Deepa Purushothaman

Deepa Purushothaman is a global leader in the vital, on-going dialogue for workplace diversity, racial inclusion, and leadership initiatives for women of color. She triumphed over her personal challenges of isolation and burnout as a high-level executive at Deloitte, and broke new ground for women of color as the first Indian American woman and one of the youngest people to make partner at the company. As Deloitte’s National Managing Partner of Inclusion, Deepa spearheaded its world-renowned program for recruiting and empowering women in the workplace.

Deepa is also the co-founder of nFormation, a company that provides a brave, safe, and new space for professionals who are women of color. She says that women of color are ready to “alter existing narratives, change the game, and lead in a brand-new landscape”—they just need the resources to get there.

In her book The First, the Few, the Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power In Corporate America, Deepa shares the wisdom she gained from interviewing hundreds of other women of color across many different industries and cultural backgrounds. She teaches readers how to shed harmful messages in the workplace, navigate challenging corporate situations, and expand the future of what leadership looks like. Publisher’s Weekly called the book “empowering” and a “fresh, worthy addition” to our conversation about diversity.

Deepa has been featured in publications including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the Huffington Post, and Harvard Business Review. She is a Women and Public Policy Program Leader in Practice at the Harvard Kennedy School. Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, lauds the way that Deepa’s urgent work “has yielded a powerful collective narrative that business leaders would be wise to study closely.”