Reframe & Reset Your Career Podcast

Episode 30. The First, The Few, The Only: Redefining Power In Companies – Deepa Purushothaman

Interested in learning more about the strategies that helped Deepa Purushothaman become ‘a first’: an Indian American woman and one of the youngest people to make partner in Deloitte’s history? She discussed this, her book, “The First, The Few, The Only” and much more on Episode 30 of the Reframe & Reset Your Career podcast.

In this episode, we will learn about:

Her starting out in consulting at Deloitte as the only non-business school graduate in her intake,

The attributes that helped her become one of the youngest partners in Deloitte’s history,

Being comfortable about not knowing everything and asking other people,

Why Deepa transitioned out of her successful consulting career,

Starting her new company nFormation with Rha Goddess,

Why she wrote her book “The First, The Few, The Only”,

Taking power and control back,

Dealing with micro aggressive behaviour,

Navigating your career in a strategic way not just working harder,

How to play the game while you change the game,

Analysing if you should you stay at a company or leave and finding the right destination, and 

Don’t fear leaving your job and the associated title and status.

Deepa is the author of The First, The Few, The Only: How Women of Color can Redefine Power in Corporate America and the co-founder of nFormation, a company which provides a brave, safe, and new space for professionals who are women of color.

Prior to this, Deepa spent more than twenty years at Deloitte and was ‘a first’: an Indian American woman and one of the youngest people to make partner in the company’s history.

In her time there, she helped grow Deloitte’s Social Impact Practice, served as a National Managing Partner of Inclusion, and served as the Managing Partner of WIN—the firm’s renowned program to recruit, retain, and advance women.

Focusing on women’s leadership and inclusion strategies, Deepa’s mission is to help women of color navigate the complex and often opaque corporate structures of today—helping them not only take a seat at the table, but change the way the table is formed.

Deepa has degrees from Wellesley College, Harvard Kennedy School, and the London School of Economics. She speaks extensively on women and leadership. She has been featured at national conferences and in publications including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Huffington Post, and Harvard Business Review.

Deepa and I talked about not putting up with situations that are not beneficial for us and she told me “The advice you’re talking about is from one of my mentors, it’s my favorite business advice and he said “never need a client more than you want a client” … but I do think it applies to life and I think part of what my work is about is in meeting all these women, now I’ve met thousands of women of color, I think there’s also a lot that we’re taught consciously and unconsciously so I think as a children of immigrants a lot of us were taught security is important, to stay in the job, just be quiet, just put up with it, like that setup as an example makes us stay in situations that don’t work for us.”


Resources & People mentioned

Dolly Chugh


Contact Deepa







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*Reframe & Reset Your Career, including any comments made by the host and guests, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any description, including but not restricted to financial, legal, investing or medical advice.*

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