Self-made business executive Poonam Ahluwalia will visit Suffolk University on February 1 to talk about some of the obstacles she overcame to establish the Youth Entrepreneurship and Sustainability (YES) Campaign.

The event, part of the Sawyer Business School’s Inside Leadership Podcast Series, is open to all Suffolk University students and will take place at the Modern Theater at 4:30 p.m. Larry Stybel, executive in residence at Sawyer Business School, will interview Ahluwalia about her work as a global activist for youth employment and entrepreneurship. The audience is also encouraged to participate and ask questions.

Ahluwalia was selected to speak because “she has a great success story,” Stybel said. As an immigrant from India, Ahluwalia’s career arose from humble beginnings. She initially worked as a house cleaner, but always remained dedicated to her dream of making a difference in the world one day.

Motivated by her passion for community service, Ahluwalia earned two master’s degrees in communications and political science. She later worked with the Education Development Center in Newton, Mass., to promote global learning, health, and education.

In 2002, she launched YES with the goal of helping two million youth become entrepreneurs by 2012. Today, YES encourages renewable energy, information and communication technology, HIV/AIDS prevention programs, rural development, and water sanitation.

Ahluwalia has led 55 YES Networks around the world and organized more than eight global summits. Under her leadership, YES has mobilized stakeholders in over 120 countries to help youth create sustainable livelihoods.

Although this is the final year of the YES Campaign, Ahluwalia remains passionate about creating educational programs that empower young people to be entrepreneurial. Her most important contribution may become the innovative architecture of YouthTrade, a new social movement aimed at providing markets for goods of young entrepreneurs.

Ahluwalia is recognized as a catalyst leader among her peers. The INDIA New England newspaper recently named Ahluwalia one of the top-50 most influential people in New England. She currently serves on the World Economic Forum's Council on Youth Unemployment and was recognized as a “Woman Creating History” at the Women's International Networking (WIN) Conference held in Rome in October 2011.

The discussion will be available via iTunes.

For more information about the series, or to nominate future topics and/or panelists, please contact: Larry Stybel at 617.619.4958 or