A Journey to Excellence
Deepa Seshadri, Partner – Deloitte Risk Advisory Practice
Deepa Seshadri, Partner with Deloitte Risk Advisory Practice has twenty-three years of experience in providing Cybersecurity and Technology Controls advisory. She has extensive experience on Enterprise Governance, Risk and Compliance and Cyber Strategy for Manufacturing and Technology Global in-house centers in India.
She supports the global teams on innovation and Digital Assurance practice. She has been instrumental in developing comprehensive solutions to address the Risk & Compliance requirements of organizations.
Read the extracts from the interview on career success, challenges and responsibilities.
Choosing a Career Path in Technology
Deepa always yearned for a career that can help her to understand business and technology. Having a passion for technology, she had completed a computer course while pursuing her college with great enthusiasm. After completing the post-graduation in both Systems and Finance, she landed in a job of Information Security Audit that was different and challenging.
At that point of time, audits were very new in India and only banks had mandatory Information Security (IS) Audits. However, around the same time, companies also started implementing ERP and there was a need to perform IS audits on those systems. Thus, she started a career in IS audits and related technologies.
Along with an MBA, she needed more specific certifications to be known as qualified in IS auditor and cleared CISA and CISM exams. Gradually, she moved from doing IS audits to cybersecurity, and focused on cyber strategy related areas and Governance Risk and Controls.
She has a proven track record of applying predictive analytics and control analytics techniques. She offers Risk Advisory to several Internal Audit clients in the various Business cycle and Technology & Controls. Deepa is well-versed in using quantitative approaches, creative data analysis, algorithm development and modeling to create assumptions based on historical data and testing thresholds to predict future performance.
Dealing with Gender Challenges
As Information Security Audit job is a completely new field to Deepa and her colleagues, they had to spend a good amount of time to learn and deliver the job as expected. She used to go to the office as early as 7.30 am to perform audits in the development environment, drive results and verify what needs to be checked. This kind of dedication was required to go and ask the right questions to the clients, explain the impact and provide the right recommendations.
The job role in Information Security Audit helped her to build a strong foundation in her career. Of course, as with other women having family responsibilities, working long hours and outstation travel was challenging for Deepa also. However, she had managed the responsibilities by convincing herself and with the staunch support of the family.
Marginal Representation of Women in Tech
According to Deepa Seshadri, “To capitalize on opportunities and to move into leadership positions, women need to hone skills such as sharing their ideas and expressing their opinion not just to their immediate team members but also to the leadership team”. She added that overcoming the fear of failure is very critical, even though it is not restricted to women.
Women who would like to be in leadership roles should learn how to react to all baseless/adverse remarks. She made it a point that women should know where to draw the line and avail opportunities to lead from the front and be on the stage. She stresses the need for upskilling to overcome challenges in the tech world.
Advice to Young Women in Tech
- Focus on skill development – Upskill technically and give more importance to soft skills
- Speed in decision-making – Take decisions, calculated risks are fine and grab opportunities that come your way
- Seat at the table – Demand a seat at the table.
- Be ambitious and focused
- Don’t be guilty of doing the right things
Women Support Initiatives
Deepa actively participates in women leadership forums and contributes significantly to the women in technology/ leadership initiatives within the organization and outside the organization. She believes that soft skills development is very critical for women, which can be initiated by introducing a cyber curriculum right from the school level to ensure the right awareness and generate interest.
Deepa Seshadri has been selected as the ‘Top 10 Women Tech Leaders India Awards 2021’ by RACE, REVA University in association with Terralogic Inc. as she is continuing her tremendous career journey by sailing against the odds. Being a thought leader of the industry, Deepa truly deserves this award.