45 episodes

On Trailblazers, we dive deep into the journeys of trailblazing South Asians. To date, Simi Shah, our founder and host, has welcomed ClassPass Founder Payal Kadakia, Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal, 49ers President Paraag Marathe, and other world-renowned South Asian trailblazers. Learn more at southasiantrailblazers.com.

South Asian Trailblazers Simi Shah | Trailblazers Media

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 73 Ratings

On Trailblazers, we dive deep into the journeys of trailblazing South Asians. To date, Simi Shah, our founder and host, has welcomed ClassPass Founder Payal Kadakia, Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal, 49ers President Paraag Marathe, and other world-renowned South Asian trailblazers. Learn more at southasiantrailblazers.com.

    Arjun Pulijal, President @ Capitol Music Group

    Arjun Pulijal, President @ Capitol Music Group

    Beck, Paul McCartney, Troye Sivan, Maggie Rogers, Katy Perry, Sam Smith, Halsey, Masego, Doechii, Norah Jones — just a few of the greats on Arjun Pulijal’s star-powered artist roster. In our latest episode, Simi speaks with the esteemed President of Capitol Music Group.

    Capitol Music Group is a premier American front line umbrella label owned by Universal Music Group. As President, Arjun oversees the company’s multiple labels and all areas of artist development including creative, marketing, and operations. Based in Hollywood, Arjun joined the company in 2013 as the Director of Marketing. In 2016, he ascended to the role of Vice President and was promoted to Senior Vice President Head of Marketing in 2020.  
    Prior to Arjun’s work at Capitol Music Group, he spent 7 years in New York at Epic Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment. There he served as Director of Marketing & Artist Development, Manager of Digital Marketing, and started his career in A&R (Artists and Repertoire). Arjun graduated with a degree in Music and Computer Science from NYU in 2006. In this episode, he reflects on his adolescent dreams of being a musician and his ascent in the music business — now stewarding one the most prominent, star-powered labels in the industry.

    For more episodes, visit southasiantrailblazers.com.  Subscribe to our newsletter to get new episodes in your inbox. Follow us @southasiantrailblazers on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube.

    • 55 min
    Sean Desai, Associate Head Coach-Defense @ Seattle Seahawks

    Sean Desai, Associate Head Coach-Defense @ Seattle Seahawks

    In this episode, Simi catches up with a legend in the League, Sean Desai, Associate Head Coach-Defense for the Seattle Seahawks. 

    Sean has over a decade of experience as a coach at the NFL and collegiate levels. When he became defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears in 2021, he became the first Indian-American NFL coordinator in U.S. history.


    Sean joined the Bears in 2013, where he served on staff for 8 years, initially as a defensive quality control coach, before coaching safeties. Previously, he spent the 2012 season as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator at Boston College. In 2011, he served as Assistant Director of Football Operations at the University of Miami. And prior to this experience, he spent five seasons at Temple University first as a graduate assistant for the Owls’ defensive/special teams and academics. He joined the Seahawks in early 2022.

    After graduating from Boston University, Sean earned a master's in higher and postsecondary education from Columbia University before moving onto Temple University where he earned his doctorate in educational administration. In this episode, Simi probes into Sean’s unexpected academic path to coaching and how he thinks critically about representation in sports -- reflecting on a time when his own 4-year-old son asked if he could 'paint his skin white' to make it big in baseball. More in our episode.

    For more episodes, visit southasiantrailblazers.com.  Subscribe to our newsletter to get new episodes in your inbox. Follow us @southasiantrailblazers on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube.

    • 41 min
    Seema Mody, CNBC Anchor & Reporter

    Seema Mody, CNBC Anchor & Reporter

    In this episode, Simi sits down with a familiar face, Seema Mody, CNBC Global Markets Reporter.
    A leading business journalist, Seema is CNBC’s FIRST South Asian on-air personality. She joined the network in 2011 and currently focuses on the intersection of foreign policy and Wall Street, as well as the travel industry. She also hosts European Close, a daily segment that keeps U.S. investors informed on European market happenings.
    Seema has appeared on several additional CNBC shows including Street Signs, Closing Bell, and The Kudlow Report. In 2014, she spent a year in London, co-anchoring Worldwide Exchange as well as other live reports for CNBC Europe. Her journey in journalism actually kicks off with CNBC-TV18 in Mumbai, India, where she covered the country’s economy and co-anchored programs like Power Breakfast and After the Bell.  Her reporting to date spans COVID-19, biotechnology, Brexit, Indian elections, and more. A graduate of the University of Washington, Seema initially began her career at Accenture.  And beyond the newsroom, she is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations — the prominent American think tank. In this episode, Seema reflects on her return to India as a reporter and the intricacies of covering global markets in today's fast-paced world.

    For more episodes, visit southasiantrailblazers.com.  Subscribe to our newsletter to get new episodes in your inbox. Follow us @southasiantrailblazers on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube.

    • 37 min
    Kal Penn, Actor, Author, Former White House Staffer

    Kal Penn, Actor, Author, Former White House Staffer

    To kick off Season 5, Simi sits down with Kal Penn, esteemed Actor, Author, and former White House Staffer.

    Kal jumpstarted his acting career in the early 2000s, with performances in The Namesake and Harold & Kumar franchise. He has also starred in a host of other fan favorites: Designated Survivor, House, and How I Met Your Mother to name a few.
    In 2009, Kalpen made a left turn out of acting and into the Obama Administration where he served as the Principal Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement. He eventually co-chaired President Obama’s re-election campaign and also served on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Before becoming a professional actor, Kal studied film and sociology at UCLA.
    Today, Kal continues to build his robust repertoire in Hollywood, with a forthcoming show about climate change, Getting Warmer with Kal Penn, a biopic about famed Raptors Superfan, Nav Bhatia, and several other projects. Last year, Kal released his You Can’t Be Serious which recounts his phenomenal journey and where he first publicly revealed he was gay and engaged to be married to his partner of 11 years. In this episode, Simi discusses Kal's dual passions: politics and acting and the road to representation that he paved for so many.

    For more episodes, visit southasiantrailblazers.com.  Subscribe to our newsletter to get new episodes in your inbox. Follow us @southasiantrailblazers on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube.

    • 44 min
    Megha Rao, Fashion Designer and Founder @ holiCHIC

    Megha Rao, Fashion Designer and Founder @ holiCHIC

    For our Season 4 finale, Simi sits down with Megha Rao, Fashion Designer and Founder of holiCHIC.

    A renowned global fashion brand, holiChic offers South Asian-inspired fashion ensembles with a Western twist. Megha’s brand made its runway premiere at New York Fashion Week in 2021, and was also featured in the iconic Jalebi Baby remix video with Tesher and Jason Derulo. Before starting holiChic in 2014, Megha spent a decade modeling for iconic Indian fashion brands. She also spent 15 years in corporate America at CitiBank, a career she recently left in 2020 to go full-time as a founder. Megha is a graduate of Hofstra University, where majored in communications. Tune in to hear from our first trailblazer in fashion discuss how she broke into the industry and what its meant to outfit some our community's icons, from her mentor Payal Kadakia to actress Mindy Kaling.

    For more episodes, visit southasiantrailblazers.com.  Subscribe to our newsletter to get new episodes in your inbox. Follow us @southasiantrailblazers on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube.

    • 42 min
    Dr. Sree Chaguturu, Chief Medical Officer @ CVS

    Dr. Sree Chaguturu, Chief Medical Officer @ CVS

    Simi sits down with Dr. Sreekanth Chaguturu, Chief Medical Officer at CVS Health.

    Shortly after this episode was recorded, Sree ascended to this role, becoming CMO for all of CVS Health. He previously served as Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for CVS Caremark — the patient benefits arm of CVS Health that ensures that patients have access to safe and affordable prescriptions. Before joining the company in 2019, Sree was the Chief Population Health Officer for Massachusetts General Brigham Hospital.

    Sree completed his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he continues to practice internal medicine today. He also serves as a Lecturer at Harvard Medical School. After initially graduating from residency in 2007, Sree spent time as both a practicing physician and a healthcare consultant at McKinsey and Company, leading the firm’s Hospital Institute. To date, his articles have appeared in publications such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Health Affairs. He received his B.A. in biology from Brown and also his M.D. from Brown University’s Medical School.

    In this episode, we traverse Sree's unique positioning a leader who’s operated from the industry's 3 critical vantage points: that of business leader, practicing physician, and distinguished academic.

    For more episodes, visit southasiantrailblazers.com.  Subscribe to our newsletter to get new episodes in your inbox. Follow us @southasiantrailblazers on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Youtube.

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
73 Ratings

73 Ratings

Raahul acharya ,

Eye Opening Experience

As a white American, I had never known existence beyond my suburban neighborhood. Now I do, now I know, now I see beyond

Hi19283773 ,

Love it!!

What an incredible podcast. Informative, engaging, and so motivational. So many props to Simi and the team, keep it up!!!

Arti Mala ,

Such a great podcast!

So wonderful to hear so many diverse South Asian voices!

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