Name: BK. Kishore
Title: President, CEO & CSO
Organisation: ePurines, Inc.
BK. Kishore is an academician and innovator turned to entrepreneurship. Trained as a physician in India, BK chose academic and research career instead of clinical practice. With about four decades of research experience on the kidney diseases and related conditions, over three continents, Asia (India & Japan), Europe, and the United States, including the Intramural Program of the US National Institutes of Health, BK did outstanding research as assessed by his peers with seminal discoveries and patents to his credit. In recognition of his innovative research, BK has been inducted as a Senior Member of the National Academy of Inventors, Washington DC, a distinction given to the foremost emerging academic inventors, who have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society, while educating and mentoring the next generation of inventors.
Prior to launching ePurines at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to commercialize the inventions made by him and his colleagues, BK worked as the Principal Investigator at the US Department of Veterans Affairs Salt Lake City Healthcare System for two decades, where he developed and directed an internationally recognized kidney research program and received Superior Performance Award, and Press Release and Radio Broadcast of his seminal research. Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Utah Health, Salt Lake City, Utah, while directing his startup, ePurines, Inc., as its President, CEO & CSO.
BK’s distinctions include induction as the Chartered Biologist (CBiol) and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB), London, UK; elected fellowships of the American Society of Nephrology (FASN), International Society of Nephrology (FISN), American Physiological Society (FAPS), and American Heart Association (FAHA). He is also an Honorary Distinguished Fellow of the Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO). BK received citations in Marquis Who’sWho in Medicine and Healthcare and the European Biographical Directory. He is an accomplishes editor – Founding Editor-in-Chief of the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (JAAPI), and received Outstanding Editor Award from the Frontiers in Renal Physiology and Pathophysiology, a Switzerland-based journal. BK is a freelance writer and composer in English and Telugu (his native language) and published two motivational and self-development books for students and youth. BK believes that a passionate purpose-oriented life is far superior to an ambitious success-driven life. The former creates opportunities for others, whereas the latter only avails opportunities created by others. The 21st century belongs to those who create opportunities, but not to those who only avail opportunities created by others.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope BK's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Passion, Perseverance and Patience are quintessential bricks of leadership. But they need the cement called Self-discipline to bind them together. Cultivating self-discipline is the most challenging part of leadership. But once that is achieved, then the leadership will manifest in us automatically.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Being the eldest son in a middle-class family with three siblings, from childhood I had to take responsibility and be a role model for my younger brothers. So, the concept of a leader with willingness to accept responsibility was ingrained into my mind since childhood. Over the years, that grew, and I started accepting more and more responsible roles in the school and college. Eventually, I realized that leadership is not something that will be given to us, but it is a manifestation of our urge to be a leader. If we have that inner urge, there is nothing that can stop us from becoming a leader.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Since my college days, I have been used to working 12 hours a day, six days a week. I divide my day into a several periods with breaks to relax in between. I prioritize my work with a list on my desk and follow that prioritization strictly. Time management is a very important aspect of my daily routine. I do not indulge myself in any activity that does not move me toward my goals or objectives even an inch. Both momentum and direction are equally important to me. I also spend time thinking how to break complex work into pieces that can be easily manageable. Finally, for each day I have a ‘to do’ list. Until I complete that list, I will not go to bed.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
The recent leadership lesson I learned is centered around entrepreneurship, which I took up at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 after leaving active academic life. It was a major change from a structured life to a completely fluid phase of work walking in unchartered waters, often alone, with no clue where I was heading for. Suddenly, I faced several variables and uncertainties with very little grip on the issues I was working on. So, I started reading and watching videos about the life of an entrepreneur and was talking with a few successful entrepreneurs. These made me realize that what I was facing or experiencing was not unusual, rather it is the norm. That gave me confidence, and I started developing my own methods or algorithms to deal with the life of an entrepreneur. In this process, I had to unlearn many things and re-learn to do things differently. I also realized that to be successful, one must constantly work outside one’s comfort zone, until that becomes the new comfort zone. Unless we conquer our mind regarding the relative thinking of comfort zone and outside the comfort zones, we will not be able to face the challenges in life and emerge out successfully.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Although I read many books from the East and the West, there is one book that stands out as the guiding star in my life. I started reading it when I was in college and read it again and again over the decades. Every time I read it, it reveals life to me in a different dimension, based on the unfoldment of my mind. It is Bhagawad Gita, a well know Indian or Hindu scripture where Lord Krishna preaches about life, duty, valor, facing the challenges in life, fighting to the end, working detachedly in life as a game etc. to Arjun, a royal family member, who was hesitating or faltering from doing what was right at that moment. Gita is not a religious book. It is a treatise on personality and leadership development. In recent years, a few business schools across the globe are incorporating the principles of Gita into their curriculum. Even great scientists or scholars of the West read Gita and cited from it. The best example is Robert Oppenheimer. What impacted me in the Gita is its principles of work and thinking and detachment from the fruits of the work and focusing on the means than on the ends. The other aspect of Gita that always attracted me is the expansion of consciousness. Problems look smaller and smaller as our consciousness expands. Our ability to enjoy work with passion also depends on how large our consciousness is. In fact, the problems we face are due to lack of expansion of our consciousness to the extent needed to overcome the problems. Recent findings in quantum physics also suggest that what clicks the Universe is our consciousness, and without consciousness, it is hard to understand the Universe.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Passion, Perseverance and Patience are the only ingredients we need to be successful in life. Even if one of them is missing or low in expression, then one cannot reach one’s destiny.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
In the year 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, I had to accept two unrelated responsibilities. Both were very challenging, time consuming, and at the same time very passionate for me. For one I had no choice other than accepting or doing it. The other I reluctantly accepted. Yet, the second one soon turned out to be a success, beyond my expectations. Looking back and analyzing, I realized that although the second one was a real challenge, I could overcome it easily as my passion for it was like a tsunami. It reminded me the famous saying of Archimedes “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world”.