The annual Immigrant Journey Awards (IJA) were a success, as almost 200 individuals gathered under the same roof at Crowne Plaza Dallas for a common cause to highlight influential immigrant achievements and celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month. For the past six years, the ceremony has gained momentum, bringing together professionals, entrepreneurs, friends, and families alike to celebrate the impact that immigrants have had on the community.

With numerous award nomination submissions for 2017, presenting sponsor and Dallas law firm Scheef & Stone was pleased at the turnout and proud of those who made it as finalists and winners.

This year’s Immigrant Entrepreneur Award winners include Giuseppe Piccinini, Shanthi Rajaram, and Sudhir Pai. This category is granted to individuals who have built highly successful North Texas businesses, and who have set a great example for other motivated entrepreneurs around the state and nation. Gabriela Smith and Juan Williams were honored for the Immigrant Professional Excellence Award, which highlights immigrants who have made remarkable strides in a professional field.

The Immigrant Advocate Award, which goes to an individual, organization, business or government entity that has made a powerful and positive impact on the welfare of immigrants via public advocacy went to Etalemahu Taddesse Fikre and Gauthami Vemula. Lastly, the two Immigrant Spirit Award winners, Plano Council member Angela Miner and Madan Goyal, were recognized for contributing substantially to the well-being of the entire community through their influential platforms.

Three exceptional high school seniors, Adewale Adewuyi of Plano East High School, Aimee Shimwa of Conrad High School, and Devany Morales of Hillcrest High School, also received American Dream Scholarships to attend the college of their choice.

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