Home » Top 10 Diversity and Inclusion Speakers in India

Top 10 Diversity and Inclusion Speakers in India

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are about celebrating the full spectrum of human differences and creating a culture of belonging in organisations and countries. They are interconnected concepts that make up a group of people and create an environment that allows them to work together as equally valued contributors.

Investing in diversity and inclusion in the workplace leads to more productive, innovative and financially successful outcomes.

According to a research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, companies that have D&I in the workplace generate 19% higher revenues than in more homogenous organisations. Workplaces that prioritise diversity and inclusion have proven to be safer, happier, and more productive.

Here are some of the top diversity and inclusion speakers, coaches and mentors who draw on their experiences and use empirical evidence to show the difference D&I can make to your company.


1. Naina Lal Kidwai 

Naina Lal Kidwai, a trailblazer in the world of banking and finance, is a prominent advocate for gender diversity and inclusion. Born on March 29, 1957, in Pune, Maharashtra, she has left an indelible mark on the corporate landscape. Naina’s groundbreaking achievements include being the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School and guiding the functioning of a foreign bank in India.

Her tenure as the Group General Manager and Country Head at HSBC India solidified her position as one of the most influential figures in Indian banking. Naina’s contributions have earned her the prestigious Padma Shri and recognition as one of the Top Women in Business globally. Her legacy as a Women’s Diversity & Inclusion Speaker continues to inspire aspiring leaders.

2. Sutapa Sanyal 

Sutapa Sanyal, the former Director General of Police (DGP) of Uttar Pradesh, is a valuable Women’s Diversity and Inclusion speaker. Her transformation from a shy youngster to a trailblazing IPS officer demonstrates resilience and determination. She led the Mahila Samman Prakoshth, a leading police force that empowers over 130 million women and children in India’s biggest state. Sanyal addressed women’s safety and empowerment challenges using technology, compassion, and outstanding techniques. 

Sutapa is also honoured with the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service, the Police Medal for Long and Meritorious Service, and the Hindustan Times International Women’s Day Award. As a speaker, she discusses issues such as self-empowerment, human trafficking, and female leadership.

3. Devdutt Patnaik 

Devdutt Patnaik - DEI Speaker in india

Devdutt Patanaik is a brilliant mythologist, writer, and fascinating Diversity and Inclusion speaker in India.  His voyage goes beyond simple narrative, delving into the rich fabric of Hindu holy literature and stories. Devdutt’s extensive body of work—over fifty books and a thousand columns—explores how ancient myths shape our modern lives. His bestsellers include Myth Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology, Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata, and Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana. 

As an Inclusion speaker, he brings together mythology, management, and leadership to his unique viewpoint deepening the conversation on diversity and inclusion, making him a vital voice in India’s intellectual landscape.

4. Barkha Dutt 

Barkha Dutt  - DEI Speaker

Barkha Dutt, an award-winning television journalist and the founder of MoJo Story, epitomizes the spirit of Women’s Diversity & Inclusion Speakers in India. Her remarkable career spans over two decades, and she was a major face at NDTV for 21 years. Barkha’s fearless reporting during the Kargil Conflict between India and Pakistan in 1999 catapulted her to national prominence. She has also been honoured with the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, recognizing her exceptional contributions to journalism. 

As a speaker, Barkha delves into critical topics such as gender equality, media ethics, and inclusive leadership. Her recent speeches explore themes like navigating bias in newsrooms and empowering marginalized voices.

5. Chetna Sinha 

Chetna Gala Sinha, a remarkable Indian social entrepreneur, has dedicated her life to empowering women in rural India. As the founder and chair of the Mann Deshi Bank and the Mann Deshi Foundation, she champions the cause of micro-entrepreneurs. Sinha’s journey began in 1997 when she established India’s first bank for and by rural women, the Mann Deshi Mahila Sahakari Bank.

Her unwavering commitment extends beyond finance: she founded the first business school for rural women, launched a toll-free helpline, and established Chambers of Commerce for women micro-entrepreneurs.

In 2018, Sinha co-chaired the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and received the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar, India’s highest civilian award for women. Her TED talks on women’s empowerment and rural entrepreneurship continue to inspire new generation of women.

6. Sudakshina Bhattacharya 

Sudakshina Bhattacharya - DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION SPEAKERS in india

Sudakshina Bhattacharya, the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at HDFC ERGO, is a seasoned HR leader who has made significant strides in the field. With a background in Cross-Cultural Studies and a deep understanding of Diaspora and Literature from North East India, Sudakshina brings a unique perspective to her role. She also holds a Masters degree from Visva Bharati University, founded by the illustrious Rabindranath Tagore. 

Before joining HDFC ERGO, she served as a senior teacher at a prestigious institution in Sikkim. Sudakshina’s expertise lies in Stakeholder Management, Leadership Hiring, and Organization Restructuring. She excels in HR Partnering, Talent Management, and Learning Hierarchy.  As a Women speaker, she is committed to fostering an inclusive workplace in her corporate offices.

7. Parmesh Shahani 

Parmesh Shahani - Women DEI Speaker n india

Parmesh Shahani, an author, culture curator, and the founder of the award-winning Godrej India Culture Lab is a prominent advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in corporate India. His latest book, “Queeristan: LGBTQ Inclusion in the Indian Workplace”, released in 2020, draws from his decade-long journey as an out and proud gay man in the corporate world.

In this path-breaking work, Shahani makes a compelling case for reshaping office culture in India, providing a step-by-step guide for organizations to embrace diversity and foster inclusivity. As the head of the newly formed Godrej DEI Lab, he empowers inclusion ecosystems both within and outside the Godrej group.

He is also one of the leading inclusion speakers in India, his recent speeches have covered topics such as “Creating Safe Spaces for LGBTQ Employees” and “Inclusive Leadership Strategies”. Shahani continues to drive positive change and champion equality in the workplace.

8. Abha Maryada Banerjee

Abha Maryada Banerjee - DEI Speakers in India

Abha Maryada Banerjee, India’s first internationally acclaimed woman motivational speaker, is a trailblazer in the field of leadership and inclusion. As the founder of Asia Leaders Consortium, a non-linear think tank comprising leaders from across Asia, Abha’s expertise lies in teaching individual achievement, leadership in motion, human peak performance, and emotional intelligence.

Her most recent speeches have covered critical issues such as “Creating Inclusive Workspaces” and “Empowering Diverse Teams”. Abha’s experience as a peak performance coach for Indian Olympic athletes demonstrates her dedication to promoting excellence and diversity. As one of the leading inclusion speakers in India, she continues to inspire change, championing a workplace culture that celebrates uniqueness and embraces all voices.

9. Nandita Das

Nandita Das Women Speaker in india

Nandita Das, a dynamic actor and respected director, has appeared in over 40 feature films in 10 different languages. Her directorial debut, “Firaaq” (2008), was much recognized in India. Beyond the silver screen, Nandita is a TED speaker and a correspondent with the Indian Express.

Her commitment extends beyond entertainment; she holds a master’s degree in Social Work and has championed social justice causes through her association with various NGOs. As a trailblazer for inclusion, she has recently spoken on issues such as “Unconscious Bias in the Workplace” and “Empowering Marginalized Voices”.

10. Geeta Poduval

Geeta Poduval

Geeta Poduval, a Founder-Director of DRZYA, social entrepreneur, motivational speaker, actor, and ex-government officer. DRZYA is a unique platform in India that brings together differently-abled and unique performers from across the world. Geeta’s vision is to provide these artists with opportunities to showcase their talents professionally, participate in inspirational talks, and engage in workshops.

She has anchored over 500 shows in India and abroad, first Gateway Litfest at NCPA, Mumbai, and organizing the virtual conference “Leadership During Crisis: Learning from the Forces” as a tribute to the police and paramilitary forces. 

Geeta’s commitment to inclusion and empowerment shines through her work with DRZYA and the Drzyashakti Trust, which she founded to serve and promote the causes of disabled individuals.  workshops and inspirational talks focus on capacity building, counselling, and mentoring for the differently-abled, making her a valuable addition to any discussion on diversity and inclusion in India.

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