Masala Chat Project - Mr. Rishad Tobaccowala

Full Oral History Interview



Rishad Tobaccowala, 57, is an advertising executive and pioneering member of the Chicago Indo-American community. The interview includes detailed discussion of his successful career at the Leo Burnett Advertising Company, which was the largest advertising agency in the world at that time. He led the firm into the digital advertising industry and understood the power of new media in ways that distinguished him from the rest of his cohort. Throughout the interview, he reveals himself to be thoughtfully philosophical about how to live a good life, giving advice freely. Rishad is also Chairman of his family foundation, which does most of its charitable work in India but also helps students with tuition at the University of Chicago, where he and his father attended school. Other topics discussed include: acculturation to American society, comparing and contrasting the philosophies of the US and India, American pop culture, "model minority" status, and having a family.




Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

Date Recorded

February 29, 2016


Bianca Fraze



Date Of Birth

June 1959

Place of Birth or Hometown

Bombay (Mumbai), India

Date of Immigration

1970 and 1980

Reason for Immigration


Port of Entry

New York, NY


Advertising executive

Occupation of Parent(s)

Tata Group employees

Number of Siblings


Family's Religion

Hinduism Islam

Languages Spoken

English Hindi


Campion School; St. Xavier's College of University of Bombay

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