#BreaktheBias: An International Women’s Day Conversation with Iris Bohnet, Carmen Yulín Cruz, Lori Ehrlich, and Deepa Purushothaman


Tuesday, March 8, 2022, 4:15pm to 5:15pm


Hosted Online

Register here to receive Zoom link. 

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2022, the Women and Public Policy Program invites you to join us in a discussion on how to #BreaktheBias. Featuring a panel of leaders and experts, we will discuss how to raise awareness against gender bias and discrimination and identify how to take action towards equality in politics, the workplace, and beyond. The discussion will feature Carmen Yulín Cruz, WAPPP Leader in Practice, CPL Hauser Leader, and former mayor of San Juan Puerto Rico; Lori Ehrlich, FEMA Regional Administrator and former Massachusetts State Representative; and Deepa Purushothaman, WAPPP Leader in Practice, former senior executive, and corporate inclusion visionary. The conversation will be moderated by Iris Bohnet, WAPPP Co-Director and Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government.


Iris Bohnet (Moderator) is the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government and the co-director of the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard Kennedy School. She is a behavioral economist, combining insights from economics and psychology to improve decision-making in organizations and society, often with a gender or cross-cultural perspective. Her most recent research examines behavioral design to de-bias how we live, learn and work. She is the author of the award-winning book What Works: Gender Equality by Design and advises governments and companies on the topic around the world. Professor Bohnet served as academic dean of Harvard Kennedy School from 2011-2014 and 2018-2021. She is also the faculty co-chair of the executive program “Global Leadership and Public Policy for the 21st Century” for the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders. She serves on the boards, advisory boards or as a patron of Credit Suisse Group, Applied, Edge, We Shape Tech, Women in Banking and Finance, and the UK Government’s Equalities Office. She was appointed to the Gender Equality Advisory Council of the G7 in 2021. She was named one of the Most Influential People in Gender Policy by apolitical in 2018 and 2019, a Leading Thinker of Victoria, Australia, 2016-2019, and has received an honorary degree from the University of Lucerne, Switzerland, in 2016. She is married and the mother of two children.

Carmen Yulín Cruz is the former mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the author of “El Poder está en la Calle (Power is in the Street).” Cruz was elected San Juan’s mayor in 2012, defeating a 12-year incumbent, and came to national prominence in 2017 as an outspoken advocate for federal support to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Educated at Boston University and Carnegie Mellon University, she has worked in the private and public sectors in Puerto Rico and the United States, including an appointment at the U.S. Department of the Treasury and a four-year term in the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico. She is the recipient of awards from numerous humanitarian organizations, including the Martin Luther King Center and the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute. In 2018, Time magazine named her to its list of 100 Most Influential People. She is currently a distinguished fellow at the Harriet L. Weissman and Paul M. Weissman Center for Leadership at Mount Holyoke College. She is also a WAPPP Leader in Practice and Hauser Leader at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.

Lori A. Ehrlich is the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region I Regional Administrator. Prior to her appointment Ms. Ehrlich, had a 14-year tenure as a Massachusetts State Representative, she served in leadership roles as Chair of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government and the Joint Committee on Export Development. She has filed and passed numerous bills into law on topics ranging from clean energy, climate change, and local journalism to animal protection and reforming restrictive employment contracts. Ehrlich was appointed to serve on a U.S. Department of Energy Commission on Energy Preparedness. Prior to her elected service, Ehrlich founded two environmental non-profit organizations that brokered both the closure of a 1950s-era coal-burning power plant and the remediation of a contaminated drinking water supply for 80,000 local residents. Ehrlich earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Lehigh University and was the only CPA serving in the legislature.

Deepa Purushothaman is the author of The First, The Few, The Only: How Women of Color can Redefine Power in Corporate America and the co-founder of nFormation, a company which provides a brave, safe, and new space for professionals who are women of color. Prior to this, Deepa spent more than twenty years at Deloitte and was ‘a first’: an Indian American woman and one of the youngest people to make partner in the company’s history. In her time there, she helped grow Deloitte's Social Impact Practice, served as a National Managing Partner of Inclusion, and served as the Managing Partner of WIN—the firm’s renowned program to recruit, retain, and advance women.  Focusing on women’s leadership and inclusion strategies, Deepa’s mission is to help women of color navigate the complex and often opaque corporate structures of today—helping them not only take a seat at the table, but change the way the table is formed.  Deepa has degrees from Wellesley College, Harvard Kennedy School, and the London School of Economics. She speaks extensively on women and leadership. She has been featured at national conferences and in publications including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Huffington Post, and Harvard Business Review. Deepa is also a Women and Public Policy Program Leader in Practice at the Harvard Kennedy School, an Aspen Fellow and served on the Boards of the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and Avasara (the first of its kind leadership academy for girls in India).Deepa and her husband Manoj live in Los Angeles with their dogs and endless list of home renovations.



See also: Community Event