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Mikemilken.com   |  Conversations with Michael Milken
COVID-19 has changed the way we work and live. In response to the pandemic, Mike is hosting a series of podcasts engaging a range of industry leaders, medical experts, government officials and philanthropists to help us better understand and confront current challenges, and how we will work, socialize, and fight disease for years to come.
 
Kenneth Adler, BioMarck Pharmaceuticals
Rajin Ahuja, BioMarck Pharmaceuticals
James Allison, Nobel Laureate; M.D. Anderson
Laura E. Arnold, Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Arnold Ventures
Chris Austin, Director, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Steve Ballmer, USA Facts; former Microsoft CEO
David Baltimore, Noble Laureate; Caltech
Ajay Banga, Chief Executive Officer, Mastercard
Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors Company
Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines
Arie Belldegrun, Allogene; Bioscience Pioneer
Gene Block, Chancellor, UCLA
Adam Boehler, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)
Todd Boehly, Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO, Eldridge Industries
Ursula M. Burns, Former Chairman and CEO, VEON; Former Chairman and CEO, Xerox
Sean Cairncross, CEO, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)
Arul Chinnaiyan, University of Michigan Medical School
Deepak Chopra, Founder, The Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global
Carol T. Christ, Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley
Stephen Cloobeck, Diamond Resorts Int’l
Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health
Brian Cornell, Board Chairman and CEO, Target Corporation
Kelly Craft, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
Roger Crandall, MassMutual
Mark Cuban, Owner, Dallas Mavericks
Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates
Sue Desmond-Hellman, Gates Foundation; UCSF; Genentech
Francis deSouza, Illumina
Barry Diller, Chairman and Senior Executive, IAC; Chairman and Senior Executive, Expedia Group
Jennifer Doudna, Nobel Laureate; University of California, Berkeley; Founder, Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI); Co-inventor of CRISPR technology
Laura Esserman, I-SPY Breast Cancer Trial Platform; UCSF Helen Diller Comprehensive Cancer Center
Judy Faulkner, Epic Systems
Roger Ferguson, President and CEO, TIAA
Adena Friedman, President and CEO, Nasdaq
Manny Friedman , Co-CEO, EJF Capital
Larry Gagosian, Founder, Gagosian
Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
James Golden, WorldQuant Predictive
Lynn Goldman, George Washington University
Alex Gorsky, Johnson & Johnson
Thomas Gottstein, Credit Suisse
Piyush Gupta, DBS Group
Margaret Hamburg, Nat’l Acad. of Medicine; former FDA Commissioner
Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President, Ariel Investments
Rod Hochman, Providence
Michael Hofman, Professor, Director, Prostate Cancer Theranostics and Imaging Centre of Excellence (ProsTIC), Peter MacCallum Centre Centre; University of Melbourne
Jingdong Hua, Vice President and Treasurer, World Bank; Pension Finance Administrator, World Bank Group
Barbara Humpton, Siemens USA
Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever
Al Kelly, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Visa Inc.
Bobby Kotick, CEO, Activision Blizzard
Ynon Kreiz, Mattel
Esther Krofah, Executive Director, FasterCures
Esther Krofah, Executive Director, FasterCures
(special video conversation)
Ravi Kumar S., President, Infosys Ltd.
Peter Laugharn, President and CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Eric Lefkofsky, Tempus; Groupon
Kenneth T. Lombard, Executive Vice President and COO, Seritage Growth Properties
Matt Maddox, CEO, Wynn Resorts
Greg Maffei, President and CEO, Liberty Media
Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball
Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman, Econet Group
John Mazziotta, UCLA Health Systems
Brent J. McIntosh, Under Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Nicola Mendelsohn CBE, Vice President, Facebook EMEA
Tomislav Mihaljevic, CEO and President, Cleveland Clinic
Michael Milken, Milken Institute
(special video conversation)
Scott Minerd, Guggenheim Partners
Hiro Mizuno, Former Executive Managing Director and CIO, GPIF
Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-Founder and CEO, Motsepe Foundation
Peter Nelson, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Kurt Newman, Children’s National Hospital
David Panzirer, Trustee, Helmsley Charitable Trust
Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO, iHeartMedia
Cesar Purisimar, Founding Partner, IKHLAS Capital; Former Secretary of Finance, Republic of the Philippines
Vivek Ramaswamy, Roivant Sciences
Senator Harry Reid, former Majority Leader
Matthew Rettig, UCLA Health
Paul Romer, Economist and Policy Entrepreneur; University Professor, New York University School of Law; Nobel Laureate
Steve Rosenberg, National Cancer Institute
Reeta Roy, President and CEO, MasterCard Foundation
David Rubenstein, Co-Founder, Co-Executive Chairman, The Carlyle Group
Eric Schmidt, Google
Daniel Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal
Padmanee Sharma, M.D. Anderson Cancer
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon
David Siegel, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Two Sigma; Chairman, Siegel Family Endowment
Jonathan Simons, Prostate Cancer Foundation
Jonathan Simons, Prostate Cancer Foundation
(special video conversation)
Joelle Simpson, Medical Director for Emergency Preparedness, Children’s National Hospital
Jeff Skoll, Skoll Foundation
Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Vista Equity Partners
Anastasia Soare, Founder and CEO, Anastasia Beverly Hills
David Solomon, Goldman Sachs
Richard Stone, Veterans Health Administration
Admiral James Stavridis, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO
Joe Tsai, Alibaba
Andrew von Eschenbach, former FDA Commissioner and NCI Director
Maxine Waters, U.S. Representative (D-Calif.); Chairwoman, Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives
Henry Waxman, Former U.S. Representative
(D-Calif.); Chairman, Waxman Strategies
Neal Wilson, Co-CEO, EJF Capital
Mike Wirth, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Chevron
Tom Wyatt, KinderCare
Tal Zaks, Moderna
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Ep. 104: Driven, with GM’s Mary Barra (10/16/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and PMary Barra
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“There was this ventilator company that needed help. We realized there was one part on the ventilator that was very similar to the way a transmission is designed and they were having quality issues with it. We brought in transmission engineers and they figured out a way to improve the part and the ability to produce it.”

Mary T. Barra
Chairman and CEO, General Motors Company

   
 

Just before this interview was recorded, General Motors announced it had completed a contract with the federal government to supply 30,000 ventilators for COVID patients. It’s just one example of how Chairman and CEO Mary Barra sees her mission as more than just leading a car company. A proud GM employee for nearly 40 years, Barra is grateful for the opportunities and mentorship that helped prepare her to be the first female CEO of a major auto manufacturer – and she’s determined to pay it forward.

“We talked about wanting to be the most inclusive company in the world,” she tells Mike. “But I'm quick to say I want every company to be there because if we all provide inclusive work environments, we will change the environment in the country and beyond. … We're looking very comprehensively at General Motors and how we drive change [and] create an environment where everybody can bring their true self to work.”


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Ep. 103: A Timely Solution, with EJF Capital’s Manny Friedman and Neal Wilson (10/8/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken, Manny Friedman and Neal Wilson
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“You've got to think big to solve problems. … Some of the present bills [have] the potential to solve the major inequality problem in the United States.” (Friedman) “Given the historically low rates, what we're saying is the government can be the catalyst for effecting long-term change.” (Wilson).

Emanuel “Manny” J. Friedman and Neal Wilson
Co-CEOs, EJF Capital

   
 

As co-CEOs of EJF Capital, Manny Friedman and Neal Wilson oversee more than $6 billion in assets, with clients in 22 countries and offices on three continents. Their innovative strategies focus on trends driven by regulatory change, which could soon deliver an infusion of capital to banks in underserved communities – if current legislation passes.

“Often in a democracy you need a crisis to get a focus, but we have the focus right now,” Friedman tells Mike. “We also have a lucky break of zero interest rates. We must enact this legislation, which will allow these institutions long-term capital that can't go away so that they can affect these communities.”


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Ep. 102: Humanitarian, with the Hilton Foundation’s Peter Laugharn (10/2/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Peter Laugharn
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“Every society is more fragile than we realize, and every society can be taken advantage of. So I think it's incumbent on everyone to fight for community, to recognize the humanity of everybody. … It’s what keeps us safe, and it's what gives the future to our kids.”

Peter Laugharn
President and CEO, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

   
 

Just out of college in 1982, Peter Laugharn joined the Peace Corps, setting him on a lifelong journey of service. Today, with more than 25 years of leadership – including seven years at the Firelight Foundation and six years at the Bernard van Leer Foundation – Laugharn is President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. Established in 1944, the foundation administers the largest annual humanitarian award in the world and focuses on vulnerable populations around the world, including the homeless in Los Angeles and children in Africa.

“Both Africa and the States have challenges in front of them in terms of rethinking their futures,” he tells Mike. “And I think they have to be done both at a systems and policy level, but also at a level that allows individuals to fully invest and build with one another.”


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Ep. 101: Diversified, with Eldridge’s Todd Boehly (9/30/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Todd Boehly
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“Throughout our organization, we're continuously pushing on how do we continue to add diversity, and I think we're a young enough group where that has always been the way we've approached the world. … Our culture has been that diverse groups make better decisions.”

Todd Boehly
Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO, Eldridge Industries

   
 

Todd Boehly strives for an organization as diverse as the holdings of Eldridge Industries itself. As co-founder, chairman, and CEO, he manages and builds companies in wide-ranging sectors including technology, credit, insurance, real estate, sports and entertainment. His foray into film financing and distribution yielded a Best Picture Oscar for 2017’s “Moonlight.” His purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 has resulted in seven consecutive division championships and two National League pennants.

“One of the greatest joys for me was being able to teach my young three boys about Jackie Robinson through the Dodgers,” he tells Mike. “And I think that that's given them more of a sense of responsibility, a sense of equity, a sense of making sure that they think about the future of the country. … I think that the Dodgers ownership gave us a great opportunity and a great responsibility to make sure that we continue to think about funding businesses and ideas and themes that come from all diverse places.”


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Ep. 100: Family, with Target’s Brian Cornell (9/18/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Brian Cornell
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“We need to have an organization that reflects the millions and millions of guests we serve each and every day. From the bottom up we've made a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Of the 1,900 stores we run in the United States, over half are led by female store directors, over a third are diverse, and we build that pipeline in the organization.”

Brian Cornell
Board Chairman and CEO, Target Corporation

   
 

For more than three decades, Brian Cornell held executive roles in the consumer goods sector. But when he became chairman and CEO of Target in 2014, he says his business career really began. Because of the broad array of goods that Target sells, Cornell knows that his stores are to vital to communities across America – especially during difficult times. He feels a special obligation to treat his 350,000 team members as extended family.

“How do we make sure we're taking care of them? We're investing in them, we're mentoring and developing great talent in the organization, and that hasn't stopped during the pandemic. … We haven't lost focus for even a moment on the purpose of our company during the challenging times that we've faced in the last six months.”


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Ep. 99: Lessons, with Maria Contreras-Sweet (9/15/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Maria Contreras-Sweet
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“Venture capital is concentrated in … three states: California, Massachusetts, and New York. We know that not all the good ideas come from those three places. And so it's really important that we think hard about how we make sure that all small businesses can access capital.”

Maria Contreras-Sweet
Former Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

   
 

With a career that effortlessly spans public and private sectors, including successful forays into entrepreneurism and philanthropy, Maria Contreras-Sweet is lauded for her ability to bring efficiencies and modernization to large scale organizations. Her tenure as the 24th Administrator of the Small Business Administration was noted for record-breaking results in lending, investments, and contracting. A proud immigrant, Ms. Contreras-Sweet has never forgotten her family’s journey nor the lessons it taught her.

“I still remember being the 4th grade milk monitor and writing to my grandmother to say, ‘I'm now in charge of something,’” she tells Mike. “And she said, ‘It's not about the titles that you have. It's about what you do with the titles that you have.’ And so, I found ways to make sure that all the kids – even though they didn't have the nickel for milk – that I was the right kind of gatekeeper and offered them free milk. That's how it all started.”


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Ep. 98: Inclusive Capitalism, with TIAA’s Roger Ferguson (9/11/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Roger Ferguson
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“We have to rebuild with a more inclusive capitalism, and I emphasize both of those words … so that as we go forward with crises – and there will be crises – the impact of those crises will not be so heavily defined by the color of one's skin.”

Roger Ferguson
President and CEO, TIAA

   
 

As President and CEO of TIAA, Roger Ferguson manages 1.1 trillion dollars in retirement funds and services spanning the academic, research, medical, and cultural fields. As one of only four Black CEOs currently leading a Fortune 500 company, he knows the importance of making capitalism work for everyone. And, as the former vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve who helped stabilize markets during 9/11, he has seen how resilient the system can be – even in the midst of a pandemic.

“The speed with which markets moved, I think, has been quite breathtaking,” he tells Mike. “This may have been the shortest bear market in history, and one of the most rapid trough to peak [recoveries] we've seen in the history of markets. That is a lesson for all of us, how quickly with the action of central banks and others that the markets can turn themselves around.”


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Ep. 97: Visionary, with iHeart Media’s Bob Pittman (9/8/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Bob Pittman
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“What we've done during COVID in many ways, we've taken 10 years of technology adoption and crammed it into three months. I'm certain we're getting ready to have a slew of new ideas that you and I haven't thought of, but that we're going to be delighted to support.”

Bob Pittman
Chairman and CEO, iHeartMedia

   
 

Bob Pittman was 15 when he started in radio –and he never looked back. The Mississippi native and current Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia has been hailed as a visionary and belongs to multiple broadcasting and advertising halls of fame. He pioneered and led MTV, and served as CEO for AOL Networks, Six Flags Theme Parks, Quantum Media, Century 21 Real Estate, and Time Warner Enterprises. More recently, he led a group of founding partners in launching the Black Information Network (BIN) in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing.

“When you hire for a job, you tend to look for experience,” he tells Mike. “If you look for experience, you're basically going to get what was, not what could be. So with BIN, we hired everybody for potential. ... We need to unlock the career for everybody who doesn't look like the past, but we know looks like the present and the future. And how do we get there? BIN for us was just a great opportunity to unleash some of that.”


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Ep. 96: Transitions, with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre’s Michael Hofman (9/1/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Michael Hofman
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“Once you have a whole body PET scan, there's not a lot of value often in doing a physical examination or taking out your stethoscope because the information on that scan tells you everything you need to know. The classic medicine history examination is giving way to a whole new form of medicine where we are using a variety of different technologies.”

Michael Hofman
Professor, Director, Prostate Cancer Theranostics and Imaging Centre of Excellence (ProsTIC), Peter MacCallum Centre Centre; University of Melbourne

   
 

As a noted physician-scientist and nuclear medicine physician at the University of Melbourne in Australia, Michael Hofman has built a career on using the latest technology in the pursuit of better cancer treatments, especially those using positron emission tomography (PET) scans and precision medicine. COVID-19 is accelerating adoption of these approaches, and he sees other treatment trends on the horizon.

“I think it's going to become more mainstream – where the doctor acts as an advisor as part of the patient team, he tells Mike. “And we share all the data that we're accumulating with the patient, we advise of the pros and cons, and then the patients go off and do their own research and come back with ideas as well. And we becomes part of a team working on the shared goal of achieving the best outcome.”


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Ep. 95: Real Impact, with Jennifer Doudna (8/26/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Jennifer Doudna
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“I really want to be building on this technology here at Berkeley and making sure that we are creating a community of scientists that are doing two things: not only extending this extraordinary science and thinking about how to apply genome editing in ways that will have real impact on humanity; but also doing it with an eye towards social responsibility.”

Jennifer Doudna
Nobel Laureate; University of California, Berkeley; Founder, Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI); Co-inventor of CRISPR technology

   
 

It used to be the stuff of science fiction: A scientist discovers a way to edit genetic sequences in humans and plant life, creating new opportunities to eliminate diseases and famine. Except in 2020 Chemistry Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna’s case, the CRISPR-Cas9 technology she co-invented in 2012 has already produced real-life benefits – along with a scramble to translate the game-changing process into more treatments and cures. In the meantime, it has shown promise in the fight against COVID.

“CRISPR proteins are quite useful for detection of viruses,” the Berkeley biochemistry professor tells Mike. “In fact, that's what they naturally do in bacteria. And not only that, they operate by a molecular mechanism that allows them to release a signal when they find their targets. So they can report on the presence of a virus in real time and with a visual signal in a way that I think could be a very powerful diagnostic tool in the near future.”


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Ep. 94: Immigrant Spirit, with ABH’s Anastasia Soare (8/21/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Anastasia Soare
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“I think my immigrant spirit of adapting kicked in and I said, look guys, we need to do something. We cannot sit here and do nothing because the stores are closed. Let's start a plan of attack, let's start going online. … This is what we did within 10 days … and we grew 154% online.”

Anastasia Soare
Founder and CEO, Anastasia Beverly Hills

   
 

Anastasia Soare is living proof that one can achieve the American Dream by building a better eyebrow. After emigrating from Romania in 1989 with limited cash and English skills – but with a solid education in art – she applied da Vinci’s “golden ratio” to the sculpting of women’s brows. With clients such as the Kardashians and Oprah Winfrey, the plucky founder and CEO of Anastasia Beverly Hills was able to build a beauty empire that today sells more than 480 products in 3,000 stores and has more than 20 million followers on social media.

“I love my clients. I love to teach women. I love to show them how they could enhance their beauty,” she tells Mike. “We are home, and this is what we have to do. I think this is the new norm, and it's not going to go away very soon. We have to go out and wear a mask. Our eyebrows need to be perfect! So the next year, this is what is going to be.”


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Ep. 93: Compassionate Capitalism, with Biocon’s Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (8/18/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“I'm very committed to compassionate capitalism, which is what I like to call my business. … My products are there to help patients who need it anywhere in the world. And therefore, I believe that if I can actually produce these products in a way that provides affordable access … I will be very driven by that sense of purpose.”

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw
Executive Chairperson, Biocon

   
 

As one of India’s most celebrated biopharmaceutical entrepreneurs, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw has been committed to healing the sick since she was 25. In 2010, Time magazine named her one the 100 most influential people in the world. Today, the executive chairperson of Biocon is determined to make a difference through both her philanthropy and her company’s promising COVID-19 treatment. Sadly, she may become a test patient herself: Shortly after this interview was recorded, she tested positive for the virus.

“We did a proof of concept study in India with our drug and we actually got some very compelling results,” she tells Mike. “All the patients who took our drug recovered very well and in the small control arm, which did not take our drug, we had quite a few deaths. We got an emergency use approval from the regulator in India. We just received it a couple of weeks ago, and in these two weeks we've actually treated over a thousand patients in India, and most of them have recovered.”


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Ep. 92: Skills, with Facebook’s Nicola Mendelsohn CBE (8/14/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Nicola Mendelsohn CBE
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“There's so much more that unites us than separates us. And at the same time, also from a business perspective, the small businesses around the world, well, they're looking for the same thing too. … I've been on the streets of the Soweto with some amazing female entrepreneurs. And they're telling me about the biggest businesses happening in New York today. And that wouldn't have been possible that a decade ago.”

Nicola Mendelsohn CBE
Vice President, Facebook EMEA

   
 

Lady Nicola Mendelsohn is doing her part to make the world smaller, and more accessible. As Vice President of Facebook for Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, her mission is to help bring connectivity – and prosperity – to the developing world. So far, she is succeeding: The Daily Telegraph has called her "the most powerful woman in the British tech industry,” and Queen Elizabeth awarded her the honorific of Commander of the British Empire in 2015.

“I sit on the government's Industrial Strategy Council, and that is supposed to do impartial evaluation of the UK government's progress on its own industrial strategy and its impact on its economy,” she tells Mike. “I worked on the skills report that we published earlier this year. Digital skills are the most underskilled of all the skills. And at the same time, it's the biggest opportunity for any market as well. There needs to be so much work and focus put into this because businesses are going to be crying out for it.”


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Ep. 91: Transparency, with MCC’s Sean Cairncross (8/11/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Sean Cairncross
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“Government funds alone simply aren't going to get the job done. What's needed is the engagement of the private sector and the private capital flows that come into these markets to make lasting change sustainable.”

Sean Cairncross
CEO, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC)

   
 

Created in 2004 with broad bipartisan support, the Millennium Challenge Corporation is a U.S. Government aid agency that seeks to reduce poverty in the developing world through economic growth. CEO Sean Cairncross is committed to working with governments that have a proven record of stability, good governance, and existing investments in their own people. He proudly points to the fact that MCC was recently ranked first among U.S aid agencies for transparency.

“Each project has to have a certain economic rate of return before MCC will invest in it,” he tells Mike. “We look at that over the course of time for 20 years after that project is completed in order to report essentially to our stakeholders, the U S taxpayer, that this is money well spent and that we've achieved a result.”


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Ep. 90: Well-Being, with the Motsepe Foundation’s Precious Moloi-Motsepe (8/7/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Precious Moloi-Motsepe
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“Your well-being, your wealth, is very intertwined and dependent on other people's well-being. … That is the philosophy that also drives us because we know that our children's well-being cannot be isolated from the well-being of the other children in South Africa, or other kids on the continent, for that matter.”

Precious Moloi-Motsepe
Co-Founder and CEO, Motsepe Foundation

   
 

When Precious Moloi began her career as a doctor in South Africa, she would eventually open the first women’s clinic in Johannesburg. After marrying Patrice Motsepe, they would become the wealthiest Black couple in South Africa, and the first on the continent to join the Giving Pledge. As a fashion entrepreneur, Dr. Motsepe has lifted young South African designers to international renown. And through the Motsepe Foundation, this Renaissance woman from Soweto has pledged millions to alleviate the continent’s COVID crisis.

“It's been quite challenging,” she tells Mike. “And it's really called for solidarity from all sectors of society – from business, from ordinary people, from government – we’ve just been working together. I guess this is one positive thing that we've never seen – collaborations at such high levels, and with so much compassion and determination.”


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Ep. 89: Impact, with GPIF’s Hiro Mizuno (8/4/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Hiro Mizuno
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“For us to have a sustainable portfolio, we have to have a sustainable capital market. And for us to have a sustainable capital market, we need to have a sustainable society. And for us to have a sustainable society, we need to have a sustainable environment? It's all connected.”

Hiro Mizuno
Former Executive Managing Director and CIO,
Government Pension Investment Fund of Japan (GPIF)

   
 

When he was managing Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), Hiro Mizuno recognized that his role went beyond fiduciary. After all, with $1.6 trillion in assets, the fund wasn’t merely a traditional asset manager – it was a major owner in the global capital markets, and its investment decisions had significant impact. The fund would need to play a greater stewardship role, he believed, and so GPIF increasingly considered environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in its investment decisions. And while he met resistance along the way, today his bold idea has gone more mainstream.

“Now people believe that ESG needs to be a professional practice to grow into their daily portfolio management operation,” he tells Mike. “So, I'm really glad to see the progress.”


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Ep. 88: Ownership, with Liberty Media’s Greg Maffei (7/30/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Greg Maffei
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“We developed a green team and a red team. The red team's job was to play defense, and first think mostly about liquidity and our downside. And the green team was supposed to think about where could we take advantage of this?”

Greg Maffei
President and CEO, Liberty Media

   
 

With COVID striking at the heart of Liberty Media’s sports portfolio (Formula 1 and the Atlanta Braves), it’s understandable that President and CEO Greg Maffei injected competitive stakes into how his managers look at their respective businesses. Some of Liberty’s other holdings such as Sirius XM are more pandemic proof, while their digital commerce subsidiaries QVC, HSN, and Zulily have adapted more readily to the times.

“We moved much of the inventory and on-air time that was spent on things like apparel and beauty over to gardening, home supply,” he tells Mike. “In the case of Zulily we sold something like one million face masks. So, we were really able to shift what our focus was to take advantage of the trends, and business has been very strong.”


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Ep. 87: Time to Reflect, with Larry Gagosian (7/28/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Larry Gagosian
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“Many great artists have dealt with the tragedies and the turmoil of the time they lived in. I think the artist needs some time to reflect; you take it in, you process it, and maybe not consciously even, try to depict some horrible event that is filtered through your other experiences and your craft as an artist.”

Larry Gagosian
Founder, Gagosian

Photo © Roe Ethridge, 2016. Courtesy Gagosian.  
 

As a champion of modern and contemporary artists, Larry Gagosian has literally created the space in which their art can thrive as never before. Starting with one gallery in Los Angeles four decades ago, his eighteen exhibition spaces are now found throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. In the process, he has launched dozens of artist’s careers. Recently, Forbes magazine named him one of the “100 Greatest Living Business Minds.”

“Things may have shut down,” he tells Mike, “But my job as a dealer representing these incredible artists – they need income. They have expenses, they have kids in school. I take it as a very serious responsibility to keep the ball rolling, not just for the benefit of my business, but also for the artists that depend on me for their livelihood.”


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Ep. 86: Compassion, with Cesar Purisima (7/24/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Cesar Purisima
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“More people will move to poverty as a result of the pandemic. And the estimate is at least half a billion to a billion people. … I think that might push back a little bit the shift to a greener economy. And this is where I hope that the private sector can step up because this is not just a government responsibility. It is the biggest public private partnership there is, that we need to get together.”

Cesar Purisima
Founding Partner, IKHLAS Capital; Former Secretary of Finance,
Republic of the Philippines

 

As the former Secretary of Finance for the Republic of the Philippines under two Presidents, Cesar Purisima is widely credited with turning the Philippine economy around and restoring investor confidence. His stewardship vastly increased government revenues, and set new records for investments in education, healthcare, and infrastructure. As a Founding Partner of IKHLAS Capital, he extends now extends his compassion to the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“A lot of people are really suffering,” he tells Mike. “Unlike the global financial crisis that hit the financial markets first, this really hit the countries from the ground up. And therefore, the ones who really suffered are those in the bottom of the pyramid. And the challenge for finance ministers, central banks is to come up with interventions that will not only hit the top, but really hit the bottom to find a more compassionate way to able to deal with this crisis.”


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Ep. 85: Sustainable, with Unilever’s Alan Jope (7/23/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Alan Jope
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“The biggest tailwind is going to be the voice of young people demanding that the grownups do not ignore warnings about pandemics, about climate change, about gross inequality. One of the headwinds I'm very concerned about is a retreat to nationalism. We know that trade – global trade – has been tremendously helpful, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”

Alan Jope
CEO, Unilever

 

When William Lever packaged Sunshine – his first bar of soap – in the 19th Century, he couldn’t dream that his company would someday grow to include more than 400 brands, including Dove, Lipton, and Ben & Jerry’s. Today, Unilever CEO Alan Jope dreams of continuing that growth, as long as it is both responsible and sustainable.

“The business case for sustainability is, in our view, completely proven,” he tells Mike. “Our brands that score higher on social and environmental responsibility are growing much faster, almost twice as fast as the rest of the portfolio. … It has been an absolute spur for innovation.”


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Ep. 84: Culture, with Mastercard’s Ajay Banga (7/21/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Ajay Banga
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“Culture doesn’t just come because you wave a magic wand. It comes through hard work; it comes through sharing; it comes through cross-fertilization of people and ideas. … The culture we built, we don't want to lose that during this process. Coming out of it, there will be an even bigger opportunity for our company.”

Ajay Banga
Chief Executive Officer, Mastercard

 

Since becoming CEO of Mastercard in 2010, Ajay Banga has seen his company’s annual revenues more than triple, from $5 billion to $17 billion. The company is also doing well by doing good: their Mastercard Foundation has provided scholarships, entrepreneurial grants, and a commitment to create 30 million jobs in Africa in the coming decade. It’s all part of what the Indian-born Banga calls a “decency quotient.”

“If you bring a human decency to work, which means you basically make people feel that your hand is on their back and not in their face, you will be fair and transparent and you will provide guidance. You will lead with that thinking; you'll bring your heart and your mind to work. Then you are a winning company. You will win, but you will win with decency.”


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Ep. 83: Breaking Through, with Ursula M. Burns (7/17/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Ursula M. Burns
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“Let's start talking about this. How are we going to diversify our boards? How are we going to diversify our management teams? How are we going to diversify our entry-level pipeline? How are we going to work in a community to make it better? … In the last three weeks, four weeks, it's been amazing. And I am really working to make it not stop, because there's a chance that we can be better.”

Ursula M. Burns
Former Chairman and CEO, VEON; Former Chairman and CEO, Xerox

 

When Ursula Burns became CEO of Xerox in 2009, she was the first African American woman to reach that position at a Fortune 500 company. The daughter of a single mother growing up in New York City public housing, she rose through the ranks to also become that company’s chairman, and then held the same positions at VEON. In this wide-ranging conversation, she discusses a different way of thinking about equity.

“If you really want to do this, you're going to have to give up something. The world is not zero-sum. … So even though we act like ‘Oh my God, if we give that person a little bit too much food, we will have less.’ Never happened. We found that if you give people opportunity, the world gets bigger, not smaller; it gets him better, not worse.”


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Ep. 82: The Day After, with UC Berkeley’s Carol T. Christ (7/16/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Carol T. Christ
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“Though the pandemic is taking so much of our energy right now in addressing it, there will be a day after. And institutions, organizations of any sort, have to have a very clear sense of what their mission and goals are in that day after.”

Carol T. Christ
Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley

 

As the 11th Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley – and the first woman to hold that position – Carol Christ helms what U.S. News and World Report considers the world’s best public university. She sees her role as requiring both the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances as well as the steadiness to adhere to the university’s core values.

“There's a very moving moment in The Lord of the Rings,” she tells Mike, “where Frodo says to Gandalf, ‘I wish I had not lived in these times.’ And Gandalf says back to Frodo, ‘So do we all, but what we need to do, how we'll be judged, is what we do with the moment that's given us.’ And that's what I feel.”


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Ep. 81: New World, with Guggenheim Partners’ Scott Minerd (7/15/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Scott Minerd
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“We can use this low interest rate period as an opportunity to finance for the future. Will we invest in things which will enhance the quality of life and enhance economic growth and output? … Because we can't go back to the old world. And I think the new world can be a much better place if we can continue being a community.”

Scott Minerd
Chairman of Investments and Global Chief Investment Officer,
Guggenheim Partners

 

As Chairman of Investments and Global Chief Investment Officer for Guggenheim Partners, Scott Minerd oversees more than $270 billion in assets. In this brief but wide-ranging conversation, he discusses what he inherited from three generations of entrepreneurs in the Minerd family, environmental stewardship, and the meaning of leadership.

“We share a core value here,” he reminds Mike, “which is that the vast majority of people in the world are looking for a positive and constructive outcome. My view is that true leadership is that profile in courage that steps forward and says, ‘I'm not going to participate in the noise. I'm not going to look for recrimination. I want to talk to you about tomorrow.’”


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Ep. 80: Reimagining, with Deepak Chopra (7/13/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Deepak Chopra
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“COVID has actually given us a time to rethink and reimagine the world. How do we repair the ecosystem? How do we repair the microbiome, which is reversible? How do we create a more socially just, and economically just world and society?”

Deepak Chopra
Founder, The Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global

 

For Deepak Chopra, healing the world begins with healing individuals – and that can begin by integrating Eastern spiritual traditions and Western medicine. As the founder of the Chopra Foundation and Chopra Global – as well as the best-selling author of 90 books – Dr. Chopra believes that breakthroughs in technology and medicine will help lead to harnessing the collective intelligence of humanity, resulting in positive changes on micro and macro levels.

“What was science fiction is becoming science today,” he tells Mike. “This is an opportune time for all of us to reinvent our bodies, resurrect our souls, and also see how we can engage with each other to create more joy, happiness, and health. That's the only thing that ultimately will heal this planet.”


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Ep. 79: Diplomacy, with Ambassador Kelly Craft (7/10/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Kelly Craft
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“Obviously, we wish it was earlier if China had been more forthcoming and transparent. But I think the important part is that we cannot allow any pandemic or any economic situation currently to cloud our moral responsibility for issues that are already on the ground.”

Kelly Craft
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

 

Whether she’s voting in the Security Council or leading the personnel at the U.S. Mission to the U.N. (USUN), Ambassador Kelly Craft is keenly aware of the national values she represents. For her, it’s a matter of humility – as when she played an integral role in renegotiating the NAFTA framework with our neighbors to the north and south.

“It was a matter of respect for each person's economy,” she tells Mike. “And when you respect each person's economy, Mexico and Canada, and the U S, you know that everybody can work together because it is about a supply chain, and you're only as strong as your weakest link. So, it was really important that this trilateral deal was very strong unilaterally for each country.”


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Ep. 78: Tipping Point, with Seritage Growth Properties’ Kenneth T. Lombard (7/8/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Kenneth T. Lombard
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“It's really the first time that you've had challenges and down cycles in the financial side, on the racial side, and health-wise with COVID. … We're at an absolute tipping point from what we are going to do and how the consumer experience is going to be on the retail side.”

Kenneth T. Lombard
Executive Vice President and COO, Seritage Growth Properties

 

When Kenneth Lombard looks at our current confluence of crises, the Executive Vice President and COO of Seritage Growth Properties sees opportunities – especially in the hard-hit brick and mortar retail space. After all, as a past recipient of the National Inner City Economic Leadership Award, he has a proven record of revitalizing business opportunities in urban neighborhoods. He traces his optimism to a strong upbringing.

“Fortunately for me, I had a family that instilled a sense of fearlessness in me and that there are going to be obstacles,” he tells Mike. “You have to keep working hard. ... Integrity has got to be a big part of how you look at how you develop yourself, that sense of honesty, the hard work. We'll all get through this.”


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Ep. 77: Minimizing Injustice, with Arnold Ventures’ Laura E. Arnold (7/7/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Laura E. Arnold
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“A sociologist … said that pandemics fracture society along known fault lines. And that is so true. Every single one of the issues that we have historically worked on that are at the core of what we do has been touched and exacerbated by COVID. … It’s energized us.”

Laura E. Arnold
Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Arnold Ventures

 

For ten years, husband and wife Laura and John Arnold have grappled with some of society’s most intractable problems. Their Houston-based philanthropy, Arnold Ventures, addresses disparities in public finance, health, education, and especially criminal justice, where they hope their evidence-based approach will help drive needed reform.

“In jails and prisons, we are doing a lot of thinking to try to help prisons understand how to keep prisoners safe, in addition to having the tough conversation about why are there so many people in prison in the first place,” she tells Mike. “Are there people who do not need to be here either because they're at risk [or] because they’re awaiting trial and they're only here because they can't make a relatively small bail amount payment? So, there's lots of work that can be done in reducing prison populations that needs to be done right now.”


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Ep. 76: Favoring the Bold, with the Dallas Mavericks’ Mark Cuban (7/6/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Mark Cuban
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“If you have a vision for what America 2.0 post-reset should look like, there will never be a better time to create a business that goes into an entirely new direction. … If you have a vision for something dramatically different, now's the time to do it.”

Mark Cuban
Owner, Dallas Mavericks

 

For Mark Cuban, fortune favors the bold – and there’s no time like the present. As a serial entrepreneur, investor on TV’s “Shark Tank,” and current owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Cuban has always been a keen surveyor of the business landscape. He believes current technology such as robotics and artificial intelligence have enormous potential domestically, as long as we can ramp up our efforts.

“Whoever controls AI controls the world,” he tells Mike. “We have to recognize that we're not doing this in a vacuum. That other nations are investing to compete, but we're not. So we're falling further behind. We can't build a wall around ourselves for global commerce.”


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Ep. 75: Economic Justice, with Vista Equity Partners’ Robert F. Smith (7/2/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Robert F. Smith
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The Wall Street Journal last week reported that 41% of the African American businesses have stopped transacting and stopped conducting business and have closed up, which is a true tragedy. They don't have the banking systems, which limited their ability to actually process the Payroll Protection Program loans through the CARES Act.”

Robert F. Smith
Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Vista Equity Partners

 

With the pandemic revealing greater inequities in existing economic systems, Robert F. Smith is determined to make a difference. He authorized one of Vista Equity Partners’ portfolio companies, Finastra, to process more than 86,000 PPP loans to bolster small businesses in struggling communities. Named by Forbes as one of the “100 Greatest Living Business Minds,” he is also a noted philanthropist: Last year, he famously paid off the student loans of the entire graduating class of the historically black Morehouse College.

“Seventy percent of African American wealth is actually consumed by student debt; if you alleviate that problem, that creates a massive wealth lift for the entire community,” he tells Mike. “Restore, repair and regenerate these communities filled with Americans that need the opportunity and access to the American Dream.”


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Ep. 74: Lifelines, with IMF’s Kristalina Georgieva (7/1/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Kristalina Georgieva
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“Our policy engagement is very strong everywhere, but … the same way people with preconditions are more vulnerable to the virus, weakened economies are more vulnerable to the economic shock we experience today. So, they need more of our help.”

Kristalina Georgieva
Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

 

For struggling economies around the world, the IMF is a lifeline. Since 1944, it has promoted financial stability and sustainable growth to its 189 member countries with zero percent loans and reserves of more than one trillion dollars. As the Fund’s Managing Director, Kristina Georgieva’s mission is to bolster developing economies hit hard by the pandemic while seeking ways to increase equity and security for citizens of all nations.

“Every single day, 400,000 children are born on this planet; they don't choose their race, they don't choose whether they are born in a rich family or a poor family,” she tells Mike. “It's kind of a lottery at the start, but it needn't be a lottery for the future. There has to be clear thinking around equality of opportunity, access to education, to financing, to jobs, so we actually tap into the potential of all these people.”


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Ep. 73: Big Gaming, with Activision Blizzard’s Bobby Kotick (6/30/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Bobby Kotick
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast

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“Each day you have to answer a series of questions so that you can electronically access the office. If you don't, we'll either send you to one of our testing labs or to a telemedicine doctor. … We have these huge UV chambers. You put all your outerwear, your phones, your shoes, and we can actually UV disinfect, almost anything.”

Bobby Kotick
CEO, Activision Blizzard

 

As CEO of one of Fortune’s "100 Best Companies to Work For," Activision Blizzard’s Bobby Kotick will do whatever is necessary to keep his workforce healthy. After all, his 9,200 employees comprise the world’s most successful standalone interactive entertainment company, with such franchises as Call of Duty, Overwatch and World of Warcraft. With nearly 500 million active monthly players around the world, the company also finds itself as an accelerator of social change.

“We have a unique way to break down these racial and cultural barriers and really engage people through the lens of a game,” he tells Mike. “It's very different than what you might see in a social network, because the way we connect and engage people is all through joy and fun.”


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Ep. 72: Positive Energy, with Chevron’s Mike Wirth (6/29/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Mike Wirth
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“It can feel like the world is a colder and riskier place, [but] we've been through these things before, and we generally know that society comes through. We learn lessons. We become stronger over time and create opportunities for personal growth and societal learning that can continue to make the world a better place.”

Mike Wirth
Chairman of the Board and CEO, Chevron

 

Chevron has been weathering the vicissitudes of cultural and industrial shifts around the world since it was founded 141 years ago to provide a substitute for whale oil used in lamp lighting. Today, its more than 48,000 employees around the world have emerged stronger than ever from a market that drove oil prices to less than zero, as well a domestic landscape roiled by a resurgent pandemic and social upheaval.

“One of the things I'm really proud of is the heart that our people have,” he tells Mike. “Our employees have donated money from their own pockets. … The stories on our internal social media site, where employees share what they've done are incredibly heartwarming. … We empower people, we encourage people and they move to action based on what the local needs are very rapidly.”


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Ep. 71: Gratitude, with Infosys’ Ravi Kumar S. (6/26/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Ravi Kumar S.
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“Six out of the seven jobs of the future have not been created yet. The future of workplaces and workforces are going to change significantly. The change was gradual, but with the pandemic and in the post-pandemic era, the changes will be all of a sudden.”

Ravi Kumar S.
President, Infosys Ltd.

 

As the world struggles with the vagaries of a pandemic, Ravi Kumar S. is already planning for a transformed workplace. As President of Infosys, his effort begins with finding a new pipeline of formerly underserved workers and then training them for what’s ahead. For him, it’s a way to bring more equity to the workforce and help bring about the kind of world in which he wants his new daughter to grow up.

“I’ve never felt more gratitude for what I have,” he tells Mike. “As humans, we all have to work in striving to bridge the divide between the haves and the have-nots and strive to raise hope. I've never found myself thinking more about raising hope than I have done so during this crisis.”


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Ep. 70: The Conversation, with the World Bank’s Jingdong Hua (6/25/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Jingdong Hua
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“I certainly hope this is a unique moment where we will have profound conversations, not only about our own lessons or our own challenges, but about the future of humanity. … This lockdown gives us the opportunity to have long conversations that otherwise would not have happened.”

Jingdong Hua
Vice President and Treasurer, World Bank;
Pension Finance Administrator, World Bank Group

 

Last year, the World Bank Group was busily working on two ambitious goals for its 189 member nations: ending extreme poverty within a generation, and boosting shared prosperity. This year, it has announced it will provide up to $160 billion in financing for COVID-19 over a period of 15 months to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic.

“We are projecting negative growth for over 150 countries in 2020,” he tells Mike. “And nearly 80% of the world's informal economy workers, 1.6 billion people, due to the lockdown, have lost their jobs, of which of 714 million are women. So this is really an unprecedented crisis.”


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Ep. 69: Cashless, with Visa’s Al Kelly (6/23/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Al Kelly
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“In the last three months we’ve probably have had five years’ worth of acceleration in terms of e-commerce. … People are realizing that cash is a way that germs get transmitted. Currency is dirty.”

Al Kelly
CEO and Chairman of the Board, Visa Inc.

 

When the pandemic hit in January, Al Kelly made a vow to have zero layoffs at Visa. Fortunately, as one of the world’s foremost purveyors of e-commerce, they soon found that 97% of their 20,000 employees were able to work from home, and they shuttered all but five of their 130 international offices. Now, as they continue to service their 1.1 billion worldwide cardholders, they are partnering with federal, state and foreign governments to distribute much-needed stimulus and relief funds.

“Almost every medical expert I've talked to says there will be a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall,” he tells Mike. “We just need to make sure that we can manage through it so that we don't have to go back into lockdown. For our part at Visa, I am in no rush to move our employees back to offices.”


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Ep. 68: Outcomes, with Helmsley Charitable Trust’s David Panzirer (6/18/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and David Panzirer
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“The whole premise that where you live dictates your access to specialty care, dictates your outcomes, dictates your access to tools to manage your disease. That's absurd in this day and age. … We have to seize this opportunity to level the playing field and really begin to truly give equal care no matter where you live”

David Panzirer
Trustee, Helmsley Charitable Trust

 

When David Panzirer was named a Trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust thirteen years ago, he knew little about being a philanthropist. Today, he helps to direct that fund’s $6 billion dollars toward initiatives that create greater healthcare access – both in rural America and sub-Saharan Africa – while ensuring better long-term outcomes. He is especially passionate about improving the lives of those with type 1 diabetes, a disease that hits very close to home.

“There is no shortcut for diligence,” he tells Mike. “I started out and I wanted a cure for my daughter like anybody else in my position. As a society, we have never cured an autoimmune chronic disease. … We've taken some things and we've turned them into managed diseases. But my point is, it's not easy. If it were easy, we'd be done.”


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Ep. 67: Healing, with Children’s National Hospital’s Joelle Simpson (6/17/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Joelle Simpson
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“I will be honest in saying that I never imagined the degree of exhaustion and the multitude of issues that have come about with this crisis: on a personal level, on an institutional level, on a community level, on a national level.”

Joelle Simpson
Medical Director for Emergency Preparedness, Children’s National Hospital

 

For 150 years, Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC has been a beacon of pediatric excellence. With Dr. Joelle Simpson as its Medical Director for Emergency Preparedness, they have partnered with philanthropists to provide free drive-through care and COVID-19 testing. Serving her community’s needs is rewarding; in today’s turbulent times, however, it can also be frustrating and overwhelming.

“How do we manage to reassure children that there is a future for them where they are cared for and where they can find safety regardless of their background, their race or the color of their skin?” the Trinidad native asks Mike. “There's a long road to go for healing and for dealing with the deep-rooted racism that's in our country.”


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Ep. 66: Teachable Moment, with IAC’s Barry Diller (6/16/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Barry Diller
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“Local travel, meaning travel 100 to 600 miles from where you live by car, is fairly robust and is almost back to pre-COVID levels. … We're not seeing and won't see air travel, certainly not international air travel. … We’re not seeing it yet because people feel unsafe. Travel is probably one of the last to actually get back the robust growth.”

Barry Diller
Chairman and Senior Executive, IAC;
Chairman and Senior Executive, Expedia Group

 

As Chairman and Senior Executive of Expedia Group – which includes a dozen top online booking sites – Barry Diller knows travel trends. As Chairman and Senior Executive of IAC – which includes such websites as OKCupid, Tinder and Match – he knows internet dating habits. As a legendary movie and television producer and executive, he knows what will entertain people. One thing he doesn’t know, however, is how this crisis will resolve.

“There's one faction that says, ‘I want to go back to work. Stop telling me what to do.’ And then the people who are saying, ‘absolutely not. You must social distance,’” he tells Mike. “I think the mess –and it is a mess – of the next couple of months is going to teach us many things. So I don't have the answer, but I do have this, and I think I share this with a lot of people: I've got a lot of questions.”


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Ep. 65: Across Sectors, with MasterCard Foundation’s Reeta Roy (6/15/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Reeta Roy
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“In Africa the economy is also a patient. … We have a consortium in Ethiopia, for example – 12 businesses run by women who are pivoting and using their skills to now manufacture PPE. We’re doing the same in Ghana, working through a coalition … to get to 12,000 small businesses the financing they need.”

Reeta Roy
President and CEO, MasterCard Foundation

 

Relatively new to the world of nonprofits, the MasterCard Foundation has had an outsized impact, especially in Africa. Led by President and CEO Reeta Roy, the organization has focused on financial and education initiatives that have reached 33 million people throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Their latest initiative, Young Africa Works, helps young people, particularly young women, find secure and fulfilling work.

She realizes they can’t do alone, however. “I think about the problems before us today,” she tells Mike, “whether it is the question of systemic racism, whether it is about access to healthcare. … It is so clear to me that no one sector has the answers. That's going to take government, the private sector. It's going to take civil society, organizations, educational institutions.”


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Ep. 64: Struggle, with Ariel Investments’ Mellody Hobson (6/12/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Mellody Hobson
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“I thought a lot about it from the perspective of being a person who walks around with brown skin, a woman, a mother, but also someone who runs a company. … My mother used to tell me, ‘Mellody, you could be or do anything.’ … There's going to be a struggle. It's going to be super hard. People aren't going to treat you fairly, but you can still be or do anything. I actually believed her.”

Mellody Hobson
Co-CEO and President, Ariel Investments

 

As president and co-CEO of Ariel Investments, Mellody Hobson is responsible for more than $10 billion in investor assets. Despite the pandemic, the economy, and the civil unrest, she remains optimistic that the America her 6-year-old daughter will inherit will be safer, more secure and more just.

“I would not want to live anywhere else. I love America, with all of our warts and all of our problems. I want to be very clear: I am a patriot and I'm so grateful. Warren Buffet says, if you're born in America, you won the birth lottery. I feel like I won the birth lottery over and over again.”


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Ep. 63: Madame Chairwoman, with U.S. Representative Maxine Waters (6/11/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Maxine Waters
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“I negotiated directly with Mr. Mnuchin. … He was fair. He was easy to communicate with. … Working with him, I was able to carve out and direct to these minority institutions, a sum of money that would give them the liquidity that they needed.”

Maxine Waters
U.S. Representative (D-Calif.); Chairwoman, Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives

 

Rep. Maxine Waters has always been a champion of the underserved: as an assistant teacher in 1966 with the Head Start program in Watts, California; as a state legislator in the 70s and 80s, pushing for divestment in South Africa; and as a current 15-term congresswoman and chair of the powerful House Financial Services Committee, where she’s been working across the aisle to help those affected by the pandemic. Losing her own sister to COVID-19 has only made her more determined to defeat the virus.

“With no understanding of when this pandemic is going to end, we are challenged,” she tells Mike. “We are challenged to keep this economy going. We are challenged to deal with coming up with a vaccine. … We're going to do everything that we can to support our businesses and to create ways by which to keep this economy from absolutely collapsing.”


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Ep. 62: Sprinting, with The Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein (6/10/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and David Rubenstein
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“The COVID-19 crisis has made me realize that if there's anything I really want to get done in my life, I need to get it done sooner. I am ratcheting up my activity. I'm doing what I call sprinting to the finish line now because I realize how fragile life really can be and this crisis brought it home to me.”

David Rubenstein
Co-Founder, Co-Executive Chairman, The Carlyle Group

 

After achieving financial success by co-founding and co-chairing the private equity firm The Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein is now redefining philanthropic success. His approach is what he calls “patriotic philanthropy,” which is focused on giving his time, considerable energy and expertise, and financial support to causes that help remind people of the history and heritage of the nation. He chairs nonprofits including the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution, and he personally helped finance the restoration of the Washington Monument.

“You can love humanity by doing more than just writing checks,” he tells Mike. “Giving your time and your energy and ideas can be just as valuable. What you should try to do is something that justifies your existence on the face of the earth for that short period of time. … I was able in this country to get fortunate and now I want to repay my country.”


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Ep. 61: Paying It Forward, with PayPal’s Daniel Schulman (6/9/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Daniel Schulman
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“We immediately went from working 100% from the office to 100% work from home; we’ll remain working from home at least through October as we see how the virus progresses and how we protect the health and safety of our employees as we start to reopen.”

Daniel Schulman
President and CEO, PayPal

 

For PayPal president and CEO Dan Schulman, the health and wellbeing of his 25,000 global employees comes first. They, in turn, are then better able to provide for the 300 million consumers and 25 million merchants using PayPal’s platform. They were among the first non-bank companies able to deploy funds through the Paycheck Protection Program, speeding vital loans to those who needed them most.

One bright spot Schulman sees during these challenging days is simple acts of goodwill. “There has been an outpouring of human generosity on our platforms. People spontaneously, virtually, tipping bartenders or artists, musicians, neighbors, small businesses, giving to their schools, to their places of worship. And when people receive that, they are then paying it forward to somebody else who is even in more desperate need.”


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Ep. 60: Sea Change, with Nasdaq’s Adena Friedman (6/8/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Adena T. Friedman
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“It's really, to me, a trust factor. … Companies at that moment had huge, huge needs for capital to manage through the beginning of what they were seeing was going to be a significant downturn in their business. If we had closed the markets, they would not have been able to gain access to that capital when they needed it the most.”

Adena T. Friedman
President and CEO, Nasdaq

 

Early in the coronavirus crisis, Adena Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq, focused her energy on making sure companies and investors had uninterrupted liquidity to meet the challenges ahead. And throughout the crisis she’s observed a growing trend toward what she calls “cooperative capitalism,” a blend of creative problem solving and altruism she has observed in many sectors.

“Right now you’re seeing some pretty extraordinary actions taken by companies and by governments to support their citizens,” she told Mike in her May 22 interview. “This is a sea change in the way that we think about companies and the roles they play. I think that we're going to see continued dedication to communities going forward even after this crisis is over.”


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Ep. 59: Taking Flight, with Delta’s Ed Bastian (6/4/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Ed Bastian
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“We're working well as an industry, not just within the airline industry, but across the hospitality sector. We want customers to feel confident. … People want to move; people want to get out. There's a cabin fever … and we want to make sure we're serving it safely.”

Ed Bastian
CEO, Delta Air Lines

 

Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines, remembers all too well how 9/11 affected his industry and his airline, which had to restructure and make difficult cost-cutting decisions. The coronavirus crisis posed a greater threat, but he’s confident his airline will bounce back and return to flying 200 million passengers a year.

What gives him confidence is work that began well before the coronavirus crisis – work that developed a culture of trust among his workforce. “This past February we paid our 90,000 employees $1.6 billion; it was the equivalent of a 16% bonus. When times are good, we celebrate; when times are tough, we sacrifice together.”


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Ep. 58: Care for the Caregivers, with Cleveland Clinic’s Tomislav Mihaljevic (6/3/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Tomislav Mihaljevic
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“The unfortunate, almost-tragic, paradox of this situation is that 1.2 million healthcare professionals in the United States have lost their jobs because of the financial strains that have COVID pandemic put on healthcare organizations.”

Tomislav Mihaljevic
CEO and President, Cleveland Clinic

 

For the 99-year-old Cleveland Clinic, the care of their patients is equaled only by the emphasis they place on the health of their own workforce. Their thorough preparation and procedures have resulted in a less than 1% infection rate, compared to roughly 20% of all health care workers throughout the rest of Ohio.

The venerable hospital system has also chosen not to lay off any employees, even as they were state mandated to cut all non-essential services. Unfortunately, even the essential services have suffered, with steep declines in newly diagnosed patients with cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurologic disease. “The unintended consequences of the COVID pandemic,” he tells Mike, “may be much more severe than the actual damage and the loss of lives incurred by COVID pandemic.


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Ep. 57: Like Family, with Wynn Resorts’ Matt Maddox (6/2/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Matt Maddox
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“In Macau, we put together a plan that when we would reopen, it would be one of the safest places people could go. Everything from thermal cameras to … PPE. Every customer's given a mask. … UV technology in public bathrooms. Electro-mist spray throughout the facility. And lots of training for our people.”

Matt Maddox
CEO, Wynn Resorts

 

For Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts, the safety and security of employees and customers is paramount. And thanks to the company’s global operations, he was able to learn what works in China and apply it to an accelerated reopening schedule in the United States.

Culture is king at Wynn, and throughout the pandemic Maddox kept his U.S. employees on the payroll: “To tell 15,000 hourly workers … you need to stay home and you've been furloughed – I felt was the wrong thing to do. And the wrong thing for our shareholders. … We've created a culture where people feel like it is family.”


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Ep. 56: The Analyst, with Two Sigma’s David Siegel (6/2/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and David Siegel
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“This experience is a grand experiment in online work, online education, online shopping. You really couldn't have created a better experiment, and we're learning an awful lot. Not everything is working so well, and some things are working really well.”

David Siegel
Co-Founder and Co-Chairman, Two Sigma;
Chairman, Siegel Family Endowment

 

Ever since tinkering with punch-card computers at age 10, David Siegel has had a fascination with data. He co-founded and co-chairs Two Sigma, a data-focused financial services company, and he’s also chairman of the Siegel Family Endowment, which supports organizations that help prepare society for the impact of technology. He spoke with Mike Milken on Monday, May 18, 2020.

While technology speeds communication, Siegel sees areas for improvement: “I think that social media and the overall format of the internet and how we communicate has been turned into really just little snippets of information often without context. … I really am not sure how we can convince our society to spend a little bit more time digesting what's going on around them. That would be a really important change for the better.”


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Ep. 55: Test and Isolate, with Nobel Laureate Paul Romer (5/29/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Paul Romer
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“The fundamental decision that every society has to make is, can we suppress this virus forever if necessary? Can we afford to do that? … If you know that you're going to give up, there's no point to suppress for a while..”

Paul Romer
Economist and Policy Entrepreneur; University Professor, New York University School of Law; Nobel Laureate

 

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer is accustomed to seeing the big picture of a problem – and offering big solutions. In the case of COVID-19, he proposes a comprehensive “test and isolate” policy that would keep the infection rate low while allowing the economy to ramp up.

He also proposes billion-dollar national prizes to scale up testing: one for “the first lab that can process 10 million tests per day” and another for a simple, home-based test “so everybody could just test themselves and find out if they or any of their family members are infectious.”


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Ep. 54: In Translation, with NCATS’ Christopher Austin (5/28/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Chris Austin
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“Are we going to require the same level of evidence for a vaccine … before it is approved? Could we potentially begin to use it at the same time we're still studying it? Normally we would never do that, but it's this kind of translational innovation that this COVID crisis is making not only possible, but needed.”

Christopher Austin
Director, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

 

How do simple scientific observations – from the laboratory, clinic, or the community – become therapies and cures? It’s called translation, and since 2012, one of the 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health has been dedicated to doing just that. As director of NCATS, Christopher Austin oversees a vast ecosystem of research, analysis, and innovation to accelerate cures and therapies to those who need them most.

Austin sees the current pandemic as a turning point for greater data sharing and team science. “We are seeing that on a scale I have never seen across NIH, across government agencies, and with the pharmaceutical and biotech industry,” he tells Mike. “We have a singular moment when everyone realizes the need for faster cures and the limitations of the current system to deliver them.”


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Ep. 53: Helping Hand, with Brent McIntosh (5/27/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Brent J. McIntosh
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“In America, we don't look to the government alone to develop the solutions. We look to the creativity and ingenuity and vitality of the private sector, whether it's corporations or philanthropic organizations for many of those solutions.”

Brent J. McIntosh
Under Secretary for International Affairs, U.S. Department of the Treasury

 

In normal times, Brent McIntosh’s charge at the Treasury Department is to advance America’s economic interests abroad. Today, that mission includes extending a helping hand: McIntosh was instrumental in getting the G7, the G20, the World Bank and the IMF to relax debt service payments from struggling nations so they could focus on caring for their citizens.

McIntosh has also been focused on solutions closer to home: “It's a very difficult challenge to make sure those supply chains can function, but they are functioning … in part because we've put in place many efforts to keep cargo flights moving, to … keep the ports open, and to treat the workers in those supply chains as essential.”


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Ep. 52: The Stakes, with Entrepreneur and Philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa (5/26/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Strive Masiyiwa
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“Public health will not be able to cope with this pandemic if it becomes a major crisis of the scale that we have seen in the West and in China. There's almost nothing we can do about it because we just don't have time. But it has been a massive wake-up call.”

Strive Masiyiwa
Founder and Executive Chairman, Econet Group

 

Strive Masiyiwa is in a race against the clock. The Zimbabwean-born businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist is working to shore up medical and food supply chains so African nations can manage a possible surge of coronavirus cases. For Masiyiwa, the stakes could not be higher.

“We all need to help Africa navigate itself through something which is not if it's making and is affecting us,” he tells Mike. “And this is where we really need some global thinking and audacious thinking. Because if we don't think how to help Africa through this, it could be a very difficult next two or three decades and it doesn't have to be so.”


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Ep. 51: Service, with Former Congressman Henry Waxman (5/26/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Henry Waxman
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“Explain things in a credible way so that the public understands why they're being asked to do things. You can't force people – especially Americans – to do things they refuse to do.”

Henry Waxman
Former U.S. Representative (D-Calif.); Chairman, Waxman Strategies

 

When he retired from the U.S. House of Representatives after four decades of service, Henry Waxman was considered one of the most influential and effective legislators of his era. He championed such issues as the environment, clean energy, and government oversight, sponsoring 48 bills that made it into law. The congressman chaired the first hearing on HIV/AIDS in 1982, as well the tobacco industry hearings 12 years later, demonstrating a commitment to public health that continues to this day.

“We need to change our public health system,” he tells Mike. “We need to make sure that everybody's covered. We need to do contact tracing. … We tackled other pandemics in the United States much more successfully and we've got to be able to have a public health system that will allow us to do that.”


 
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Ep. 50: A Special Episode with PCF And FasterCures (5/22/2020)
A Special Episode on Potential Breakthroughs in COVID-19 Research Coming from Cancer Research by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and FasterCures
Listen: iHeartRadio Apple Podcasts Spotify Overcast A video recording of this episode – with helpful graphics – is also available here.

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“In Casablanca, Rick … says, ‘of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.’ Well, of all the 80,000 proteins in the human genome, COVID-19 walked into the Prostate Cancer Foundation cafe.”

Jonathan Simons
President & CEO, Prostate Cancer Foundation

 

A video recording of this episode – with helpful graphics – is also available here.

Jonathan Simons (President and CEO, Prostate Cancer Foundation) and Esther Krofah (Executive Director, FasterCures) join Mike for a special discussion about how breakthroughs in cancer laboratories are advancing our understanding and possible treatment of COVID-19. 

The roundtable discussion features six scientists from academic medical research institutions and the biopharmaceutical industry sharing their insights on the TMPRSS2 gene’s role as the doorway through which the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the lung. That same genetic doorway also happens to play an important role in several forms of cancer. The promising news is that researchers – including those on this call – have learned how to shut that door in other contexts.


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Ep. 49: Time Equals Lives, with Fastercures’ Esther Krofah (5/22/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Esther Krofar
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“We spend numerous hours a day updating that tracker because what is critical is real-time information that researchers and scientists can respond to. … As I've been speaking to colleagues, ranging from NIH to these large companies, they're using that daily in their prioritization exercises to determine what they can accelerate and what the potential opportunities are.”

Esther Krofar
Executive Director, FasterCures

 

Keeping track of rapid-pace global developments in treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 may seem to be an uphill battle. But since February, Esther Krofah’s team at FasterCures has been producing exactly that: a real-time tool that, as of late May 2020, is monitoring development of more than 200 treatments and 140 vaccines.

Krofah, who assumed her leadership role just months before the coronavirus crisis, continues to build on the organization’s legacy of partnerships with government, industry and patient groups: “We believe time equals lives, and so these organizations, these institutions, have been part of our journey over the last almost three decades. And as we come to a time like this with COVID, we need that foundation of trust. … There's that recognition that individuals, families, patients is what drives us day-in and day-out.”


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Ep. 48: Commencement, with UCLA’s Gene Block (5/21/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Gene Block
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“Normally about 14,000 students live on our campus in our dormitories and that's down to I think less than about 900 students. … The campus has taken on an eerie feeling of really being abandoned.”

Gene Block
Chancellor, University of California Los Angeles

 

Big changes are afoot at UCLA, America’s #1-rated public university. Chancellor Gene Block has already seen an 85% reduction of his on-campus workforce, and with a record of 5,000-plus classes currently being taught online, he anticipates further, more permanent alterations to the way students obtain higher education.

There is one tradition, however, that Chancellor Block believes should remain intact. “Commencement is really important for students. It's a sense of closure. It's also a sense of new beginnings. It really completes one phase of their life and begins another, and we're going to make certain that our students get that experience even if it's somewhat delayed.”


 
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Ep. 47: Unprecedented, with UCLA Health’s John Mazziotta (5/20/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and John Mazziotta
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“One day, for the first time in my 39 years, there were no patients in the emergency department. It was a Sunday morning. Never seen that in my life. … Heart attacks, strokes, mental illness – these people were not coming in. … There are a lot of deaths that are indirectly going to be associated with COVID-19 even though the patients never had the infection.”

John Mazziotta
Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences; CEO, UCLA Health

 

As the vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and the CEO of UCLA Health, John Mazziotta helms one of the crown jewels of California’s formidable medical research and health care ecosystem. When the crisis erupted, his hospitals prepared to be a major hub for the region’s most challenging cases. Fortunately, that anticipated influx never came; however, for UCLA and for hospitals and patients everywhere, Dr. Mazziotta sees consequences that will reverberate for years.

But his concerns about the collateral damage of COVID-19 are at least partially offset by his prognosis for the future: “I'm actually extremely optimistic about how we come out of this,” he tells Mike. “I don't think there's anything in medicine that will look the same after the pandemic. … I've told that to the faculty, I’ve told that to the staff, and we have to figure out a way to do the new world of medicine more efficiently, more effectively and have the end result be better for patients, trainees and scientists.”


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Ep. 46: Stewardship, with DBS Group’s Piyush Gupta (5/19/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Piyush Gupta
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“Most times your right or your requirement for personal privacy trumps other kinds of needs. But a pandemic is … when it becomes quite clear that sometimes the needs of the collective, the needs of society, trump the needs of the individual.”

Piyush Gupta
CEO & Director, DBS Group

 

As the CEO and Director of DBS Group, a financial services firm operating in 18 countries throughout Asia, Piyush Gupta is known for anticipating and staying ahead of current trends in banking. When the pandemic hit, DBS quickly built upon the digital platform Gupta had already implemented.

Gupta’s effective stewardship of the 52-year-old firm – formed as the nation’s development bank – echoes Singapore’s overall management of the crisis: “Even though we now have about 20,000 cases, the actual number of fatalities are only 20,” he tells Mike. “With good medical treatment and good health systems, you can actually manage the virus relatively well.”


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Ep. 45: Anchored, with Admiral James Stavridis (5/18/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and James Stavridis
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“The U.S. and China, particularly in 2020, are on something of a collision course. … We should confront where we must, we should cooperate where we can, and we should be clear-eyed that we're in for a period of real tension.”

James Stavridis
Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.); former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO

 

A retired 4-star, Admiral James Stavridis has not lost his focus on the future of geopolitics and American national security. Recently, the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO has turned his attention to how a pandemic will alter the world order and how America might navigate the crisis.

“Europe will come out of this at worst neutral [and] China will come out clearly in a stronger position,” he tells Mike. “For the United States, we need to avoid the mistake of leaning too far toward isolationism. … That's going to be crucial for the United States in this 21st century.”


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Ep. 44: The Virus and the Clock, with Moderna’s Tal Zaks (5/15/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Tal Zaks
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“In this fight, where we are today – this is May of 2020 – there's a lot of other companies and a lot of other approaches that are trying to generate vaccines. I wish them all success, and we all need to be successful here. I have only two competitors in this race: the virus and the clock.”

Tal Zaks
Chief Medical Officer, Moderna

 

If developing a COVID-19 vaccine were a race, Tal Zaks and Moderna Therapeutics won the first leg. It took them only 63 days from the time the virus was sequenced until they had a new vaccine in human clinical trials. So impressed was BARDA – the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority – that they awarded Moderna $483 million to begin producing the vaccine should it gain FDA approval.

Their vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) to “reprogram” the kinds of proteins a cell expresses – a potential game-changer. “You can make a completely different kind of drug and a completely different kind of vaccine with it,” Zaks tells Mike. “And with that you can go after targets that traditional medicine has found really hard to target.”

Just days after this podcast was recorded, Moderna made a widely reported announcement of positive interim Phase 1 data for its mRNA vaccine.


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Ep. 43: Turning Point, with CEPI’s Richard Hatchett (5/13/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Richard Hatchett
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“When I was working at ground zero, I saw a level of cooperation and willingness for everybody to sort of check their egos at the door because we knew that we were all facing an external threat. And that's exactly what we're seeing today. We're all in this together.”

Richard Hatchett
CEO, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)

 

For Richard Hatchett, 9/11 changed everything. While serving as an oncology fellow in New York City, he quickly found himself on the front lines tending to the injured. He never looked back, shifting his focus to public health, and toward helping as many people as possible deal with external threats. Today, as CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), he coordinates between multiple sectors to ensure that emerging vaccines are safe, effective, and readily available to all who need them.

“We wanted speed, we wanted vaccines that could scale, and we wanted to be able to ensure global access to those vaccines,” he tells Mike. “And so what we've ended up with is a deliberately diversified portfolio to overcome this pandemic.”


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Ep. 42: Foresight, with WorldQuant Predictive’s James Golden (5/12/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and James Golden
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“We knew that some kind of pandemic has always been inevitable. … What we didn't really predict was the magnitude of the impact, the stress on the healthcare system, shocks to markets and economies. … How do we predict the new normal at speed and at scale?”

James Golden
CEO, WorldQuant Predictive

 

Predicting the future isn’t what it used to be, especially with the inherent variables of a pandemic. For WorldQuant Predictive CEO James Golden, the current crisis means putting his company’s artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantitative finance approaches to the test as never before.

Everything today, it seems, is grist for his data mill: “EMR data, genomic data, sequencing data – all of those things are extremely valuable and tell us a lot about viral mutation, virulence, what happens with comorbidities. But there are other kinds of data: mobile phone data, transportation data, consumer signals, buying and demand curves. … How do we think about creating actionable intelligence based on real data in the light of so many unknowns?”


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Ep. 41: Play, with Mattel’s Ynon Kreiz (5/11/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Ynon Kreiz
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“Play is never canceled. You can cancel school, you can suspend retail stores or close movie theaters, but you cannot cancel play.”

Ynon Kreiz
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mattel, Inc.

 

For Mattel CEO Ynon Kreiz, taking the helm of one the world’s iconic companies two years ago was a privilege and a responsibility. In the age of COVID-19, he views the company’s mission as more important than ever to help children – and their parents – navigate the challenge.

The company has even launched a special line of action figures called Thank You Heroes, which – as Kreiz describes to Mike Milken, “celebrates the individuals that are part of the frontline fight against COVID-19. … We are contributing all net proceeds to a charity called First Responders First.”


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Ep. 40: Can-Do, with MassMutual’s Roger Crandall (5/7/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Roger Crandall
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“You start by taking care of your people. Your people then can take care of their families and loved ones. That's how communities get taken care of. And that's kind of the building blocks that we see as being critical here.”

Roger Crandall
Chairman, President & CEO, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company

 

For MassMutual’s Roger Crandall, leadership in times of a pandemic means more opportunities to help policyholders and employees create virtuous cycles. Under his stewardship, the venerable life insurance company has offered $3 billion of free life insurance to frontline workers – a program he hopes to expand.

Crandall finds optimism in the federal Paycheck Protection Program and similar efforts: “This is American business and American “can-do-ism” at its finest, in my opinion. So, I'm actually very optimistic that this can remind everybody of the ability of the public and private side to work together to get us to a better place.”


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Ep. 39: Trial By Fire, with Credit Suisse’s Thomas Gottstein (5/7/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Thomas Gottstein
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“I was deeply impressed. They managed much bigger volumes than in any normal period, and we were really very proud and still are very proud how our fixed income and equity traders managed these challenges, because it was certainly not an easy environment.”

Thomas Gottstein
CEO, Credit Suisse

 

Thomas Gottstein became CEO of Credit Suisse on February 14, 2020. Within three weeks, the world had changed, and he found himself leading the storied firm through the uncharted waters of a pandemic. Moreover, Credit Suisse took a leading role in developing and executing its nation’s rescue package.

Gottstein, a 20-year veteran of Credit Suisse, understands the occasion to which his industry must rise: “Since the financial crisis, there were a lot of negative comments about the role of banks. … This crisis has helped us to emphasize the important role banks can play in supporting the broader economy and supporting private individuals, corporates or institutions in times of crisis.”


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Ep. 38: Disparities, with Freda Lewis-Hall (5/6/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Freda Lewis-Hall
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“One of the other things that has come to light with regards to COVID-19 are health disparities … in the infection rates and the hospitalization rates and in the death rates of certain communities.”

Freda Lewis-Hall
Former Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer, Inc.

 

As a young African American girl growing up in the early 1960s, Freda Lewis-Hall was accustomed to people telling her that she would never attain her dream of becoming a doctor. Today, she can look back at a 35-year career that included serving as Pfizer’s Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, where she was a passionate advocate for health equity and improved outcomes for all patients.

Trained as a psychiatrist, Dr. Lewis-Hall is particularly concerned about the impact COVID-19 is having on communities who are disproportionately affected with higher mortality rates, and who perform much of what we now consider essential frontline work. “From nursing staff and medical staff, EMTs, people who are working in grocery stores, who are picking up the trash, driving public transportation – these people are at exposed risk. They know it, and they're also dealing with the emotional disadvantage of facing this every day.”


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Ep. 37: Resilience, with Hospitality Icon Stephen J. Cloobeck (5/5/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Stephen J. Cloobeck
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“The consumer is resilient. Vacations are mandatory. I believe the cruise business within a year will be back. I truly believe that. And I believe the [Las Vegas] Strip will be back within that period of time too.”

Stephen J. Cloobeck
Founder, Former Chairman and CEO, Diamond Resorts International

 

As the founder of Diamond Resorts International and the former chairman of Brand USA – the nation’s first public-private partnership to promote tourism – Nevada native Stephen J. Cloobeck has led the hospitality industry through good times and bad.

As he consults with companies and governments about COVID-19, he’s focused on guest safety, transparent communications, and the resilient nature of the human impulse to explore the world. He’s also a realist when it comes to how to properly think about reopening the nation: “If you're looking for a perfect solution, it doesn't exist.”


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Ep. 36: The Pioneer, with The National Cancer Institute’s Steven Rosenberg (5/4/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Steven Rosenberg
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“We're perhaps working now at 10% of where we were working before the COVID infections. It's heartbreaking to think of what cancer patients are going through as they're watching their cancers grow and yet to have to deal with this threat of the virus and problems in getting access to care.”

Steven Rosenberg
Chief, Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute

 

When Steven Rosenberg joined the National Cancer Institute more than 45 years ago, he was determined to prove that a patient’s own immune system could be used to fight cancer. His interleukin-2 therapy was approved by the FDA for cancer in 1992, leading to many more advances and resulting in thousands of lives extended and saved.

Today, this pioneer of immunotherapy is seeking to better understand how to use those same advances to fight COVID-19. “We're taking information that we've learned from cancer treatment and learning to at least control some of the morbidity that occurs from a viral infection, which comes from the vigorous immune reaction and the release of hormones that causes many of the side effects of COVID.”


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Ep. 35: Access, with Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon (5/1/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and David Solomon
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“This is a demand shutdown in the economy that's affecting all businesses. … If you're a small business, your access to capital in some cases can be limited, [so] that's why getting resources to these small businesses that employ so many is so, so important.”

David Solomon
Chairman and CEO, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc

 

For David Solomon and Goldman Sachs, helping small enterprises navigate the crisis requires access – to expertise, education and to capital. The firm continues its 10,000 Small Businesses program and has pledged more than half a billion dollars to support community lenders.

These days, Solomon’s particularly focused on creating outcomes that are sustainable and equitable: “Whenever you go through a crisis,” he tells Mike, “disadvantages are amplified. We continue to try to find ways that we can make sure that resources, including capital and business allocation, are directed to women-led businesses.”


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Ep. 34: Upside Down, with Vivek Ramaswamy (5/1/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Vivek Ramaswamy
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“Seeing my own family members in New York go through what they're going through has … not only turned our personal life upside down, but also has turned upside down a bit the near-term priorities of our company to help do our part in addressing this pandemic.”

Vivek Ramaswamy
Founder and CEO, Roivant Sciences

 

When Vivek Ramaswamy was only 28, he founded the pharmaceutical company Roivant Sciences. When COVID-19 hit New York City, his wife was a frontline medical worker – and pregnant with their son. The child was born healthy, but his wife and father-in-law soon tested positive for the virus. They are still recovering.

As Ramaswamy manages his company from a home in Ohio, the man who graduated summa cum laude from Harvard muses on life’s hard-earned lessons: “Things don't always go as you expected, but you rise to the occasion in the best way you can.”


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Ep. 33: Public-Private Partners, with DFC’s Adam Boehler (4/30/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Adam Boehler
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“We're testing 200,000 Americans a day. That's an 80x increase, and we've done 5.2 million tests to date. That's not only number one in terms of number of tests that we're at from a country basis, it's number one on a per capita basis.”

Adam Boehler
CEO, U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC)

 

As CEO of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, Adam Boehler focuses on using finance to solve challenges in the developing world. These days, he’s also helping his own country navigate the crisis by accelerating testing and strengthening supply chains.

An entrepreneur himself, Boehler’s been especially proud of the private sector’s response: “We get asked all the time, how come we're not throwing Defense Production Act orders all over the place and just commandeering and taking over. It's not necessary when you have our private market taking all the right actions.”


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Ep. 32: Sequencing, with Illumina’s Francis deSouza (4/30/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Francis deSouza
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“The first genome sequence of the virus that was published on January 12th online was done on Illumina machines, and so we have been working on this outbreak [since] well before it became a pandemic.”

Francis deSouza
President and CEO, Illumina

 

Sequencing DNA quickly and cheaply has revolutionized medicine with new cures and therapies that have extended and saved lives. As president and CEO of Illumina, Francis deSouza has been at the forefront of these advances and is leading his company toward new applications that can help fight a pandemic.

He and Mike discuss how to get the world back to work, how many genomes may actually be present in our bodies, and a novel way of safeguarding the world’s data: “DNA has been optimized by nature to be the best storage medium out there and it's only a matter of time before we use it ourselves for the data that we generate.”


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Ep. 31: Backstop, with the Veterans Health Administration’s Richard Stone (4/29/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Dr. Richard Stone
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“As we began to see in January the evolution of this virus … we began reorienting ourselves to our inpatient responsibilities and to the potential that the nation would need us to be its backstop in a healthcare system.”

Richard Stone
Executive in Charge, Veterans Health Administration

 

Dr. Richard Stone’s job title is as clear and direct as the man who occupies it: As the executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration, the nation’s largest integrated healthcare system, he carries the awesome responsibility of protecting the health of 9 million veterans and 360,000 employees.

A combat veteran himself, he offers simple advice to address a worrying trend: “Early on in this pandemic, we began to see veterans canceling their mental health visits. … If you know any family member, any friend, who is going through intense social isolation, pick up the phone today.”


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Ep. 30: Values, with Kroger’s Rodney McMullen (4/28/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Rodney McMullen
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“We made the decision to share publicly all the work that we were doing internally in case it could be helpful. … We're trying to pay it forward just like others paid it forward to us.”

Rodney McMullen
Chairman and CEO, The Kroger Co.

 

When Rodney McMullen took a high school job bagging groceries at his local Kroger, he had no way to know he’d go on to lead the company – now one of America’s largest employers. Another surprise in his American Dream story: that his associates would one day be frontline heroes in a global pandemic.

And the company itself is playing a hero role. As so many businesses struggle and lay off workers, Kroger’s hiring 60,000 new employees. “A lot of those people … come out of the food-service industry, come out of working in small medical professions, or for veterinarians. … People that are naturally inclined to serve others. So that's one of the things that's really helped us maintain our values.”


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Ep. 29: Powerhouse, with Siemens USA’s Barbara Humpton (4/28/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Barbara Humpton
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“We often talk about Siemens as being a company that was built to serve society. And that mission really hasn't changed. … We have real expertise in electrification, automation and digitalization. And that's all coming into play right now as the nation wrestles with COVID-19.”

Barbara Humpton
President and CEO, Siemens USA

 

Hospitals. Factories. Data centers. Government facilities. If it’s is an essential service or industry in this country, chances are Siemens USA is helping to power and maintain it. As president and CEO, Barbara Humpton has overseen major changes to how her 50,000 employees stay safe as they #KeepTheLightsOn for everyone else.

Throughout the pandemic, she has not lost sight of what is truly at stake. “We're going to find ways to accommodate, ways to adapt, but the really critical thing is to connect and care because I think the empathy we show one another right now is going to be the most important medicine we can offer.”


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Ep. 28: Triage, with Ray Dalio (4/27/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Ray Dalio
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“A financial bomb has gone off. And then you have to say, okay, who are you going to help first? … Choices have to be made. The real question is whether we can do that together in a bipartisan way, in a skillful way, because there's enough money and credit to go around and this can be done.”

Ray Dalio
Founder, Co-CIO and Co-Chairman, Bridgewater Associates

 

For master investor Ray Dalio, COVID-19 presents a unique opportunity to create greater fairness in our system. The founder of Bridgewater Associates – the largest hedge fund in the world – sees outright threats to the American Dream rising from wage disparities and environmental degradation.

Top among his preferred national reinvestments would be the great equalizer: “You want to enable as many people as is possible to have equal opportunity of education. That's number one. And then establishing a minimum acceptable living standard and poverty level that they can't go below, particularly their children. … I think we could do that.”


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Ep. 27: Reaching Out, with Humana’s Bruce Broussard (4/27/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Bruce Broussard
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“Many of our members are alone and in their homes, and that can become quite an impact on their mental health. Having a phone call and being able to talk to somebody sounds so simple, but has been so impactful.”

Bruce Broussard
President and CEO, Humana

 

As president and CEO of one of America’s largest health insurance companies, Bruce Broussard considers every aspect of care for Humana’s more than 20 million members. These days, he’s especially focused on making sure his 65-and-over members have their basic needs covered: access to food, prescriptions, and basic medical care – and helping them avoid loneliness.

Soon into the crisis, he initiated a 100-CEO roundtable to learn and share, and it’s given him hope: “The general business community has come together in so many different ways. … This ability to create a system that is oriented to a common ground has just been so powerful, so powerful.”


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Ep. 26: Greenlight, with Alibaba’s Joe Tsai (4/24/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Joe Tsai
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“When we reopened, we were very tentative about letting people back into the office. … You have to show your health code, which is attached to the Alipay app. It'll show a green, yellow, or red code; basically it reflects a lot of data — where you've been, who you've been with.”

Joe Tsai
Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, Alibaba Group;
Governor, Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty

 

If you’ve never heard of Alibaba, chances are you aren’t one of the 700 million active annual consumers living in China who rely on the company for e-commerce, online auctions, technology and business services, entertainment, and even grocery shopping. Keeping Alibaba’s 100,000 employees healthy is a priority for co-founder Joe Tsai, and he’s wary of going too fast, too soon.

“China doesn't publish testing data, but our estimate is that there is at least 20-25 million tests that have already been done. … If you open up and you cannot detect, trace and isolate infected patients, then it's going to be a disaster.”


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Ep. 25: Essential Work, with KinderCare’s Tom Wyatt (4/24/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Tom Wyatt
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“[Our teachers] write me, they call me, they are so taken aback by the grateful comments they get, the emotional letters and emails they get from the doctors and nurses and others saying that they could not be doing their work without our support”

Tom Wyatt
CEO, KinderCare Education

 

With more than two-thirds of his 1,500 KinderCare centers now closed, Tom Wyatt feels it is his civic duty to keep the remaining ones open to serve the children of parents who must work – including those on the frontlines. That sense of responsibility – to community and to nation – is to be expected from Wyatt, who left his highly successful leadership career in retail to pursue a calling in early childhood education.

Surveying the consequences of the current pandemic, Wyatt points to a significant impact that’s often overlooked: “The emotional stress on children today,” he tells Mike, “may be even more critical than the academic loss.”


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Ep. 24: The Right Thing, with Children’s National Hospital’s Kurt Newman (4/23/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Kurt Newman
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“We've been around for 150 years and we want to be around for another 150 years. So we'll figure out a way to deal with the finances. Right now we're just focused on doing the right thing for these kids and families.”

Kurt Newman
President and CEO, Children’s National Hospital

 

Putting patients first – in this case, young patients who often require special care and immediate attention – has long been Kurt Newman’s priority at Children’s National. And that conviction has held true through the unprecedented health and economic challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis.

Indeed, Newman recounts the unique way one of his nurses was able to help a young patient: “She had tested positive, went through the illness, returned to work. … She donated her plasma to help take care of one of our patients. And it turned that child around. That's the commitment and courage that these frontline workers have.”


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Ep. 23: Curveball, with Major League Baseball’s Rob Manfred (4/23/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Rob Manfred
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“They may not be perfect with large crowds at Dodger Stadium. It may look a little different. But I really am committed to the idea that it's important as part of our recovery to get the game back on.”

Rob Manfred
Commissioner of Baseball

 

“They may not be perfect with large crowds at Dodger Stadium. It may look a little different. But I really am committed to the idea that it's important as part of our recovery to get the game back on.”

A month after what would have been opening day, the national pastime remains in limbo. For Commissioner Rob Manfred, deciding when to play ball this year means reflecting on the example set by his predecessor after 9/11, when baseball helped bring Americans together. Just like then, he tells Mike, “baseball can be kind of an important milestone in the return to normalcy.”

In the meantime, a spirit of shared sacrifice is helping those throughout the MLB family:  Manfred’s own senior staff took pay cuts so other employees would be taken care of; team owners created a $30 million fund to assist game-day workers; and the Pennsylvania factory that makes MLB uniforms was retooled to produce masks for first-responders.


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Ep. 22: Gaining Ground, with Amgen’s Robert Bradway (4/22/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Robert Bradway
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“This is, of course, unlike anything any of us have experienced before. This synchronous global shutdown caused by what is a pretty tricky virus – a virus that had a head start on all of us. But we're gaining ground fast.”

Robert Bradway
Chairman and CEO, Amgen

 

Under Robert Bradway’s leadership, Amgen is aggressively pursuing SARS-CoV-2 on a number of fronts. Some of their efforts build on past successes, focusing on antibodies and the immune system. Another looks to the small island nation of Iceland for genetic clues about the virus’s mutations and spread.

Bradway holds true to the credo to first do no harm as he thinks about the many other patients who rely on Amgen’s life-saving medicines: “We need to make sure that while we're responding to COVID-19, we're not doing it at the expense of all these other patients, or we're going to create a secondary healthcare crisis that we never intended and that we could have prevented by striking that balance.”


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Ep. 21: Ramping Up, with Novartis’s Vasant Narasimhan (4/22/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Vas Narasimhan
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“Our thinking is, how do we create a protease inhibitor that could work on future coronaviruses, not just the current coronavirus? … Fundamentally, our ability to withstand pandemics is likely going to center around our ability to think of this more as a defense topic than a health topic.”

Vas Narasimhan
CEO, Novartis

 

As the CEO of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, Vas Narasimhan knows what a unique moment in history this is. That’s why he’s spending hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development to attack COVID-19 from a variety of angles. Among these are protease inhibitors, monoclonal antibodies, and “glue degraders” that help dissolve critical proteins in the virus.
 
As one of the world’s largest producers of hydroxychloroquine, they are also watching ongoing testing of that antimalarial drug. If the tests show it to be safe and effective, Novartis is ready to donate 130 million doses to start, and more if needed. For a company that last year produced more than 72 billion doses of medicine for nearly 800 million patients, ramping up to a global scale is a challenge Narasimhan and his company are eager to accept.


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Ep. 20: Sounding the Alarm, with Entrepreneur Jeff Skoll (4/21/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Jeff Skoll
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“About a month ago in the U.S. we had about a thousand confirmed cases; today we have about 600,000. The developing world is very much on that same pathway.”

Jeff Skoll
Founder and Chairman, Skoll Foundation, The Jeff Skoll Group, Participant, and Capricorn Investment Group

 

Jeff Skoll knows pandemics. More than a decade ago he launched an organization whose current name reflects its mission: Ending Pandemics. Skoll, who once served as eBay’s first president, also sounded the alarm (presciently, it now seems) when he produced the 2011 film Contagion, which anticipated the global upheaval caused by a pathogen originating from a wet market half a world away.

From his years studying what could go wrong with a virus like COVID-19, Skoll clearly sees the challenges ahead: “We literally need something like 22 million tests a day, to truly open up the country and be safe,” the soft-spoken Canadian tells Mike. “And cumulatively, I believe that there are no more than 22 million tests that have been done all over the world.”


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Ep. 19: First Things First, with Senator Rick Scott (4/21/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Rick Scott
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“If we do anything to get this economy going again, make it easy for the entrepreneurs in this country.”

Rick Scott
U.S. Senator (R-Fla.); former Governor of Florida

 

As two-term governor of Florida, Rick Scott led his state through crises including hurricanes, mass shootings and the Zika virus. Now, as a U.S. Senator, he’s helping see the nation through COVID-19. While the roles are different, Scott’s philosophy is the same: He spends his days listening and helping people solve their problems.

A champion of small-businesses and entrepreneurship, his focus today is on reopening the nation safely, and he’s identified the immediate challenge: “The biggest thing we've got to chip away at right now, I think, is we’ve got to figure out this testing … because it's going to be hard to get this economy going without it.”


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Ep. 18: Searchlight, with Senator Harry Reid (4/21/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Harry Reid
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“At this stage, we have to recognize that there’s going to be some downtime here. But I think that with the experience we’ve had around the country, especially in New York, it’s something we can handle.”

Harry Reid
Former U.S. Senator (D-Nev.)

 

Senator Harry Reid knows about handling adversity. Born during the Great Depression, he grew up in a shack in Searchlight, Nevada with no indoor toilet, telephone, or hot water. He fought – literally, as an amateur boxer – to earn money to advance himself. As a law student at George Washington University, he moonlighted as a gun-carrying security guard at the U.S. Capitol Building. Reid never forgot his humble beginnings, which may be why he has always championed the underdog.

In this episode, the man from Searchlight talks about his life and accomplishments in the healthcare sector including the doubling of the NIH budget, the creation of the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), and most famously, his shepherding and eventual passage of the Affordable Care Act.


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Ep. 17: Data-Driven, With Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (4/20/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Steve Ballmer
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“There is an information-collection problem from the counties, which is where most of the data lives. We've got a team that literally goes through both by hand and using technology. … It's one of the things I'd say we're very proud of is being able to help CDC with some of that.”

Steve Ballmer
Founder, USAFacts; former CEO, Microsoft;
Co-Founder, Ballmer Group; Chairman, Los Angeles Clippers

 

In 1980, Steve Ballmer left Stanford’s MBA program to become Microsoft’s 30th employee. Thirty-four years later, he retired as CEO and promptly channeled his formidable energy into a variety of interests, including USAFacts.org, which makes government data accessible and understandable.

In the current crisis, he is quick to quantify just how important one response will be to many Americans: “In this country, 60% the families earn less than $66,000 a year. So these $1,200 checks plus appropriate increases for presence of children in the home are highly, highly relevant to restarting the economy.”


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Ep. 16: The Translator, With PCF’s Jonathan Simons (4/20/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Jonathan Simons
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“This is why we all went into medicine – for moments like this where we come together.”

Jonathan Simons
President and CEO, Prostate Cancer Foundation

 

For Jonathan Simons and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, global collaboration and team science were a way of life long before the pandemic. The organization’s support of groundbreaking science has changed our understanding of cancer – from organ-specific to mutation-specific – and has thus translated into effective solutions for patients across more than 70 forms of the disease.

The hard-won lessons from the war on cancer, Simons believes, will be crucial to solving COVID-19. And he predicts that what we learn today in this collaborative surge of research will save lives in other diseases long into the future.


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Ep. 15: The Record-Keeper, with Epic’s Judy Faulkner (4/20/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Judy Faulkner
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“We do have a culture of ownership, of working hard, of wanting to be heroes helping heroes. That's one of the things you hear our staff say.”

Judy Faulkner
Founder and CEO, Epic

 

The story is familiar, even mythic: brilliant young student builds out a new technology in her garage and changes the world. But Judy Faulkner never made it to Silicon Valley. The medical software company she founded in a Madison basement four decades ago remains in Wisconsin – while Epic’s importance to the world of healthcare continues to grow.

More than 250 million patient medical records are on the Epic platform, and that data could yield valuable clues in the search for solutions to the pandemic. It’s all part of the employee-owned company’s mission to support the heroes on the front lines.


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Ep. 14: Renaissance Woman, with Sue Desmond-Hellmann (4/17/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Sue Desmond-Hellmann
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“This is such a good example of a multi-lab, multi-investigator scientific collaboration where people are just going as fast as they can together, putting competition to the side.”

Sue Desmond-Hellmann
Former CEO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; former Chancellor, UCSF; former President of Product Development, Genentech

 

From serving as a frontline physician treating HIV patients in Uganda, to overseeing new therapies for a leading biopharma company, to running a renowned health sciences university, to heading the world’s largest philanthropy – Sue Desmond-Hellmann has seen it all.

It’s little surprise, then, that when she surveys the current pandemic she sees possible solutions across a range of areas. Her conversation with Mike Milken covers broad topics including how to build a durable and effective public health infrastructure as well as deeply specific issues such as whether interleukin-6 inhibitors might be able to prevent the eventual cause of most COVID-19 fatalities – the phenomenon known as cytokine storms.


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Ep. 13: Community, with AARP's Jo Ann Jenkins (4/15/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Jo Ann Jenkins
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“It is that American spirit and willingness to give of oneself to make life better for others that is behind everything that we do at AARP.”

Jo Ann Jenkins
CEO, AARP

 

Since taking the helm of the largest nonprofit for Americans 50 and older, Jo Ann Jenkins has built a culture of community among her staff, 60,000 volunteers, and her organization’s 38 million members. Recently, this has been made easier by the fact that years ago she implemented powerful two-way communication infrastructure for her employees that could be quickly repurposed to include her constituents. Now, AARP hosts massive, weekly tele-townhall calls that help its members navigate today’s unique challenges.

That’s just one way Jo Ann continues to advance her idea of the American spirit. She adds, “In the last two weeks, we've trained over 900 people who have said, I'm willing to pick up the phone and make a call to someone that I don't even know, to just check on them.”


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Ep. 12: A Global View, with EY's Carmine Di Sibio (4/14/2020)
CPodcast with Mike Milken and armine Di Sibio
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“We've stressed to all our people and in particular our partners around the world that now is the time they really needed to be close with their clients, help them in any way they can, whether large clients, small clients and so forth, including doing work pro bono to make sure that they're surviving longer term.”

Carmine Di Sibio
Global Chairman and CEO, EY

 

For EY’s 300,000 global employees – including 25,000 in China – the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted what it means to serve clients as trusted advisors and help them navigate an uncertain world. For Carmine Di Sibio, it’s also meant seeing to the wellbeing of a massive, global and highly mobile workforce.

As EY’s global chairman and CEO, Di Sibio has perhaps one of the most expansive views of how this situation is affecting organizations in every sector and geography. And to understand where we are and where we’re headed, he needs only look inside EY, which he views as “a little microcosm of the world.”


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Ep. 11: Impatient, with Tempus/Groupon's Eric Lefkofsky (4/13/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Eric Lefkofsky
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“Today, if somebody’s positive for COVID-19, it still doesn't tell you what's likely to happen next. And what we're trying to do by combining clinical and molecular data is really be able to predict what's likely to happen to them next.”

Eric Lefkofsky
Founder and CEO, Tempus

 

When Groupon founder Eric Lefkofsky’s wife was diagnosed with cancer, he found the lack of data maddening. Outside of her hospital it was the 21st century, but once he passed through the doors he felt he was being ushered two or three decades into the past.

He launched Tempus to change that. The company analyzes vast pools of genetic data to find and develop therapeutics for conditions ranging from cancers to major depressive disorder. He’s especially frustrated at the lack of progress in the current crisis. “We now have in this country over 400,000 patients who have tested positive for COVID-19,” he tells Mike. “Where is that data? Why don’t we have that data in one central place?”

For Lefkofsky, the promise of personalized medicine means finding and developing the right medicine for the right patient at the right time. Today, any of us may be the next patient, and the clock is ticking.


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Ep. 10: The Public Servant, with former FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg (4/9/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Margaret Hamburg
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“I always said it was a question of when , not if , we would have to combat a global pandemic. But I never really thought I'd be watching it play out in real time.”

Margaret Hamburg
Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Medicine;
former Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

 

Margaret “Peggy” Hamburg has devoted her life to elevating the best in public health while anticipating the worst. As New York City Health Commissioner, she curtailed the spread of tuberculosis. She served as senior scientist for the Nuclear Threat Initiative. After the attacks on the World Trade Center, she redoubled her efforts to help create a world safe from chemical and biological weapons. And, as one of the longest-serving FDA commissioners, she modernized food safety regulations and implemented the Tobacco Control Act. Forbes magazine named her one of the world’s most powerful women.

She remains optimistic about the current crisis, noting how quickly scientists were able to sequence the virus and share it with the world. “We have to realize that with a global pandemic, we are truly all in it together.”


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Ep. 9: Shock Treatment, with Google's Eric Schmidt (4/8/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Eric Schmidt
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“We're going to need … some kind of shock treatment for seven, eight, nine days where we shut down everything to stop the spread…. And when I say shut down, I mean shut down.”

Eric Schmidt
Former CEO and Chairman, Google

 

That’s Eric Schmidt’s bold plan to put a stop to the pandemic so we can start to return the nation to some semblance of normalcy. Schmidt, who led Google from a startup to one of the largest and most influential companies in the world, now chairs the Defense Innovation Advisory Board, part of the U.S. Department of Defense.

Post-crisis, Schmidt sees opportunities for positive change. One example: with millions of students ushered into remote learning, Schmidt suggests we “see if we can actually get remote learning better than traditional learning.”

And he offers a simple but powerful reminder of his industry’s role in our lives: “Think about how bad this pandemic would be if you didn't have the internet.”


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Ep. 8: Legacy, with former FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach (4/7/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Andrew von Eschenbach
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“If we think of the game-changers of what is going to get America and the world back functioning normally, the FDA is probably right now the most central and critical of all the federal agencies.”

Andrew von Eschenbach
President, Samaritan Health Initiatives Inc.; former Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; former Director, National Cancer Institute

 

Long before Andrew von Eschenbach served as FDA Commissioner, he formed a personal and professional bond with a young philanthropist, Mike Milken, who sought to transform biomedical research and speed cures to the world. Both men had lost their fathers to cancer and together were determined to prevent other families from similar fates. In this episode, they speak candidly and passionately about the job ahead.

If he were back at his old job at FDA, von Eschenbach would favor a multi-pronged approach to deal with the current crisis: capitalize on big data sets and near-instantaneous transfers; translate successful cancer immunotherapies and apply them to viruses; accelerate testing of drugs that have already been FDA-approved; and foster greater international cooperation and global engagement. “We need to move beyond this wounding of ourselves and of our society to create a legacy,” he says, “to make sure that this does not happen again.”


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Ep. 7: Team Science, with MD Anderson's James Allison and Padmanee Sharma (4/7/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken, James Allison and Padmanee Sharma
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“There’s an amazing collaboration of institutions across the country to bring all our knowledge together to try to do this as fast as we can.”

James Allison
Regental Professor and Chair, Department of Immunology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Nobel Laureate

Padmanee Sharma
Scientific Director, Immunotherapy Platform; Professor, Genitourinary Medical Oncology and Immunology,
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

 

That’s 2018 Nobel laureate Jim Allison. He and the renowned oncologist and immunologist Pam Sharma have been dubbed the “cancer-fighting power couple.” They’ve dedicated their careers to harnessing the body’s own power to fight off tumors and pathogens.

They shared their views on what needs to happen to combat the novel coronavirus, and they offer a reminder of the impacts the pandemic is having on all current and future patients with other conditions. Their Houston hospital has established COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 wards, and Allison described the frustration of interrupting other life-saving research: “We’ve just, of necessity, had to suspend that because this is a much more immediate danger.”


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Ep. 6: Mobilization, with George Washington University's Lynn Goldman (4/6/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Lynn Goldman
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“We need to be preparing for the second and third waves. And to me that means revving up testing and contact tracing.”

Lynn Goldman
Dean, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University

 

When it comes to COVID-19, Lynn Goldman takes a 360-degree view. That’s not surprising given her experience in government (at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and academia (as the Dean of George Washington University’s School of Public Health) – not to mention her career as a pediatrician and environmental epidemiologist.

Goldman discusses how she’s protecting her GWU faculty and students so they can focus on protecting the general public health through every means possible: from suppression and mitigation, to drugs and therapies, to an ultimate vaccine.

She reminds us that the U.S. wrote the book on pandemic response and should now re-learn the lessons we’ve shared with other countries: “In essence, [South Korea] took the methods that we had developed in our CDC [and] souped this up with some high-tech tools.”


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Ep. 5: Breaking the Code, with Nobel Laureate David Baltimore (4/6/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and David Baltimore
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“We don't know what we're going to find as we try to make a vaccine against coronavirus. It may be straightforward. It may be a rife with difficulties that we have not seen before.”

David Baltimore
President Emeritus, Professor of Biology at Caltech;
Nobel Laureate

 

In the midst of a public health crisis, when reliable information is often difficult to come by, David Baltimore can be trusted to offer reasoned and rational thinking. After all, the iconic Nobel laureate and Caltech professor has led groundbreaking research into virology, genetics, and DNA and has been at the forefront of efforts to mitigate HIV and AIDS.

Baltimore outlines the challenges of treating COVID-19, ending with a hopeful prognosis: “There has never been a larger international effort to try to deal with an infection. That alone makes me optimistic.”


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Ep. 4: Moonshot, with Johnson & Johnson's Alex Gorsky (4/5/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Alex Gorsky
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“What we announced that day was that we have identified a lead candidate for COVID-19 vaccine…. This is a bit of a moonshot for us.”

Alex Gorsky
Chairman & CEO, Johnson & Johnson

 

That’s Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky talking about the $1 billion partnership his company formed with BARDA, the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The company is ramping up so that if the accelerated clinical trials go well and the vaccine is needed, his company will be prepared to produce and ship by early 2021.

Gorsky spoke with Mike Milken about lessons the company learned from its Ebola vaccine, how to keep a global workforce safe and healthy, and how his training at West Point and as a Lieutenant and Captain in the U.S. Army shapes his mission-driven leadership. The company recently approved a policy for its physicians and healthcare providers to take 14-weeks of paid leave to serve on the front lines of the crisis, helping them achieve the intensive-care credo that no patient dies alone.


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Ep. 3: An Unlikely Patient, with Allogene's Arie Belldegrun (4/3/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Arie Belldegrun
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“On day eight, I had a…low grade temperature of 100.7 and then muscle ache and fatigue. That night … I requested to be tested and had a positive testing for COVID-19.”

Arie Belldegrun
Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, Allogene Therapeutics

 

Following a conference in Boston, Arie Belldegrun – entrepreneur and biomedical pioneer – developed symptoms of COVID-19. His wife did not. Both would later test positive. Such disparities highlight one of the many challenges with the novel coronavirus.

In this case, though, the virus may have picked the wrong battle: Belldegrun is one of the few people in history who have created successful therapies to defeat cancer. In his conversation with Mike, he shares his perspectives about how we will win the COVID-19 fight – through suppression and mitigation, to therapies (including immunotherapy, antivirals and antibodies), to vaccine development.

“I have personally no doubt that we will control that disease rapidly … within the next three to probably six months,” he tells Mike. “This is work that otherwise would have taken 10 years.”


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Ep. 2: Grand Rounds, with Providence's Rod Hochman (4/3/2020)
Rod Hochman
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“As soon as that patient hit the doors of our emergency room, our people were gowned and gloved, ready to go…. And we immediately found out that we had the first case of COVID-19 in the United States.”

Rod Hochman
President & CEO, Providence St. Joseph Health;
Chair-Elect, American Hospital Association

 

That was in January, when Rod Hochman’s Providence Health was thrust to the front lines of the pandemic. A seasoned physician, Hochman immediately instituted international “grand rounds,” where thousands of clinicians can share and learn lessons from their first-hand experiences caring for COVID-19 patients.

Hochman shares some of those lessons: on emergency treatments, on protecting his 120,000 caregivers, and on gearing up his 51 hospitals and 1,000 clinics for a surge of cases that, so far, has not materialized.

On that last point: he also discusses the unseen challenges the virus brings to the hospital business model. “We’re having [our orthopedic surgeons] answer the phones. … They're not doing the things that they do best, which is operating.”


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Ep. 1: Big Science, with NIH's Francis Collins (4/3/2020)
Podcast with Mike Milken and Francis Collins
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“We have on our own campus the Vaccine Research Center that is working 24/7 to accelerate the progress with as many different vaccines as possible, but particularly one that is already in phase 1 trials.”

Francis Collins
Director, National Institutes of Health

 

Francis Collins was born for big science. After a successful 13-year effort leading 2,400 scientists in six countries to crack the “DNA instruction book,” the one-time leader of the Human Genome Project now is now directing the largest biomedical research agency in the world to tackle COVID-19.

He tells Mike that massive, coordinated networks of clinical trials will be essential to finding a cure and should include every patient who has tested positive for the virus. Once a highly promising vaccine is found, Collins would accelerate production so it can rapidly deployed.

Collins’ leadership ushered in a new era of precision medicine, leading to countless breakthroughs that save, extend and improve lives. The world is counting on his leadership to find just one more.