Monday, July 9, 2007
Sumaya Kazi
No matter what language you speak, where you call home or where your parents are from, success should resonate across those lines. And Sumaya Kazi is there to make sure it does. At 24, Kazi founded The CulturalConnect, a media publishing company with a series of online magazines spotlighting young minority professionals and, well, "connecting" them with each other and the nonprofit world.

As a Bangladeshi-American, Kazi started with the DesiConnect, reaching out to young movers and shakers of South Asian descent. As the interest in her site peaked, she added The AsiaConnect, The MidEastConnect, The LatinConnect, and The AfricanaConnect. Since they launched, the sites have had more than 12 million hits, attracting readers in more than 100 countries.

Another goal of the magazines is to debunk stereotypes about different minority groups. Kazi says, "Some cultures believe that you can only be a doctor or a lawyer to be successful; we are showing the world that that's not true." The CulturalConnect's staff -- successful minorities themselves, and every one under 30 -- is aiming to demonstrate just that.

Update: Watch the Live interview
I checked out her web magazines and think they are really great! I wish I knew about them sooner. My question to Sumaya is what inspired her to start all these magazines? Did she think it was going to be a risk to make half of her content focused on the non-profit sector (considering her audience is young professionals)?
Hi. I was wondering what your goal is with the CulturalConnect? What are you looking to do with the company? Best of luck to you and Raymond! :)
I think CulturalConnect is a brilliant idea, kudos to Sumaya! I was fortunate to be raised and educated in the U.S. and now as a young professional I'm exploring ways to give back to my home country and help our people progress. I'll definitely use this site for inspiration and to try to connect with other like minded people.

My question for Sumaya is when you first got started, how did you go about spreading your idea and finding people who shared your values? Did your family or friends help or did you rely on other resources?
I just checked the website and it's awesome. Kudos to you for the brilliant idea. Growing up, who were the Asian personalities or heroes you looked up to and why?
I have been reading her magazines for some time now and always find a lot of value out of them. In fact, I personally have made several new connections through the people she has interviewed. I'm glad CNN took the time to spotlight her awesome behind the scene efforts. I had no idea she was so young!
It seems that the CulturalConnect is in an unique situation with dual cultures of both American and a "home" culture. With the world relations as they are now, and the issues some have with America, what role do you see the network that is created at CulturalConnect playing?
How do you envision what you are doing will change the world?
Also, what about non-minority professionals?
What has Sumaya Kazi learned from her experience in creating The Cultural Connect? How will she apply this to other areas in her life? If she hasn't done so already.
Interesting to see a Muslim woman in the spotlight! Good luck to you! and be mindful that the onus does not fall on the minority to prove themselves to the majority. I hope see more commentary on socioeconomic status instead of shining a spotlight on those who have succeeded according to Western standards of business/success.
Ms. Kazi is doing her part to break down the barriers. Now we should all follow her lead!

Jim Nesbitt, Chicago Illinois
Simply Wonderful Work. My Heartiest Congratulation for S. Kazi :)

Samiha Esha :)
How did you get the idea that you wanted to do this?
Sumaya Kazi, I have served 22 years in the U.S. military and I just want to know what do you think about the war in Iraq; and if there is any thing you could do about bring our troops home would be greatly appreciated. Since you mention people under the age of 30, maybe this would be a good avenue of approach to voice toward assistant our soldiers because most civilians do not know what their are going through 24/7, 365. We need some type of communications network with the soldiers not the general’s officers, because by talking to an officer you will never know the bottom line of the true story. If some one can interview an enlisted person you will get the bottom line on what is really going. And this is my story and I hope some one could hear this message throughout the world.
Congratulations on the press! I'm glad the media is taking an interest in new cultural media.
Networking is always important in any endeavor, especially for women, as minorities in business.

Young People Who Rock is a weekly interview series focused on people under 30 -- from CEOs to entertainers to athletes to community and political leaders -- who are doing remarkable things. CNN Anchor Nicole Lapin introduces them here, then interviews them Fridays on Live. Log on in the 3 p.m. ET hour to catch the interviews.
Know someone who rocks?
Maybe your neighbor or your friend? Let us know.

Got a question for the interview?
Fire up your camera and send it in, then look for your video on Live.
    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.