The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about why equal opportunities aren't enough. We know that challenges and opportunities vary and embracing equity requires considered action. Read more about Deepa Bharadwaj’s Life at IFM.
Despite being in the minority as a woman studying business in India where she grew up, Deepa Bharadwaj obtained an undergraduate degree in economics and maths, and two business degrees (one from India and one from the US). Born into a traditional Indian family, she was encouraged by her father to pursue her education and professional aspirations.
“In almost every scenario where I have worked or studied, I have been in the minority. I’ve worked hard to break down stereotypes,” reflected Deepa.
Tackling gender biases, such as the perception that women aren’t strong enough; can't handle the pressure; motherhood is a career disadvantage; or that women should act like "one of the boys” were all challenges that Deepa encountered. “But the moment I became more confident and vocal about what I needed at and from work, it was a big step forward for me,” says Deepa.
Today, Deepa is a strong advocate for building positive and inclusive teams. Her extensive experience in diversity and inclusion initiatives included serving as the chair of IFM’s European Inclusion and Diversity Forum and as a member of the Steering Committee of the Women’s Infrastructure Network in Australia.
“Work alone is not the panacea; you need to build strong relationships too. That’s what makes work life enjoyable,” says Deepa.
In 2017, Deepa joined IFM and has since taken over as the Head of Europe – Infrastructure, where she is responsible for managing our infrastructure operations, including sourcing investment opportunities, transaction execution, asset management, and developing client relationships.
It is an exciting and busy role, but Deepa achieves balance through watching a lot of sports with her son, especially Manchester United games as they are both enthusiastic fans. And although she has gym memberships, Deepa jokingly refers to them as her charitable projects since she pays more than she attends.
During the day, she maintains focus on managing our infrastructure operations, investing for the longer-term horizon, and working on purposeful projects that make a difference.
“I worked as a banker in New York, Singapore, and London. However, there was always a part of me that wanted to work on something purposeful.”
“IFM answers the ‘so what?’ question. It allows working people to build something. The investments we make help provide pensions and a comfortable retirement for working people.”