Sujata Chaudhry, the founder and CEO of Tangible Development, takes something intangible – diversity, and the benefits that come with it – and makes it tangible for her clients in the form of increased success and profits. Hence the name of her company. Before going out on her own in 2010, Chaudhry was a market analyst for the U.S. Navy and then joined AMP, Inc. as a sales engineer and cultural liaison for foreign clients.
View Video: 2019 Excellence in the Professions: Sujata Chaudhry
Q: You say you grew up as a third-culture kid. What does that mean?
A: My older sister and I were born in India and then my parents moved us to England. When we were in our home, everything was Indian – our clothes and our food and my parents’ friends and social activities. But when we walked out the door we were walking into a whole different culture. When I was younger I tried very hard not to be Indian because I wanted to be part of a group, it was childhood insecurity I no longer feel. Third culture means I took the values of one culture and values of the other and integrated them. I didn’t realize it for a long time, but when I’m asked how I identify, I’m neither. I’m an American citizen but I feel like a global child. I’ve taken a little of everything from all the places I’ve lived.
In England in the 1960s, no one talked about diversity and inclusion. My father experienced discrimination. He was a degreed engineer but was only given a draftsman’s job. It is part of what inspired me to want to do the work I do today. My mother worked at a dry cleaning factory pressing shirts; when we moved to the U.S., she worked at Kmart. It was about survival, and eventually, they lifted their family out of poverty.