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March 7, 2022

#160: Redefining Power In Corporate America with Deepa Purushothaman

Deepa Purushothaman knows what it feels like to be the only minority in a room. She spent 20 years working for Deloitte, where she was the first Indian-American woman and one of the youngest people to make partner in the company’s history.  At the time, there was no one who looked like Deepa in a similar role. She had no one to look up to or seek advice from, so she told herself “If I don’t see it, I will be it.” And that’s what she did.    When Deepa left her career at Deloitte, she found her calling: helping other women and minorities navigate corporate America.  Deepa is a leader in the battle to push businesses toward genuine diversity and inclusion. Her ideas on how to rework work culture will transform corporate America, making it a community where we all feel heard and respected. In this episode, Hala and Deepa talk about the importance of representation in media, how workplaces can be improved, “Inclusion Delusions” in corporate America, and the future of the workplace.

Topics Included: 

- Representation in media  - Deepa’s experience at Deloitte - Starting nFormation - The future of women in the workforce  - Why inclusivity is an important topic for men - Deepa’s biggest takeaways from interviewing 500 corporate women - “Inclusion Delusions” in corporate America  - Examples of why workplaces need to be redesigned  - Beauty and behavior standards in the workplace - Actionable ways to overcome personal delusions  - Definition and examples of microaggressions  - Addressing microaggression as a minority and as an ally  - Advice on researching workplace culture - Finding the power of me and the power of we - Hopes for the future of inclusivity and diversity  - And other topics …

Deepa Purushothaman is a corporate inclusion visionary, a speaker, and the co-founder of nFormation, an exclusive community for high-achieving women of color. Deepa is the author of The First, The Few, The Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America.   Prior to this, Deepa spent more than twenty years at Deloitte, where she was the first Indian- American woman and one of the youngest people to make partner in the company’s history. Deepa also served as Deloitte’s National Managing Partner of Inclusion and the US Managing Partner of WIN (Women’s Initiative), Deloitte’s renowned program to recruit, retain, and advance women. Deepa has degrees from Wellesley College, Harvard Kennedy School, and the London School of Economics. Her work has been featured in The Harvard Business Review, Forbes, CNBC, Bloomberg, and more. She is also a fellow at The Aspen Institute’s First Movers Fellowship Program. 


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Resources Mentioned:

Deepa’s Website: The First, The Few, The Only by Deepa Purushothaman: 

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