Voices of Athena with Priscilla Brenenstuhl

Building a Legacy of Inclusion with Purvee Kondal

For our guest, Global Procurement Officer, Board Member, and Diversity & Inclusion Leader, Purvee Kondal, tolerance and inclusion are a matter of life and death. She’s picked up the torch of her ancestors and is fighting for the generations that are yet to come.

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Voices of Athena

Sit down with the highly accomplished members of Athena Alliance, an executive learning community for women leaders, to hear the personal tales behind their professional success. We learn the real story behind their inspiring executive careers — their fears, their failures, and what song they’re singing at karaoke. You don’t get to the top without creating some memorable stories along the way.

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Building a Legacy of Inclusion with Purvee Kondal

purvee kondal

Purvee
I am willing to go for it because, especially, you know when I see a lack of diversity or those you know biases, right, I’m willing to fight for it because that is not acceptable.

Priscilla
You are listening to Voices of Athena, our podcast highlighting the more personal side of the successful women that make up the Athena Alliance, a learning community for executive women. I’m your host, Priscilla Brenenstuhl. Today, our conversation with Purvee Kondal highlights the lineage of inclusion that perseveres in the face of tragedy.

Purvee
How are you?

Priscilla
I’m so good. Today I’m having one of those, you know, like emotional days, and there, it’s like, the weather is gloomy, and I’m doing a lot of self-reflection. And recently, I’ve been tracking my moon center. So it was part of a yogic belief system that there are 11 centers in a woman’s body and the moon cycles through each of them and kind of dominates the energy gets really strong in those areas. And that’s been really powerful for me, just because I feel like sometimes if you have an explanation for something, it helps sometimes, because you’ll be like, Why am I so moody, you know, and it’s like, oh, I’m in my root chakra. And I’m like, really my foundation, I’m questioning all those things. And it’s really a natural part of ebb and flow and cycles. And like, just enjoy it and embrace it, and try not to rush through it or doubt yourself because of it. So trying to lean into all of that I’m having a glass of wine, it is five o’clock where I am and I’m just really so grateful because this has quickly become my favorite part of my work. And so I’m just really happy to be here. And I’m so grateful for you for being here with me.

Purvee
Thank you so much. I’m incredibly thankful for considering me and you know, just I think it’s, I think he’s been amazing, right? It’s been a little bit over a year now that I’ve been part of Athena, and it just feels like right, you know, it’s grown so much. And I think that all the value that all of you have added Coco and everyone, I think he’s just amazing. So anything you know, I can do I you know, I’m just incredibly grateful for that.

Priscilla
Well, thank you for saying that we definitely strive to keep getting better. And for me, this personal aspect of all of your stories has what’s been missing for me and what I’m most interested in. So I just feel privileged to be here. And how are you this morning in particular? This is your like, took time off kind of thing and making space for yourself. I love that you’re doing that.

Purvee
It’s my one hour or think about things that are outdated, things that I want to think about, you know, I mean, just, yeah, it could be and there are days, right? Like, I’ll do something like this, you I’ll use a time to meditate. Oh, you know, whenever that works, right?

Priscilla
So yeah, it’s so great to just have that space, and then see what happens. I feel like that is something that children get, hopefully, I try not to have structured play all the time, like my son’s at swim lessons now. But I want him to get bored sometimes. So he can just like a time set aside, we don’t have to be doing something to kind of see, what would I end up doing? That’s not a reality in my life right now. But you know, with having a five year old and a four month old and breastfeeding, it’s like there’s
huge life changes going on, you know what I mean? So I totally get it. So it is just, you know, I think you’re at that time in you do need more that space. For you know, as a mom, I think you just always want to be available. And if you’re not you feel like you’re failing your children. And so it’s like when I’m not available to them. It’s really hard for me to kind of get out of my head if that I’m not feeling them. So yeah. Anyway, did you have a chance to look over the questions?

Purvee
I did No, I love them. I think those are fantastic. You made me think actually when I read them, I was like, oh, yeah, that’s an interesting question. You know, jump into it.

Priscilla
And I’m ready. Okay. So first, I’ll ask you, Purvee, who is someone that inspires you? And why.

Purvee
So, I would say the someone that who inspires me is really my parents, they have been my guiding light, even though they’re no longer here on this planet. They have been my guiding light, even growing up. And since then, right, they’ve been an inspiration to me, because, you know, they did things that people weren’t willing to do at a time. That was you know, they were very unconventional. And they gave me so much inspiration. They became the foundation and the basis of how I think, and their mindset was always how do we evolve? How do we include people how do we make how do we not let our biases drive and dictate who we become and who we are, and who we can become. So they’ve always been my inspiration. And yes, there’s a lot of, you know, people, you know, like Steve Jobs Mother Teresa Warren Buffet that I really look up to, from a, you know, from other guidance. But my foundation, really that foundation inspiration really comes from my parents.

Priscilla
That’s fantastic. And I mean, I would only aspire to have my children say the same thing. So I’m sure that they knew you felt that way while they were still here. But it’s wonderful to be able to reflect on that. And sure, we can look up to people like Steve Jobs and but to be able to look up to and people who are intimately in your life that you see all the faults because no one’s perfect, and to still have those role models. And it sounds like for very good reasons.

Purvee
Thank you. No, I think, you know, we tend to, especially right nowadays, and even I think historically, with the with so much of Communication and Media in our lives, I think that that we’ve sort of mistakenly starting to think that people that are sort of in the media, or the movies are the representation of inspiration. And in you know, to me, yeah, they can be, but it foundationally many of them don’t really represent who we are and what we do what we’re about. And so when you really look deep down into it, it really is the people who know you the most people that you know the most, and they really should be your source of inspiration. I mean, listen I’d love to say I want to be the biggest star in Hollywood. And yes, that’s a dream. In the US, it can be inspiring, but at the same time, you have to have the foundation to get you there. So that inspiration to me is foundational for you to achieve your dream.

Priscilla
You said something there Purvee that you want to be the biggest star in Hollywood was that like, just to read just throwing it out there? Like because people say that? Or is that like a dream, like a real dream of yours?

Purvee
You know, I when I was younger, it was one of my dreams. And then I realized that, you know, here I am, you know, an Indian American woman that was never happening. And I had a chance to dabble a little bit unto how that world works. And I realized, there’s no way the world is ready for me or let me go do something else that I can maybe be even even though I could be good at but maybe I’ll actually have the opportunities.

Priscilla
You know, because I have that question. If you weren’t doing your current profession, what would you be doing? Was that the answer you were thinking of giving me? I would have been an actress? Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So I want to know more. Part of that is because I wanted to be an actress, too. I was a drama student for a long time did many in, you know, in college, and I actually moved to Hollywood, and people were very encouraging of it. They’re like, No, it makes so much sense for you. Like, that’s what’s happening. And then when I got to Hollywood, my experience was so different. I realized, like I would have to really fit a particular mold and present myself in a way that wasn’t authentic. And it’s interesting, because I wanted to do these things that weren’t authentic in a way, right. It’s like if you’re playing a character, I mean, you can authentically hold other people’s stories, right? But, but there’s still something about having to be inauthentic to get in the door. That really turned me off. And just like waiting in line, I think I went once to something and waited in line with like so many people, and they had all these headshots, and there was just, you know, I think that was where a girl there was like, you know, if you just lost like 15 pounds, you can be a supermodel. And I’m like, oh, you know and not to I’m not trying to pass judgment. But I had a very shocking experience and actually ended up that’s where I found God forbid, I’ll be honest, is in Hollywood, and my life went on this whole separate direction. So what is your background with acting?

Purvee
So interestingly enough my parents actually, they produced a movie in India, when we were in India, in our culture, to talk about taboo topics that nobody talks about, such as, you know, teenage pregnancy, teen suicide, right? And all of these things that are still taboo, quite frankly. And so my parents were, you know, writer, director, producer. And so I grew up on a set when I was a kid over there. So it’s sort of a bit in my blood, right. And so when I came with sort of a semi adult, you know, I wanted to do that I’ve actually had some successes with it. And in fact, I’ve had a, you know, a script that went to Sundance producers conference, I’ve had a documentary that’s been near to one of the largest film festivals in the United States. And I have investors and backers who remind me every day that I am wasting my life away in corporate America, that I really shouldn’t go go do creative things. But you know, to be honest, I mean, it was very similar, right? Want to in fact, one of my scripts, right, It’s, uh, you know, it’s a phenomenal story stuff still has not been told. And my investor basically said to me, that just make this into an Italian or white family and not apply. And I said to myself, I said, I’m not going to put that project inside. And I said, One day the world be in a place to embrace it.

Priscilla
I think it’s getting closer.

Purvee
It’s been so encouraging for me to see by the elevation of, you know, diverse roles and diverse stories. And it’s been fantastic. And so my daughter, she’s now a teenager, she reminds me I think the other day, that mom, you need to go do your stories, and she’s like, you need to do movie about your life, you know, because she’s like, Oh my god. So she reminds me every day, I have somebody at home that reminds me how I do need to, you know, focus on the things I love, you know, it’s this thing I say to myself, right, then, hey, it’s something and both of these things I love I’ve been able to find a way to incorporate a little bit right through my writing, you know, in my professional life. So you know, I’m finding that balance. Yeah, there’s a time for everything.
Priscilla
And it’s amazing that you can find that balance, you know, and that you have the creative side and this I don’t want to call it non creative. I’m sure there’s creativity and everything that you do. But sometimes it’s hard to fit the professional model with a creative brain and creative mindset. For me, it can be very challenging.

Purvee
Totally. One isn’t like the same thing like you, right? When I wanted to be an actress, I realized I’m not tall enough, I’m not blonde enough. I’m not skinny enough. I’m not, you know, you know, all of those things, right? And that, you know, there was a face of reality that hits you and says, you know, while I think I can be best at everything that I put my mind to, right? If the world doesn’t let me how do I still find a maneuver my way around me the best I can.

Priscilla
And at what point am I forsaking myself like, and no longer serving the interests that I have? If I have to kind of deny these parts of myself, you know, even for me, it was like, you know, the this idea that you wouldn’t be able to choose your characters. I don’t know why that did occur to me, like, in all the years of acting that I was like, wow, because there was this one play that I was in, in college, and I had to be a really pompous, overly perverse man, and playing that role wo frequently, it started to get into my head, like the things that he would do. You know what I mean? They were like seeping in. And I was like, oh, no, this is like, changing me. I want to have more dominion over myself and choices over how I use my energy and what comes through me.

Purvee
I think that’s a great point. This is where I go back to the original thing about inspiration, right? I think there’s so many people have been indoctrinated to think that whatever, you know, that’s being presented in the media, right, is the way we should be behaving or acting, or that’s what our expectation should be. But you know, we have to build our own foundation and say, you know, here’s my foundation, here’s my salt. Here’s what I stand for who I am. And some of these things are just non negotiable, right?

Priscilla
Yes. Well said, keeping on the creative mindset and the mind frame. What song are you singing at karaoke?

Purvee
You know, I will tell you, that song continues to evolve. But I will say I love Bollywood movies, all Bollywood movies that, you know, my parents used to play it time all the time and in our house all day long.

Priscilla
It’s very popular in South Africa. Bollywood movies are very popular here.

Purvee
That’s pretty much the only thing I really would be singing, you know, at a shower karaoke. I just enjoy them. And, you know, I find them fascinating. And you know, especially a lot of the songs have just so much they’re so meaningful. They’re not just about words, and it’s about emotions and feelings, right? And not just music, right? The music is only one small aspect of that song.

Priscilla
So I love so it’s the words for you the meaning hmm, I’m a sucker for that too. Seriously, you’re gonna sing it, you got to feel it? Right. It’s part of the whole acting thing. What is your biggest fear?

Purvee
Oh, wow.

Priscilla
That’s a that’s a big fork in the road. Hmm.

Purvee
You know, I would probably say, growing up or for the longest time, my biggest fear was disappointing my parents, and they’re probably still there. But now with my daughter, you know,I think now my biggest fear is disappointing her for me, I want to make sure that you know, I do my best so that I can be a good role model for her so that she can be her best and she can, you know, she can launch herself and follow the dreams and pursue things she wants to do without the fears and replications and things like that. So, so I’m very, very mindful of making sure that my actions don’t represent something that could be detrimental to her in the future.

Priscilla
Okay, I feel like I heard two parts of that and so were you also saying that you don’t want her to feel the burden or the weight that you felt of trying to please your parents, whether or not they were putting that on you. Yeah, they never did. Right. And the funny thing is, I put that that on myself. But you know, at the end of the day, like I, you know, I want them to be proud of me. And that’s part of the things I’ve done in my life, right. But and that’s why became my biggest fear that the am I doing something? So I’ve always had a true north and my true north was always, is it something they would approve of it? What would they say? Right? So my biggest fear was always that I don’t want to disappoint them that if I do something that would disappoint them, that would not be right.

Priscilla
I’m seeing this linear pathway, right? Because your parents were your inspiration. They were making films and telling taboo stories and in the world of storytelling, and you didn’t want to disappoint them. And now you don’t want to disappoint your children seems like a natural progression. And you told me it was your child, your daughter, who is inspiring you to take up the storytelling. I love that because I feel like probably there’s some ancestral voice coming through from her as well. You know, we’re seeing her as like future now that that’s deeply embedded in her roots in her bloodline. It sounds like.

Purvee
Yeah, it’s a weird, right? I mean, you know, I think I never really thought I thought about this whole concept of, you know, apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But I’ve seen Apple having far from the tree, you know?

Priscilla
Definitely rolling down a hill, getting picked up by a bird, dropped over a cliff.

Purvee
I think there is a sense of foundation, right? We may not just recognize it, every action we take as parents there are going to be there’s going to be reactions, right? We have to understand that. And so I see that. And that’s why I think I’m very mindful that my action, my husband’s actions should not become a negative reaction to what she wants to do and how she wants to live her life.

Priscilla
It reminds me that Khalil Gibran “our children do not belong to us”, have you heard of that? It’s my favorite. I’ve read it 50 times, probably. And every time I get a tear in my eye, I was actually kissing on my four month old on his feet this morning. And I had this this very just like distinct feeling and vision of where his feet would go, like a Dr. Seuss moment. Like all the places you’ll go, and the people you’ll meet, and the lives you’ll touch, and the people that you will love and will love you. It was like this, really heavy you I’m very emotional today. And I was just like, it was like a lump in my throat, you know, just this such a gift. But it’s also definitely feels like the greatest responsibility.

Purvee
Absolutely right, as parents we have this responsibility we carry will be to our actions become the foundation for our kids. And so it is such a huge responsibility to carry on our shoulders. And I think that’s why it’s also important to take a little bit of time for ourselves, right? We have to give ourselves moment doesn’t mean we don’t fail, and we’re not perfect. Far from it. And it was alright. But I think it’s that give ourselves a little bit of breathing room and a little bit of permission to say it’s okay to fail it. Is that right? Our kids will learn from it from us. And they’ll knows it’s okay. If things don’t go things the way you want it 100% of the time. Yeah. And hopefully, it’ll encourage them to actually take more risks. Because a lot of times that fear of failure keeps you from trying things and then ultimately being successful in a way that you get to do what you want to do so incredibly thankful that my parents taught me that right. That’s why like, I’ve been a very unconventional person and leader, if you will, and I love it. I embrace that about myself. I tell people all the time, I’m very unconventional, if you put me down to same old, same old path, that’s not me. You know, I love that, like, I’m not afraid of failing, I learn from my failures, right?

Priscilla
And then is it a failure? If you’re learning for me, it’s just it’s not a failure, right? It’s like, we’re growing. This is what’s supposed to happen. I may feel uncomfortable. I may not like it so much, but..

Priscilla
What would you say is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

Purvee
The most daring thing I’ve ever done is a skydive from a physical exertion perspective. You know, fear of heights, so that’s really daring. And then I think just I would say, just as a person, right, non counting the non physical side, the most daring thing I’ve done is not knowing you know what my next step is and being okay with it, to be honest, I you know, I’m not afraid to take risks, right. So, I knew life is all about risks. And you know, somewhere you know, you calculate as much as you can, but I’ve taken on things that people don’t want to do because they’re so afraid to do it right and bring it on. I’ll do it.

Priscilla
I love that embracing the are uncomfortable and how much opportunity it can bring your way again, just what we said. Back to what you said, though, about the skydiving and you being afraid of heights. So was it a personal challenge? Was it somebody forced you? Was it like it’s my 30th birthday? How do we get there?

Purvee
It was a personal challenge. I’m one of those people where if I fear something, I like to face my fear. So I had said to myself that probably the way I can get over it is to skydive, turned out that I can get over it just by skydiving. I really enjoyed it.

Priscilla
I will share with you that are you familiar with Yvonne Wassenaar, a CEO of puppet? So I interviewed her and also she said she had two answers. And one was skydiving because she’s afraid of heights. And I asked was that a personal challenge? And she said, Yeah, that’s exactly what it was. And then you’re saying it and I’m thinking to myself, we might have like a thread here in women in leadership, you know, just being able to do and I honestly, I did the same thing here in South Africa. So mine my biggest fear of sharks. I saw Jaws way too early. I love swimming. I’m a strong swimmer. I love the ocean. I love to Lake, I am afraid of a shark in a bathtub. Like it is the most irrational fear. I used to live in Denver and I we had a pool right outside our house. And I used to make my husband at the time sit outside and read his morning paper with his coffee while watching me swim, I couldn’t be alone. And if I’d see that he wasn’t watching, I would get really upset. So when I came here, my personal mission was to dive with great whites. And I did and I was so certain I was so certain I was going to get in the water I was going to see one I was going to have a heart attack and die. Then, I saw it. And I honest, this is gonna sound crazy. I had this like, almost overwhelming urge that I wanted to reach out and touch it. And I had to like keep my hand back. There was something actually that the way that he looked at me, I guess I don’t know. I’m making a lot of assumptions here that he was, uh, he and that he looked at me but like, I was like, Wow, this animal is so ancient and is so certain of its path and of who he is. I don’t know, I got this huge download of this beautiful ancient creature and I was so mystified and great calm washed over me.

Purvee
So I gotta tell you a little funny story based on that. Right? So same same thing as me, right? Like So I did the skydiving and I got like, Oh, I could do this. I could do this, right. And I’m like, I’m not you know, 100% there, but I need to build to couple more things. Right. So I ended up going canopy trailing in Costa Rica and in the forest. So you know how they have like eight different landing spots, right? So I did the first one totally fine. No issues. The second one I like it was a little bit longer. And I was like, Okay, I’m like, Okay, I got this, the second one. And I got to the third one. The third one I couldn’t even see. And right, I couldn’t see the other end. And then of course, I go and then of course they’re motioning me to say slow down because you’re coming in too fast and so of course I did, what I’m not supposed to do was put my hand in front and I’m stopped right on the middle of the road. I can’t go that way. I can’t go this way. I will tell you and it was probably one of the hardest thing I had to do to get to the, you know, get to the other end.

Priscilla
I’ve done it in a Nicaraguan forest actually. And it’s really hard to like you’re like dangling there but at this weird center of gravity that not you’re not used to so I can only imagine what you had to do with your body and how funny I must have looked.

Purvee
It reminded me why I had the fear of heights and why I didn’t want to do this anymore.

Priscilla
I’m hoping that you will tell me about a life changing or life defining moment.

Purvee
So you’ll see hit like a theme for me here. I think my life defining moment was my parents passed away in a manner that they passed away. And that became the life defining moment for me. It helped me You know, I was still a teenager. And you know, I learned a lot I had to grow up overnight. I had to learn about the court systems the criminal justice system, you know, the probates, estate, I mean, at a time that really, I think most adults don’t know about it even today, right? I had to learn that I had to figure out figure it all out. And I did right kind of goes back to alright, we got to do what we got to do and but it was a like a defining moment for me and it solidified for me what the mission in my life was going to be right was to make sure that I can always you know, my parents can you Look at me with being proud versus being disappointed. And so everything I’ve ever done has been to reflect that it’s become my true north. Right. And that’s how I’ve operated. But it helped me to learn and not be afraid. It helped me to know that there is a positive, you know, there’s out of anything bad that happens, there’s a lot of positive that comes out of it. And we have to keep going forward. It taught me about how do you move forward? Right. I mean, you face adversity? How do you become resilient? How do you, you know, still find the positive and things and live a great life and, you know, do the things you do and love and know that you did your best?

Priscilla
Yeah, and that’s not an easy thing to do. I think even under normal circumstances, for whatever reason, but I think it can be especially challenging, but also, especially necessary, or the catalyst that you know, it’s like a do or die, it becomes like your own Do or die moment. Purvee, I don’t want to push you into sharing any more than you’re comfortable sharing. But is there more that you would like to say about that? And of course, you don’t have to?

Purvee
Yeah, no, I, I’ll say if you had asked me this, about a year and a half ago, two years ago, I probably couldn’t have shared was not a place that I was at. But I will tell you that the events of the last year and a half, you know, and George Floyd and everything that’s happened, I think it’s helped me to recognize that perhaps sharing power, you know, lack of diversity mindset can affect families and people, it’s worth sharing so that perhaps can help others, you know, consider different ways. They unfortunately died in a homicide, you know, racially motivated incident, you know, was one of these things that you look back and say, Wow, if we could have better about accepting of people of diversity in certain being celebrating their being successful versus being jealous or being angry that someone is successful, right? Perhaps that helps other people to recognize that right. My parents, they were very, they were educated people, right? But yeah, they have to hold the collar jobs here in the United States, when we migrated, right? They worked at Burger King and Taco Bell, because that’s the only job that they could get, they worked three jobs, they amassed some wealth that just wasn’t acceptable to some people. So this, you know, what’s happened in last year and a half, quite frankly, I think it’s helped me to realize that maybe it’s important for people to understand and just by sharing, I think can help people understand also, for those that have gone through things, to know that, you know, it’s we can still move forward, we cannot allow ourselves to be victimized, which is because of whatever has happened, we can find a path forward.

Priscilla
And we have to find a path to even just so that you don’t die with them. I don’t want to say that lightly.

Purvee
I look at it as right, honestly, their life and death will not go in vain. Right, that became my life’s mission, right when they passed away. And I’ve done it in a different way throughout my career, right. I mean, when I look at my life, in my career, I’ve done it with that lens on me, and I think quite frankly, I am willing to go put up a fight because especially if I see you know, lack of diversity or those, you know, biases I’m willing to fight for that is not acceptable in my book. And I think that’s a lens that I’m grateful today to be in an organization that embraces the I’m grateful to have people around me that embrace that. And I’m thankful even then it’s unfortunate that it took the events that it took for us to get there. Thankful that at least it’s out there.

Priscilla
And that it’s not in vain.

Purvee
Yeah, it’s not in vain, and it’ll help the future generations not know, hopefully have a better experience.

Priscilla
Yeah. It’s sad for so many reasons, of course, most of which I don’t know, because I didn’t know them personally, because I haven’t had an experience even close to that. I don’t know that I even want to sit in that for long because it’s so so sad, Purvee, especially when you say that they were kind of champions of diversity, and that that’s what they were doing, that’s the space that they were holding, and how scary that can be. Because then you say, you know, it takes a lot of courage to see what can happen because they were following their True North and they died doing so. And it’s a worthy cause, you know, for diversity inclusion, but it’s just it’s just shouldn’t be something that shortens your life.

Purvee
You know, I look at it as can we plant the seeds in people’s mind that we can plant the seeds, hopefully they will, you know, be watered in nurtured and those seeds will grow. And it is the future generation that can actually make it better. Right. And I’m using that right today. If you look at millennials, my daughter’s generation, they don’t think about things in color or you know, you know, ethnicity or any of that. They don’t look at it this way, I think they are already better, they are able to think in a different manner than the our generations or generations previous. And I think that’s an evolution.

Priscilla
I agree

Purvee
It’s not for those that deny you need to recognize that, it’s here, and it’s going to continue to be here. And it’s going to continue to grow, right. And we have an option as an individual and as parents and as you know, as leaders and organizations or communities to know how the history will treat us, right, that history doesn’t have to be, you know, being a Hollywood superstar, and history of your future generations, how they will see you and your actions that should matter.

Priscilla
How long ago was this?

Purvee
I was a teenager.
Priscilla
Your life probably went on a whole different path from there. Were they still doing film or did they give all that up when they moved here.

Purvee
They gave that up when they moved here. They had businesses. Being business-minded was very much in my family. But my trajectory definitely would have been different, a different mindset in that I would have had more support to do what I wanted to do versus figuring it out for myself.

Priscilla
Did you have other family or siblings with you here?

Purvee
Yea, yea, you know though people take different paths and I was the voice of reason and took the reigns in the family, they looked to me for solutions. Nobody knew what to do.

Priscilla
As a teenager who lost their parents in such a violent way and everybody was looking at you for answers, huh? That seems overwhelming to me, or maybe that was some kind of way to point your energy. I don’t know, you tell me.

Purvee
You know, to be honest, like I would say, a kind of just because of my foundation from parents, right, they always said, “Define your own path. Don’t let anything or anyone dictate who you are and what you can do with your life.” And I think that that was what led me to say, I can take care of this, I don’t know how, but I will figure it out. I think had I done it differently, sort of again, coming from a culture where women’s place is not, especially as girls you get told, you know you don’t have a lot of choices or options. You know, I think most people would have done that. They would have just listened to the aunts and uncles or elders, people that are a little older to you and say, Okay, I’ll do this, I’ll do that. And it just wasn’t in my DNA. I wasn’t raised that way. So I think had I listened to them I would have been much more demure I think as a woman to be honest. I don’t think I would’ve found my voice.

Priscilla
What I’m hearing is your parents already set you up with a voice, of course you played a part, but they, just as you said, you with your daughter you want to give her
dominion over herself.

Purvee
I think with people, it’s funny, so then go back to the different personalities, which I have an older sister and she took a different path. She just got married because again she felt as girls, as women, it’s a different lens. And that was her way of going out. And you know, it’s interesting. So a couple of months before my parents passed away, this is where I kind of do believe in destinies and I do believe in karmas, my parents had a conversation with my aunt, a random conversation. She shared after they passed away. You know, it’s weird. Like we had this chat where they said you know, for me, your parents shared that, with me, they never have to worry because with Purvee, if you tell her to sit down, she’ll stand up and tell her to stand up, she’ll sit down. You’ll tell her not to walk there because there’s glass there and you’re going to get hurt. She’ll say, “Let me figure it out for myself.” So they said to her, “We’re not worried about her. She can take care of herself.” And my sister, she’s older than me, she’s one of those people, you tell her to sit down, she’ll sit down, you tell her to stand up, she’ll stand up. And their not worried about her because they know that she knows that we will always have her best interest at heart and for her life and how she’ll grow up. So kind of when I think about that, it’s like, wow, yes, they knew who she was, they knew who I was. Even though I didn’t know who I was. Right.

Priscilla
Absolutely. I mean, that’s the beauty of really intimate relationships, I think, and also the challenge.

Purvee
Yeah, it’s an interesting point and kind of goes back to our first point about foundation and inspiration, we have no idea how much people know you, especially people that are your family or intimately know you more than you know yourself, or visa versa.

Priscilla
At least certain aspects for sure. And that can be unsettling sometimes. Not always welcome, but

Purvee
Absolutely. I kind of feel like you know, maybe it was my destiny to take care of everyone. Like I was the one that was going to do what needed to be done and take care of things and it’s sort of reflected in my career to be honest, like I go, I go into messy situations, I love it. Like, okay, I don’t know the answer, but I will figure it out.

Priscilla
Purvee is a Global Procurement Officer, Board Advisor and Leader in Diversity & Inclusion and Strategic Procurement. She is the current Senior Director of Technology and Engineering Sourcing at the Albertsons Companies and Advisory Board Member of the Sourcing Industry Group and RampRate.

Is there anything else, you know, that you feel like you want to say?

Purvee
As a diverse woman, I just want to remind everyone who’s listening to say, don’t be afraid. Life hands us things, no matter what we prepare, no matter how we think it’s going to go, we never know. So be open-minded. Be ready to embrace, to recognize that whatever happens in our lives, it can’t be the end of us. We’ve got to be open- minded and embrace learning and embrace thinking about how we can continue to better ourselves and be better role models for people who look up to us that we don’t even know are looking up to us.

Priscilla
This episode is dedicated to the memory of Agbert and Yogini Christie, whose lives were lost on this day, March 4, back in 1992, as a result of the indoctrination of ingrained biases. As Purvee puts it, let’s plant one seed at a time and encourage others to do the same and that perhaps, our future generations will have choices to embark on different paths that celebrate successes of those that are different than ourselves.

Thank you for joining me. I invite you come back two weeks from now as we start our regular bi-weekly schedule with a conversation with CFO and board member Ebonie Jackson about community and empathy. If you’re a member and you would like to be featured on an episode of voices of Athena, please reach out to me at [email protected]
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