Abid NeemuchwalaHow did you become involved with the World Affairs Council?

When I relocated to Dallas in 2011, I wanted to become involved with a high-profile organization in the community. A partner with my firm was rolling off the board and asked me if I had an interest in considering WACDFW. After learning more, I was excited at how well WACDFW mission aligned with my interests and have been involved ever since.

What do you think “international” means to the DFW economy?

DFW is arguably the best metro area in the U.S. for business and our economy is very diversified across industries. Almost all business has become very international, or at least has some cross-border component. For DFW to continue to prosper, we need a workforce that understands and embraces the world in which we operate. Essentially "international" is a critical piece for DFW's continued growth and prosperity.                     

Where would you like to see the Council go in the future, and what kind of projects are you pursuing in your business? 

I think the Council is a gift to DFW. Our roles in City of Dallas protocol and the State Department's International Visitor's Program are important in advancing the world's view of DFW. We should continue to grow these areas. DFW needs a knowledgeable workforce for our continued prosperity. The Council plays a huge role in international education in DFW's high schools. I would love to see us expand our educational reach to touch as many teachers and students as we can. Of course, I also want to see us continue our outstanding programs. At Grant Thornton, many of our clients are expanding internationally and need help making better decisions. The firm is making a big push into technology and helping clients harness data for better decision-making.

What’s been your favorite Council event so far?

I have enjoyed so many of the events, and I feel like I learn a new perspective from every event that I attend. I have seen Sec. Robert Gates multiple times and he is always fascinating. He has a great perspective from serving in both democrat and republican administrations. I also really enjoyed attending the WACA conference in Washington DC with other members of our Council the year we won Council of the Year award.

Sometimes we see listings of the planet’s “global cities” and Dallas is not among them. What kind of things need to happen in DFW for it to achieve its highest global potential?

Many of the "global cities" have carried that label for centuries. Dallas is still a young city. I feel like it will take a few more decades of growth and prosperity before Dallas is acknowledged as a true global city. Attracting consulates from more countries would be one step that we could take to bolster our reputation.

Is there a global issue or event that keeps you up at night? 

I worry about the accelerating pace of technology, and the possibility of bad behavior by numerous parties around the world. Just a few years ago, it would have been unthinkable that someone could use technology to clean out a bank account or gain access to a building. In the future, technology will be the major component of how nations execute conflicts with other nations. Fifty years from now, it is hard to imagine what technologies we will have, and the results of using those technologies inappropriately.

What is your favorite country to (a) travel in, and (b) do business in? 

So far, I have enjoyed Italy and Ireland the most. I look forward to visiting many countries over the next few years. This summer, my wife Eilis and I will be taking a World Heritage cruise with stops in Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and Turkey. The majority of my clients have international operations, so I have been involved in planning and execution involving issues in dozens of countries.

Do you think it’s important for our DFW workforce – and future workforce – to have a global perspective? (You might want to give an example from your business.) 

I absolutely think a global perspective is important. Grant Thornton's global affiliates have operations in approximately 120 countries, and having a global perspective is critical to assisting our clients.

What has the World Affairs Council meant to you / or to your business? 

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Council and have made a lot of friends. From a business standpoint, WACDFW Is great for meeting other members of the business community. As a firm, we are proud to support the Council in their support of DFW.


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