Ishan Shah becomes president of the New Jersey Leadership Program


NJ Lead seeks to encourage young South Asians to get involved in public service, government and politics

Ishan Shah, head of government affairs at Quest Diagnostics, has become president of the New Jersey Leadership Program (NJ Lead) which seeks to encourage young South Asians in the state to get involved in public service, government and politics. .

Shah, who previously served in the office of then-New Jersey governor Chris Christie and as chief of staff to New Jersey congressman Kevin Rooney, will succeed Amit Jani, according to a press release.

“I thank Amit and the NJ Lead team for building such an incredible program and I am happy to be able to take over during a period of great interest and success in political engagement within the South Asian community.” said Shah.

Read: Sibu Nair appointed NY Dy Director for Asian American Affairs (November 22, 2021)

“It has never been so important to involve young people more. NJ Lead, through its summer scholarship program, seeks to develop the next generation of South Asian political leaders.

Jani was one of the first co-founders of NJ Lead and has served as its president since its inception in 2015. He previously served as National Director of the Asian and American Pacific Islands (AAPI) for President Joe Biden.

“We are incredibly proud to have helped start this program with the help of a village, and we have had nearly 60 South Asian alumni from New Jersey graduating from our program over the past six years,” many of whom have decided to continue in public service, ”said Jani.

“This new leadership will help bring new ideas and initiatives, helping NJ Lead to continue to grow into the premier program it has become,” he said.

Jani will continue to serve on the board of directors. Meet Patel, who currently serves in the administration of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, for the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, becomes the new vice president.

Kunal Papaiya, co-owner and general counsel of USA Wine Traders Club, takes over as general counsel.

Read: New Jersey Leadership Program Announces Appointment of Ishan Shah, Director of Indian American Quest Diagnostics, as New President (November 21, 2021)

Darshan Jha, currently assistant to Senator-elect Jean Stanfield as well as incumbent Ryan Peters in the 8th Legislative District of New Jersey, and Aadi Kulkarni, chairman of the NJLP alumni council, will join as council members.

NJ Lead plans to open applications for the 2022 Summer Fellowship program on December 1. More information about NJ Lead and its 2022 Summer Fellowship Program can be found at


Kevin E. Boling