-Khalsa museum in Punjab, as well as the Without Shape Without Form gallery in London U.K, which was newly created in 2017 to exclusively house his extensive collection of paintings. His work focuses on the legacy of spiritual devotion and self sacrifice spanning the lives of the ten Gurus and iconic Sikh heroes inspired by their deep connection to Waheguru (God). He captures quintessential moments, which over centuries, have forged a dynamic Sikh community through its humble origins in Punjab, to its present political and spiritual standing as the world’s fifth largest religion. The artist continues to build a legacy of work which gives Sikh history a prominent place on the walls of our homes and in the hearts of future generations.



Mohanbir Singh Sawhney
McCormick Foundation Professor of Technology
Clinical Professor of Marketing
Director, Center for Research in Technology & Innovation
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University

Prof. Sawhney is a globally recognized scholar, teacher, consultant and speaker in business innovation, modern marketing and enterprise analytics.

Prof. Sawhney has written seven management books as well as dozens of influential articles in leading academic journals and managerial publications.  His most recent book, The Sentient Enterprise: The Evolution of Business Decision Makingwas published in October 2017 and was on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.  He has also written a book of poetry called Love, Longing and Loneliness in 2014His research has been published in leading journals like California Management Review, Harvard Business ReviewJournal of Interactive Marketing, Management ScienceMarketing ScienceMIT Sloan Management Review, and Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science. He is a frequent contributor to publications like Fortune, Forbes and Financial Times.

Prof. Sawhney has won several awards for his teaching and research, including the 2006 Sidney Levy Award for Teaching Excellence at the Kellogg School, the 2005 runner-up for Best Paper in

Journal of Interactive Marketing, the 2001 Accenture Award for the best paper published in California Management Review in 2000 and the Outstanding Professor of the Year at Kellogg in 1998. He has been nominated for the Outstanding Professor of the Year at Kellogg in 2008 and 2009. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta in 2011. In 2014, he was ranked 16th on the list of most influential thinkers of Indian origin by Thinkers50 and the Institute of Competitiveness. In 2016, he received the Thought Leadership Award from NASSCOM, India’s consortium for the IT and BPO industry.

Prof. Sawhney advises and speaks to Global 2000 firms and governments worldwide. His speaking and consulting clients include Accenture, Adobe Systems, AT&T, Boeing, Cisco Systems, Dell, DuPont, Entergy, Ericsson, Fidelity Investments, GE, General Mills, Goldman Sachs, Honeywell, Intuit, Jenner & Block, Jones Lang LaSalle, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg Company, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Nissan Motor, Raytheon Missile Systems, Rockwell Automation, SAP, Sony, Teradata and Textron Inc. He serves on the boards and advisory boards of several technology companies, including Bahwan Cybertek, Cross-Tab Group, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Georama, Kognetics, LawGeex, PomVom, Sprinklr, Smartmedia, StartupWind and vMock. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Study for Business Markets (ISBM) at Penn State University and a member of the Advisory Board at Chicago Innovation.

Prof. Sawhney holds a Ph.D. in Marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; a Master’s degree in Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta; and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.


Dr. Jaspreet Kaur Bal
Professor of Child and Youth Care
Humber College

Dr. Jaspreet Bal is a Professor in the Child and Youth Care program at Humber College in Toronto. A community organizer and educator, her practice involves radical youth work with underserved populations across North America.  Bal serves on the Board of Directors of the Sikh Feminist Research Institute and Kaurs United International. She is also on the advisory board of the Sikh Research Institute






LTC Kamal Singh Kalsi D.O.
Emergency Medicine Physician
Founder of Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA)

LTC Kamal S. Kalsi, D.O. graduated from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine and went on to complete his residency in Emergency Medicine and subspecialty training in EMS and Disaster Medicine.  He trained in Israel as a special guest of the IDF to learn about their Disaster Preparedness and Response.  He joined the Army in 2001, and has served in active and reserve duty positions for 16 years.  He became the first Sikh to be granted a religious accommodation in the military in nearly a generation.  LTC Kalsi deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and treated hundreds of combat casualties.  LTC Kalsi was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for his service there.  He served as EMS Director to the military’s largest stateside EMS system at Fort Bragg for 3 years.  LTC Kalsi’s operational experience includes mass casualty planning and response, triage, tactical medicine and expeditionary care in austere environments.  In his spare time he advocates for civil liberties with regards to religious freedom.  He has been featured in TIME, CNN, BBC, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Stars and Stripes, NPR, PBS, and many other news outlets.  His efforts to improve diversity in the military led to the recent Army policy change 2017-03 which opened the doors for religious accommodations in the Army. He has been an honored guest and speaker at both the White House and the Pentagon.  LTC Kalsi has recently transitioned back into the Army Reserves and is the medical officer for the 404th Civil Affairs Battalion in Ft. Dix, NJ.  LTC Kalsi is a Truman Fellow, serving on the Defense Council of the Truman National Security Project and was awarded their “Innovation in Policy award”. Most recently, LTC Kalsi served as co-chair to the Military and Veterans Affairs committee for Governor Phil Murphy’s transition team. Last year, he founded the Sikh American Veterans Alliance (SAVA) in order to promote diversity, Sikh military history and service. And whenever anyone asks him where he’s from, he tells them he’s from “Jersey.”