Illuminating, Imaginative and Impassioned
Dr. Aparajita Jeedigunta has multiple layers of uniqueness embedded in her, and with time she has been able to channel her resilience and charisma into transforming the lives of people and making responsible leaders who practice her lifelong ethos of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belongingness. She is one of 34 advanced certified practitioners in the world on the entire behavioural assessment tools suite and was bestowed with the Corp! Magazine’s Diversity Award in 2020 and the Most Valuable Professional 2022, for her many accomplishments. She was also the 2nd runner-up for Mrs. India Michigan pageant run by IMP in 2022.
Born and raised in India, Dr. Aparajita moved to the United States when she was 14 years old due to her parents’ jobs. She recalls that this was the first time she was called a ‘minority’ in her life. Early on, she was expected to become a medical doctor and eventually enrolled as a pre-med student. Life took a dramatic turn for her when she had her first traumatic head injury that prompted her to make a career switch after being exposed to the field of Psychology. Then, when she was pursuing her doctorate in psychology she sustained a second and more severe brain injury. She remembers, “I was hit by a car. It left me with a severe brain injury that I had to recover from on my own without any support. This experience led me on my current career path after I completed my doctorate 3 years after I was brought back from death.”
Being an Indian-American immigrant and also a survivor of two severe brain injuries brought about a life-altering impact in an epiphany that led to her developing her LEGup framework – an intentional framework to increase inclusion, equity, employee engagement and loyalty. In her field of work, she had seen Diversity and Inclusion being developed in largely performative ways, in silos and context vacuums. She felt that the larger point of Inclusion was being missed as these initiatives were being treated as just boxes that need to be checked off with little intention towards inclusion. This had a negative impact on many organisations and labour forces, which is why her LEGup framework became a monumental landmark in her career.
Being a social-personality psychologist, she ensures that the focal point of her work is a complete package of well-being including physical, emotional, financial, social, spiritual including psychological safety. She remarks, “I do this by helping my clients make their own invisible and hidden strengths, assets, biases and thoughts visible to themselves. It’s only when we can see ourselves as whole human beings, objectively without judgment, can we see, respect and honour others around us as whole human beings.”
Always true to herself, Dr. Aparajita has a multifaceted personality and has adorned many hats in life including being a chronic illness patient, brain injury awareness advocate, founder, cultural ambassador, DEI&B consultant and leader. She says, “I also remind myself every day that while all the roles in my life are the different hats I wear, me being a leader is who I am as a person – the head that wears all those hats.”
When asked about her appetite for business, she responds by saying, “I am on a mission to build 1 million heart-centred whole-person inclusive leaders across all walks of life, around the globe in the next 10 years. Our societies, our organizations and especially our future generations deserve a world that allows them to thrive as the whole human beings that they are, and to be able to tackle the problems of their generations.”
Dr. Aparajita describes her passion and remarks, “I am deeply passionate about building inclusion through belongingness. The need to belong is a human imperative. Much of the interpersonal conflict that is happening in the world around us today is because people are getting marginalized and are being rendered invisible by not being seen, heard, acknowledged or allowed to feel safe. This passion for belongingness is what drives me every day.”
The pandemic affected her business overwhelmingly. Before that, she was smoothly running a profitable business in the United States. During COVID-19 she changed her strategy and went into overdrive with new tactics making her organisation globally equitable. Now she has clients from all over the world and has funnelled her creativity to multiple verticals, spaces and platforms. She recently designed and organised a global virtual singing competition that gave various people prize money and job opportunities. Through this initiative, she proudly supported 8 NGOs in Southern India, where she recently expanded her business, to create “strong community initiatives and [raise] awareness on the importance of mental health.”
Dr. Aparajita’s personality is one of strength and self-belief that serves as the fuel behind her journey that radiates good energy.