Home > PUM Women's History Salutes: Yasmin Purohit, Ph.D.-Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer-Robert Morris University

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PUM Women's History Salutes: Yasmin Purohit, Ph.D.-Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Title IX Coordinator/Professor of Human Resource Mgt. / Robert Morris University

 

PittsburghUrbanMedia.com-Celebrate Women’s History Month, March 2015

National Women's History Month's roots go back to March 8, 1857, when women from New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions. International Women's Day was first observed in 1909, but it wasn't until 1981 that Congress established National Women's History Week to be commemorated the second week of March. In 1987, Congress expanded the week to a month. Every year since, Congress has passed a resolution for Women's History Month, and the President has issued a proclamation.

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, the leaders featured during the month of March all demonstrate that they are significantly shaping the world – in business, government, academia, the non-profit sector and more.  They are advancing their influence exponentially by shaping and creating a new generation of leaders who are poised to help lead our world forward. We hope their stories will serve as an inspiration to encourage others to be motivated and inspired to achieve their goals and dreams.

 

Yasmin Purohit, Ph.D., is Robert Morris University’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO), Title IX Coordinator, and Professor of Human Resource Management.  She earned her Ph.D. in Business Administration with a specialization in Organization Sciences from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA.  Dr. Purohit taught at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA, before she joined Robert Morris University in 2006.  She currently serves as a senior university administrator in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equity (ODIE) at RMU.  

 

In her current role, Dr. Purohit is responsible for developing and planning diversity and inclusion projects and initiatives at RMU.  She also serves as the focal person for coordinating RMU’s responses to all its Title IX requirements – from responding to Title IX incident reports to policy development and implementation.

Dr. Purohit’s teaching and research areas include Human Resource Management, organizational diversity, work-family conflict, and cross-cultural differences in management styles.  Her recent research focus also includes studying the effectiveness and assessment of Title IX initiatives on university campuses.

PUM: In your position as the Chief Diversity / and Inclusion Officer at RMU, please tells us more about some of your immediate goals?

Dr. Purohit: My immediate focus as RMU's CDIO is to continue to advance projects and initiatives to strengthen RMU's existing focus on enhancing its D&I footprint.  One of my first initiatives in this role was to conduct a university-wide diversity inventory.  The results from the inventory has been the foundation for forming RMU's first Inclusion Council.  The Inclusion Council will be pivotal in future RMU activities such as conducting a diversity audit, developing a diversity strategic plan, and developing a diversity information system and portal for the University.  The goal is to enhance RMU's reputation as an inclusive educational environment. 

PUM: When you think about diversity what does that mean to you from the perspective of being an Indian woman who moved to America from India?

Dr. Purohit: I believe a good metaphor for immigrants building lives in the US would be horticultural experiments in "grafting." I think of myself as an individual who grew up in country with a different "growth climate," who now finds herself "grafted" (very happily I might add) to life on the US branch.  Grafted branches flourish on parent trees while still maintaining their unique traits. Living in the US has been a tremendous serious of opportunities that have helped me evolve as an academic, professional, and an individual fortunate enough to build a deep and meaningful social network.

PUM: Do you feel the Pittsburgh region embraces diversity? What has been your experience? 

​ Dr. Purohit: Pittsburgh can be a very welcoming environment for newcomers (like I was in 2006) to the extent that many of us soon begin thinking of Pittsburgh as our "home."  I believe Pittsburgh may not be comparable to large cities on the East and West coasts in terms of diversity, however, it is moving purposefully and proactively in that direction.  All Pittsburgh's efforts to reinvent and rejuvenate itself will only enhance the diversity.

PUM: Your leadership team at RMU is busy looking for a new President, is diversity a key factor in the search process?

​ Dr. Purohit: Absolutely.  All the individuals involved in the search process at RMU are committed to finding the best candidate so that there is a congruence between RMU's needs and culture and the traits and expertise the candidate brings to RMU.  RMU has valued and emphasized diversity in its programs and initiatives proactively for over a decade now and I am confident that the goal will be to find an individual who continues to keep RMU on its positive upward trajectory.​  

PUM: Celebrating Women's History Month what does that mean for you in terms of what you have been able to accomplish in your career?

Dr. Purohit: Celebrating Women's History Month is a humbling experience as it is an opportunity to acknowledge and be thankful for the efforts of all those who walked before us.  I know that I would not have the foundation for my professional identity had it not been for the vision and efforts of many women (and men) who worked so that I am afforded such rich opportunities.  It’s a month for self-examination so that I can discern how my mother, sister, and adviser shaped me, and to make a conscious effort to return the favor to the young women whose paths cross my life.

PUM:  What is your advice and recommendations to women as they break through the glass ceilings in their careers? How were you able to persevere?

​Dr. Purohit: In my case, having a win-win orientation within a framework of integrity.​   ​ If the task/project remains the focus, it is easier to work around personality variables and challenges.  Perseverance is the key word here - you have to have the patience to afford your colleagues time to appreciate that you want is best for the organization.

PUM:  Balancing career and home life, what has worked for you on your path to success?

​Truly embracing the fact that we live in complicated times with role demands that most likely will conflict.  Once you embrace that reality it becomes easier to accept the perennial juggling of one's schedule - a fact that is further exacerbated in my case with family across different continents.

PUM: What are you most proud of as a Woman who inspires other women every day?

 

​Dr. Purohit: The fact that several young women​   ​from underrepresented groups ​ ​may have the opportunity to "see" themselves in senior leadership roles that they may not have aspired to these roles earlier.  ​ It is very liberating to have to divest notions that successful women leaders can only "look" a certain way. 

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