As we celebrate Women's History Month and International Women's Day, we are thrilled to share that our very own Urvi, the founder of Peppercorn.ai, was a panelist at a recent Harvard Club of Philadelphia, an event focused on honoring women of color. Thanks to Xena Wang, University of Pennsylvania Admissions Counselor, for bringing all these ladies together. At the event, Urvi and her fellow panelists shared their personal stories and insights on how to create welcoming and inclusive organizations that celebrate diversity.
Jen Franks Ahaghotu, a Harvard College graduate and social justice advocate who started the Disruptive Truth movement, moderated the panel. Other panelists included Dr. Laura Ascenzi-Moreno, Lisa Sun, and Tolu Oyefosobi.
Dr. Laura Ascenzi-Moreno, a bilingual program coordinator and professor at Brooklyn College, shared how her mother's experience as an undocumented person who worked as a nanny has shaped her understanding of her role as a leader. She emphasized the need to embrace diverse backgrounds to create inclusive environments.
Lisa Sun, the founder and CEO of Gravitas, Author of “Gravitas”, shared how her immigrant parents' firsthand experience of creating something from nothing allowed her to become a successful entrepreneur. She emphasizes the importance of systemic change in creating welcoming and inclusive organizations. Lisa shared data from McKinsey's latest Women's Report, which showed that the top allyship actions ranked by women of color were completely opposite to those ranked by white women and white men. She emphasized that the number one priority for women of color was advancement opportunities, which can only be achieved if non-women of color see it as a priority too. She also talked about the choice that women of color make every day between fitting in or standing out and the need to stop blaming ourselves for systemic bias.
Tolu Oyefosobi, the Chief of Financial Control and Operational Risk Management at the Inter-American Development Bank, talked about the importance of creating a work environment where people can be themselves and feel included. She also shared how having strong women of color as champions and mentors in her career has shaped her approach to leadership and advocacy for others.
Urvi Bhandari, our very own master connector and executive coach, shared how her diverse background has given her unique perspectives on people and the human element. She embraced her background and uses it to help others articulate their own perspectives without focusing on race or ethnicity.
The panel discussion centered around creating welcoming and inclusive organizations that honor women of color. The panelists emphasized the importance of prioritizing the human element, valuing passionate curiosity, promoting advancement opportunities for women of color, and systemic change. They shared their experiences of advocating for advancement opportunities for underrepresented groups and the role of networking in building relationships and finding allies.
In conclusion, the panel discussion provided valuable insights and authentic experiences from the panelists, encouraging the audience to champion each other and be their authentic selves in their careers. Let us continue to celebrate and recognize the contributions of women and work towards a more equitable and inclusive society for all.