Divya Susan Varkey

DIVYA SUSAN VARKEY

A combination of knowledge and know-how: Sound knowledge based both on theory and practical experience, vibrant persona to give that extra edge to trainings and workshops and the ability to connect with people at a personal level so as to tackle some sensitive and deep-set cultural predispositions.

 

WORKED AND LIVED IN
India, Oman, Netherlands, Switzerland

LANGUAGES
English, Malayalam, Hindi

TRAVELS FROM
The Netherlands

ABOUT

Based in Den Haag, Netherlands, Divya’s current focus is to bridge the communication and leadership gaps between Indian and European cultures. Her work in the Netherlands has included classroom trainings for multicultural groups from Boskalis at their Finance Controllers’ Meetings in the Middle East, Europe and Singapore, as well as for Jacob Douwe Egberts and Tata Steel. She has also conducted online trainings for Randstad SourceRight, as well as coaching sessions for high-level executives from Rabobank, Friesland Campina, SABIC, IHC, Bayer and PepsiCo. She was invited to lecture at the Saxion University of Applied Sciences for their minor on India, where she tackled the topics of society and education in India.

In India, she has worked with companies like Swissnex, Sony, Mercedes Benz R&D, Boeing, Nike, Epsilon, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, and the like for trainings and executive coaching programs. Her academic paper on the political situation in India – “The Great Indian Democracy” – was published in 2019, and another paper – “A Global Pandemic in India” – was published in 2020.

In the academic field, she has conducted lectures in various universities in Japan, Switzerland, The Netherlands and India; including lectures on the topic of Culture in Business Communications for the Department of Global Innovation Studies at the Tokyo University and at the Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, India.

Divya has double Masters Degrees in Intercultural Communications and Communications and has trained or coached over 50 different nationalities worldwide. She is certified by Hofstede Insights in Intercultural Communications Management and Organizational Culture. She uses her experience of co-starting a company in Bangalore, India and leading their Human Resources and Marketing efforts, to help international organisations gain insights into the Indian psyche. She has experience conducting team-building sessions for various companies and speaking to audiences of over 1000 people.

RESOURCES 

Articles

  • “A Global Pandemic in India” – 2020
  • “The Great Indian Democracy” – 2019
  • “Hello Neighbours!” –  XPat Journal, December 2019
  • “What’s for Homework?” –  XPat Journal, June 2019

Speech

  • Deciphering India, speech at IBM Headquarters in Amsterdam at #TheCultureFactor Conference, 2016

Testimonials 

Divya’s sound knowledge in the area of inter-culturality and her impactful persona, make for an excellent and effective inter-cultural trainer. Her attention to detail and thorough professionalism are an asset. I highly recommend her work in the field of cross-cultural sensitization. Divya would also be an apt choice for culture and integration coaching for senior management professionals and expatriates.

Soumya Basavaraj, Senior Project Manager at Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions

Divya has delivered interactive business culture workshops to several groups of researchers, scientists, innovators and seasoned entrepreneurs from very heterogeneous nationalities, during my weeklong startup CAMPs. She skilfully inspires her attendees, from all ages and cultural backgrounds, to raise critical questions, encourages them to introspect and think laterally through her strategic as well as spontaneous methods of organising the workshops. I find Divya’s work to be of very high quality, specially since she spends quality time on reviewing the backgrounds of her audiences and tailors the delivery appropriately.

Prateek Khare, Head of Swiss Government’s Start-up and Investments Accelerator in India (Swissnex)

This program allowed me to (almost) painlessly confront my own stereotypes and filters. It also gave me a very good understanding of why Indian people do and say the things they do. Invaluable! Divya effortlessly navigated some pretty complex areas, with style and humor. It felt intensely personal, and totally driven by my needs and responses. Every concern or comment was used to drive our conversation. Divya is awesome! I expected a dry history lesson. What I got was a delightful and fun journey through my own stereotypes and beliefs, and how these impact the way I either react or respond to people in general, and Indian people specifically. I believe that the information in this program is absolutely critical to a travelling employee. The concepts that form the foundation of the content are universal, and anyone can really benefit from them. The real application of the principles allows a context that gives them surprising resonance. Bottom line- great class delivered by a master. Thank you for the opportunity!

Boeing expatriate in India after coaching session

Divya is my Intercultural Trainer for this assignment I have in India and I already spent very valuable time with her. She was able to go through the Indian culture both in work relationships and also on the social relationships. She was able to show me with a very professional approach the things we have in common and the things where Italians and Indians are different. She gave me a lot of hints on how to handle difficult situations and very important advices on how to smoothen my behaviour in order to better fit into an Indian organization. One great learning for me was the portion regarding the cultural shock and she was very good in giving me advices on how to handle eventual crisis. Last but not least Divya has a great birthright, she is able to get you immediately relaxed and full of enthusiasm towards this intercultural experience.

Umberto Pelligri, General Manager Parker Hannifin after coaching session

Approximately a year ago we prepared for our relocation from Switzerland to India – a true contrast in potentially all aspects of living and working. As part of our preparation we had the true pleasure of a 2 day culture training session with Divya. Besides a general introduction to India and Mumbai (our new home for the next couple of years), Divya prepared a lot of individual sessions tailored to all aspects, like office, daily living, kids activities, etc. All sessions were extremely well crafted and totally to the point.  A year down the road we realize and reflect back, how easy the entire transition has been thus far; as a complete family we clicked from the first day. Even after a year we are experiencing so many different situations which remind us of the session with Divya and enable us to understand and appreciate the great diversity of the country. Especially the concept of “Jugaad” you see every day or the religious variety and the different festivals. Living right in the middle of Mumbai, you see all of that in front of your house. Given the context we learned during the culture training, it is much more enjoyable as you understand the background and context.

We have done a couple of intercultural trainings in the past for our various moves, but the sessions with Divya have been by far, by far the best, most impactful and relevant ones. Thank you very much, Divya

Rolf Hoffmann, Chief Financial Officer, Bayer Group India