2014 Distinguished International Alumni Award Recipient — Anand Mehta
UCM President Chuck Ambrose, right, presents the 2014 UCM Distinguished International Alumni Award to Anand Mehta.
Anand Mehta knows how to dream big and work hard. Since leaving his family, career and country some 40 years ago for America, he's learned that success comes from education, hard work, and support from family, friends and mentors. He brings that belief to the Boys and Girls Club of America as its senior vice president of financial services and chief financial officer.
Considered by colleagues as a "leader among leaders," he was honored this fall by the UCM Alumni Association as its 2014 Distinguished International Alumnus. Watch the video from the night's event.
"I consider myself extremely blessed to have led one of the fastest growing youth development organizations in America," Mehta said. The Boys and Girls Club serves nearly four million youth in its 4,100 facilities. Mehta provides financial leadership to the organization, which has a combined budget of $1.5 billion.
Mehta graduated from UCM in 1975 with a master's degree in business administration. He arrived in Warrensburg riding a bus from New Jersey, carrying two heavy suitcases to reach his campus dorm room.
"I had no idea what was in store for me in this little midwestern town. No car, no ride, no vegetarian meal, challenges galore! The journey was initially very bumpy. The culture, language, weather, education system. No family or friends. No cricket! Being in college was hard in many ways, financially, academically, personally, socially and physically," he said.
He often considered returning to India but "priceless mentoring from faculty members such as Dr. Khan, Dr. Perfett and Dr. Drake kept me on track." He learned to respect other classmates' views, developed listening skills and gained the experience to present his "thoughts and ideas with courage of conviction." His MBA provided him increasing career opportunities in financial management, strategic planning, accounting, auditing, risk management, grants, contracts and information systems. In 1991, he joined the Boys and Girls Club.
"Anand is a man of great character, courage and compassion," said Roxanne Spillett, Boys and Girls Club president emeritus. "He is a leader among leaders of an unparalleled effort to build and bring to the Atlanta area one of the largest and most extraordinary Indian temples in the world that also serves as a center for all faiths."
Mehta has a big heart, helping to raise thousands of dollars for flood victims in northern India, the earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina. The philanthropic leader has served as one of the founding board members and treasurer for Child Rights and You, CRY America, a nonprofit organization committed to the rights of children. He currently is vice president of BAPS Charities, which raises support for international communities in need.
"Anand is a true believer," said another colleague. "He is a prime example of the concept that if you do the right thing, you'll always come out ahead in the end."