September 29, 2021

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Meet Ruchika Tulshyan, Founder and CEO, Candour LLC

Before Ruchika Tulshyan wrote a book about gender inequality in the workplace, she was a business journalist and worked in the tech industry. Those experiences inspired her to work in service of the idea that workplaces should be inclusive, innovative, free from bias and harassment. Learn more about her and her inspiring work in our newest feature.

For those who don’t know you, tell us a little about your background.

I started my career as a business journalist and I was lucky to work around the world. When I later made the transition into the technology industry, it was eye-opening for me. On the one hand, it was a really fulfilling experience from a work standpoint, but from a workplace standpoint, it was pretty challenging. I faced gender bias and barriers as a woman of color. I noticed the technology industry as a whole could be exclusionary, and as I did more research, was shocked to learn that no country, company or industry had fully eradicated gender bias. 

So I decided to write a book about gender inequality in the workplace. For too long the focus and the narrative was around how women and people of color needed to change and be fixed to succeed. Whether that was through “leaning in,” whether that was through getting more degrees or being more confident. But what actually needed to change was the society and workplaces to become more inclusive and intentional–antiracist and bias-free. The work that I do today is guided both by my identities as an immigrant, a mother, a woman of color, the first generation in my family to go to college. But also, the possibility to ensure the generations that come after me don’t have to struggle the same way at work. 

What are you most looking forward to about reviewing Anthem Awards entries?

In this time of deep pain, trauma, grief and challenge, it’s a gift to learn about people and organizations that are working to make the world a better place. It’s only through creativity, story-telling and innovative ways to engage and inspire people that we can hope to see more of us make change. I’m looking forward to seeing a diversity (by every possible measure imaginable) of entries! We know diversity is key to innovation.

What does it take for a project or campaign to cause real-world change?

Fantastic story-telling, an honest and transformative approach to social justice and an ability to inspire people to take action even in small, meaningful ways. Ideas often falter if they’re asking too much of their audience or require a lot of complicated touchpoints to engage. Simplicity is key.

How does your work at Candour support your mission?

Everything I do is in service of the idea that workplaces should be inclusive, innovative, free from bias and harassment. Candour works tirelessly to help organizations identify opportunities for greater inclusion intentionally, and confer research-backed interventions to make change. Through my writing for The New York Times and Harvard Business Review, I hope to surface issues that are often left out of the mainstream conversation around meaningful workplace inclusion (colorism, office housework, the barriers faced by women of color.) I’m lucky to do work everyday that is completely aligned with my mission and the legacy I hope to leave.

Bonus: What’s your favorite purpose-driven project or mission-driven campaign right now, and why?

This is SO hard so I’ll choose an unconventional answer. One of the books that changed my life recently is Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. As a history buff, I believe in the power of the past and learning from the uncomfortable and even painful lessons of yesterday to ensure we don’t repeat those mistakes. I would love for this book to be required reading not just in the United States (and not just in educational curriculum) but for people around the world.