4 Ways to Redefine Power at Work to Include Women of Color | TED
- Barrier-breaking business leader and founder who, as senior partner at Deloitte, spearheaded the firm’s transformative programs and influenced the evolution of modern workplace policies
- Draws from her experiences as a senior executive at a Big 4 firm to share new perspectives and strategies for creating more dynamic workplaces designed for collective success
- Shares “Deepa’s Dos and Don'ts” — valuable insights and strategies for stepping into the future of leadership, recruiting and retaining top talent, and overcoming the challenges of the workplace
Play Video View Fees
Deepa Purushothaman (per-shot-a-man) is a corporate truth teller and inclusion visionary who, throughout her illustrious career, challenged and redefined the status quo of leadership, success, and power on her incredible journey of breaking glass ceilings and advancing the workplace for all people. For more than two decades, Deepa held various high-level executive leadership roles at Deloitte, eventually becoming the first Indian American woman and one of the youngest people ever to make partner at the internationally renowned global services firm, and breaking new ground for subsequent generations to follow in her footsteps.
Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, Deepa leads revelatory sessions in which she introduces the audience to “Deepa’s Dos and Don’ts,” drawing from her own experiences to share valuable insights for how anyone can alter existing narratives, change the game, and usher in more dynamic cultures in any organization. Deepa helps audience members understand the actions they can take to realize their strengths, rethink the way things are, reimagine how organizations operate, and step into the future of leadership, while offering adaptable tactics for overcoming burnout, outdated norms, and the other challenges that stand in the way of individuals and their teams achieving their goals in the workplace.
Throughout her highly transformative career at Deloitte, Deepa advised the firm’s top clients on strategies for powering growth within their organizations and creating solutions and value for the people they serve. In her national managing partner roles for Deloitte’s Inclusion and Women’s Initiatives, and more of its forward-thinking programs, she spearheaded the company’s mission to make a social impact and foster more empowered workplaces designed for everyone to reach their full potential. Deepa left Deloitte in 2020 to co-found nFormation, a membership-based community providing a collective space for diverse professional women to communicate, collaborate, and tap into their power. In addition to her leadership of nFormation, she is an Executive Fellow at Harvard Business School an Aspen Institute Fellow, and a board member of Avasara, India’s first leadership academy for girls.
Deepa continues to be a leading voice and champion for reworking the corporate workplace experience. Her debut book, The First, the Few, the Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America, was published by HarperCollins to international acclaim, and was called a “fresh, worthy addition” to the conversation about diversity by Publisher’s Weekly. She has spoken at SXSW and her TED talks have amassed close to three million views. Her sought-after thought leadership has been featured in major media outlets, including TIME, PBS, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Financial Times, and Harvard Business Review. She has been widely recognized for “yielding a powerful collective narrative that business leaders would be wise to study closely.”
When Deepa is not focused on workplace issues, you can find her trying to manage the chaos caused by her fur babies.
Lessons from the Top: New Approaches to Leadership, Power, and Success. Throughout more than two decades as a transformative senior executive at Deloitte and in her subsequent endeavors, Deepa Purushothaman has been a highly influential figure in helping organizations rethink their philosophies to create higher performing, more dynamic cultures where everyone feels included and has been equipped with the tools and resources to thrive. Drawing from her experiences breaking glass ceilings and viewing the challenges of the corporate workplace from previously unexplored perspectives, she leads a compelling conversation that thoughtfully addresses the ways leaders can be the driving force for enhancing all aspects of the workplace experience to create better outcomes for women and other historically marginalized groups. Introducing audiences to “Deepa’s Dos and Don’ts” she shares actionable strategies for recruiting, retaining, and advancing top talent, fostering a culture of belonging, pushing past stress and burnout, and stepping into the future of leadership on the path to individual and collective success in the workplace.
Leading with Inner Wisdom and Power. Deepa Purushothaman has never been afraid to go against the grain in order to be the most impactful leader. She has navigated her teams to success by challenging some of the stereotypical leadership qualities that no longer resonate with today’s workforce, replacing them with often-overlooked — but nonetheless important — traits, most notably, wisdom, power, and empathy. In this talk, Deepa offers a counternarrative to traditional viewpoints on what it means to be a “great” leader. She intricately weaves together lessons learned from her experiences as a diverse woman in the corporate world with tactics for uncovering new pathways to evolved leadership and demonstrates how anyone can lead while remaining authentic to their core.
From the Only to the Many: What Leaders Can Do to Empower Women. As the first-ever Indian American woman partner at Deloitte, Deepa Purushothaman has been a highly influential figure in helping organizations rethink their approaches for recruiting, nurturing, and retaining talent, with a special focus on advancing women of color in the workplace. Drawing from her own journey of breaking glass ceilings to become a high-level executive at one of the world’s most powerful companies, as well as stories from the first, the few, and the only — the other female trailblazers who have overcome the obstacles in front of them to become changemakers in the corporate world — Deepa shares meaningful insights and action steps for how leaders can create equitable workplaces for all. As part of this talk, she also leads a deep dive into the importance of allyship as a means for advancing professional spaces to do away with systemic inequities and uplift women of color so that they have the same opportunities for success as their colleagues. These strategies are pivotal for anyone looking to make an impact as an ally.
Unlocking Your Best Self: It’s an Inside Job. A barrier-breaking business leader, Deepa Purushothaman’s journey to becoming a senior partner at Deloitte was far from easy. With every step forward, she encountered obstacles that served as reminders of how she would have to work twice as hard to receive the same merit and recognition as many of her counterparts. On top of that, she dealt with the voices in her own head questioning whether she was on the right course to achieving her purpose. In this inward-looking session, Deepa provides audiences with a practical plan of action for looking within themselves to determine their mission, identify their values, and use them as guiding principles on their own unique paths to success in any endeavor.
Understanding Burnout and Stress to Perform at Your Best. As the co-founder of nFormation and previously a high-ranking executive at Deloitte, Deepa Purushothaman is no stranger to dealing with stress, burnout, and the productivity stalls and feelings of self-doubt that they often cause. For too long, Deepa chose to ignore the signs of stress and burnout and continued to overwork herself until her doctors questioned whether she “lived to work” and opened her eyes to how her health might be impacted if she continued down that path.
Shifting her mindset to a more balanced focus on her professional and personal lives, she found the happy medium between advancing her career while prioritizing wellness. In this reflective session, she empowers audiences to redefine success on their own terms, while putting their own wellness and sense of fulfillment in all aspects of their lives at the forefront. She provides proven steps for taking a step back, having difficult conversations at work, and creating psychologically safe workplaces where it’s possible to perform at high levels and take care of ourselves.
Why One Burnt-Out Executive Left Her Job to Write the Book (Literally) on Women of Color in Corporate America
Click one of these resources below for another way to find more speaker ideas for your audience.