Here is the full transcript of Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express at Stanford GSB View From The Top – Roanak Desai Memorial Talk.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: View From The Top – Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express at Stanford GSB
Introducing Speaker: And it’s my pleasure to introduce today’s speaker. Before I do that, I want to acknowledge this is our final VFTT for the year. And it’s the Roanak Desai Memorial talk. Roanak was a member of the MBA class of 2010. And we’re joined today by several of his classmates and friends as our special guests.
Roanak was a remarkable and accomplished individual. And as a student leader of the View From The Top series, he was passionate about exploring how prominent leaders who run some of the world’s most influential enterprises can truly impact the lives of millions. He recognized that each of these leaders have their own personal story, their own values and their own ideas about how to make change happen. His desire to learn from these individuals was motivated by a commitment to reflecting on his own personal leadership story. He aimed to leave a positive and significant mark on the world. But he wanted to do so in a way that was consistent with his values. To this end his talent and ambition was always complemented by his extraordinary warm spirit and his gracious good humor.
After Roanak’s untimely death, his classmates asked if we could dedicate one talk each year in his memory. This year we thought it was only appropriate to invite Ken Chenault to give this special talk, as Roanak interviewed Ken when he was last here in 2010. In the spirit of today’s talk, I encourage you to reflect not only on our speaker and the company that he runs but what his experience and the experience of all of the speakers in our series can teach you about your own role and potential as a leader. I hope and I think Roanak would also hope that this reflection helps you set your sights a little farther, challenge yourself a little bit harder and to challenge — and to think a bit more deeply about what it means to pursue a life of meaning and impact while staying true to yourself and the things that you value.