Guru Gowrappan | The 2021 MAKERS Conference

Guru Gowrappan, CEO, Verizon Media, speaks on leading by example, the influence his mother and food had on his life, and introduces Asma Khan, chef and owner, Darjeeling Express, and the first British chef featured on Netflix’s Chef’s Table.

Video Transcript

GURU GOWRAPPAN: Hi, I'm Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media. First, I want to thank the MAKERS, and board members, and all of the amazing representatives from their companies who are leading the charge on these important issues and pushing equity forward. Of all the events and conferences I've done virtually over the past year, I can honestly say I'm most sad that this one isn't in person.

When I think about MAKERS and our mission, I come back to this code-- if you want to change the world, you need to first start with yourself. And for me personally, this means embodying what it means to be a MAKERS man and leading by example. It means championing women's rights because they are human rights and to keep fighting for equality because we are indeed not done, and we will keep going.

I was lucky to be raised in a household which deeply respected women and gave my mother a voice and because, through her voice, I learned and grew so much as an individual and leader. My mom instilled those values in me in a time and place where her attitude, ethic, and views were not the norm. But we are not just hoping for change, we are fighting for it each and every day, starting with ourselves as a community. And I'm so proud of the communities we create, the problems we are solving, and, in [INAUDIBLE] words, the trouble we are making.

Today, we aren't just making trouble though, we're making delicious food and memories with Asma Khan, the award-winning chef, author, and activist. And I'm so inspired by her story and the journey to success stepping into the historically male-dominated food scene with such authority and authenticity. And sharing her talents with the world is such a gift.

So for me, cooking and food have always been important to understand cultures and, of course, to bond with family and friends. And as Asma has said, conversations about food also allow us to have conversations about much more difficult topics. And I remember before I came to the US in 2002, my mom taught me how to cook. It was a very special bond then and it remains to this day.

I usually call her when I'm cooking to catch up and also get her tips about recipes I'm making, particularly if it is a very traditional dish, either from South India or Northern India-- you know, things like saag palak, or we call aloo palak, or spinach curry in a way, or tomato [INAUDIBLE] or [INAUDIBLE] they say in Tamil from where I am. But it's a very deep and important bond that happens.

Anyway, one thing I know for sure is that when I am next time in London, I'll surely be visiting Asma's restaurant, probably many more times, more than once. And so I'm hoping also that after this segment, I can call Asma from time to time to learn her cooking secrets and see where we go from there. With that, let's roll the tape.