When Deepka Lalwani attended a business event for a particular group over two decades ago, she had no idea how deeply involved she would be in shaping and evolving its future.
In fact, she would go on to become one of its founders.
Indian Business and Professional Women (IBPW) started out as a casual gathering among like-minded Indian women in business. But Lalwani saw the opportunity to cultivate something much bigger, something that would help to uplift and empower women who wanted support in achieving success not only in business, but in all aspects of life.
Under Lalwani’s leadership, in 1994, the group became a 501(c)3. Very quickly, it morphed from a networking gathering to a full-fledged organization, offering mentoring resources and speakers to help propel women toward their dreams.
Nowadays, IBPW hosts a women’s conference once a year, where they offer on-site mentoring, as the constant upkeep involved in managing a consistent mentoring program was not ultimately sustainable for their team.
“After our speakers are done speaking, we have mentoring tables,” said Lalwani. “So people sit down with a group of nine people and have an interactive conversation. This is a very successful way to mentor and to get women to learn from each other.”
This year’s conference is coming up this weekend, on Sunday, September 9, at Aria Dining & Banquet in Milpitas, and will feature guest speakers such as Dr. Anjali Gulati, a cardiologist from Good Samaritan Hospital, and law professor Michele Dauber from Stanford Law School.
Lalwani, who has been a resident of Milpitas since 1991 and currently works as a realtor, loves nothing more than giving back and providing support for women’s trajectories. This is why she also works with organizations like Maitri (which means friendship) and Narika (which means of women); they provide support for Indian women in crisis. Lalwani offers a free seat at the conference to any woman from either organization who wants to attend.
“Sometimes they are coming from a bad situation, and don’t have the resources to attend,” said Lalwani. “So they will come through one of these organizations. They might be victims of domestic violence, or there’s some other reason they can’t afford to pay. And even after the conference, we stay in touch with them and help them with things like writing their resumes. This is our way of helping other women and getting them out of bad situations.”
Lalwani also mentioned that women of all races and ethnicities are invited to attend, and that if men are interested, they can join, as well.
To find out more about IBPW and their conference this weekend, go to: http://ibpw.net/home.aspx