Our Voices Matter Podcast

The Power & The Cost of Owning Your Story - Amr Awadallah & Sara Selber

September 02, 2021 Linda Lorelle
Our Voices Matter Podcast
The Power & The Cost of Owning Your Story - Amr Awadallah & Sara Selber
Show Notes

We kick off our new season with a former Google executive speaking out in his first extended interview since getting fired.

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

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 divides us.

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.  

First Extended 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.

But 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 is a compelling case of the power and the cost of owning your story.

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

This podcast is devoted to empowering us all to better understand each other's differences...one story at a time.  Emmy Award-winning journalist, Linda Lorelle, guides guests through insightful, unexpected conversations that reveal our common humanity.  This show is not about politics per se; it is about finding a way to reclaim civility in the context of the contentious times in which we live, by sharing our personal and professional stories, in hopes that others might find a glimpse of themselves.

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