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The Seva Story: Q2 2021 Newsletter

Updated: Feb 1


Seema Jain

Wishing a generous Ramadan (Ramadan Kareem) to all who celebrate! Here in the USA, spring has arrived and the seeds we planted late last year are beginning to blossom! The Multicultural Food and Hospitality Alliance (MFHA) invited me to to speak with their members about “Growing Business Through Understanding Cultures,” which happens to be our most popular presentation. Approximately 50 participants had the opportunity to learn how being culturally competent can help enhance business and drive their bottom line. Thank you Multiculural Foodservice and Hospitality Alliance, we are looking forward to continuing our partnership. Seva Global is actively engaging clients from a variety of industries. We are expanding in the tech, legal, and food & beverage industries, as well as in universities where taking a deep dive into culture is a popular topic with the students. Convention and Visitors Bureaus are also requesting cultural workshops in advance of diverse groups visiting their cities so they are better prepared to welcome them and exceed their expectations. #collaboration Just last month I was asked by Castell@College to moderate a REAL TALK sessions for San Diego State University and Florida International University. The students were amazing, and it is clear we have a very bright future in hospitality with the next generation of talent preparing to lead the industry!

Castell logo


photos and dates for major cultural holidays in 2021

THIS EDITION'S TIP: By Sanjana Jain, Marketing Around the world, people follow many different diets. When planning a multicultural event, meeting, or gathering, it is essential to be mindful of your attendees’ dietary needs. Some of the most common dietary options include:

  • Vegetarian: no meat (i.e., beef, chicken, seafood, etc.)

  • Vegan: no animal products of any kind (i.e., meat, dairy, eggs, or honey)

  • Kosher: following traditional Jewish law (i.e., no meat and dairy served together, no pork, etc.)

  • Halal: following traditional Muslim law (i.e., no pork, traditional methods for preparation, etc.)

  • Gluten-free: excludes gluten (such as wheat, barley, rye)

While not all people from a certain culture may follow the same diet, or follow the diet in the same way, it is important to be aware of how you can accommodate differing needs and to ask questions when unsure. Pay close attention to broths, simmering sauces, gelatins, and items containing lard. Pro tip: to accommodate a vegan diet when baking, you can replace 1 egg with any of the following substitutions: a ¼ cup of vegan yogurt, ½ a mashed banana, 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp. water, or ¼ cup of applesauce.

vegan-safe ingredients to replace eggs in recopies


ethnically diverse group looking down at the camera

Seva Global announces our first promotional opportunity.

Take advantage of our April Diversity Month Promotion! If you book one of our programs by April 30, 2021, you will receive 50% off your next session. Contact us today! (Terms and Conditions Apply.) Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is May 2021. What are you doing to help combat Asian Hate Crimes? Ask us about our Asia Culture Day program to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of Asians and Asian-Americans.

two hands decorated for an Indian wedding

Ready or Not – Indian Weddings are coming back! Are you ready to capture the Indian wedding business? Ask us about our India Culture Day program to assist you in preparing to attract and execute flawless Indian Weddings!


Seema’s travel calendar is booking up quickly! If she is in your city and you’d like to schedule a coffee visit or a socially-distant walk outside, please let us know! Memphis, Tennessee – Thursday, April 8 – Sunday, April 11 Miami, Florida – Thursday, April 29 – Monday, May 3 Washington, DC – Wednesday, June 2 – Friday, June 4 Indianapolis, Indiana – Wednesday, June 9 – Thursday, June 10


In our first newsletter, we explained that seva (pronounced “SAY-vah”) is a Sanskrit word that describes the act of selfless service. We asked readers to share their own seva stories, and we are grateful they did. This quarter our story comes from London; it’s about the work one organization did to celebrate the first anniversary of its Culture Day program. The London team asked Seva Global to mark the occasion by hosting a virtual “Wellness Bollywood Cardio Coffee Break.” We did yoga and Bollywood dance, and we shared seva stories. What a fun way to reconnect and engage with colleagues!

brochure for Wellness Bollywood Cardio Coffee Break - February 2021

We heard fabulous seva stories from the London team, including:

  • Caring for an elderly neighbor during lockdown, visiting regularly, doing her grocery shopping, and introducing jigsaw puzzles to her as a way to pass time

  • Making weekly calls to seniors living in care homes

  • Starting litter pick-up events on the weekends with local residents to create a feeling of community

  • Baking for hospitals on Saturdays to cheer up the National Health Service London teams

Please continue to share how you practice seva and let us know how you are helping a customer, colleague, community, family, or friend through cultural competence! You can send your “mysevastory” to Elizabeth Vukovich.


Reem El Shafaki

In each newsletter, we feature an expert from a different subject area to provide us with recommendations as we all continue to learn and grow. Since Ramadan begins April 13th we invited Reem El Shafaki, Partner at DinarStandard to provide us with information about the holiday and the Muslim culture. Here are her suggestions for honoring Ramadan and ensuring your Muslim colleagues and partners feel included:

  • You can wish Muslims a happy Ramadan by simply saying “Happy Ramadan” or “Ramadan Mubarak” or “Ramadan Kareem”

  • During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn until sunset, so no working lunches during that time.

  • Avoid scheduling online meetings at around sunset as that’s the time Muslims break their fast with their family. Also, be conscious of the time difference when scheduling meetings across time zones.

  • Offer your Muslim employees a flexible schedule during Ramadan. Many Muslims perform additional late-night prayers (either at the mosque in congregation or at home, which will more likely be the case this year because of the pandemic). They also wake up early for a pre-dawn meal, so allowing a flexible schedule will enhance their performance while accommodating their spiritual needs.

  • For most Muslims, Ramadan is a very special time of year. With that in mind, expressing concern or sympathy towards Muslim colleagues for abstaining from food and drink is not appropriate.

  • Muslims emerge from Ramadan with a strong sense of self-discipline which often propels them to make resolutions for other areas in their lives in the upcoming year.

Seva Global offers a wide array of services to foster cultural competence across organizations. Through our customized solutions and consultations, we can help to increase employee engagement, enhance customer experience, and drive bottom line results. Our goal is to help teams become more culturally competent when engaging with people from different backgrounds. We would love your feedback on this newsletter. Please share with anyone you think it may interest!

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