BOSTON-Dipali Trivedi is a graduate of MIT and a serial entrepreneur. She currently works as co-founder and chief technology officer of Daily life, an InsurTech startup that provides middle-income families with innovative insurance products and financial planning. It is selected as one of the best companies to watch in 2022.
Prior to Everyday Life, she was the founder and CEO of CloudFountain Inc., a consulting firm specializing in big data, Salesforce CRM, and machine learning. Ms. Trivedi has over 10 years of business leadership experience prior to entrepreneurship. She holds a Master of Engineering in Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and an Executive MBA from MIT.
She volunteers for various non-profit organizations in the United States, India, and Africa, and serves as a board advisor. She is an influencer for Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship to break the glass ceiling and fight gender bias. She lives in Belmont MA with her husband and children, she enjoys running, hiking and travelling.
Here is a Q/A with Ms. Trivedi:
INDIA New England News: Tell our readers about your work and what you like the most?
Dipali Trivedi: Currently, I lead the product and engineering of my second company that I co-founded, Everyday Life, selected as one of the best companies to watch in 2022. It is an InsurTech platform powered by learning automatic, democratizing expert advice via a digital platform to serve today’s underserved middle income market.
I enjoy bringing innovation to a complex field using next generation technology. Seeing your idea materialized and used by thousands of people is an amazing experience, I love solving the challenges of starting a new business.
In addition to leading, coaching and empowering team members, I enjoy making a positive impact by enabling women to take on leadership positions in the companies I have founded and for which I have worked. For example, I set up a program to train and employ women who took time off to raise their children in my first company that I founded, which increased the number of women in technical positions from 17% to 43% in one year.
INE: If you are involved in a charity or non-profit organization, please tell us why this organization and what do you do for it?
DT: I don’t usually talk about the charity work I do. I believe giving is best done anonymously. However, I am associated with several non-profit organizations in India, USA and Africa. Specifically, three organizations are close to my heart.
The first is SETU, a Boston-area nonprofit theater group. SETU means “bridge” in several Indian languages, and its mission is to build bridges between Indian and Western cultures through theatre.
The second is Moving Health, a charity that raises funds through “In her shoes”, a 5km walk as this is the minimum distance a woman has to walk to get to the nearest hospital. to deliver safely in rural Ghana. “In her shoes” raises funds to provide medical and transportation services to these women.
Finally, the third organization that is dear to me is “Taru-Shashi” (named after my grandmother and my grandfather). It focuses on grassroots work in Gujarat, India to help women and children by addressing underlying social issues.
INE: What are your hobbies and interests?
DT: Travel is high on my list of hobbies and interests. Growing up in a very small town in India, I never had the chance to travel until my late twenties. The lack of opportunity has limited my horizon and my exposure to new ideas. So I want to travel the world with my children to give them the chance to see different cultures, countries, people and challenges. It offers a fresh perspective to better understand the bigger picture and encourages them to be open to new ideas and experiences.
I like dancing, fashion design and playing chess. I also enjoy hiking, running and other physical activities as it allows me to put aside daily chores and stress and get off the beaten track. I especially enjoy doing these hikes with my children, Aashi (10) and Vihaan (14), and my husband, Ketan Benegal. It’s a great way to spend quality family time together.
INE: In what way do you think you have most positively influenced or served the local community, your business/organization and your professional field?
DT: I believe that social conditioning and the entertainment industry discourage girls from pursuing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) from a young age. This underlying gender bias and “brother culture” translates to fewer dollars to support startups founded by women. The lack of a support system and role models discourages professional women from moving into highly technical and demanding management positions or starting their own businesses.
That’s why I’m very passionate about bringing more female executives to tech company boards and more female founders to tech startups so that the next generation has a role model.
I have rolled out various programs to address the pipeline issue to hire more women in the companies I have worked for, I strive to hire a diverse workforce for the companies I have founded, few programs have improved female executives in business by 28%.
I have written many articles and spoken at many conferences on this topic to raise awareness. I try to do my part, so that the next generation has a model to pursue these career paths
INE: What is your rare talent?
DT: I don’t think I have a rare talent, but one skill that has helped me the most is working to understand another’s point of view on any subject. I almost always put myself in the other person’s shoes to empathize with them and understand their side of the story. For example, I consider questions like, why do they behave in a certain way? What challenges do they face? What is their motivation? And what is the middle ground that will make all parties happy in this situation?
This perspective always helps me exercise better EQ (emotional intelligence), an essential ability for leadership and building strong bonds with friends, family and colleagues. For example, today my in-laws are my biggest support system and my husband is my lifelong cheerleader. I am so grateful for the allies I have in my friends, extended family, and co-workers that I have cultivated using this valuable skill.
INE: Your favorite books?
DT: I love to read and some of my favorite fiction books are Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, both by Ayn Rand, Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, and Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. For motivational books, I like Saat Pagala AkashMa (Gujarati) by Kundanika Kapadia, The power of habit, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth and Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson.
INE: Your favorite quotes?
DT: “We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” –Oscar Wilde
“I don’t have any particular talent. I’m just passionately curious.” -Albert Einstein
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” –Mahatma Gandhi
“The question is not who will let me; that’s going to stop me. – Aynrand
“Courage starts with showing up and letting yourself be seen.” — Brene Brown
“You handle things; you lead people. — Grace Murray Hopper
INE: Who inspires you the most?
DT: My mother influenced me the most positively. I attribute all my accomplishments to him. My father was a scholar and a genius, but he suffered from acute depression which led to a lifelong struggle, especially because mental illness was such a huge social stigma at that time in India. The family’s financial health was not strong, but my mother often sacrificed her happiness and desires to raise my brother and me and give us both a good life.
One experience really stands out in my mind. When I was 16, I was overwhelmed by social acceptance while sharing my radical ideas about feminism. My mother told me something that has stayed with me all my life: “Don’t be afraid to stand out! I know it’s difficult and daunting, but you will only find your true authentic self if you find the courage to speak your mind.
Your core value that you try to live up to?
DT: I strongly believe in being authentic. I was shy and introverted as a kid, but I’ve always been rebellious and had a mind of my own. Yet it took me years to find the courage to stand out instead of fit in.
In my professional life, I have seen many leaders who were very effective at getting things done by being diplomatic and tactical. But they failed to motivate me if they weren’t authentic or unable to accept responsibility when a project or business failed. So I really tried to build a culture of authenticity for the companies that I founded. Although speaking your mind is difficult and intimidating, and you may upset others or open yourself to judgment, I believe that your success lies outside of your comfort zone. And you can only do that if you’re willing to be authentic.