The 2003 AWIB Entrepreneurial Leadership Award Winner - Ahnal Purohit

Ahnal Purohit
Donahoe Purohit Miller

Donahoe Purohit Miller is a health care marketing and communication company headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. For 2002, the firm had $77 million in billings. It has a second office in Morristown, New Jersey, four divisions and 80 employees, making it one of the largest independent agencies in the health care field.

In 1967, Ahnal came to the U.S. from Baroda, India to join her husband and complete her education. She received her PhD in psychometrics at the University of Delaware while her husband finished his engineering degree. The couple moved to Illinois and Ahnal spent seven years as a professor at the University of Illinois, College of Pharmacy, teaching statistics and research methodology.

In 1982, giving up her tenure at the University, Ahnal moved into health care marketing, ultimately becoming Vice President of Market Research for a major health care agency. In 1985, she co-founded a one-desk, two person company with a focus on market research, the company that would become Donahoe Purohit Miller (DPM). Their first job was $6,000 and they broke even the first year but Ahnal’s scientific thoroughness, combined with her intuitive and creative insights, provided a solid basis for business growth. After 18 years in the business, and always focused, the company grew incrementally and is one of a small handful of independent agencies in the health care field, the balance controlled by conglomerates.

Starting a business was an evolution for Ahnal. The first transition was from academia to business and then finally, her own shop. She attributes her supportive family as a prime reason for her success, with a loving husband, Ankur, and daughter, Anshal, who understand and encourage her to strive for the best. Her strength is in strategy and her philosophy is to emphasize quality first, and growth will follow.


Her advice to entrepreneurs is “Concentrate on the positive and do not be afraid to go out there. Work on your strengths and obstacles will be overcome”. Ahnal believes in supporting charitable groups and provides assistance to Shikshantar, an Indian educational group; the Susan B. Coleman Foundation; 9/11 Victims Fund; and as she states she tries to help “a lot here and a little in India."

Ahnal and her husband live outside of Chicago and her daughter, a newly minted MBA from Columbia, is a resident of the Big Apple.

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