Dr. Neelam Chahlia, a proud resident of Redmond, Washington, created history by being the first woman of Indian origin to win the title of Mrs. Washington America. As a first generation American, She has melded both cultures. Being a member of a military family, she was exposed not only to various regions, met people all over the world and she considers herself a global citizen.
Neelam was born and raised in India and moved to Seattle after her marriage in 2008. She and her husband, Dinesh, have been married for eleven years. They are raising a beautiful family of two kids, Zoey (8) and Dax(4).
As a first generation American coming from a middle class family and a very small town, where opportunities were limited, especially for women. Dr Chahlia is living the American dream through her hard work and dedication in the new much beloved home country. She comes with a stellar academic background, receiving a gold medal for her Masters degree from the then President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam. She is the first PhD in her extended family and received full scholarship for it based on merit. She went on to receive the prestigious National Young Scientist Award for her PhD dissertation and healthcare research findings. Dr. Chahlia earned a Business certificate from Stanford University and worked at the intersection of healthcare and technology at Premera. She worked at Microsoft before deciding to take a break from her career to take care of her young children.
As Mrs. Washington, Dr. Chahlia is raising awareness about drug abuse among young people through Victoria Siegel Foundation and to develop programs for women that aid them in regaining their physical and emotional strength post-pregnancy. In addition to sharing Victoria’s Voice and raising awareness in the community, she decided she can best serve the foundation by focusing on accelerating the fundraising. Dr Chahlia is working with the top employers in Washington including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Boeing, and Starbucks to match employee donations to Victoria Siegel foundation. Her goal is to leave a legacy of continued financial support for the Victoria Siegel foundation.
Life experiences have led Dr. Chahlia to initiate “Strength In Motherhood” program. Dr. Chahlia is a mother of two beautiful young children and helping women regain their strength after pregnancy is especially personal for her. Her focus is to help mothers navigate difficult pregnancies and to find the resilience and strength they need to meet the challenges they face. She volunteers her time as a patient advocate at Eastside Fetal Maternal Medicine where Dr Chahlia counsels pregnant women struggling to cope with the realities of their unborn child’s condition. She is also working with PRO Club, a health club with over 30,000 members, as a brand ambassador for their “Fit Mom Series”. It provides programs for women to help them regain their physical strength post pregnancy.
Dr Chahlia is working with Washington state senator, Manka Dhingra, on a tax-incentive bill for corporations that have active “Returnship programs” for women who take a break from career to take care of young kids or sick child or a sick family member. She believes that women or men, who take a break from their career to take care of young family members or sick child, are corporate America’s greatest untapped resource.
Dr Chahlia believes that Mrs. Washington America pageant system is empowering to women, not only it helps them to grow and learn, but gives them a platform to make a difference in their communities.
HOBBIES: Yoga, Folk Dance, Fashion, Keeping up on the state of the economy. She played basketball during high school and her team made it to the national finals.
Dr Chahlia lead the team of Portugal in both in the opening and closing ceremony of Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 in BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Canada, in front of 3.8 billion viewers! She was one among the 82 placard bearers to be chosen out of 20,000+ applicants.