Sarita Bhakuni, Psy.D.
Executive Coach and Senior Consultant
Sarita loves investing in people, and excels at managing change and creating growth. She enthusiastically wears many professional hats. She is an advisor to C-level executives, a lead facilitator for MBA students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, an instructor for CPP, Inc.'s CPI 260® certification program, and a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Chicago.
Sarita’s multicultural heritage—she is Puerto Rican and Indian—has made her more aware of differences, and the importance of engaging clients to build their emotional intelligence. When working with groups, whether in the boardroom or in the classroom, Sarita creates a safe space to discuss difficult subjects, and then encourages patience, discovery, and learning with the goal of changing behaviors and establishing meaningful relationships.
“Sarita is one of the most real and accessible people I have worked with. She’s not a person who cares about degrees or demonstrating how smart she is, but she wants to roll her sleeves up and help you do the work. Our time together was transformative.”
—Philip Berry, Chief Diversity Officer, Colgate-Palmolive
In Sarita’s family, education is a priority because it broadens your worldview, provides access, and inspires action. Her father, mother, and siblings all earned graduate and doctoral degrees. Sarita loved biology but wasn’t sure she wanted to become a physician. Hoping for clarity, she volunteered at a hospital and hospice center while she was in college and cared for people with H.I.V. and AIDS. It was the 1980s when not much was known about the disease, and patients were isolated in wards and abandoned by their families. Before they died, patients wanted their stories heard. Sarita had the privilege of bearing witness, and the experience profoundly affected her. She became a peer educator, and for three years she toured the country speaking to college students about safe sex and making healthy decisions. She went on to earn her biomedical degree from Ohio State University on a full-tuition scholarship, and her master’s and Psy.D. in clinical psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology in Chicago. As a licensed clinical psychologist, Sarita practices relational psychodynamic psychotherapy, a form of therapy where work happens through a genuine, caring relationship between the client and the therapist.
"Sarita's a good hand in the small of the back, keeping leaders moving forward, keeping them focused, making them look at things that they might not want to look at. I think she's great in that regard. I feel very confident entrusting her with our leaders because she's so competent."
—Jill Cook, Chief Human Resources Officer, Cummins
Transformational change is at the heart of Sarita’s consulting work, too. She specializes in getting individuals, especially skeptical ones at the highest level of an organization, to buy into and be actively involved in change work. She has over twenty years of experience consulting to the automobile, education, financial services, health care, manufacturing, retail, technology, and not-for-profit industries.
Sarita holds many assessment certifications, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®(MBTI®) instrument - Step I™, Step II™, and Step III™, the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation™(FIRO®), the California Psychological Inventory™ (CPI 260® instrument), the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument® (TKI®), the 360-degree Voices® instrument, the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory® (Bar-On EQ-i®), and the Resilience Alliance’s resiliency assessment. She believes that assessments expose personality blind spots, and the resulting insight is an essential first step to grow both professionally and personally.
Sarita resides in Chicago with her husband, Scott, and their daughter, Eliana. Always curious about the world, travel is their favorite family activity. Their beloved city is a cultural playground, too, and they are active in Chicago’s thriving art and music scene, including Bollywood dance and flamenco. They are also obsessed with their community garden. The family grows all of their vegetables, herbs, and fruit in a formerly empty lot on Chicago’s West Side. All summer long they work in the raised beds and are rewarded with a bounty of fresh food. What they don’t use, they donate to people in the neighborhood. Sarita is energized by gardening in the city, and not surprisingly, there are plenty of parallels to her professional life: the value of hard work with a diverse group, together creating a deeply nourishing experience that benefits those well beyond their little lot.