Deepti Singla, Product & Project Manager, Dynamic Futures
CELEBRATING BEING A WOMAN & THE WORK/LIFE BALANCE RESET POST PANDEMIC
Since 2017 Deepti has been instrumental in optimising our operational processes and improving consultant/client relationships. She lives in leafy Kew with her husband and young daughter. Her passion for travel is keeping her busy as she plans the next big adventure outside of work!
Q. Now that travel is back on the agenda for most of us …where would you recommend and why?
There are definitely 2 special places from my adventures so far that I would recommend. Iceland in winter for a chance to view the spectacular Aurora Borealis. In summer, there are many places to explore but I think Cinque Terre in Italy is beautiful.
Q. Currently, what's your favourite song on the radio and why?
I’m never in one place long enough to listen to the radio and never have a real desire to listen to music on the go. I prefer the peace and quiet when I can get it. Although I’m doubtful it’s on the radio ‘5 little monkeys’ is my favourite rhyme which I sing with my young daughter…and find myself humming on the train too. It’s quite catchy. Oh how life has changed since having her! Other than that I do like Bollywood music both ballads and more uplifting / dance numbers. I also like Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, makes me feel happy.
Q. What’s your most favourite memory from childhood?
My two sisters. I absolutely cherished them growing up. My parents really enforced the importance of family and being there for each other. But the memory of celebrating Holi and Diwali with friends, family and the local neighbourhood very much takes me to my ‘happy place’ in my mind. Especially the amazing fireworks, although they are not considered so environmentally friendly these days. I often laugh at the dismay on my British born friends faces, when I tell them how as young children, my sisters and I would light the fireworks ourselves without any supervision. Do not repeat that at home!
Q. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up and what influenced this?
I was privileged enough to have a (paid for) good education in India and came from a middle class family who really understood the importance of compassion and kindness and the importance of appreciating the value of money. We had a very simple but amazingly happy life and I feel very blessed.
I remember being very organised and dressing up in my mum’s heals and jewellery pretending to be the teacher of my imaginary friends. I loved my note books and check lists for the day. My parents always emphasised the importance of education and the importance / equality of women in the world. So I always thought I could be anything I wanted to be.
Q. Outside of work, what's kept you busy during the pandemic?
Thankfully I have a wonderful husband and energetic young daughter to keep me busy. That often means you need a little time to yourself too though. I’m lucky enough to live very close to the River Thames. So that was definitely my go to escapism during the pandemic – a 30 minute peaceful walk, just with my own thoughts was enough to bring me back to a good place and ready to face whatever came my way. I find water very calming. If I’d have had more time available I would have liked to do more meditation.
Q. Does the shift in company cultures, offering the flexibility to work from home, really help you be the best mum, wife, individual and business professional you can be, or is it much more than just location?
100% working from home is a positive. Although I’m very lucky to be in what I would say, is an unusual position, in that I am able to be wholly committed to work without having the added and important responsibility of being the primary carer for my daughter. My husband is able to be more flexible with his own business interests and therefore takes on a much bigger role with her day to day.
Working in the office 5 days a week 8-6pm some days is not great for any work life balance and I’m thrilled companies have recognised that now. Working from home also gives flexibility and allows me chunks of solid concentration time, when I’m locked away in a room rather than continuous interruptions at work. That’s welcomed and can’t be helped, but there’s always a time and a place.
As I’ve grown in age and wisdom I definitely work to live, not live to work. That doesn’t make me any less driven or enthused by business, it just helps me keep a good perspective on things. I could never go back to an office 5 days now, I would miss quality time with my daughter too much – dropping off at nursery / picking up, lunch together etc. If the pandemic had to hit at all, I’m grateful it allowed me time with her when she was young. If a company didn’t recognise the importance of that, then that’s not the right company for me.
I’m also pleased to see a shift in focus in terms of a company’s responsibility for an employees mental health. It all goes hand in hand.
Q. What's the biggest challenge you've had to overcome in your career? Has anything held you back and why?
If you mean gender or race issues I can honestly say no. I’ve always been confident and been able to relate / deal with people well. I think sometimes its how you take things and how you address them to educate not argue is important. I wouldn’t ever let any remarks go, I would always deal with them in a constructive way there and then so nothing festers.
I think honestly my biggest challenge has been asking for more financial reward. I’ve always felt if I was worth more they would recognise that and reward me, but experience tells me that’s obviously not always the case. Growing up I was taught it was in bad taste to discuss money too, which I agree with whole heartedly, but that probably hasn’t helped. And maybe there’s something underlying about me being female and the assumptions society makes about that, who knows!
Q. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time and what will you be doing? Blue sky thinking, we won't hold you to anything!
Comfortable financially. I want to be able to sleep well at night in a nice house. Doing something business wise on my own, not as a large scale thing, but fulfilling and satisfying. Definitely travelling a lot and broadening my horizons.
Oh and I definitely will have visited Antarctica and Machu Picchu by then too…I hope!
Q. Why is there a shortage of women in tech and as business leaders?
I think it starts with the family home growing up, traditional mother / father roles and school. I completely agree giving girls a doll sets a certain tone for life. In India this was very obvious growing up. At college one or two women would be on an engineering course amongst 250-300 men. But it is changing now. My parents made my sisters and I strong independent women though. They never made us feel less worthy and if anything I doubted myself more, when my mum was encouraging me to go into engineering, I felt I shouldn’t do it. Perhaps that’s because of what was around in society at that time. Now, there is absolutely no reason for it but parents and schools do need to make better and conscious decisions as major influencers on young minds.
Q. What dreams do you have for your daughter growing up in modern day Britain and what do you fear most?
I don’t have any dreams for my daughter because I want her to be independent and strong enough to make her own dreams come true. I don’t want to be a parent who lives out my dreams through my children. I want to admire what they achieve for themselves not others. I only wish her happiness and contentment.
The thing I fear most is getting into the wrong crowd. I hope and pray that she surrounds herself with positivity and kindness.
Q. What's your biggest personal achievement so far in life or business? Why is that important to you specifically?
The thing that springs to mind, probably because it is the most recent, is our settlement in the UK. We have worked hard for a better opportunity, better life, less pollution and traffic (yes even in London compared to Delhi!) and less day to day struggles. I feel my family has a lot to offer the UK too and we will continue to work extremely hard.
Being in the UK has allowed me to grow as a person, I value expanding my mind with new cultures and ways of thinking.