GOWRI SHARMA | Co-Owner at Top Pot Doughnuts and The Lookout at Lake Chelen

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In this episode we tackle the future of work and philanthropy by seeing the world through the eyes of architect turned philanthropist Gowri Sharma.

Gowri Sharma philanthropist with short black hair smiling

Gowri Sharma currently sits on the boards, among others, of talkStem, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Texas Women’s Foundation and the regional UNICEF board. And as if that isn’t enough to fill your day, she works with the Seattle based company Top Pot Doughnuts and is the architect advisor for her family real estate development business.

 

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

[00:00:00] – Gowri Sharma
There’s this concept called conscious capitalism, I think you can still make money and still run a business, but do it in a way that is value-based.

 

[00:00:19] – Doug Foulkes
Welcome to The Future of Work, the podcast that looks at, yes, you’ve guessed it, the future of work. It’s brought to you by WNDYR for their blog, Chaos and Rocket Fuel.

[00:00:29]
WNDYR are productivity and human behavior specialists who use technology to help us humans on our digital journey from disruption to transformation. Find out more at wndyr.com. That’s W-N-D-Y-R dot com.

[00:00:45]
I’m Doug Foulkes and along with WNDYR CEO Claire Haidar, we regularly meet up with industry experts and mavericks to get their take on work in the future. This week we tackle the future of work and philanthropy by seeing the world through the eyes of architect turned philanthropist Gowri Sharma. Gowri lived in Canada and India before finishing her high schooling in Dallas, Texas. After spending time in the family business, she turned to pursue her non-profit interests with an emphasis on issues concerning women and children.

[00:01:16]
She currently sits on the boards, among others, of talkSTEM, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Texas Women’s Foundation and the regional UNICEF board. And as if that isn’t enough to fill your day, she works with the Seattle based company Top Pot Doughnuts and is the architect advisor for her family real estate development business. Gowri, her husband and daughter live in Dallas and Boston. We’re going to jump into the heart of the conversation where Gowri explains where she feels philanthropy is shaping the future of work.

[00:01:48]
Claire, over to you,

[00:01:50] – Claire Haidar
Gowri, we as an organization are very much focused on the future of work. So philanthropy and work are not two words and activities that are seldom brought together in very obvious ways.

[00:02:03]
So, yes, you’ve got your corporate social responsibility funds and, you know, teams and things like that. But they’re not really seen as two things that interact, correlates and actually really impact each other. Share with us how from your lens you can see how philanthropy today is shaping the future of work in very unseen but critical ways.

[00:02:28] – Gowri Sharma
I think it’s from expectations. The younger generation, they seem to have the pulse or sometimes they have a better understanding about what’s going on.

[00:02:37]
You know, there’s this concept called conscious capitalism. I think you can still make money and still run a business, but do it in a way that is value based, that’s just more conscientious. We have some 20 and 30 year olds in our family and just hearing that they are interviewing the companies that they want to work with and they’re saying, well, that doesn’t seem like an ethical company. You know, like I think it’s kind of the the responsibility to do things in a way that’s just a little bit more work.

[00:03:13]
It’s it’s definitely work. But I think it’s something that’s started to be expected from all organizations and sometimes the younger generation. I think the only thing that makes them younger is that they wanted it to happen yesterday. And they don’t realize that there’s a process to kind of unfold and to moving in that direction. Also, it’s about portfolios and impact investing. There’s there’s a lot of different ways. And so rather than having two silos of a work corporate kind of situation and a philanthropy arm, I think it just makes a richer environment.

[00:03:45]
I think, you know, at Top Pot, you know, just we do like these fun runs and just we kind of, you know, it’s just the employees enjoy it just as much as the people who are participating. I think you can cultivate and speak to it, might not be for every member of your staff or employee team, but definitely could create a richer environment connecting people and show being a leader in philanthropy as well along with other things.

[00:04:15] – Claire Haidar
I think you’re very right in that there there is a consciousness in younger people that definitely doesn’t exist in older generations around. There’s a very clear intention about them always doing due diligence on the places they’re going into, the brands that they’re engaging with, you know, the companies that they’re choosing to work for.

[00:04:40]
And I think you’re absolutely right in that. I think that that’s not the only way that that work is is being shaped.

[00:04:49]
Yes, it is a generational thing. But I think and this is where I I almost want to take the conversation to next is, the pandemic has really impacted philanthropic giving and that is going to have a ripple impact into society and the economy that we can actually even see right now.

[00:05:14]
But it is going to impact because, the organizations that were being funded just before the pandemic happened and aren’t being funded now because the pandemic has happened, are critical and vital part of our society, and they’re not going to be as functional as they were before and that that has this knock on impact. Share with us why philanthropy is so critical in our ability to actually grow as a nation.

[00:05:41] – Gowri Sharma
Oh wealth as well if you’re talking about philanthropy in a context of like a solid foundation that generates wealth, I think that they might have to readjust and kind of focus in a little bit more about their values and their giving. They might have to kind of make some adjustments and everything. But I think those are pretty much OK. On the individual giving standpoint and the mid-level giving standpoint of people of high net donor wealth. I think definitely there was uncertainty. So I do agree with you, but I don’t, I have to say like, so they, the Community Foundation of Dallas just did a record breaking day of giving, like and again, I have a friend that works there.

[00:06:27]
And so they were kind of braced for like they didn’t know what to expect.

[00:06:31]
And it’s about giving a little bit. But from a lot of people, I mean, maybe giving has to change.

[00:06:38]
Maybe it has to change if people are behind a certain value system. I think they might give them might say, give at the level they might want to give because of the uncertainty, the economic uncertainty. It surprised me because I would have thought exactly how you were saying how giving is going to actually decrease even though the needs are increasing. And I think that that might be where it’s like the needs of increase the amount of people who are becoming homeless, like there’s a very serious issue of eviction and people just slipping through the cracks and having lost their jobs.

[00:07:10]
And so those kind of things. So those kind of areas, probably the need is a lot more than before. And I am no expert on this on this particular topic. But I just from where I’m sitting, there’s an adjustment, I guess, is what I’d say. I mean, I think organizations like, you know, the DMA and they kind of have to kind of look at things a little bit, you know, more seriously, just about to be sustainable.

[00:07:37]
And if it’s a matter of, you know, adjusting their model of how things are done or, you know, they have to kind of figure that out, I think organizations like that seem to be a little bit more unsure footing. And so we need the arts. We do need the arts. I mean, I think it’s something that’s a very crucial part of who we are as a country and organizations that are doing more work on the ground that are affecting change with inequity.

[00:08:06]
I think they’ve been able to attract money because I think of the issues of social injustice coming to light.

[00:08:14] – Claire Haidar
I’m really happy that you’re seeing a different side to what I’m seeing. And I’m really happy. Like there’s a lot of hope in what you’re saying. I think you mentioned something critical there, which is what we really should be pondering about. I agree with you.

[00:08:27]
Dallas is a very philanthropic city, more so than any other that I have lived or done extensive work in. And I think that’s maybe something that we should be looking at is is how do you replicate that model?

[00:08:41]
How do we make places more philanthropic?

[00:08:45]
Because that’s dealing at a systemic level with issues.

[00:08:49] – Gowri Sharma
Yeah, I think they made it easy. I think they have a, you know, North Texas giving day. I think they had organizations reach out to their fundraisers. So even if it’s twenty five dollars, it just and there’s matching grants. And so they just were able to have people in the in their two minute coffee break, just click, click, click, give twenty five dollars to this organization, this organization that’s just their set of organization that they’ve always wanted to give but never don’t really care to attend or you know, just get more involved.

[00:09:23]
And I think they just they made it easy. And I think the average kind of curious if I get that number for you is like the average that people give would not be considered very much. But the number of people are giving.

[00:09:35] – Claire Haidar
And that’s what you want, because philanthropy is not something for the uber wealthy. It’s the average family on the street that chooses to give a very small amount. But consistently. You add all of those up together and that’s where the difference comes in.

[00:09:52] – Gowri Sharma
Yes, absolutely. And I think that’s where you talk about the investment in and employees and how what they would be like if they could also participate in some small way, not because their boss asked them to, not because they want to show up or not for the right reasons, I think. And, you know, I think a lot of companies look to their employees to kind of see what. What is something that interests you, because I think these conversations are happening.

[00:10:20] – Claire Haidar
A startup came across my desk this week called RoundUp app, and essentially what they’re doing is they’ve built a platform where you can, you have all of these charities and exactly the concept of Acorns. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the company Acorns, but they basically roundup all your spending on your credit card. So let’s say you spend, you know, two ninety nine on something, they’ll round up that one cent and put it into a savings account for you. And so what this Roundup app platform is doing is they basically are taking that exact same concept. So they rounding up your spending, but it’s going towards a charity. Basically what I’m taking from what you’re saying, and I think this is a really critical point, is that giving needs to start happening on a mass small scale.

[00:11:09]
And it’s great to see that there’s technology that’s starting to back that up, that makes it easy and facilitates it.

[00:11:15] – Gowri Sharma
I think one of the first one was like Kiva or something like that. And they just they made it so easy. I think it’s just using similar platforms to just. But I love the Acorn idea. I mean, just something that subtle, small, but just it’s cultivating it. It’s just like how you’d cultivate and train anything else.

[00:11:32]
And I don’t know if, you know, we’re not really flexing our philanthropic muscles, as I think we you know, as young people, they’re always you know, you’re talking about volunteer hours. And the hope is that they they connect with the work that they’re doing, you know, but with the whole nonprofit sector. And if you kind of start looking at the issues that are plaguing our society, I could see it be very overwhelming. And we’re being overwhelmed on all different sides right now.

[00:12:01]
But for me personally, I feel like I could do something. I mean, I feel like it it helps to keep me sane, to kind of deal with the overwhelming, even if, you know, knowing that it’s something small, it’s just, you know, it’s what I can do in my little corner and hopefully that amplifies.

[00:12:19] – Claire Haidar
The pandemic, it has in many ways put a magnifying glass on very deep societal issues and issues that I know that you feel very passionate about and the, the problem with these issues that I have just like really bubbled up to the surface again is that they’re issues that have been around for so long and they continue to just persist in our society.

[00:12:48]
Give us your thoughts on the current state of affairs and how it’s impacting philanthropy specifically.

[00:12:55] – Gowri Sharma
People doing the work on the ground have always been doing the work, like you were saying, and now the stakes are raised. I think the pandemic and in in a lot of conversations, I say that there’s really two pandemics. One is the covid-19 pandemic that has affected everyone equally, but definitely has affected people of color significantly more. And the inequities with the with the health care system, the reasons why they might that people of color might be more prone to getting sick, the comorbidities around that, all that is based in inequity.

[00:13:40]
At the end of the day, it’s where they live. It’s the water they drink. It’s the education, the access to education and food. So all that kind of is very interrelated to that. So that’s the first one. The other one is the the racial injustice. The murder of George Floyd has really been declared a clarion call for for all organizations and corporations for profit and non-profit first acknowledge it. And that’s where I am so proud of the DMA, the Dallas Museum of Art, to pivot around covid-19 protocols.

[00:14:16]
And then when the George Floyd murder happened, they they really kind of stepped into it and they just realized, you know, art is a wonderful place for beauty and enjoyment, but it’s also a place where we can’t, you know, has a reflection on society.

[00:14:33]
I think they’ve done collaborations trying to with an artist to educate people of color about covid-19. So it’s all kind of interrelated.

[00:14:42] – Claire Haidar
I think that’s a very important point to highlight, is that this has brought clarity. It’s as somebody who really deeply understands change and who’s dedicated my life to navigating organizations through it. There is a part in change management where everything has to hit rock bottom before it can start getting better again. And that cycle repeats itself multiple times through the process.

[00:15:14]
And I think 2020 is one of those rock bottom years where everything just has to come out. And as you say, it’s in that coming out process where a lot of clarity happens and that clarity is critical because it focuses everybody.

[00:15:31]
It’s like, OK, here’s the mission now, now how do we move forward from here? And I, I think too little is being spoken about that, too little is being said about that aspect of it.

[00:15:41] – Gowri Sharma
Absolutely Claire. And I think one of the things that is a place to start is and what we’ve realized also with some of the work with the boards that I’ve been doing is that there has to be a foundation of common knowledge and common understanding and language. Either, the question is how do we fix it or you know, what do I need to do? But I think right now it’s it’s a time to just listen and learn that this is this is the truth.

[00:16:08]
It might not be your truth, but it’s somebody else’s truth, and we have to create space for two realities to exist and respect the other, especially in the world of philanthropy.

[00:16:19]
When you’re when you have this kind of almost like that cognitive dissonance sometimes, we need at least a common language and a foundation of understanding to move forward.

[00:16:31] – Doug Foulkes
I think from my side, I think you’re really. You certainly started to answer my question, which is really from this quite serious picture that you’ve painted, how do we move forward? And what specifically the role of philanthropy is in that? Is there anything else you’d like to add?

[00:16:51] – Gowri Sharma
You know, rather than providing a service, actually moving in towards activism, because sometimes a lot of the social issues are really rooted in policy issues. So they want to go to the root and just kind of change policy. And the other thing is we can also demand how wealth is grown in an organization, a lot of foundations that have tremendous amount of wealth and grow that wealth. Now, if you really wanted to kind of put a magnifying glass and is that wealth grown in an equitable way?

[00:17:26]
Are they investing in other industries that might create harm? You know, and they might be doing good with one hand, but they might be also creating harm with the other. And I think and these are not my ideas. I read a book over the summer called Decolonizing Wealth by Edgar Villanueva, who is a fund manager for a very prominent fund, I believe it’s called the Rennolds Fund. And he’s an indigenous person. So I can’t remember what tribe he came from.

[00:17:57]
Decolonizing well, it sounds like a very strong statement, but I think if you understand, like, there’s two different ways that wealth can be distributed and one being very linear and the other one being more symbiotic. And so it’s just changing the language so that you’re actually creating a solution that’s long term and and organic versus putting a Band-Aid or linear kind of like that just solves it temporarily. It’s a good book that I think that really has kind of influenced now the way that I’m seeing and what I’m expecting from organizations.

[00:18:34]
The other thing is people of color on boards and leadership levels. I think that you talk about, you know, the voice and the experiences that they bring. There’s also gender equity on boards. There’s a movement to put 20 percent of women on boards. There’s actually a research that was done.

[00:18:54]
There’s different ways out there for people of color to get involved. But also I think it’s about integrating into the existing system to kind of add value. That’s all. I think before I would think maybe 10, 20 years ago, it was just about checking the box. I think right now it’s a whole other level.

[00:19:12] – Claire Haidar
What I’d like to do is I’d really like to turn the magnifying glass to your philanthropy work. And I know that’s naturally something that you do with your husband, Alex. So please feel free to weave him into the conversation as as we navigate this exciting topic. What drives your work in this area? What is that underlying focus that you’re waking up in and working towards every single day?

[00:19:35] – Gowri Sharma
Well, first, thanks for having me, Claire and Doug. So, yes, you know, I guess I could go back a little bit in time and kind of talk about when we kind of started on this path, because I do feel it definitely is a has been a path for us. Back in 2000, when we knew the 20th century was kind of coming to a close and there was so much excitement and buzz about the twenty first century, the the Millennium Development Goals, you know, we kind of came across one of our desks and we we are absolutely absorbed it and just really kind of said, OK, well, this new century could actually be something different.

[00:20:19]
It could be a new pivot. And and I think, you know, just when they talked about eradicating extreme poverty and promoting gender equality, I think those are just really just resonated with us. And there’s not a day that goes by where we’re not either thinking, learning or doing.

[00:20:36] – Claire Haidar
You and Alex both are just these humans that wake up with the bigger picture in mind in the morning. It’s not just, you know, get kids to school, get through the grind of the day. It’s very much how are we active participants in the century that we living in and that’s that’s exactly why you are here today.

[00:20:54] – Doug Foulkes
You know, the causes that we back are often rooted in on our own personal experiences, they shape us as humans. What experiences have brought you to where you are today?

[00:21:04] – Gowri Sharma
That’s a really good question, Doug. I think, you know, especially now in a time when everyone is kind of looking at how we got here, you know, if it’s a matter of what’s going on in the world, privilege, inequity, those kind of things.

[00:21:18]
And so it kind of, you know, in this in this realm of philanthropy, you know, Alex and I have had to kind of you know, we both come from similar but different backgrounds. My parents moved to Canada. His parents came to America in the 60s. So we’re really considered first generation immigrants and growing up in a family that is an immigrant family, there is philanthropy, but it is not in what would be considered a traditional Western version of philanthropy.

[00:21:47]
We would you know, my parents would support family back home. They would have an open door policy for family. And even if it was somebody that was coming for an education with a friend of a friend or a friend of a relative, we’d have an open door for a warm meal, a room to stay in. And those were kind of how the immigrant experience kind of wove into philanthropy. So we just saw that generous spirit, even though while they were really working hard to generate wealth and really the main purpose is to generate wealth for the next generation, it’s like stand on their shoulders, kind of, you know, provide an education. So we really have had to learn kind of how philanthropy works in America, how it works in the Western world.

[00:22:39] – Claire Haidar
Gowri that’s so fascinating. When you were saying the stories about, you know, the open door and the warm meal and everything. Coming from Africa naturally had very similar experiences there. And I have to say this. My dad, one day my dad was very much like, you know, very philanthropic and his mindset as well, and was constantly helping people in everything that it went to a whole new level. The one day with my mom and I arrived home. She picked me up from school that day and we arrived home.

[00:23:08]
My bicycle was gone and her dining room table was gone. I think it was like six or seven.

[00:23:15]
And I like am where is my bike, how can you give my bike away? And I was like, where are we going to eat dinner tonight? And my dad’s like, well, we’ve got the kitchen nook, like we don’t need a dining room table.

Gowri, let’s let’s go into some of the details, you you serve on the board of the Dallas Modern Art Museum. You serve on the board of the Texas Woman’s Foundation. UNICEF, talkStem, and you also own Top Pot Doughnut’s. Is there a golden thread that runs through each of these avenues? Because they’re very specific, but at the same time very diverse as well?

[00:23:54] – Gowri Sharma
Yes, I think sometimes when I you know, if I’m trying to explain the things that I’m involved with, it just sounds like I’m all over the place. And to me, it makes sense because they all represent a facet of myself and they all have come into my life very organically. And I’ve had to say no when things did not seem like it was a right fit either time or space wise in my life. So I would say I’m the gold, I’m the kind of golden, but I’m the thread that runs through it.

[00:24:24]
And they kind of do represent. And, you know, I think either the one that, you know, made a really big impact with UNICEF, just that was because that was the first board that I was on. And just understanding it, I think it spoke to me about the goals, about the Millennium Goals. And so I was able to kind of learn about the issues and also understand the complexity of the issues. They all play a role in my life.

[00:24:54]
You know, Texas Women’s Foundation, very dear topic, very dear to my heart and talkStem as well, just being again taught, speaking to the science. And I really come to the sciences, being accessible to young girls and Top Pot is just been a joy to be a part of and just again, it’s a great industry, it’s a hard industry to be working, working in. You know, our other work is really real estate development. And that’s where I use my educational background as an architect. And but I’m also a foodie and have always been a foodie. So when we kind of embarked on the business of Top Pot donuts, it was a natural fit because I was able to work behind the kitchen, in the kitchen, behind the scenes with some flavor development.

[00:25:47] – Claire Haidar
One of the things that I absolutely loved was the Dough-nation section on the Top Pot Donuts website. And I just love what you guys are doing there. Do you maybe just want to share a little bit in terms of what you guys do there.

[00:26:01] – Gowri Sharma
Top Pot Donuts is really a Seattle company and it was created by two brothers there. We have you know, we’re a big part of it and we have some other people also involved. And I think, you know, Seattle does have an ethos. I think our work environment, how our our pay scale, everything is very we really try to see the equitable lens. I think it is a place that lends itself. And it’s was very fascinating because we did open some stores in Dallas and it was for some employees that came from Seattle to Dallas and hired the I think they it was a little bit of a culture shock for them, the fact that a lot of our employees had to travel so much further and they all kind of lived in a certain area of Dallas, you know, these kind of things were kind of new to them.

[00:26:55]
Right now, all of our top management are all women, you know. I mean, we don’t we didn’t do it on purpose. It just they were so awesome at everything they did. We’re just like, okay, you’re promoted just all the way down to our baristas, which we really, you know, are behind the counter staff and are the person who makes the doughnuts. We you know, we have hired people with very little experience and trained them because we feel like it’s important because they, you know, might have had a really rough time getting to the place where they are right now and that they need to be given a chance.

[00:27:26]
And we just are providing or trying to provide opportunities where we can and still run a business.

[00:27:32] – Doug Foulkes
Gowri, I’ve got a question for you that and it’s much more of a personal question around your daughter, Kavita. She’s got a remarkable adoption story. Maybe tell us a little bit about that and how does her journey with you influence where you are and how you spend and invest your your resources at the moment?

[00:27:51] – Gowri Sharma
Yes, that’s that is a good question. You know, I don’t talk about it that much because, you know, like when you adopt a child, it’s like they’re just yours. And I always like to say she chose me. Like, I just feel like it’s such a transcendent experience when you go through the adoption process. It has, you know, well you know, you spend a year doing paperwork and then there’s people interviewing you. And it’s very technical.

[00:28:17]
You know, you get a medical exam and all that kind of thing. But one of the things, you know, I think, you know, I want to always equip myself with knowledge. And so I just started doing a deep dive into, you know, how do they bond? How do they learn? How can they, you know? And so I attended a lecture at the Center for Brain Health about nature versus nurture that really just locked it in for me that this was the right thing to do, because they did talk about how, you know, although, you know, nature gives a foundational building block.

[00:28:49]
It’s really nurture is what, putting the right elements into a person’s life, you know, and you think about and then you just reflecting with children who don’t have things, you know, like if you put in just a stable home environment, education, food, you know, love, you know, like all those things will create a well-rounded, productive human being. And, you know, as a parent, I think that’s kind of really kind of like what we all strive for is like a well-adjusted, productive human being.

[00:29:21]
So it got me started thinking about this idea of, you know, and I think that’s really tying back into the work that UNICEF does. It just it just provides something for children who don’t have, you know, and for, you know, every child that’s adopted. There’s so many that are not adopted. And, you know, I kind of go through, you know, sometimes I hear people talk about philanthropy like I have a wife and blah, blah, blah.

[00:29:44]
I have a mother and blah, blah, blah. And I kind of I kind of look at it very differently. I think of like every child has value, not that that child has value. Because I have a child. I look at that every mother has value and is deserving versus I have a mother so that I think that mothers are deserving.

[00:30:07]
So I kind of I kind of look at the whole world a little bit differently than. And it’s always interests me when people say, well, I relate to somebody else’s issue because I have that. So like, if somebody decides not to get married or not to have a child, can they not relate to that? I mean, I kind of wonder because that’s how people couch empathy in that. In that way, people couch empathy.

[00:30:29]
And like, I’m empathetic towards another person’s situation because I have that. It’s a very subtle shift in perspective. But I feel like when when you see the world in that way, I think it’s easier to do the work. I think it’s easier to kind of go, you know, do what you can, but you’re not going to reach every single child that every single mother. But like but every child is deserving. And, wow, there’s this place that is providing stability for children that are deserving, so.

[00:30:58] – Claire Haidar
I actually see in my own words and actions sometimes that exact behavior that you’ve just spoken of. So thank you for the personal challenge on that level. But we need to allow space for other narratives that don’t sound and look like ours and they can’t be discounted. They have to be accepted for real narratives that are people’s realities.

[00:31:18] – Gowri Sharma
It’s really the people. And I think going kind of tying back into the inequity and the social justice aspect. It’s you know, you hear so many conversations about privilege and not privilege. I think that’s a reality that exists. I don’t think there’s a I don’t think there’s any value or negative or positive to it. It is what it is. And it’s just a responsibility for people to have that half privilege to create the space for people who don’t and have their voice heard with compassion and understanding.

[00:31:52]
I speak as a person who has privilege. You know, when my parents came, they were educated. You know, my dad was educated, my mother was not. But my mother had a high school education. But a lot of my family back home is educated. So I think that in itself is a privilege to start with. And because of that privilege, we were able to build our wealth. And so I think I don’t have to feel bad about it, but I have to kind of also acknowledge it and then move forward with and I will use this responsibly, this place of privilege responsibly so that the underserved and the marginalized and the disenfranchised will have a voice, I mean, we’ll have a space.

[00:32:35] – Claire Haidar
Gowri, we’re coming to the end of our conversation and I’m going to circle back to doughnuts, doughnuts and art, they both evoke deep joy in my soul. And I know I’m speaking on behalf of Doug as well, because he’s a self-taught chef who I would happily hire any day. So I know that doughnuts evoke deep joy for him, too. How has joy influenced your life choices?

[00:33:06] – Gowri Sharma
Absolutely joy is like one of my favorite words. You know, whenever I wish everybody well, I wish them joy.

[00:33:10]
I wish the joy before I even wish them happiness sometimes because I feel like joy. It’s a subtle, subtle difference. Again, like happiness kind of comes and goes.

[00:33:19]
And happiness, the opposite of happiness is sad.

[00:33:23]
But I mean, joy is something more internal. I think it just it speaks to your authentic self.

[00:33:28]
I think in a way, Joy is like. Exactly. I totally agree with you. Joy is experiencing a piece of art for me. I think, you know, during the pandemic, I would just look at art pieces of art on my computer, like just to be happy and feel that joy again. It’s not the same, but it was a good substitute for a while being on the front lines of positive change. You know, sometimes it’s hard work, but you just there’s an elation that you feel like there’s a difference being made.

[00:33:57]
And and the camaraderie around the experiences brings a lot of joy. And then, of course, eating a moist Top Pot it with just the right amount of icing to just.

[00:34:10] – Claire Haidar
Exactly.

[00:34:12] – Gowri Sharma
I think that I think that appeals to the inner child, I think that Joy, is the inner child going. Oh, yeah.

[00:34:22] – Claire Haidar
Exactly.

[00:34:25] – Gowri Sharma
That’s the best part of Top Pot Doughnut is the walking in and seeing the kids with the powdered sugar doughnut, you know, sprinkles all over and on the floor. And, you know, that’s it’s a joy. Joy is also like seeing children playing and laughing. I think that’s where to come back to the philanthropy, you know, like whether it be in a field in Africa or a playground in a private school, they all are deserving of joy. And I think as adults, we have to just remind ourselves to find joy in our life. So I think that’s the connection.

[00:34:58] – Claire Haidar
Gaowri, thank you so much for spending this time with us today. It’s it’s honestly been a great conversation with you.

[00:35:05] – Gowri Sharma
Well, thank you so much. Your questions were so provocative and I had to really use my brain, but it was really good because you just kind of do the work.

[00:35:19]
Sometimes you just kind of get up and like answer the phone call and then just do the work and, you know, make sure that everything’s going smoothly, but just kind of be able to have time to sit back and reflect and kind of go what the why and the what and the how. I think that is that is very special. So thank you for that gift.

[00:35:39] – Claire Haidar
No problem. It’s it’s honestly it’s a pleasure.

[00:35:43] – Gowri Sharma
Thank you.

[00:35:44] – Doug Foulkes
Some interesting insights there from Gowri, who has a deep knowledge and obvious passion for her philanthropic work.

[00:35:50]
If you’ve enjoyed this podcast and found it of value, please don’t be a stranger. Make sure you pop back for more top of mind conversations. Just a reminder, for more information about WNDYR and the integration services they supply, you can visit their Web site. That’s WNDYR dot com. And so for me, Doug Foulkes and Chaos in Rocket Fuel. Stay safe and we’ll see you soon.