This month we hear from Deepti Vohra, Director at PwC, on the challenges she faced after an education in India in making it in the UK, and the importance of family and values.
Born: Birmingham, but grew up in India from the age of seven
Your current role:
Director at PwC, I work in the assurance practice and specialise in insurance. PwC is a professional services firm and our purpose, which personally resonates with me is to build trust in Society.
I first started working in the life insurance sector but have focused on the London Market for the last ten years and chair a forum for finance professionals in the London Market. I play a leading role in PwC’s Gender Balance network and am actively involved in many market wide initiatives focused on inclusion. Along with a colleague I launched a mentoring programme for women in insurance at PwC, connecting them with senior women in the industry. I’m also a committee member of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation which aims to bring the sector together to raise funds for important social causes. I have worked flexibly since my daughter was born five years ago.
What was your first ever job?
Part time job during school holidays as a nursery assistant.
When did you join the insurance/risk profession?
What is your single proudest achievement?
Learning to overcome my once paralysing fear of public speaking.
Named in Brummell magazine as one to watch in 2015.
Favourite work focused saying:
“Train people well enough so they can leave. But treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Take more career risks when you are young. Tough times won’t stay forever but they really will define you. I’d also tell myself to worry less about trying to ‘fit in’- everyone is meant to be different. If others don’t appreciate that, it’s their loss not yours!
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
I missed out on a promotion that I really wanted and someone told me ‘I know you are really disappointed, you have two choices, the one you are probably thinking of – which is to quit, or you could stay, and try again and prove to everyone they’ve made a mistake.’ I chose the latter (and got promoted six months later). That advice made me realise that things won’t always go the way I’d like them to but how I respond will be important and to never stop trying.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
If you were a superhero what powers would you want to have?
I would love to time travel.
Hmm… as much as I wish it was beautiful calligraphy, I don’t think it would pass for any more than a scrawl. I am a quick typer though!
Are you competitive?
I grew up in Delhi, India and from an early age really wanted to experience studying & working abroad. I was fortunate to get a place to do a masters at Leeds Business School and thereafter even more fortunate to get a place on the graduate scheme at PwC. I say fortunate as PwC was one of only two organisations where I got shortlisted past the application stage! I had always dreamt of working in London – I constantly remind myself of that. When I started at PwC I worked on a mix of financial services projects to start with, but chose to specialise in insurance after working with some very interesting clients.
About the Insurance Supper Club
The Insurance Supper Club is a private members’ group of senior leaders from around the globe. It provides a forum to meet, network and debate business issues while seeking to inspire the next generations of leaders in the industry and the community as a whole. It is recognised that companies currently have an imbalance between genders at the senior executive level. It is also recognised that having a more even gender balance has a positive effect on the performance and value of a business, yet change has been slow. Many reasons are used to justify this lack of progress: career breaks, reduced opportunities, poor networking and also inaccessible female role models. The Insurance Supper Club offers a platform which promotes active participation of its members.
Find out more at: theinsurancesupperclub.com
About the Chartered Insurance Institute
The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) is a professional body dedicated to building public trust in the insurance and financial planning professions. Their 125,000 and more members commit to high professional standards and success in CII qualifications is universally recognised as evidence of knowledge and understanding.
Find out more at: cii.co.uk