Interview with an Expat Woman in HR

Dipti Sirisinahal is a HR Director & Certified Leadership Coach who works with aspiring leaders to help them have integrated and fulfilling careers by helping them tackle the root cause of their challenges: their underlying thoughts and emotions. Dipti believes that the rise of Artificial Intelligence makes Emotional Intelligence even more important since it’s skills like self-awareness, relationship management and social awareness that will become critical differentiators for future leaders, as artificial intelligence and machine learning take over our other tasks.

To begin with, can you tell us a little about your background? And how has your experience as an expat influence your career? 

“I’m from Madras, India (now known as Chennai) and did all my schooling and bachelors in India. I came to the US in 2008 to pursue my Masters degree in Human Resources from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign and to first-hand witness what an economic depression looked / felt like! (Just kidding!) My experience as an expat has primarily broadened by ability to relate to work with and foster a healthy curiosity about a wide range of people from diverse cultures / backgrounds.”

What advice would you give to other expats who are looking to use their backgrounds to move forward in their careers?

“Remember that as an Expat you are able to bring a global perspective into the work that you do – something that employers really look for as workplaces become more global in nature. The other important trait that is invaluable in Expats is your ability to deal with ambiguity and manage through change (picking up and moving to a new country is no small feat). It shows your willingness to be open, learn and grow and be agile! Make sure you articulate that in how you bring value through your work.”

Leadership skills are vital to promotions, raises, and general career progression. What does it mean to be a truly ‘authentic’ leader?

“In my opinion, truly authentic leaders are ones that understand their values and purpose and live true to them. Such leaders usually are trusted by their people. Authentic leaders don’t have one-fixed style – they often are able to meet people where they are, are empathetic and inspire through constantly taking feedback and growing. Incidentally, these are also the same traits that make leaders emotionally intelligent!”

On Wednesday, you’ll be teaching about Emotional Intelligence and how we can use it better for career success. What is Emotional Intelligence, and why is it important for us to understand?

“Emotional Intelligence is your ability to tweak your mindset, motivations and habits in ways that are aligned with your values and goals. Its not about ‘positive thinking’ as much as it is about having a high level of self awareness (the ability to accept your thoughts and feelings with curiosity + kindness), a healthy way to manage your responses, and having enough social awareness to be able to foster healthy relationships.

Having emotional intelligence is the key differentiator to ensuring that you career works for you – instead of you working for your career.”

You have described yourself as a ‘life-long learner.’ What is one of the most important life lessons you’ve learned?

“The most important life lesson I’ve learned is to stay curious and ‘seek to understand’! For me asking questions is not only a great way to understand the world around me – it is the way I chip away at changing it too.” 🙂 


Dipti has supported leaders from early career to seasoned Fortune 500 leaders across a wide range of industries (Hospitality, CPG, Financial Services & Technology). Dipti is a certified Leadership Coach and Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner (ELI-MP). She holds a Masters degree in Human Resources from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. Dipti moved to the US in 2008 from Chennai, India and currently lives with her husband and toddler in the Bay Area.

Pin It on Pinterest