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Siyona Mishra Wins 2016 MassMutual South Asian Spelling Bee

Press Release

Siyona Mishra of Orlando, Florida correctly spelled the word “zubrowka” (a dry straw-colored chiefly Russian liqueur of vodka flavored with herbs) during the 2016 MassMutual South Asian Spelling Bee finals to clinch the title of national champion and took home a cash prize of $10,000 from MassMutual.

Ananya Kodali from Highland Village, Texas and Shruthika Padhy from Cherry Hill, New Jersey were tied for National Runner-Up at the MassMutual initiative on Aug.5, which was taped live for broadcast on Sony Entertainment Television.

The initiative was organized by leading multicultural advertising firm Touchdown Media Inc. and sponsored by MassMutual, a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policy owners. Sony Entertainment Television was the exclusive rights holder and broadcast the initiative across the globe in over 120 countries, Britannia is the presenting sponsor while Kawan Foods returns as the powered by sponsor for the initiative which is now in its 9th year.

“We are truly impressed with these brilliant and talented spellers.  We understand their success takes dedicated support from their parents and families. MassMutual shares the same passion about bringing financial education to the South Asian community. It was an honor to be a part of this great event that helps shape our future generation of leaders,” said Wonhong Lee, Assistant Vice President, Diverse Markets, MassMutual Financial Group.   

The special guest at the finals was last year’s National Champion, Shourav Dasari, who helped co-host a portion of the initiative.
“It fills my heart to see such talented, young spellers from across the country who make us proud as a community. The initiative is unique in its reach and engagement and we are very blessed to have the patronage of these families who make it a prestigious platform. My hearties congratulations to Siyona.” said Rahul Walia, Founder.

The initiative was open to children up to 14 years of age and was held in 12 regional centers across the United States. These areas included, New Jersey, DC Metro area, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Bay Area, Charlotte, and the newly added international center in Ghana.

The contest was conducted in written and oral format at the regional levels which served as the elimination as well as selection process for the finalists.

After registering their child online, parents brought them to the designated center and a 25-word written test was administered. Children had to spell 15 or more words correctly to qualify for the afternoon oral round and from there the top three were awarded prize money and the top two qualified for the finals.

“We are extremely happy with Siyona’s win at the Bee as it goes to show that todays South Asian kids are all rounders and highly dedicated to their craft. We produced a special section called “Meet the Spellers where the viewers will have an opportunity to get to know some of the spellers including Siyona better," said Tim Tan, Managing Director, Kawan Food, makers of the world’s most popular Roti Paratha Brand in the world - Kawan Paratha.

“Nail Biting contest year after year and I personally was unable to get up during the bee! It’s amazing to see the pool of talent from our community and am happy for Siyona Mishra’s win and excited to get to know her and some of the other spellers better in the “Meet the Speller” series airing shortly on Sony,” said Jaideep Janakiram, Head of North America, Sony Entertainment Television-Asia.

Children up to 14 years of age were eligible to participate and the contest saw spellers of even 6 years of age compete and make it past a few rounds. Registration for 2017 will open in October this year and for more information and to register your child, please visit www.SouthAsianSpellingBee.com.

Find us on Facebook at South Asian Spelling Bee and you can follow us on our Twitter handle at Spell South Asian.

About Touchdown Media Inc.:

Touchdown Media Inc. is a specialized South Asian advertising and promotions firm based in New Jersey. Now in its 13th successful year, Touchdown has helped clients, both mainstream and otherwise, reach out to the lucrative South Asian market. Touchdown Media represents more than 35 years of collective experience in this niche market. As a full-service ad firm, Touchdown has helped many clients achieve their media and marketing goals within the South Asian diaspora in the United States.

About MassMutual:

MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policy owners. MassMutual offers a wide range of financial products and services, including life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, annuities, retirement plans and other employee benefits. For more information, visit www.massmutual.com.

About Britannia Industries Ltd:

Britannia Industries Limited is India's leading food company and marketer of cookies, dairy products and bread. As per independent retail audit conducted by Nielsen in May ‘15, Britannia is the market leader in the US $3.78 billion biscuit market. In the US, several power brands from the Britannia portfolio like “Good Day”, “Bourbon”, “Milk Rusk”, “Milk Bikis”, “Nice Time” are available across the country in stores carrying South Asian groceries. Over the past year, Britannia has added new and exciting brands like “Milk Bikis Cream”, “Chunkies” (luxurious chocolate chip cookies), “NutriChoice Heavens” (healthy and delicious oat cookies), “Pure Magic Chocolush” (premium center-filled cookie), “Jim Jam”, “Muffils” (center-filled cupcakes)”, “Premium Bake Eggless Cake”, “Premium Bake Cake Rusk” and “Time Pass” (salted cracker) to its well-loved portfolio. In addition to India and the United States, Britannia is also available in Canada, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand, UK, and Singapore.

About Sony Entertainment Television Asia:

Since its launch on the Indian subcontinent in 1995, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has enjoyed rapid success, leading to the establishment of European, North American and African feeds known as SET Asia. SET and SET Asia are now available in over 150 countries. The channels offer their viewers a distinctive blend of entertainment programs twenty-four hours a day, including, soap operas, dramas, sitcoms, concerts, movies, and game shows. For more information, visit www.setasia.tv.

(Phot Caption: (L to R) Candy Chan, Senior Marketing Consultant, Multicultural Marketing, MassMutual, Nimesh Trivedi, Director, Multicultural Marketing, MassMutual, Siyona Mishra, MassMutual South Asian Spelling Bee National Champion, Wonhong Lee, Assistant Vice President, Diverse Markets, MassMutual, and Rahul Walia, founder of The MassMutual South Asian Spelling Bee. )

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