• The First, the Few, the Only

  • How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America
  • By: Deepa Purushothaman
  • Narrated by: Deepa Purushothaman
  • Length: 5 hrs and 54 mins
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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The First, the Few, the Only

By: Deepa Purushothaman
Narrated by: Deepa Purushothaman
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Publisher's Summary

A deeply personal call to action for women of color to find power from within and to join together in community, advocating for a new corporate environment where we all belong - and are accepted - on our own terms.

Women of color comprise one of the fastest-growing segments in the corporate workforce, yet often we are underrepresented - among the first, few, or only ones in a department or company. For too long, corporate structures, social zeitgeist, and cultural conditioning have left us feeling exhausted and downtrodden, believing that in order to “fit in” and be successful, we must hide or change who we are.

As a former senior partner at a large global services firm, Deepa Purushothaman experienced these feelings of isolation and burnout. She met with hundreds of other women of color across industries and cultural backgrounds, eager to hear about their unique and shared experiences. In doing so, she has come to understand our collective setbacks - and the path forward in achieving our goals.  

Business must evolve - and women of color have the potential to lead that transformation. We must begin by pushing back against toxic messaging - including the things we tell ourselves - while embracing the valuable cultural viewpoints and experiences that give us unique perspectives at work. By fully realizing our own strengths, we can build collective power and use it to confront microaggressions, outdated norms, and workplace misconceptions; create cultures where belonging is never conditional; and rework corporations to be genuinely inclusive to all.

The First, the Few, the Only is a road map for us to make a profound impact within and outside our organizations while ensuring that our words are heard, our lived experiences are respected, and our contributions are finally valued. 

©2022 Deepa Purushothaman (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The First, the Few, the Only

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Required reading!

Coming up in corporate America, WOC have often found themselves in situations where things don’t quite seem right, but they don’t know why or what to do about it.

This book does the important work of giving words and meaning to those things. It’s also an interesting read told through stories and anecdotes. Informative and enjoyable.

This is the book I wish (my management and) I had 15 years ago!

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Best leadership book for WOC!

It is the best leadership book for WOC that I have ever read. It resonates with me in several phases of my life, even in childhood. I could realize that several weird situations that upset me in my life, and I didn't know why, were, in reality, microaggressions.

This book showed my values and made me feel stronger. It is not only storytelling; there are several practical tips on dealing with various career situations.

Thanks, Deepa, for such inspiring words.

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A must read did any professional of color and Allies!

Statistically speaking, professionals from underrepresented communities make up abysmal single digit percentages of Corporate America and often leave to create their own Enterprises only worsening representation. In the most authentic way, Deepa Purushothaman shares here experience in a well researched book that speaks to the challenges professionals of color face.
It is hard not to see how the only way to right the proverbial ship is to be intentional about diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Most importantly though, Deepa provides in depth considerations for all professionals of color so that they can find their true calling- as she did.
Thank you Deepa for writing this! On behalf of the first, the few, the only …Bravo!
Lou Sandoval
Author
Tenacityforlife -Lessons in Life Business and the World Around Us

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Full of Joy!

This book touched me in soo many ways! For Women of color or women in general we sometimes feel unnoticed and pushed to the side but this book provided so much enlightenment and I'm truly thankful!

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Must read for young women of color

This is a book I wish I read when I immigrated and entered the corporate world.

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Soulful and Powerful Read

It is such an amazing journey to follow Deepa Purushothaman as she tells her own and others' colored women's stories in this important book. I especially love the chapter about "shred the messages that harm us." I took one of Deepa's webinars, where she co-presented with Rha Goddess on Simon Sinek online platform. Since then, I followed Deepa and nformation on their mission to give women of color strong voices and to hold space in Corporate America. I bought the Audible version so I can do my morning walk while listening to Deepa tell these powerful stories in her own voice. I particularly resonated with the story of Lisa, an Asian American woman who had incredibly high expectations. She tried to manage many expectations between family, culture, and personal soundtrack, which almost made her feel like she was not enough. Good thing she was able to triumph through all these. I was so glad to learn in these stories that so many women of color were able to shred messages that harm them. Many of these stories resonate with me as I did not dare to challenge such assumptions. Deepa's soulful voice in this powerful work encourages me to use "intuition" and "empathy" vs. "logic" and "bottom line numbers." This is a MUST read, especially for women of color who is stepping into leadership roles. Thank you for writing this important work!

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A must read for everyone

Fantastic, eye-opening book. Wonderful to listen, in the author's own voice,to this self-honed and significantly researched audiobook. Within the first few chapters our eyes are opened to all the well-meaning characters who get it wrong, the list of delusions- delusion of one day - delusion of please share your thoughts -delusion of capitalism trumps all, And then the revelations continue to deepen and become all the more profound -- the job within the job - and especially the section about staying as protest!, and women of color becoming lighting rods. Everyone who wants to be part of the future should read this book. It is a true work of social activism and empowerment.

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Wonderful insight

A must-read! Great insight, great data and read by the author herself. I wish this had been written a while ago, but it is never too late.