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Board of directors

Akbar Poonawala, Chairman of the Board


Prior to co-founding Pivot Investment Partners, Mr. Poonawala was Managing Director and Regional Head for the Americas of Deutsche Bank Global Transaction Banking and led the growth of this business to over $1 billion of revenues in cash management, Trade Finance, and Trust & Securities Services. He shares deep experience in markets where information, technology and scalable processes are critical drivers of success.

Mr. Poonawala is a Chartered Financial Analyst with an MBA in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business, an MBA in Marketing, and an undergraduate degree in Advanced Accounting from Poona University in India. Mr. Poonawala serves as the Chairman for the Aga Khan Economic Planning Board for United States (AKEPB) and assumed his role as Chairman of the Chamber Board in July 2015.

Akbar Poonawala on LinkedIn

Farid Virani, Board Member


Mr. Virani is the founder and CEO of Prime Communications, the largest privately held AT&T Authorized Retail Chain in the United States. Founded in 1999 with a single store, Prime has grown to 500+ stores, and has expanded internationally into Canada. Mr. Virani is a serial entrepreneur who enjoys learning and investing in retail, hospitality, real estate, and the Film industry.

Farid is also involved in several community organizations, including SEARCH Homeless Services, American Ismaili Chamber of Commerce, and is a longtime active member of YPO.

Farid Virani on LinkedIn

Farouk Ladha, Board Member


Mr. Ladha is the Managing Partner at Four Rivers Group. Prior to founding FRG, Mr. Ladha was a Managing Director at SVB Capital, the venture arm of Silicon Valley Bank.

Mr. Ladha has a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Farouk joined the Chamber Board in its early phase and has been a Chamber Board Member since 2012.

 Farouk Ladha on LinkedIn

Rahil Jafry, Board Member


Mr. Jafry is the President & CEO of Rushmore Energy. He previously worked at UBS and Enron in Houston, New York, and London. Immediately prior to founding Rushmore Energy, Mr. Jafry helped launch and grow Tara Energy into one of the largest independent retail electricity providers in Texas, before it was acquired in 2011.

Mr. Jafry has a BA in Economics and an MS in Technology Commercialization from the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. He has completed coursework at the London Business School and at the Harvard Kennedy School. Rahil joined the Chamber Board in 2014, and also serves on the Executive Committee of the Global Diplomacy & Public Policy Network within YPO.

Rahil Jafry on LinkedIn

Hakim Merchant, Board Member


Mr. Merchant is the Founder & CEO of Global Venture, established more than a quarter century ago. The RFid division was a pioneer and now a leader in deploying this technology in security, aviation, access control, logistics, etc. The label division services national and multinational companies in aviation, healthcare, apparel, retail, agriculture, etc. The company has also diversified in real estate, international trade and manufacturing of pressure sensitive paper and film.

Initially a Founding Member, Mr. Merchant joined the Chamber Board in 2014.

 Hakim Merchant on LinkedIn 

Abdullah Kurwa, Board Member


Mr. Kurwa recently acquired a 30 year established commercial construction company, Express Interiors, currently based in Austin, Texas. He is a serial entrepreneur with an MBA and multiple businesses and investments across sectors and regions. His most recent successful turnarounds have been in long term care facilities in California. He has been very active in the community in various socio economic themes, including Director of Operations with the Aga Khan Academies in Momba-1sa and Maputo.

Originally from Bangladesh, Mr. Kurwa is in Austin, moved from L.A. Mr. Kurwa joined the Chamber Board in 2014.

Abdullah Kurwa on LinkedIn

Shafiq Jadavji, Board Member


Mr. Jadavji is a Financial Advisor with Principal Financial Group in Atlanta where he works with growing businesses and professionals. Shafiq creates long-term financial strategies for individuals and business owners with a focus on helping clients create personal wealth and a well-planned financial retirement. Prior to moving to Atlanta in 2011, Shafiq served as a Director with Deutsche Bank in New York. Over the 17 year career on Wall Street, Shafiq worked in various sectors in transaction banking and spoke at numerous conferences. Currently, Shafiq also serves as a Board Member with the Johns Creek Arts Center and as a Mentor with Leadership Johns Creek.

Shafiq holds a MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University and a BS from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Shafiq Jadavji on LinkedIn

Salman Bhojani, Board Member


Mr. Bhojani is the Managing Partner at Bhojani & Nelson, PLLC, a full-service corporate law firm and a title company. Prior to founding his law firm, Salman practiced real estate and corporate law at an international corporate law firm called Haynes and Boone, LLP. Salman has a Juris Doctor from SMU, a BS in Busi. Admin. from Univ. of Texas, and a Comparative Law diploma from the Oxford University. In addition to being a lawyer, Salman is an astute entrepreneur and over the past 15 years, has owned and operated several successful business ventures in industries such as real estate, retail, and convenience and fuel.


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