Rupal Thanawala is learning to get comfortable with being first. She was the first person in her family to go to college and the first female biomedical engineering student at Mumbai University in India. To pay it forward, she mentors young women to take that first bold step to join the tech industry and guide them through their journey to be successful.

This year, Rupal became the first-ever woman of color appointed to the TechPoint board of directors, and most recently she joined Tenthpin as the global management consulting firm’s first woman on the leadership team.

“I moved here from India 20 plus years ago and I realized that most of the time I was the only woman in the room with unique experiences who could provide different and valuable perspectives to the conversations. Thus, I decided to break the ice by raising my hand and sharing my viewpoint and we could have an equitable dialogue. I learned that often people don’t mean to ignore you but don’t know how to engage with you and it is okay to take that first step.” Rupal said.

Rupal Thanawala, Partner, Tenthpin.

Rupal’s personal philosophy of speaking up has served her well in the technology world, where she’s earned her reputation for tackling the big problems and bringing forth new solutions. It’s also what led her to Tenthpin after she took the bold move of leaving her job as the top Indiana executive at a Fortune Global 500 company.

It was more than changing jobs for her; she wanted to get back to her entrepreneurship roots. After graduating from the University of Mumbai with a degree in biomedical engineering, Rupal’s first job out of college was her own medical device startup. That startup energy and entrepreneurial operations approach are shared values with her new partners at Tenthpin, which has grown to 200 employees and 30 top tier clients since it was founded just two years ago.

“In July, we officially opened the 11th Tenthpin consulting office here in Indianapolis inside the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, and we are a global team of 35 people servicing Indiana-based clients,” Rupal said. “Our co-innovation as a service (CaaS) model is perfect for the biggest challenges in life sciences and other complex, highly regulated industries, and our consultants are at a very high level of experience and expertise that drives the process forward.”

Currently, Tenthpin Indianapolis is operating from locations around the world–in countries like Spain, Portugal, Singapore, the UK and Switzerland–mostly where the company’s two largest Indiana-based life sciences clients have operations as well. The plan, according to Rupal, is to continue to grow the Indianapolis office globally, which will include 30-40 new roles, and many will be based in Indiana.

Tenthpin has six primary areas of focus in strategic consulting and digital management:

  1. SAP S/4 (ERP) Migration, Upgrade and Implementations
  2. Co-Innovation as a Service (CaaS)
  3. M&A and Divestiture
  4. Business Consulting
  5. Technology Consulting
  6. Transformation Management

Rupal is responsible for managing and growing the business in the Midwest, starting with the newly established Indianapolis office. The state of Indiana is one of Tenthpin’s most strategic growth markets because there is so much life sciences and technology activity in the state from the world class research universities to the innovation clusters in Central Indiana and north in Warsaw, Ind. 

Indiana is truly a crossroads of innovation where technology and life sciences converges, which is aligned with vision of Tenthpin. There is significant growth opportunity for consultancies like Tenthpin to influence the future of healthcare as a catalyst for change.

“Indiana is the epicenter of innovation for the Midwest and Tenthpin is a great success story, a Swiss company making Indiana a priority location,” said Rupal. “My life and my heart are here in Indiana and it’s exciting to visualize the great things coming as we co-innovate with new and existing clients.”

Interestingly, Rupal sees a lot of opportunities in her role at Tenthpin and her role as a leader, a minority and a woman in tech.

“I think we have a real opportunity to lead as a community demonstrating positive ways to build diversity and to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone,” she said. “I want to be a catalyst in partnership with clients and as a mentor encouraging more women to pursue STEM careers. If nothing else, I hope I’ve inspired women and minorities in tech to speak up and be seen, even when it’s a hard thing to do.”