1. Tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Deepa Mani, Founder and Artistic Director of an Indian Classical and Contemporary Dance School in Melbourne called “Chandralaya”. Dance has always been a significant part of my life since the age of 5 (I am a trained professional classical (Bharathanatyam) and modern contemporary dancer), that I decided to pursue this more seriously once my little one turned 3. So I quit my Corporate life of 17 years building Business Architecture and Strategies for companies and decided to pursue my passion for Dance and impart knowledge to both young and wise minds. It has been an exciting journey, and most importantly, a rewarding one where I get to give back what I learned over 30+ years and help build strong communities by teaching this rich and colourful art form.
2. Who are the women who have inspired you the most in your life?
Many women continue to inspire me every day, including my friends and acquaintances (business and personal). However, there are a few who have always stayed in my mind. The first is my late mother, who is a force of inspiration and energy, and I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for her dedication and commitment. My mother continues to inspire me every day through the school (Chandralaya was named after her), and I always feel her energy every time I dance, be it practise or a performance on stage. The second person is Oprah Winfrey, who continues to be a source of inspiration for girls of many generations to come. She came from nothing and is giving so much back to the world, especially the women communities. The third person is Vice President Kamala Harris, who has proved that a woman can get to be in one of the most powerful positions in the world regardless of her background if she simply puts her mind to it and works hard.
3. Why do you think it’s important to increase the number of women in business, particularly in leadership roles?
Having women leaders in business is becoming more important than ever because women are now taking on multiple leadership roles in almost every industry we can think of. Women are proving themselves every single day with new innovations and solving huge problems. I truly believe diversity in leadership roles is good for business, and maintaining parity is critical in this day and age.
4. How would you describe your current thinking about diversity and inclusion?
Diversity and inclusion must reflect representation and a sense of belonging across a wide range of traits, backgrounds, and experiences. When we (both men and women) connect and engage with others who have different perspectives than our very own, we can collectively achieve goals, contribute to and influence every part of a workplace, ensuring that everyone feels safe and respected.
5. Would you like to tell us a bit more about your thoughts/ comments?
To learn more, visit https://www.chandralaya.com.au