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Be a Catalyst: 9 Questions with Deepali Bagati

"Allow yourself to learn," when studying abroad for an advanced degree, says Catalyst Inclusive Leadership Initiative’s Deepali Bagati. Read on for her answers to 9 Questions with braingainmag.com.
BY Braingain Staff Writer |   23-08-2013
Deepali Bagati
Having grown up in New Delhi, Catalyst Inclusive Leadership Initiative’s Senior Director Deepali Bagati studied at Delhi University, completing a BA in Economics and an MA in Social Work. She then went on to work for the UN in India, as head of a commission for refugees, before going on to the U.S. to complete her PhD in Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College – focusing her dissertation there on the impact of microcredit loans on gender relations at the household level for low-income women in New Delhi.

After finishing her doctorate, Bagati continued on her career trail – first working as an assistant professor at Yeshiva University in New York, and then with South Asian Youth Action. This led to a job with Catalyst, a U.S. non-profit which focuses on women’s issues – providing research and providing consulting services to help companies advance women’s career progress and provide inclusive work environments. Previously based in Bangalore, Bagati managed the Catalyst India Advisory Board, authoring the report “Leadership Gap in India Inc.: Myths and Realities and the 2010 India Benchmarking”. Currently based in New York, she is a Senior Director of the Catalyst Inclusive Leadership Initiative, and frequently speaks on issues including those facing women in leadership, and diversity in the workplace.

Bagati gave braingainmag.com an insight into the path that she took, and offers some advice to future students.

  1. What made you want to leave India for your higher studies?
    I wanted to pursue my Ph.D. in the US...based on what I had read/heard, it was to be an amazing experience, and it was.

  2. Most memorable experience while studying abroad?
    I found people to be more similar rather than different. I also learned very quickly about different learning and teaching styles, and how to write succinctly.

  3. What do you remember packing to take with you that was particularly useful?
    I think I over-packed and even took my stapler along with me! Nowadays, you get everything everywhere....just know where to look, or find the right people to tell you where to look.

  4. How did you land up in your current line of work?
    I was always inclined toward research and gender studies, and pursued my Ph.D. in Social Work/Social Research, with an emphasis on policy side of things. I worked at the UN, taught in a University, and at several Not-For-Profit organizations, and realized very quickly that I was more interested in how research is applied and seeing results for that, and that’s how I ended up at Catalyst – a global research and advisory organization.

  5. Tips for a student leaving India for studies, for the first time?
    Believe in yourself and be confident. Allow yourself to learn, we don’t have to know everything...in fact, not knowing is what makes the learning fun. Take a risk.

  6. Things about India you miss when abroad?
    The kind of interactions and experiences you have in India are very different than other parts of the world, as it should be. What I missed the most was monsoon, mangoes, and mummy.

  7. Things about India you don’t miss when abroad?
    The DTC buses!

  8. Your view on the link between education and leadership?
    Education—academic and experiential—sets the foundation for our professional or entrepreneurial careers and advancement/leadership. It also teaches us how to contribute and engage with people and situations. Leadership is about influencing people and also knowing when to follow. The two are linked for sure, but I also think an important link between is our networks we develop along the way.

  9. Favourite book?
    I don’t have “a” favourite book...depends on state of mind/day/experience etc.
     
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