Payal Beri (pictured) has always been fascinated by psychology and human behaviour, and she came by that fascination honestly: her childhood spanned five continents, 12 countries and too many schools to count. But from Dubai to Egypt, from India to Australia, to New York and California, Beri came to the realization that no matter where she went “people were people who create the same emotions.”
“I learned how to quickly connect with people and relate to them, and also developed a desire to know how to maintain those relationships,” Beri said. “That served me in my adulthood: they may manifest it in different ways, but who we are as humans is fundamentally the same.”
Building that interest into a career, Beri became a clinical therapist and worked for non-profits in New York where she started to notice a toxic culture resulting in high turnover and high burnout. When she and her colleagues began working with a specific population not all had been trained in, she picked up on a lack of confidence and imposter syndrome on the part of their clients and internally with her fellow therapists. She recognized how critical it was to change the internal culture, which is where she discovered her passion for leadership development and organizational culture. Beri went on to get her PhD in organizational psychology and her focus and research over the last eight years has been on helping organizations develop leadership through the lens of emotional intelligence and empathy.
Beri started building out global leadership programs but three years ago, deciding to “take my experience from my clinical world, from my leadership world and create leadership programs to help leaders develop confidence using emotional intelligence.”
“I’m passionate about advocating and empowering women to position themselves for leadership, because even though women are incredibly intelligent and are the larger percentage in the career space, the percentage of women in top leadership is still small,” said Beri, CEO & founder of RK Empathy. “I want to empower women in insurance, and other male dominated industries, to recognize they already possess the qualities companies are paying billions of dollars for people who don’t have them innately to get.”
Many of the innate strengths women have because of how they’ve been nurtured – such as empathy and compassion – are proven to be the number one skills necessary for leadership and form the foundation of where leadership is moving in the future. But emotional intelligence is something that’s so abstract it can be difficult for people to understand it, unlike something like coding – or underwriting in insurance, for another example – which are tangible, technical skills that people tend to think are more critical.
Beri will be speaking at the upcoming Women In Insurance Chicago event, sharing her experience both lived and learned in the “Making an impact with emotional intelligence” session, and she plans to combat humans’ natural tendency to miss the impact of something if we can’t physically, visually see it.
“What I do is I take emotional intelligence from an abstract thought to a tangible experience by creating simulations in my talks in ways that help people really embody it,” Beri said.
Aiming for a “highly engaging talk with a fully engaged audience,” Beri aims to have them participate so they experience emotional intelligence for themselves. It’s about “harnessing emotional intelligence, taking it from a theoretical concept to something you know how to put in place and can use for your own confidence, advocacy and to shift your mindset from scarcity to abundance,” she added.
Overall, contributing to the Women in Insurance event is a way for Beri to add value to the industry, and she stresses her teachings are not giving women anything they don’t already have – it’s about building awareness of the leadership traits they already possess.
“That’s my goal – if at the end of my talk, I’ve helped even a small percentage of these women understand how to tap into their strength with confidence, to elevate themselves and use emotional intelligence to advocate for themselves and the other women in the room, then I’ve succeeded,” she said.
To hear more from Payal as well as other leading women in the industry and beyond, register for the event today.