Nirupama Subramanian is an India-based Consultant, Facilitator and Coach in leadership development and has been helping people discover their potential and lead their lives with passion and purpose.

Her career trajectory is a testament to the dynamic and non-linear nature of professional growth. Starting with a finance role at Citibank, she made a significant shift to learning and development, helping to set up and lead the Achieve Global, an international training organization. This leap led to her passion for writing, coaching and facilitation. Her diverse experiences have shaped her into a leading voice for gender equality in the workplace.

With a deep knowledge of her field and a natural ability to share her expertise she helps people discover their potential and inspires them to be the best version of themselves.

Speaking to Collective for Equality, the accomplished leadership coach and gender equality advocate, shared profound insights into her professional journey and strategies for promoting workplace gender equity. With nearly three decades of experience, Nirupama’s perspectives illuminate the importance of intentional leadership, the role of male allies, and actionable steps for young women entering the workforce.

Besides her board positions in a couple of organisations, Nirupama is the Cofounder and Managing Partner of Growing Leadership of Women (GLOW) and the Founder of Powerfulife Solutions. She is also the co- founder, along with her husband and daughter, of a non-profit initiative- My daughter is Precious, which provides scholarships and mentorship for young women from low income families to complete their higher education and become career ready.

“Throughout my journey, I observed the disparities women face, especially at senior leadership levels. Despite strides in diversity, C-suite programs often lacked representation, highlighting unspoken challenges faced by women. Biases, struggles, and concerns were prevalent but not openly discussed. This realization prompted me to set up leadership initiatives for women, aiming to address these unique challenges and provide growth resources,” said Nirupama. “My observations and research in this area also inspired my third book, Powerful- The Indian woman’s guide to unlocking her full potential, which was published by Harper Collins in 2021.

Learnings for Women in the Workforce

Drawing from her experiences, Nirupama offers invaluable advice to young women entering the workforce. Emphasizing the importance of a long-term view, she encourages women to focus on career goals beyond immediate job acquisition. Owning one’s power and taking charge of one’s career are crucial aspects, as is avoiding the pursuit of perfection. Prioritizing self-care over societal expectations enables women to navigate biases and obstacles with resilience.

Nirupama noted similarities in self-confidence and self-doubt across different socioeconomic backgrounds. From senior leaders facing imposter syndrome to young girls grappling with societal messaging, the impact of early conditioning persisted. Despite increased opportunities for the younger generation, underlying biases and messaging remained consistent. Nirupama’s research delves into the strategies that contribute to these challenges and hinder progress toward gender equality. Her work with organizations focuses on helping them build an inclusive culture and support the growth of women in their careers. Nirupama uses the Powerfulife system along with her the Powerfulife assessment tool she created to enable women to discover their powers and overcome the biases. Through her book,workshops and seminars, she has engaged with over 10,000 people over the past few years to enable inclusion and equality.

Organisational Best Practices & Male Allies

According to Nirupama the key best practices for organisations committed to gender equity starts with intentional leadership commitment, where diversity, equity, and inclusion are viewed as critical business imperatives, not mere checkboxes. Tactical implementations, such as gender-neutral policies and inclusive leadership behaviours, contribute to fostering a more equitable workplace. Managing backlash and expectations through transparent communication ensures that diversity efforts align with long-term business goals.

Nirupama highlights the indispensable role of male allies in advancing gender equity. Recognizing that much of the decision-making power lies in the hands of men in leadership positions, she applauds their efforts in supporting diversity initiatives. “Male allies, or champions, play a vital role in mentorship, sponsorship, and creating a more inclusive environment.” The shift towards equality, Nirupama asserts, requires collaboration between men and women to dismantle barriers.

Nirupama Subramanian’s journey and insights offer a roadmap for individuals and organizations committed to navigating the complexities of gender equity in the workplace. From personal growth to organizational best practices, her perspectives inspire meaningful action and highlight the ongoing work needed to create truly inclusive and diverse workplaces.