It’s no secret that we each have a unique cultural identity that shapes who we are from a young age.
These cultural identities carry with us into our professional lives, yet we often forget to take the time to learn and appreciate the unique aspects of our diversity. We sat down with Parul, an Associate Director in Technology Consulting out of the Charlotte office, to hear her story of how her cultural identity has shaped her career.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What is something you wish people knew about your culture?
1. India has one of the world’s oldest and most complex cultures. It carries nearly 4,500 years of history, and because of its cultural diversity, India doesn’t have a national language.
2. India has three main religions – Cricket, Movies and Food 🙂
3. We remove our shoes when we enter the house.
How do you celebrate your culture?
I speak six languages, including English, Hindi, Marathi, partly Punjabi, partly Sindhi, and my mother tongue, ‘Gujarati’. I also understand a little bit of Tamil, my husband’s native language. I speak in Indian languages with my friends, cook Indian food, love dancing to Indian songs (especially Bollywood) and watch a ton of Indian cinema.
I used to celebrate festivals like “Ganesh Chaturthi”, “Holi” and “Diwali” when I was younger. Over the years, I have evolved and my understanding of celebrating these festivals in an eco- and pet-friendly way has taken precedence over celebrating them in a traditional way. Being married to a Tamilian, I have also come to appreciate some of the traditions followed that differentiates us both.
How do you think your culture has influenced you in your professional life?
I am strongly guided by the shared values of my culture. Respect for elders is one of the core values that I carry with me. Developing meaningful relationships and trust is extremely important for me, and I look for a personal connection to build an authentic relationship.
Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?
I can’t credit a single person who has helped me become who I am today, but my parents have had the most impact on my life. They taught me to be humble, curious, open minded and bold. As leaders, I really admire Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni. Tendulkar and Dhoni are former Indian international cricketers and were team captains at different points. Both hold several records in international cricket history, are passionate about the sport, and remained humbled during both the peaks and the darkest times. They truly let their performance do all the talking.
What are the qualities you look for in emerging leaders throughout the company?
I look for people who choose to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity with the aim of improving the world.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a young Asian American professional?
Trust your instincts.
What is the biggest difference between working with local Protiviti and international Protiviti team members?
The cultural nuances become quite evident when working with international team members. Whether you are greeted with words, a handshake or a namaste, there is certainly a difference in the level of hospitality shown towards someone new and their curiosity of learning about you. When an international team member visits our office, my priority is to get to know them as a person first—learning about what they like to eat, drink or do, and then, I take them out accordingly.
#MyProtivitiStory: We believe the best way to understand the core of who we are as an organization is through our people. These short videos are a reflection of our people’s stories and experiences.
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