The Power & The Cost of Owning Your Story

BWM West
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The Power & The Cost of Owning Your Story

We kick off our new season with a former Google executive speaking out in his first interview since getting fired after writing an essay about anti-semitism.

The story of Amr Awadallah and his new friend, Sara Selber, exemplifies the power and the cost of owning your story.

Amr lost his job. Sara has lost business and friends.

But in the midst of their losses, they found each other, and a renewed belief in the power of story to pierce the armor that so often divides us.

Sara Selber
Amr Awadallah

An Unlikely Friendship

The unlikely friendship of Amr and Sara is the perfect example of how story can change our perceptions, our relationships and ultimately, our lives.

Amr is Muslim. Sara is Jewish.

Each grew up believing that “the other” wanted to destroy their people.

Until one day, they shared their stories.

And everything changed.

They saw themselves in each other, and to their utter surprise, found that ever-elusive common ground.

It made them re-examine everything they had been taught.

Journey of Self-Reflection

Amr, a VP of Developer Relations at Google Cloud, was eager to share his enlightenment.

So he wrote an essay detailing his journey of listening, self-reflecting and re-thinking how and why he grew up demonizing an entire class of people.

He posted the essay on LinkedIn and a video version on YouTube.

And then he was fired.

Which brings us to this conversation.

Fired Google Executive Speaks Out in First Interview

Amr, Sara and I recorded this episode on August 27th, about one month after he was fired. He and Sara, a Partner at QuestEssential, continue to grow their friendship as he figures out what comes next.

There’s little doubt this former Google executive will land on his feet. He knows his way around the tech world and Silicon Valley.

Amr was the Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Cloudera. And he has a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford.

The story of Amr and Sara embodies the mission of this podcast. And it presents a compelling case about the power and the cost of owning your story.

As we give them permission to speak, I ask that you please have the courage to listen with an open mind.

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