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OPEN TRANSCRIPT...

OPEN TRANSCRIPT

00:00
ocean of people in middle management
00:02
where in tech they happen to be a
00:04
certain demographic
00:05
a homogeneous demographic which is white
00:08
men but let's go ahead
00:10
that's fine i'm always like get back
00:13
and and they hold the key right they are
00:16
the gatekeepers to leadership within
00:18
all the companies i've ever worked for
00:20
if you believe we can change the
00:22
narrative
00:22
if you believe we can change our
00:24
communities if you believe we can change
00:26
the outcomes
00:27
then we can change the world i'm rob
00:29
richardson
00:30
welcome to disruption now
00:33
welcome to another episode of disruption
00:36
now honored to have noel silver who is
00:38
the
00:38
founder of the ai leadership institute
00:41
on you know she is a
00:42
i guess tech evangelical is that which
00:45
one night no evangelist excuse me
00:47
make sure i get that wrong yeah either
00:49
way
00:50
in front you're okay yeah attack
00:52
evangelist i said evangelical i don't
00:54
know what i'm thinking there but
00:55
anyway she's spreading the good gospel
00:57
of why tech is
00:58
is accessible to more uh people how we
01:01
need to get the process right
01:03
how we need to have more mindful
01:05
leadership and systemic change within
01:07
uh the tech and data industry and it's
01:10
really the honor to have
01:11
on noel how you doing wonderful thank
01:13
you so much for having me i'm excited to
01:15
be here
01:15
no i'm excited to have you and uh you
01:18
know i've been inspired by your story
01:19
i can i can tell from the research i've
01:22
done
01:23
uh that you you have a lot in your head
01:25
you've come through a lot of experiences
01:28
and that you want to do more you want to
01:30
change more so
01:32
i am encouraged by your inspiration and
01:35
your
01:35
view on things and i think more people
01:38
need to hear about you and hear about
01:39
your journey
01:40
so they can know that you know it's
01:41
possible so
01:43
i want to say congratulations to what
01:45
you've done and i know you have a lot of
01:46
great things coming in the future
01:48
yes thank you so much um i want to get
01:51
just kind of an exploration question
01:52
about so i can kind of learn a little
01:54
better
01:55
so you've had a evolution you've got
01:58
quite the evolution in your career
02:00
um i'm curious that
02:03
with the great knowledge you have now in
02:05
tech and all of the
02:07
um challenges and barriers you've come
02:09
over through the process
02:11
if you were talking to noel now when she
02:14
was first starting off if you can talk
02:15
to your younger self
02:17
what advice would you give yourself part
02:20
one
02:20
and what advice would you ignore
02:23
yes i've thought about this question
02:25
before and i honestly i'd be
02:27
i'd be a little cautious about giving
02:29
myself any advice that would deter me
02:31
from the path i ended up taking
02:33
interesting tell me why um because i
02:36
i feel like i did get lots of advice
02:39
that was not
02:39
good um as i'm going through my
02:42
different career changes so you can
02:43
start with that part of the question
02:44
what part was horrible
02:46
yeah many many many times um
02:49
i would i would so i'll start from the
02:52
very beginning i never graduated from
02:53
high school
02:55
i went but i guess dropped out but i
02:57
dropped out to go to college like i
02:59
would i felt like i had
03:00
learned all i could learn i had some you
03:02
know caucasian
03:04
male economics teacher tell me like
03:06
you'll never leave this town
03:08
you're not going to college i'm not
03:09
going to pass you like
03:11
just take your lot in life and i was
03:14
like i'm never going back to school
03:15
again and literally that was like in the
03:17
spring of that year and by like within
03:20
three months i had
03:22
in grant i had good sat scores like you
03:24
know i i did the work
03:26
i just didn't check this box then i went
03:28
to college and had the same experience i
03:30
had people who didn't look like me
03:32
or understand the way i learned or
03:33
understand the way that i acquired
03:36
knowledge
03:36
dismiss me um and again i was like
03:40
that's fine i've got enough knowledge
03:42
now that i can go get a job and
03:43
one of my favorite kind of stories that
03:46
i tell is about like how i learned tech
03:48
and i didn't go to school to be a
03:50
technologist i was in uh aeronautics
03:52
aviation um which is technical but not
03:55
software engineering
03:56
sure um and i then went to barnes noble
03:59
back in the day when barnes noble had
04:01
like
04:01
the wall of books that were all computer
04:03
science books now it's like this little
04:05
tv
04:05
section it's very sad but back then it
04:08
was a whole wall
04:09
and now i own much of that wall it got
04:11
to the point where i'd go in and be like
04:12
got it got it got it ooh a new
04:14
one and i grab it and i take it home and
04:16
the way i learned software engineering
04:18
was i'd go through these books and they
04:20
were all lab books if you remember books
04:22
back then
04:23
i do right so i guess i'm old enough to
04:25
understand what everybody's talking what
04:26
you're talking about go ahead
04:28
i know some of you are like i'm not old
04:30
but i'm old enough to know your
04:31
conversation
04:33
and this was like y2k so there was a bit
04:36
of a perfect storm
04:37
where i was leaving college i
04:40
wanted to do something in tech i did get
04:43
that advice from people in school so
04:45
they did say like text the place to be i
04:47
didn't realize
04:48
that they didn't actually mean
04:50
necessarily for me
04:51
me hispanic you know female noel but
04:56
i took that anyway i learned and back
04:58
then in y2k they needed people just like
05:00
we need people today in data
05:02
um like we're willing to teach you right
05:04
as long as you can show
05:05
aptitude passion perseverance people are
05:08
willing to hire you on that opportunity
05:11
today in data just like we did on
05:13
java developers back then so that's what
05:16
i did i learned
05:17
in a book and i interviewed online and i
05:19
got my first job
05:20
teaching actually at ibm teaching
05:22
object-oriented programming
05:24
and so that was like the beginning but
05:26
the entire time people told me i wasn't
05:28
technical enough to do it
05:29
i wasn't capable it wasn't the right
05:31
place for me i should probably stay in
05:33
computer or in
05:34
customer service like non-stop the
05:37
advice
05:37
was like stay in your lane and that
05:39
advice has continued
05:41
every step of the way till this very day
05:43
oh yes
05:45
yeah people people want to put you in
05:46
their boxes right i told you offline
05:48
and many people heard my story about how
05:50
people wanted to put me in the same box
05:52
you're you know you're gonna
05:54
you're never gonna be able to go to
05:55
college why are you going to engineering
05:56
you're gonna
05:57
you're gonna fail i think one of the
05:59
most important lessons is to not allow
06:00
other people to
06:02
feed you that garbage and figure out and
06:04
it's but it's hard right when when
06:06
the majority of people around you have a
06:08
narrative
06:10
your brain tends to wire that way so
06:12
that's right
06:14
what pushed you go ahead well there's
06:15
just not a lot of people like us
06:17
back then like 20 years ago there was no
06:19
one doing podcasts that looked like me
06:21
that i could be like oh
06:22
okay like i literally thought i was
06:24
alone like i was the only one on these
06:26
teams
06:27
um or and and this is true i would
06:29
always maybe have like an
06:31
african-american male
06:32
and so it would be me and that person
06:34
but we were like the tokens and that was
06:36
it
06:36
and hiring stopped for that democrat
06:38
yeah we've taken we've checked the box
06:40
we got
06:41
you see like our inclusion is those two
06:43
look you want to tell us about issues of
06:45
diversity
06:46
you know yeah
06:50
it was really and i just think we were
06:53
i don't know i call us the suck it up
06:54
generation like
06:56
i was just so interested in being
06:58
successful
06:59
and i just sucked it up i didn't stand
07:01
up and go this is ridiculous i shouldn't
07:02
have to work twice as hard three times
07:04
as hard
07:05
to get the same recognition as my peers
07:08
yeah um but i did anyway and now it's
07:10
almost a bad habit right now when i go
07:12
into a situation
07:13
i over prepare i over study
07:16
so that i'm never caught where someone's
07:18
like asking me a question that my
07:20
you know peer knows and i don't right so
07:23
i'm never caught flat-footed which is
07:25
good it's a guest as an entrepreneur
07:28
it's an excellent skill to have
07:30
but it's sad and unnecessary it's funny
07:32
to interrupt you
07:33
we had this conversation about the
07:35
narrative that
07:37
you know black people people of color
07:38
say what do you have to
07:40
work twice as hard to get half as much i
07:43
don't have a problem with the twice as
07:44
hard i have a problem with the
07:45
expectation in the half as much
07:47
so the issue is like okay maybe we if we
07:50
have the mindset where we have to work
07:51
hard that's fine
07:52
but then our mindset needs to be like
07:54
white peoples are they're like you know
07:56
if i work hard i expect to get that's
07:58
right
07:58
doubled and i think changing the
08:00
expectation of
08:01
and we got to change the expectation of
08:03
ourselves and we got to change the
08:04
expectation of
08:06
the greater society who thinks like okay
08:08
well they're the exception and they
08:09
they kind of know that when they get
08:11
here you're going to work twice as hard
08:12
because to be a person of color it
08:14
shouldn't be this way but to be a person
08:15
of color you know that you're an
08:16
overperformer
08:18
that you need to pay and appreciate
08:21
and reward and incentivize and have a
08:23
culture
08:24
that uh make sure that those that that
08:27
people like that want to stay
08:28
and you empower them to want to stay not
08:31
to say
08:32
twice as hard and expect half as much
08:33
and your organization gives half as much
08:35
like that's okay like no it's not okay
08:37
you had to suck it up and you went here
08:39
uh closer than i thought you would so
08:41
i'm going to come back to your to your
08:42
journey at some point but
08:44
let's let's go here while you're here
08:45
you know you talked about experiences
08:47
that you had where you would
08:49
you're kind of a disrupter rather i
08:51
don't think your goal is to go out and
08:53
disrupt but your goal
08:54
from what i tell is to try to improve
08:56
things
08:57
but you try to improve things here's a
08:58
challenge you try to improve things
09:00
which require
09:01
change which is inherently disruptive
09:03
and people from what i can gain from my
09:06
research of you they then take that on
09:09
as a threat
09:10
and then you get these kind of
09:11
microaggressions what i think you called
09:13
wing clipping can you can you give some
09:15
examples of
09:17
what that looked like and then how you
09:20
dealt with those situations
09:22
yes and unfortunately like i feel i've
09:25
now been able to
09:26
more accurately attribute this wing
09:27
clipping to kind of middle management
09:29
right there's this
09:30
okay ocean of people in middle
09:32
management
09:33
where in tech they happen to be a
09:35
certain demographic a homogeneous
09:37
demographic
09:38
which is white men but let's go ahead
09:40
that's fine
09:41
i'm always like the facts yes and
09:44
and they hold the keys right they are as
09:47
the gatekeepers to leadership within
09:49
all the companies i've ever worked for
09:51
and
09:52
my challenge has always been i go in and
09:55
i am very transparent especially today
09:57
about my ambition
09:58
like i'm like my my god my goal here is
10:01
not to do the job you are
10:02
hiring me to do but to show you that i
10:04
can do that and
10:06
manage the team that i'm currently doing
10:08
that for and manage
10:09
teams of those teams like i give them
10:11
the lay of my future
10:13
ideation of what i want to do for that
10:15
company in the interview because i don't
10:17
want there to be any confusion because
10:18
i've learned that lesson
10:20
and even when i do that i have the
10:23
conversation and i
10:25
very recently had this conversation
10:26
where they sit me down
10:28
and they say i hired you to do this job
10:31
just do that job i don't need you to be
10:34
a leader i don't need you to represent
10:37
or speak
10:38
or say when you see something i don't
10:40
need you to say something every time you
10:41
see something
10:42
and it and it shocks me because i keep
10:45
searching for like the perfect kind of
10:47
company
10:48
that has a culture that it would accept
10:50
someone like me right
10:52
why wouldn't you want someone who's
10:54
ambitious and wants to like serve people
10:56
and create a product that the users need
10:58
and love why wouldn't you want to
11:00
help that person do more as opposed to
11:03
be like
11:04
be quiet sit down don't do any more
11:07
podcasts
11:08
stop blogging what like nothing i'm
11:11
saying is offensive
11:12
i mean i guess you could perceive it as
11:14
such but but it's happened continuously
11:16
and unfortunately i've actually had
11:17
people
11:18
of all types come to me and say oh my
11:20
gosh i've had this conversation right
11:22
not just women
11:23
in tech which is why i tend to focus but
11:26
specifically like
11:27
african-american men in tech that happen
11:29
to be the one
11:30
engineer i have a friend of mine who is
11:33
a doctor
11:34
he did his doctorate on african-american
11:36
engineers
11:37
and how it's very similar to what we
11:38
just said how difficult that road is but
11:41
how much worse it is
11:42
when you do do twice the work or four
11:45
times the work
11:45
yep and you're actually told like that's
11:48
fine
11:48
good glad you did it but it doesn't
11:50
actually matter because i don't need you
11:51
to do that
11:52
right but my golden boy who just got
11:56
hired
11:57
right passes me in a promotion within
12:00
six months when i've been here three
12:01
years
12:02
like those are the that's why it's wing
12:04
clipping because some people don't have
12:05
their wings closed well give me some
12:06
example
12:06
like i understand i understand what you
12:08
mean yeah to the extent that you're
12:10
comfortable
12:11
i mean talk about the situation how it
12:13
played out and
12:15
how you if if noel was in charge
12:18
of said corporation yes how should it go
12:23
in order in order to actually create the
12:24
culture that you want because it's one
12:26
because we can we can we can have these
12:28
ideals i can say
12:30
you know uh tech like hollywood paints
12:33
this picture
12:34
of being this ideal place where all
12:36
everybody's included and
12:38
we are so high high and mighty and
12:40
open-minded and
12:42
liberal and progressive and choose the
12:44
adjective you want to
12:45
choose but when you look at the numbers
12:49
they don't look different from anybody
12:50
else except the language
12:53
sounds different but the results look
12:55
the same
12:56
i know i'm making generalizations but i
12:57
think the facts back up what i'm saying
12:59
yeah absolutely and i will give you a
13:01
very specific example around hiring and
13:03
i
13:04
have always been in a position to build
13:05
teams where i've gone so that has been
13:08
wonderful because i do have a different
13:09
lens however
13:11
every time i go to build a team and i'll
13:13
most recently
13:15
i want to build a team and i say that
13:17
i'm looking for a symphony
13:18
in this team right when i look at the
13:20
zoom call today
13:21
i want to see colors shapes sizes
13:24
introverts
13:25
extroverts people who learn differently
13:27
people with adhd
13:29
people who maybe are hard of hearing who
13:30
have special
13:32
physical disabilities or needs right
13:35
if they have the chops i want them to
13:38
represent
13:38
especially as someone building data
13:40
science and ai solutions
13:42
i want to make sure that my constituents
13:44
the entire world is my constituents when
13:46
i build
13:47
an artificial intelligence machine
13:49
learning model right so i need to make
13:50
sure that my engineers are empathetic to
13:52
those
13:53
those perspectives um and i will tell
13:56
you that the conversation has been
13:58
and even i have people who would be
14:01
considered diverse
14:03
recruiters right african-american
14:05
recruiters and they
14:07
took they say the same thing to me which
14:09
is
14:11
i can get you a person who is qualified
14:14
and you should take the person who is
14:16
most qualified
14:17
doesn't matter what color they are oh my
14:19
god right
14:20
and it's the it's the story we've heard
14:24
before
14:24
like of course all developers matter and
14:27
of course
14:28
all people with the skills worked hard
14:30
to get those skills but the reality is
14:33
is that and i know this from a very
14:35
specific situation
14:36
i walked into a company a media company
14:39
and there was someone there who had been
14:40
there 12 years
14:43
had led teams but never got promoted
14:46
to leadership just sat there taking it
14:49
sucking it up yeah right wow
14:52
someone comes in six years later and is
14:56
moving up the ranks and eventually
14:58
becomes this person's
15:00
director and people don't understand
15:03
that when i'm now recruiting for someone
15:05
like this person who's got 12 years of
15:07
seniority leading
15:08
engineering teams he'll never show up on
15:10
my radar because i'm looking for a
15:11
director and he never got a director
15:14
promotion
15:14
yeah so i'm trying to teach ceos now
15:18
look for different things well the
15:20
thought yeah because you have if you
15:22
want to be
15:23
if you want to include you have to be
15:24
intentional about how you do it
15:27
and to know that if you're looking for
15:28
inclusion to look like it's always look
15:30
it's not going to look that way so you
15:31
have to look for
15:33
search for talent it's funny i mean
15:35
search for how you would your network
15:36
and your friends is that you see
15:37
potential in these people you see
15:39
you can and view them for the potential
15:41
that they have
15:42
but that's certainly not done and i can
15:44
you know some a point that i really
15:45
really agree with you on uh i've talked
15:47
about this before
15:48
we've talked about the diversity and
15:51
inclusion
15:53
whatever you want to call it that the
15:54
diversity and inclusion tokenism the
15:56
diversity inclusion
15:58
uh you know the the check the box
16:00
approach where there's someone there
16:02
but they're there to not always true but
16:05
generally this
16:06
tends to be true that the dni person has
16:09
no power
16:10
no position no budget no no budget or
16:13
the budget's very little they get to
16:14
throw
16:15
a really you know one party a year and
16:17
they get to say
16:18
put out a really nice report and and and
16:21
make it look like they've done nothing
16:22
but nothing's really changed i mean
16:24
how do we go about like moving diversity
16:27
and inclusion from just a talking point
16:29
and tokenism to actual reality within
16:32
these institutions and you talked about
16:33
it with hiring
16:34
but how do we put it into the dna of
16:37
decision making
16:38
when it comes to the corporations and
16:40
more importantly this is the broader
16:41
part of the question
16:43
how do we do it in the uh and when we're
16:45
incorporating
16:47
technology which has a whole bunch of
16:48
impact we can go through
16:50
yes so i am a big fan of this term
16:52
inclusive engineering and it
16:54
hiring is part of that building the
16:56
engineering teams
16:57
but also in actually like in the teams
17:01
themselves
17:01
and in all of the stages of developing a
17:04
piece of software it's called the
17:06
software development life cycle
17:07
and understanding so i'm an ai i'm in
17:10
data
17:11
so understanding what it means to
17:13
collect for example diverse data for a
17:15
problem
17:16
what it means to then get testers right
17:18
beta testers
17:19
that represent a diverse collection of
17:21
people so there's
17:23
this whole concept of like changing the
17:26
dna of our engineering teams it
17:28
starts with hiring but then i found out
17:30
it really doesn't it actually starts in
17:32
education
17:33
because a lot of these people just like
17:34
you and i we're actually told this isn't
17:37
a path for you
17:38
right right like you grew up in this
17:40
city oh no no no
17:41
this city you don't go you go to
17:43
vocational school right you can become
17:46
you know you can work at a mechanic it
17:47
doesn't matter what how smart you are or
17:49
what you got on your sats
17:51
they might not even take the sats in
17:54
some of these communities
17:55
um and so i think a lot of it was me
17:58
realizing
17:58
hiring is hard and then once you're in a
18:01
team creating
18:02
a leadership organization that
18:04
recognizes this diversity and get
18:06
empowers those
18:07
individual engineers to pull the chain
18:10
on the train and stop something from
18:11
happening
18:12
right right now there's a lot of people
18:14
like me and and actually there was just
18:16
recently a facebook article
18:18
or an article about someone at facebook
18:20
who was on an
18:22
engineering team and uncovered bad
18:25
things happening right bad decisions
18:26
that were being made not on purpose
18:28
not intentional of course but that were
18:31
happening because
18:32
everyone asking the question were all
18:35
the same
18:35
and therefore agreed with each other no
18:38
there were no descending opinions and
18:39
the only descending opinion which was
18:41
hers
18:42
ended up getting basically she was moved
18:44
out of that marginalized
18:46
yeah moved out of the company moving out
18:48
of the company
18:49
how do we like that's what there's kind
18:51
of both sides like how do we make sure
18:53
we're
18:53
using the pipeline with people that will
18:56
diversify the engineering teams
18:58
themselves but that doesn't even matter
19:00
if we don't have a leadership team that
19:01
empowers
19:02
their ideas because they will be the
19:05
lone voice of reason
19:07
many many times and today that's what
19:09
they call us
19:10
you know oh you're just uh you know
19:12
emotional hispanic or you're just
19:14
of course emotional right yeah yeah like
19:16
they can write off
19:17
our rational our rational you know
19:20
perspective
19:21
can be written off because we're an
19:22
anomaly and
19:24
that i think is the bridge we need to
19:26
tip right we need more people
19:28
like me like you in leadership roles
19:30
where we control the hiring
19:32
and we control the policies that those
19:34
companies yeah and you just you discuss
19:36
this a lot about mindful leadership
19:38
and what that looks like and and why
19:40
it's impactful
19:41
if i can remember some of your points
19:44
the reason why people
19:46
people some recognize the need to have
19:49
diverse talent some recognize the need
19:51
to have a process
19:53
that is not so short-term results in it
19:56
but it's more about making sure we go
19:58
through the process
19:59
test test things out a little better one
20:01
example i could think of clearly
20:02
we discussed when you know microsoft
20:04
created the racist bot i mean that was
20:05
uh
20:06
exactly it wasn't intentional but you
20:08
know when you don't have people and ask
20:10
obvious questions you're gathering stuff
20:12
from data from twitter
20:13
yeah twitter have you seen what goes on
20:14
on twitter i mean this it's it's really
20:16
easy to figure out
20:18
people would have told you like you
20:19
might want to think about this and that
20:20
but
20:22
what is what does mindful leadership
20:23
look like if someone if we wanted to do
20:25
that
20:26
uh making sure that our culture does
20:27
that because i i do believe you've said
20:29
you worked with some great ceos the
20:32
issue is
20:32
the cult it didn't something didn't
20:34
reach between the ceo's vision
20:36
and what actually gets implemented here
20:38
at the manager level
20:40
is that is that am i right on saying
20:41
that that's right and that's that middle
20:43
management that i've uncovered is really
20:45
cut and
20:45
i've had one person say something that
20:47
kind of broke my heart which was
20:49
there's an entire generation of people
20:50
who have to retire
20:52
or die or leave in order for
20:55
some of these problems we're trying to
20:57
solve to be solved because
20:59
they sit in positions of power and
21:02
they are literally the like satya
21:05
nadella
21:06
says amazing things for microsoft i'm so
21:09
on board i saw a businessweek
21:11
cover he had a halo like he's the savior
21:15
however the middle management of
21:17
microsoft
21:18
it's very difficult for what he's saying
21:21
to show up in an engineering team right
21:23
because there's a a bunch of layers but
21:26
also because the people in the middle
21:27
have been there longer than satya yeah
21:30
embody values that are different
21:32
than that new leadership team and those
21:34
values those old values my guess would
21:36
be noel and then finish
21:38
those o values are the ones that are
21:40
actually reinforced
21:41
and incentivized versus the more
21:44
aspirational ones the longer term it's
21:46
probably like well
21:47
yeah yeah yeah and all that but what are
21:49
we doing this quarter yeah yeah yeah all
21:51
that but what did you bring what did you
21:52
bring in this week i mean
21:53
is that is that wrong that's right and i
21:56
mean
21:56
someone uh recently wrote an article
21:58
about it and they called them the
22:00
untouchables
22:01
because they are this kind of you know i
22:04
don't know
22:05
layer within the organization and
22:07
they've been there
22:08
longer than most of the new leadership
22:10
coming in
22:11
they're like untouchable they will stay
22:13
and they will influence decisions
22:15
right just like that and it's those when
22:17
it gets to a certain point
22:18
you have a bunch of minority leaders
22:20
rising through the ranks awesome
22:22
saying the right things calling out bad
22:24
behavior and then it gets to this
22:27
literal glass ceiling and it stops
22:30
yeah and they're like i still blame
22:33
right i still blame that on leadership
22:34
though i'll tell you i'll tell you why
22:36
because i think the greatest thing a
22:37
leader can do is get real feedback to
22:40
know when they have spinach in their
22:41
teeth
22:42
and so i try to encourage my team to say
22:45
what did exactly look at yeah is it tell
22:47
me like i know i look stupid like i know
22:49
i want you to feel encouraged to say
22:50
when i did something stupid
22:52
and this and this unwillingness to be
22:54
vulnerable
22:55
as leader as leaders is really i think
22:58
hurting
22:58
leaders hurting organizations and
23:01
institutions and
23:02
frankly countries uh and i'll i'll say
23:04
that
23:05
i don't want to accept the fact that
23:07
that people we have to wait for people
23:08
to retire
23:09
i believe in disruption i agree yeah if
23:12
anything it fired me up
23:14
yeah i'm like we have to i believe my
23:16
definition of innovation is different
23:18
from most
23:18
i believe i believe innovation is a
23:20
rebellion against the status quo
23:22
it's willing to it's those who who are
23:23
willing to fight for a veteran
23:25
for a better future and they're willing
23:27
to take some risks to do so
23:28
so i think we have to make these
23:31
organizations
23:32
institutions and sometimes our country
23:34
understand the consequences of not
23:36
being inclusive uh you know if you look
23:38
at what happened
23:39
in this country particularly in the
23:41
south and i want to bring it back to
23:42
this moment
23:43
and ask you a question here but if you
23:44
look at what happened in this country
23:46
um you know pre-the civil rights
23:48
movement uh
23:50
of course during slavery the south where
23:52
people don't all often make this
23:54
argument
23:54
the south did worse economically because
23:58
of how they treated
23:59
obviously black people at that point in
24:01
our country because they had a
24:03
repressive
24:04
non-inclusive economy the economy did
24:07
not thrive they were holding on to an
24:09
old way of thinking
24:10
and preventing innovation preventing
24:13
economic growth
24:14
go back and look at the numbers from 18
24:17
whatever 1880 to
24:19
1950 the south trails there and the
24:22
reason for that
24:23
is how they treated black and brown
24:26
people
24:26
and that prevented that prevented white
24:29
people too
24:30
from from doing well so i think the
24:32
message here
24:33
is that we have to figure out a way to
24:35
win the war of idea and ideals and be
24:38
more
24:38
i think we have to be more aggressive
24:40
about it and understand
24:41
that this is this is not just about
24:44
including which is very important
24:45
including african americans people of
24:47
color
24:47
women but it's also about making sure
24:50
our nation can be prosperous the two
24:52
are together that's my thought yeah i
24:54
definitely i
24:55
agree and i i think part of it that's
24:58
why i'm so passionate about like this
24:59
concept of mindful leadership is like
25:01
elevate when you see something say
25:03
something is kind of the core
25:05
but like how do we elevate the voices of
25:08
people who already know
25:09
that bad things are happening and even
25:12
today i have
25:13
sat in rooms where there was openly
25:16
racist behavior and the person who was
25:19
being offended
25:20
didn't say anything and the person who
25:22
was offending
25:24
was kind of arrogant about the fact that
25:26
they could do it like i'm
25:28
this is 20 20 like
25:31
i don't understand so that's why now i'm
25:33
like maybe it's just
25:35
do i just need to say out loud you're
25:36
not alone like you will not
25:38
that was one thing that i did feel at
25:40
like other companies
25:42
amazon microsoft when i was in these
25:44
moments where i was feeling
25:46
kind of being i was discriminated
25:49
against i guess
25:50
yeah i'm sure you work i would say i
25:52
would say to myself like
25:53
maybe this is me maybe i misunderstood
25:55
right like which is what we all do
25:57
in these moments where our value is
25:59
being questioned
26:01
yeah and even though i am a rock star
26:03
like i had
26:04
600 million in revenue that i had pushed
26:06
i had an award like i had
26:08
data yeah and even with that data i
26:11
left thinking this must be me like no
26:13
one
26:14
i mean no one else is doing no one else
26:16
has this problem no one else is getting
26:18
fired unfairly no one else is you know
26:20
like i don't see
26:21
and a lot of it's because there's this
26:23
ridiculous shame
26:25
associated with it so when we are when
26:27
we're the one who's being
26:29
offended we crawl into the hole yes
26:31
we're the one who go you know not so
26:33
much
26:33
at least i'm hopeful lest now i see more
26:36
and more people speaking up now
26:38
yeah i almost see that horrible thing
26:41
that happened
26:42
in the 90s where we all spoke up for a
26:44
while
26:45
and then we started just you know i can
26:47
already see it now from the middle of
26:48
the summer
26:49
we're starting to sit back and go oh
26:51
yeah yeah now we're getting a little
26:52
tired of this
26:53
we said black lives matter what else do
26:54
you want us to do exactly
26:56
right let's move on like can you please
26:57
stop making us feel this way and
26:59
yes and you get tired of fighting which
27:01
is where i've been
27:02
i mean i'm already look i'm a fighter
27:04
and i'm tired right now i know
27:06
that's unlike it
27:10
this is the problem we have to solve
27:11
because people and
27:13
especially i think hispanic and you know
27:16
black and brown people
27:17
are they're not going to put up with
27:19
that forever and eventually they'll just
27:21
be like you know what i'm out and that's
27:23
what like reboot representation was a
27:25
report done by the
27:26
gates foundation yes and they found that
27:28
we're doing a good job getting people
27:29
into jobs
27:30
we're doing a horrible job keeping them
27:32
because people will just
27:34
not put up with it which is good but
27:36
it's bad because it doesn't solve our
27:39
problem
27:40
it's just like amazon and um facebook
27:43
wasn't facebook no amazon and ibm giving
27:46
up on facial recognition because it
27:48
because it was too hard to actually
27:50
solve the problem of making sure you
27:51
don't
27:51
that you can identify black people not
27:53
white and just white men can we just
27:54
like
27:54
make that like happen as opposed to be
27:57
like oh
27:58
it's broken we're not we're just not
27:59
going to fix it right you know it's the
28:01
same thing like are we gonna just
28:02
not fix it then i think it's it's
28:06
and i want to talk to you about this
28:08
moment right now in the united states of
28:10
america
28:10
uh uh obviously we we just got done with
28:13
the
28:14
the most contentious election of our
28:16
lifetime and we've had and that's saying
28:17
a lot because there's been a lot of
28:18
contentious elections in our lifetime
28:20
we've had plenty of them right
28:22
nothing quite like this one uh nothing
28:24
quite like this moment
28:26
of of anger with uh you know
28:29
black and brown people people that are
28:31
allies of black and brown people people
28:32
that say they are some
28:33
um and so we've seen i haven't seen a
28:36
moment like this i've never had more
28:38
conversations outside
28:40
my race or outside of person of color
28:42
discussing i've never had
28:44
more conversations about that more uh i
28:47
guess
28:47
outreach i think some of it's genuine i
28:49
think some of it maybe
28:50
is not but i've never seen more
28:53
attention put to the issue of
28:55
equity and equality than i have at this
28:57
moment in my lifetime
28:59
um but as you said i heard in another
29:01
podcast
29:03
some people deal with it and i think out
29:05
of just complete anger which is
29:06
understandable
29:07
i mean and i and and people see you
29:10
dealing with it and if you don't deal
29:11
with in the same way it's like
29:13
are you not really for the cause i went
29:14
through i i was just i had the same
29:16
i'll let you finish i just had this i
29:18
was on the board of trustees at the
29:19
university of cincinnati i became
29:20
chairman of the board
29:21
and i have a whole lot of stories but
29:23
one major issue we dealt with was
29:25
one of one of the officers of the
29:27
university at that time
29:28
right when i became chair shoots an
29:31
unarmed
29:32
black man unjustifiably and so and i had
29:35
to do a whole whole lot of stuff but
29:38
when i think about what i had to go
29:40
through in that moment how many times i
29:42
had to
29:42
and i had we did create change like we
29:44
we pushed out some of the
29:46
the structure of those officers changed
29:47
the infrastructure did a lot of stuff
29:49
but you know i had to deal internally
29:51
with a board that was all conservative
29:54
uh all very just not used to dealing
29:56
with issues like this
29:58
and would say a lot of offensive things
30:00
and i had to figure out how to have that
30:01
conversation but i had it directly with
30:03
them to make them understand it
30:04
and then i had the challenge of dealing
30:06
with members of my own community
30:09
that assumed because i didn't get
30:12
up and put a put my fist up in the
30:14
middle of the meeting and stand on the
30:16
table
30:16
that i wasn't fighting hard for black
30:20
people
30:20
or inclusion or equity when i spent my
30:22
entire career doing that
30:23
and so i do think it's important and i
30:25
want to get your thoughts about
30:27
how we should go about viewing systemic
30:30
change
30:31
in this moment and understanding that
30:33
there's a broad perspective and approach
30:34
to doing that
30:36
yeah i think this is such an important
30:37
point because i've also been in that
30:39
situation
30:40
i am not one i'm not an aggressive type
30:43
of
30:43
fighter i actually am and i still got
30:45
called out but go ahead
30:53
and so i definitely have people who are
30:54
confused or who are like
30:56
um offended at the fact that i'm not
30:59
angrier
31:00
about what's happening or that i'm not
31:02
taking more action when actually
31:04
you know i i think part of it is having
31:06
empathy for the ways that people
31:08
can be impactful and systemic change is
31:11
not
31:12
the it's not the riot that we had that
31:14
was
31:15
good and momentous and created immense
31:18
momentum
31:19
but systemic change is decades in the
31:21
making correct
31:23
and the work i've been doing my entire
31:25
career since the 90s
31:27
is all i am at least in my mind thinking
31:31
those things are what are contributing
31:32
to the changes that i'm seeing that i
31:35
am encouraging others to think and act
31:37
the way i do that i'm
31:38
sharing with them the challenges
31:40
increasing awareness
31:42
so that when somebody's in a room like
31:45
it all comes down to another like
31:46
mindful leadership trait is
31:47
self-awareness
31:49
and just knowing that into when you get
31:50
that gut feeling
31:52
it's not that you ate something bad for
31:54
lunch like something bad is happening
31:56
and you need to say something and i've
31:58
just watched too many people
32:01
like judge either the person who was
32:04
trying to implement systemic change but
32:06
not in a mechanism or way that they felt
32:08
would be more effective
32:10
and i actually am like both and like
32:12
bring it on
32:14
like raise your fist and yell and
32:16
protest good
32:17
i'm gonna go all right i'm gonna quit my
32:19
cushy executive job and go work for a
32:22
startup that's
32:23
changing education right like that is my
32:25
level of
32:26
impact yes but everybody's level of
32:28
impact is
32:29
valuable and that's one thing i mean
32:31
that's the actual the mission of
32:33
inclusion so we have to be careful not
32:35
to
32:35
tip to the side of the oppressor yeah
32:39
exactly because they're really
32:39
judgmental
32:40
as long as our north star this is not
32:43
always the case there are some people i
32:44
will call out if they're defending
32:46
things that are clearly wrong
32:47
i think that's different than what we're
32:48
saying but if our north star
32:51
is about expanding access and
32:53
opportunities and you've seen that we
32:55
that people have done that i think you
32:56
have to give them a benefit of that when
32:58
they say something that
32:59
might not agree with everything you say
33:00
particularly on twitter like it's easy
33:01
at every moment
33:02
people judge something you say one
33:03
statement people don't look at the
33:06
the whole record of things you've done
33:07
it might be one statement
33:09
in one context that they're not viewing
33:10
in the full context and people have this
33:12
now
33:13
emotional reaction but i think and i'm
33:15
gonna talk i think there's also part of
33:17
a reason for that i think it's part of
33:18
how social media is doing things is why
33:20
we also need a space but i'll talk about
33:21
that in a minute
33:22
but i but i do think that is that is
33:25
what's going on and people have to
33:26
realize that there are
33:27
i look at this as three kind of basic
33:30
layers
33:30
i'll say four actually of change one is
33:32
protest is a part of the process right
33:34
exactly i'm not doubting protest protest
33:36
is absolutely necessary it's necessary
33:38
to bring attention
33:39
then that has to follow some type of
33:42
policy
33:43
right and and so that and that that's
33:45
also a longer process but if you have
33:47
the protest doesn't connect the policy
33:48
nothing happens the third part is there
33:50
actually has to be power like you need
33:53
power to do
33:54
any of this stuff and and there is a
33:57
automatic criticism i think of
33:59
of people of when you when you get to be
34:02
in positions of power
34:03
and it's unfortunately seen as an
34:04
anomaly because it is in america
34:06
when you see black and brown people in
34:08
positions of influence
34:10
and when people and don't see instant
34:12
change across the board
34:14
they assume the worst from any leader
34:17
that is in those positions
34:18
and until you've held one of those
34:21
positions
34:21
and and leading a large institution and
34:24
fighting hard again i'm a hard fighter
34:25
but i'm also a strategic fighter like
34:28
if you just fight one way you're not
34:29
going to be an effective fighter
34:31
right so it is hard when you're in these
34:33
positions of power and leadership and i
34:35
think there has to be
34:36
and this is why you know we're working
34:38
on why we're going to create the app
34:40
and what we're doing and finishing the
34:41
app there has to be an understanding of
34:43
the relationship to power and how to
34:46
actually move it
34:47
and how we do that as a collective whole
34:50
because there's not a full enough
34:51
appreciation i think once we get to that
34:53
that's how we have to i think have the
34:56
disruptive change
34:57
that's how i kind of that's how i kind
34:58
of feel about it for this moment but you
35:00
know
35:00
i'll share with you a very a shocking
35:02
thing that happened as i moved into more
35:04
and more senior roles
35:06
i moved into an executive role and in
35:09
this role
35:10
i was like i am the leader that i always
35:13
wanted
35:14
right and and so in my mind i'm like i'm
35:15
gonna do so much i'm gonna support
35:17
i'm gonna listen i'm going to implement
35:20
and what ended up happening in the first
35:22
few weeks of my tenure in this position
35:25
is that
35:26
literally like you know we all have
35:27
these channels slack teams whatever
35:30
i start joining the channels that i've
35:32
which in my
35:34
as an independent contributor i realize
35:36
a lot of
35:37
ideas come from right so the people of
35:39
color channel and the
35:40
um you know latin x channels and all
35:43
this so as an executive i can go in and
35:46
hear
35:46
and then implement like i am there to
35:48
serve right and immediately
35:50
i was cut out of those organizations
35:53
they were like
35:54
you can't play here because you you're
35:56
an executive and therefore the
35:58
enemy and so to your point around like
36:00
it's one thing to have
36:01
power but it has to be holistic like
36:05
you have to as the person being helped
36:08
know when someone comes in that's going
36:10
to help you and then give them a chance
36:13
because it was
36:13
like you just were talking about it was
36:16
not only difficult but it was extremely
36:18
lonely it was very lonely as soon as you
36:20
get cut off from the people that you
36:22
have like embraced as your family up
36:25
until the point where you become a
36:26
leader
36:27
to them be alone and then worse in the
36:30
den
36:30
of wolves right of people who don't
36:33
think what you say is valuable
36:35
then you know like i'm now in this
36:36
executive room i am all by myself
36:39
and my crew has gone oh you're not one
36:41
of us anymore
36:42
yeah i cried i literally that's hard
36:45
i've cried
36:46
at work since like my first day on the
36:48
job at ibm and i was
36:50
you know had a traumatic experience with
36:52
some white men
36:54
but it i cried as a grown woman going
36:57
like
36:57
oh i wouldn't want to be an executive
37:00
either
37:00
i wouldn't want to be here by myself i
37:03
again of course
37:04
like who took a deep breath practice
37:07
some you know
37:08
centering exercises like no i'm gonna
37:10
i'm gonna fix this
37:11
i ultimately left that role because i
37:14
could not
37:15
like power it's one thing to be given
37:17
power as you know with the
37:19
diversity officers right you get given a
37:22
perception of power
37:23
so it's one thing to be given power but
37:25
it's another to even
37:26
have power that you are not like your
37:29
constituencies
37:31
won't let you help them with yes and so
37:34
it's kind of both sides and i just was
37:36
shocked when that
37:36
i wasn't prepared for that the side
37:38
exists and and
37:40
being an effective leader requires the
37:42
leader to be vulnerable
37:44
but then it also requires those who are
37:47
the stakeholders to be receptive to
37:50
being vulnerable because
37:52
we know where that programming comes
37:53
from that programming comes from the
37:55
greater construct that tells us we can't
37:56
trust each other
37:57
and we selected this person because they
38:00
are different from you know
38:01
noel is not different in terms of being
38:04
more special than
38:05
any other hispanic or person of color or
38:07
black person neither is rob richardson
38:09
and changing that narrative within
38:12
ourself
38:12
and within our brains and then trusting
38:15
each other because you can't get
38:16
what this comes down to i believe is
38:18
having trust to
38:20
to not subscribe the worst to ourselves
38:24
when we get to these positions of power
38:25
i mean i mean i mean i'm sure obama went
38:28
through it i'm sure that's part of his
38:30
struggle he went through as well i mean
38:31
i'm not saying man was perfect
38:33
but he was i think he was i think he's
38:34
pretty good president and i think he
38:35
goes he went through a lot
38:37
that we can't even imagine i mean if you
38:40
think all the microaggressions and
38:41
things he had to hold in he had to be
38:43
the most
38:43
calm black man to ever exist
38:46
on the planet earth because i'm like
38:48
some stuff that he put up with is
38:50
some stuff i couldn't put up with but
38:52
how what do you advise people like
38:53
you've been through these you're you're
38:55
you are very talented and there are
38:57
other talents people out there but i
38:58
think we need to say you have worked
39:00
hard you are talented
39:01
and yet and yet you've had these
39:04
setbacks
39:05
struggles what do you say to people
39:09
as they say well if she's had those
39:11
setbacks and struggles how can i
39:13
continue to achieve or or stay another
39:16
way
39:16
how have these lessons or setbacks
39:19
helped you develop
39:20
and what could you say that's
39:21
encouraging to people that's to someone
39:23
right now that may be struggling with
39:25
the moment that
39:26
with the type of moments that you've had
39:27
in your career yeah and
39:29
and i think it's true probably
39:31
professionally and personally like
39:33
one thing that i've uncovered and we all
39:36
probably at some point if we are
39:37
self-aware realize that these things
39:40
it's
39:41
the circle of life if you will or
39:43
seasons right i realized that in my life
39:46
there are there has been multiple
39:47
winters and just like in
39:49
the real life some winters have been
39:51
horrific more snow than i can handle
39:54
and some have not been like i barely
39:56
noticed they were winter in contrast
39:58
but they are all cycles um and so i've
40:01
had
40:01
both personally and professionally these
40:04
i mean i kind of always
40:05
say to the universe i'm like all right
40:07
like i feel like it's disproportionately
40:09
fallen in my direction um i
40:12
i could use a little bit of a break um
40:14
and
40:16
as part of that though i've now come to
40:18
realize that these
40:19
challenges coveted 2020 in general
40:23
a presidency like all these things that
40:25
we would consider or take on as like a
40:27
narrative
40:28
for us it's really that's not the story
40:31
right the story is in our
40:33
resilience is in our recovery i always
40:36
i kind of now in the last 10 years time
40:39
my recovery against a winner
40:41
right like how soon can i get excited
40:43
for spring
40:44
a lot of us do this like naturally right
40:46
right we know the day
40:47
it goes above 40 especially if you're
40:50
from the northeast or new england
40:52
you're like spring is coming you put
40:54
your
40:55
convertible top down it's 42 degrees but
40:58
you know
40:59
it's coming and so now i've attributed
41:01
that to my professional career where
41:03
yeah bad things have happened and
41:04
probably as a hispanic female
41:06
moving up the ranks in leadership it's
41:08
disproportionately
41:09
bad i've also been given because
41:13
the good news is is people are more now
41:15
you mentioned this earlier
41:17
more likely than ever to give me a
41:19
chance more likely
41:20
ever to make room for me at the table or
41:24
not like scoop me out when i sit down
41:26
right and
41:27
there's huge opportunity the fact that
41:29
we can create a platform the fact that
41:31
you have a platform
41:32
right we couldn't do that no we couldn't
41:35
no no
41:36
we could we couldn't even do it ten
41:37
years ago really not really that's right
41:39
that's right we can get on msnbc
41:41
and now we can build a channel that
41:43
actually has more engagement than some
41:45
of these larger networks yes
41:47
for less money and so that's why i
41:49
created this this organization called
41:50
love fluencers which is all about
41:52
empathetic
41:53
social influence and it really is about
41:55
people like me
41:56
like you like how do we just give people
41:59
the tools
42:00
to let their voice be known because i
42:02
think that's the difference
42:04
is that winters are going to keep coming
42:06
bad things are going to keep happening
42:08
guaranteed
42:09
but you now have like you can plant
42:11
bulbs
42:12
earlier the sooner you know that oh this
42:14
is winter
42:15
and you can step back from the pain of
42:17
that situation
42:18
the saddest thing that i hear is when
42:20
someone when i introduce myself to them
42:22
the first thing they say is like oh yeah
42:24
i got divorced at x or my husband left
42:26
me or this and
42:27
or i'm a single parent and they're
42:29
defined by
42:30
this thing that they consider they're
42:32
defined by us by a struggle
42:33
yeah and so i encourage people i'm like
42:37
that's a great story but that's not
42:38
where it starts and that's not where it
42:40
ends right
42:40
that is the hero's journey that's like
42:42
in the middle you started with a dream
42:45
you now got the classic you know
42:47
confrontation of like
42:48
are you serious about this because bad
42:50
things are going to try and knock you
42:51
down
42:52
push you in the dirt but it's the next
42:54
thing you do it's the bulbs you plants
42:57
it's the next thing you do that makes
42:58
the difference and so the more that i
43:00
can tell people
43:01
like it's bad as it is and i again if
43:03
you go and look at some of the
43:05
um sessions that i've done and my
43:07
youtube videos you'll see like
43:08
some really tick-tock videos really bad
43:10
crap
43:11
but i can't let that define me
43:14
right there were days i didn't want to
43:16
get out of bed where i was like this is
43:17
ridiculous i have four kids i'm by
43:19
myself my dad lives with me
43:20
everyone's yelling at me at the same
43:21
time and i'm trying to keep a full-time
43:23
job and there's a busy pandemic
43:25
it's enough to just lay you down yeah
43:27
that's a lot that's a lot yeah i agree
43:29
doesn't work
43:30
often i cry over my dishes and i'm like
43:33
what am i gonna do how is this gonna
43:35
work out but it is in those moments that
43:37
i'm like
43:38
what seed can i plan so what i do now is
43:41
every single morning
43:42
i have a moleskine little notebook and i
43:45
write down
43:46
three goals a personal one a
43:47
professional one and it's three years
43:49
from now
43:49
so i see myself three years from now and
43:51
i write these statements as if they were
43:53
true
43:53
today amen you plant the seed in the
43:55
planet planets plant the seed
43:57
that's right and it starts in the mind
43:59
it doesn't surprise
44:00
what like this conversation we're having
44:02
right these things start to pop
44:04
up um it's called like your reticular
44:06
activation system right your mind starts
44:08
looking for things that ratify and
44:10
support these statements that you're
44:11
saying every day
44:13
and that's how the world works and so
44:15
the more people i can encourage
44:16
to like tell your story but then set
44:20
your goals what do you want as a result
44:22
of this
44:23
don't be defined by your circumstances
44:24
in front of you that's that's right
44:26
that's it i mean that's your story and
44:28
it makes a great story like the
44:29
horribleness that you're in right now
44:30
will make a great story when you're out
44:32
of it
44:32
like you're gonna look back and be like
44:34
oh my gosh listen to what happened to me
44:36
like
44:37
and people will be inspired by it yeah
44:39
but you
44:40
can you have to plant those seeds and
44:41
move forward that's awesome that's your
44:43
your life one of my questions you got to
44:44
with your life hacks your routines to
44:46
keep you grounded
44:47
and because that's you you deal with a
44:49
lot right i mean the fact that
44:51
four kids and your dad is there that
44:53
that and you are holding down the fort
44:55
first of all
44:56
wow uh that's uh and you but but most
44:59
importantly you've been able to keep
45:01
a positive perspective and keep faith in
45:03
the future despite
45:05
despite despite the current
45:06
circumstances in front of you so
45:08
uh i mean that that's awesome oh you
45:10
know what do you think
45:12
um in terms of your career pivot i know
45:15
you your largest pivot
45:16
seemed to be when you went uh when you
45:18
left npr is that right your largest
45:20
pivot in your
45:21
career uh i would say that it came at a
45:23
time when i was willing to speak the
45:26
loudest
45:26
about what had happened but i would say
45:29
that it's probably the same
45:31
pivot i made when i left amazon it was
45:33
the same
45:34
tell me why those tell me why those are
45:36
the tell me the similarities between the
45:38
two
45:38
why you made the pivot and what you
45:40
learned from that from those pivots
45:42
yeah so i at when i was at amazon
45:46
i did a bunch of things and some of it
45:48
were like the golden age of the things i
45:50
love to do
45:50
you created a voice just so that i
45:52
didn't say this before you were one of
45:54
the creators the beginning founders of
45:55
creating alexa and voice
45:56
watching alexa how to do all that yeah
45:59
noelle's
46:00
silver for all mo i'm like the mother of
46:03
like
46:03
seven or eight champions like they heard
46:05
me speak about alexa first and then
46:07
their journey started i mean
46:08
i and i that was like like i said the
46:11
golden years i was like i
46:12
love this role now there were two other
46:16
people on the team that were white and
46:19
male
46:19
and they did not live in seattle and i
46:22
said to my family we don't have to live
46:24
here
46:24
because no one else lives here so we're
46:26
gonna go home and when i presented that
46:28
option
46:29
to my leadership they're like sorry if
46:32
you want to be an
46:32
evangelist you have to stay here and i
46:34
was like that doesn't seem to make sense
46:35
because no one else is here
46:37
um and i'm exceptionally good at this
46:41
like i'm exceptional at this so it's not
46:43
like i'm just like a middle of the
46:45
bell curve right i am over performing
46:49
and this is where i was like oh this is
46:52
where the
46:52
like the glass ceiling or the systemic
46:55
differences
46:56
where we're like why the way the way
46:59
that was the beginning of the end
47:00
right and so i ended up moving anyway i
47:02
took a new job
47:04
on the other side of the country so i
47:05
could be closer to my family um and it
47:07
was a good move
47:08
at the time but i moved away from
47:10
evangelism which is where my heart and
47:11
soul is
47:12
and i moved into project management
47:15
which
47:16
anyone will tell you like i can do it
47:18
and i'm actually good at it i don't
47:19
really
47:20
love it i love building other project
47:22
managers
47:23
but i don't love the work the way i do
47:26
evangelism
47:27
and so it's that was like the beginning
47:29
of the end
47:30
and i was pregnant so oh and get this
47:32
like as the universe would have it
47:34
in that move the movers somehow got lost
47:37
in the mountains and the axle
47:40
burned up and torched all of our
47:42
belongings
47:43
okay so now i'm in a new place with no
47:47
stuff
47:47
and nine months pregnant wow that's a
47:50
lot
47:50
yeah so i get a new job i'm now working
47:52
on a job i'm not super passionate about
47:54
as a result which you should know this
47:56
if you're a hiring manager out there
47:57
right
47:58
people aren't engaged it's probably
48:00
because they're not doing something they
48:01
love or they don't feel like they have
48:02
the power to do things that they're
48:03
there to do and i felt both and i
48:06
started to
48:07
feel the resistance of my leadership
48:09
team and they ultimately gave me the win
48:11
clipping conversation
48:12
stop doing the evangelism work even if
48:14
it's on the side even if it's in your
48:16
spare time and focus on the lane we put
48:18
you in
48:18
yeah like it was
48:21
a kiss of death um and then i started to
48:24
go around to other organizations
48:26
at amazon it's a huge company i remember
48:29
jeff bezos saying
48:30
early in my employment there you never
48:33
have to leave amazon
48:34
because if you don't get along with your
48:36
current team you can find another one
48:38
because we hire you for you not for the
48:40
functional role
48:41
so i took him on his word i started
48:43
going around i got a verbal offer from a
48:46
team
48:46
and my caucasian female manager
48:50
went to that team and encouraged them
48:53
and here's how they did it which is what
48:54
i am very passionate about expressing to
48:56
people that this happens
48:57
she didn't say here's the data
48:59
supporting like poor performance because
49:01
there was none
49:02
she didn't say here's a performance plan
49:03
she's been on because i noticed that she
49:05
was not performing
49:06
because there was none what she said was
49:09
oh
49:10
well i'm not really sure that's a good
49:13
fit
49:13
for your yeah i knew a cultural fit yep
49:16
yeah not
49:16
i mean i can't really put my finger on
49:18
it but there's something
49:20
just not right there and he called me
49:23
shaking his voice was shaking and he
49:25
called me and he was like i have to send
49:27
my
49:27
my offer and i quit um because i
49:31
realized
49:32
that one person has the power and that
49:34
happened to microsoft too
49:36
i had someone fire me unfairly but
49:39
because they had the power of white
49:41
person had the power to write
49:44
that check and my career had to catch it
49:47
and i was like this is so messed up
49:50
because and i'm a performer
49:52
what happens to these people that are
49:53
just good at their job well what happens
49:55
is
49:55
the problem is you're a performer but
49:57
you're a disrupter
49:59
and i say that in a good way yes i i do
50:02
make people uncomfortable
50:03
yeah you do if you weren't like i i i
50:05
would not be
50:06
good in a corporation i i've never i
50:09
the one job i did that i absolutely
50:12
hated
50:12
i i came out of law school and worked
50:14
for a corporate law firm it was an awful
50:16
fit for both of us
50:17
it doesn't fit it doesn't fit me right
50:18
so it's i'm
50:20
i'm an evangelist as well i'm an
50:21
evangelist about empowering people
50:23
around not only technology but just
50:25
empowerment and changing
50:27
the infrastructure to make sure more
50:28
people have opportunities so i didn't
50:29
fit within a structure that
50:31
i'm not saying anything wrong with that
50:32
but people come down they get they get
50:34
something from a corporation they say
50:35
no i'm definitely that square peg i'm
50:38
not that person right
50:39
and you and you just have to realize
50:40
that you know it's not it's
50:42
it's it's it's them and you yeah and
50:44
that's also not a bad thing
50:46
it's not that's not a bad thing because
50:48
they were right to say you don't
50:49
culturally fit and it's their loss
50:51
because they're not
50:52
they're not open enough to be disruptive
50:54
like we ought to have
50:56
i think malcolm gladwell described the
50:58
best environments
50:59
are ones that have constructive
51:01
rivalries one that
51:03
people can go and have the safety
51:06
to say this is how it can be done better
51:08
i hear
51:09
i hear used to be like that at apple i'm
51:10
not sure if it is i
51:12
i know from michael's for microsoft uh
51:14
things changed after bill gates left and
51:16
steve walmer took over
51:18
i know he has a very you know fixed
51:20
square point of view
51:22
if you just look at how he discusses
51:24
things it's very clear and i think that
51:26
is the
51:26
single biggest problem in this country
51:29
in the world right now
51:31
leadership being so finite so
51:35
limited in their perspective that they
51:37
only see
51:38
next quarter instead of what's best
51:40
long-term they only see what's next they
51:42
can't see
51:42
what's actually best for the institution
51:44
and have a long-term vision
51:45
i believe that's the central issue i
51:48
mean i know it sounds vague but that's
51:49
what's going on in this country and
51:50
that's why i think it's so important
51:51
what we're doing with technology couple
51:53
things i want to talk about i think it's
51:54
some rapid questions
51:56
um there's some technology in terms of
51:59
ai that's
51:59
rather rather scary and um i know
52:03
one is the deep fake uh i think another
52:05
and i want you to talk about that and
52:07
we'll we'll if we get a chance we'll put
52:09
and show what a deep fake looks like so
52:11
the
52:11
yes well you can go to my tic tac i just
52:13
had to go viral
52:15
i will put i will put which what you put
52:17
on there you send me that put it on
52:18
there i put it on there
52:20
but you know the deep fake and what that
52:22
is is
52:23
you're able it looks like someone is who
52:25
they are who they're presenting who
52:27
they're talking but it's not
52:28
actually them i i look at that
52:31
and i look at the use of ai to
52:36
reinforce the worst of human
52:38
characteristics i believe
52:40
that's part of the reason why we are
52:42
also so divided
52:44
right now is that if you live in a world
52:46
you can live in a world
52:47
that is totally make-believe it's it's
52:49
sunny right now outside
52:51
but you know what you see is it'll say
52:53
it'll tell you it's raining and you
52:54
believe that because that's the only
52:56
that's the only thing you're presented
52:57
with and when the human brain sees
52:58
something over and over again
53:00
and that's all you're presented with it
53:01
becomes fact tell people like how do we
53:04
deal in this world of deep fakes
53:06
and artificial intelligence and what
53:08
should we be doing about
53:10
ai and why should we not be
53:13
worried about ai and facial recognition
53:16
and if we should be worried what should
53:17
we do about all this like what do you
53:19
tell people as the
53:20
optimistic evangelist
53:23
that's right that's right i definitely
53:26
and i i
53:26
i'm on both sides i i'm very i'm a
53:28
realist but i'm
53:29
i think there's a like a pregnant
53:31
pragmatic optimist or
53:33
rational optimist um like i don't
53:35
realize i understand
53:36
uh but i also feel like education and
53:40
people just understanding how this
53:41
technology can be used is a huge part of
53:43
it so
53:44
we'll start with deep fakes um deep
53:46
fakes is definitely
53:47
the more i demonstrate it on my social
53:50
channels the more people write back
53:51
especially people are not technical and
53:53
they're like that's terrifying that that
53:55
exists
53:56
and so to give you a really interesting
53:59
horrifying example it would be like you
54:01
know we've all remember
54:02
a certain time where we get like an
54:04
email from the prince in nigeria
54:06
nigeria who needs like seven thousand
54:09
dollars right
54:10
and yes some people in this world sent
54:12
money to those accounts
54:14
right that that actually happened and it
54:16
was just a scam
54:17
and now we try to tell especially older
54:19
people we try to tell them like no my
54:21
gosh nobody
54:22
needs that nobody is really asking for
54:24
that money please do not send it
54:26
that happens however with a deep fake
54:28
the reason it's so
54:29
unnerving is that now that voice could
54:32
come to you on a phone
54:33
and that phone call could come from your
54:35
mom or
54:37
you like me to my kids because there's
54:39
so much open audio of noel
54:42
someone could go and train a model on
54:44
all the youtube videos that i've done on
54:46
all the instagram lives and facebook
54:47
lives that i've done
54:48
and they'd be able to create a sound
54:50
that sounds i was able to build
54:52
a sound that sounded like a person who
54:54
had passed away j
54:55
edgar hoover he was an old fbi head of
54:58
fbi yeah yeah i know jr
54:59
yeah and so i created his voice and all
55:03
i did was train it and if you know we
55:05
don't have a lot of audio of him
55:07
it was like 500 words that he had said
55:10
and it picked up the fact that he was
55:12
from new england because he was like i'm
55:14
j edgar hoover
55:15
and i was like that's amazing and i was
55:18
saying it was amazing because that was
55:19
awesome
55:20
right but it's like i said it's
55:21
terrifying because now i can
55:23
as a hacker right or as somebody who
55:26
wants to use this
55:27
power for evil could create sounds
55:30
that in a business you think is your
55:32
boss telling you to wire this money
55:34
we're telling you to release this check
55:36
and you wouldn't because uh malcolm gaul
55:39
gladwell also said this we default to
55:41
truth as a society that's true and
55:43
we have to because that's how we're
55:45
wired otherwise it'll drop us crazy
55:47
because we've been interested in
55:48
i'll be paranoid right and so yeah it's
55:51
it's tough
55:52
however let me just present the
55:53
optimistic side of this story which is
55:56
we have the same problem in cyber cyber
55:58
security right and we have red hats
56:00
and blue hats we have the attackers and
56:02
we have the ethical hackers that are
56:04
defending those attacks the same thing
56:06
is true in deep basics there are people
56:08
that are building and i should say
56:10
universities building debate detectors
56:13
today but there's also things you as an
56:15
individual can do
56:16
um so you can now there's deep fake
56:18
tests you can take it'll show you two
56:20
things and you
56:20
kind of test out your skills and it'll
56:22
give you tips um
56:24
but most importantly let me just give
56:26
you a use case
56:27
imagine me right i've got all this
56:29
content of me
56:30
all of me talking about my career my
56:32
personal life
56:34
imagine 200 years from now my
56:37
great great great great grandchildren
56:39
being able to
56:41
put on a vr headset or put on bose
56:44
glasses
56:44
and be able to see a 3d representation
56:47
of me and then be able to ask me like
56:49
what was it like to get
56:50
when you got pregnant for the first time
56:52
or the fourth time right or
56:54
what was it like to be married what was
56:55
it like to not be married what was it
56:57
like to be a single parent
56:59
you know heaven forbid 200 years from
57:01
now we're still having this
57:02
brown people in tech challenge right and
57:04
they're like seriously how did you
57:05
continue to deal with things like this
57:07
right um
57:08
and they could ask and they would hear
57:10
me authentically answering
57:12
from the things i've already said about
57:14
myself what it requires though is that
57:16
we remove the rose-colored tinting of
57:18
instagram right and like the makeup
57:21
right and we're just real so that we can
57:23
use this information as a
57:25
time capsule in the future and i think
57:27
that's a truly authentic and useful use
57:29
case
57:30
but yeah there's a lot of terrifying
57:32
things yeah that's that's awesome
57:34
uh i i would say that to add to your
57:37
point
57:37
we can't opt out of technology we can't
57:39
stop innovating
57:40
that's right that leads to less
57:42
opportunities less results
57:45
and it never leads to a good place when
57:46
in it when when
57:48
and it empowers those who are
57:49
misinformation generators
57:51
right exactly so we can't do that route
57:54
and what we have to do is make sure that
57:56
we are
57:57
is it the blue hats with the the blue
58:00
the blacks are the good ones the blue
58:02
hats out outnumber the red hats
58:04
and that we have to make sure that as
58:05
this technology is implemented we have
58:07
to to demand the inclusion
58:09
we have to uh demand an ethical
58:11
consideration of
58:12
how these how these products are done
58:14
and it's something that we
58:15
expect and i do think there will be a
58:18
revolution
58:19
and a different up a differing
58:21
perspective on
58:22
how our data should be used and what
58:24
method it should be used
58:26
and i think that is the beginning of
58:27
those conversations but it's not that no
58:29
we
58:30
can't we stop ai we stop facial
58:32
recognition that's first of all
58:34
that's also polyamorous that's stupid
58:35
it's not gonna happen and second the w
58:37
so we are so so secondly we ought to
58:39
make sure that it's done in a way and
58:40
guide in a way
58:41
that is for good because if it's not
58:44
it'll be done for
58:45
wrong and evil and the last thing i
58:48
wanted to mention about that was just
58:49
this one
58:50
concept of explainable ai um because
58:52
black boxes
58:53
what's it called again explainable ai
58:57
okay so it's the idea that facebook has
58:59
a ai model and i can't tell why it shows
59:02
me the news feed that it shows me or why
59:04
if i have two devices
59:05
both logged in as me i get different
59:07
stuff in my feed it's a black box to me
59:09
i don't know why those decisions are
59:10
being made and
59:11
worse facebook doesn't even know why
59:13
those decisions are being made because
59:14
their network is so big
59:16
so what we're now seeing in the industry
59:19
is a call for
59:20
explainable models which means that you
59:22
have to be able to tell
59:23
how every decision in a model was made
59:26
because that's exactly where we go
59:27
oh right here there's this huge amount
59:30
of bias that says
59:31
if you're 60 in one direction and
59:34
by the way all those people happen to be
59:36
black this is the decision
59:38
and if you're you know 40 in this
59:39
direction and all those people have to
59:41
be white this is the decision
59:42
and then a bunch of decisions get made
59:44
off of that one false
59:46
error um and so explainable ai gives us
59:49
the ability to get visibility to that so
59:51
that's just a little hopeful moment uh
59:53
in ai that we are looking at
59:54
disintegrating black boxes and having
59:57
companies
59:58
be owned up and it goes back to our
59:59
policy discussion we have to require
60:01
companies
60:02
to make sure that their ai that they
60:04
build we understand every decision that
60:06
it makes
60:06
i think that's part of the role of
60:08
government honestly so that's that
60:09
that's my bias there i think there are
60:11
some
60:11
you have to push no way we'll do it
60:13
unless we get yeah i think there has to
60:14
be some policy that pushes for
60:16
full informed consent and transparency
60:19
yep i think that has to happen i'm for
60:21
innovation i'm for i'm not against
60:23
the collection of data i'm just for
60:25
making sure we have that we have
60:27
informed consent
60:28
and people know how these decisions are
60:29
being made because i think we deserve
60:30
that
60:31
i i don't i don't know what the argument
60:34
around that and i think that should be
60:35
the framing of the policy not being
60:36
anti-tech
60:37
not being against big tech or whatever
60:40
call we're not against
60:40
we're yes
60:44
it's pro user pro transparency that's
60:47
what this is about
60:48
final three questions to wrap up you
60:49
have a committee of three uh
60:52
living or dead advising you on life who
60:54
are these three people and why
60:56
oh boy um committee of three
60:59
so my dad um who is
61:02
living so that's great um and he lives
61:04
here with me but he's the one who got me
61:06
into tech he
61:07
uh not really into tech software-wise
61:09
but into
61:10
science fiction which bred my love for
61:13
using technology to solve problems and
61:15
to this day like he always introduces me
61:17
to new books
61:18
that were written in the 40s that aren't
61:20
phenomenal so
61:22
um so my dad would be one uh i suppose
61:26
um jesus would probably be another one
61:28
as a
61:29
gentleman from nazareth um because i
61:33
totally appreciate in my life now as a
61:35
change agent
61:37
understanding that i can't go back to my
61:39
hometown if you will
61:41
and preach what i want to preach like
61:43
and talk to them because they see me as
61:44
the 16 year old girl who couldn't finish
61:46
high school
61:47
and so i really resonate with a lot of
61:50
the perspectives that he had to take as
61:52
he
61:53
had the courage right to start saying
61:55
things that people
61:56
most people thought were crazy and
61:58
that's kind of what we do now as
61:59
people who are in the minority we're
62:01
constantly you know preaching the good
62:03
news
62:04
but at the same time um even the those
62:07
closest to us have this systemic
62:09
understanding of what it's
62:11
what we should do and how we should act
62:13
yeah and it actually feeds the problem
62:15
it
62:15
doesn't create the change and so having
62:17
to distance myself from the very people
62:19
i would have embraced otherwise
62:21
that's been a challenge and so jesus has
62:23
helped me with that um seeing that
62:25
example
62:26
the last one so that's a good point the
62:27
fact that when the people around you
62:29
they literally re rewire your brain if
62:32
you stay there
62:33
which is why you do have to distance
62:34
yourself from people that are
62:36
that don't have the same mindset they
62:38
don't have to be in the same place but
62:39
they need to have a mindset that's
62:41
aspirational or positive or otherwise
62:43
you'll be like them i think it's a good
62:44
point third point go ahead
62:45
third person yeah i would say i i guess
62:48
i have to say michelle obama it's like
62:50
michelle
62:51
oprah someone like that but i feel i
62:53
just really love the idea of someone who
62:56
is optimistic positive and creating
62:59
massive change
63:00
and demonstrating extreme levels of
63:02
success like that's
63:04
that's who i want to be and so i want
63:05
somebody who can speak into my life like
63:07
you're not alone you could do this keep
63:08
going get out of bed
63:10
get on your peloton bike um and i feel
63:12
like yeah
63:13
she could do that for me and it'd be
63:16
nice to be besties with michelle
63:19
what's an important truth you have that
63:21
many people disagree with you on
63:24
oh goodness i would probably i don't
63:27
think they would say they disagree but
63:29
their actions speak louder than their
63:30
words and that's
63:31
that mindset is everything and that your
63:34
thoughts
63:34
become your experience so
63:38
my mindset is that what i think about
63:40
becomes my experience
63:42
and that i've proven it you know i've
63:43
proven it to myself so many times i
63:45
don't even think about it anymore
63:46
but so many people say like yeah i
63:49
appreciate that
63:50
and then i hear them describe their life
63:52
in a way that
63:53
they don't want like that's not the life
63:55
they want that's not
63:56
right they don't take action towards
63:58
what they want they instead
63:59
relish and wrap themselves up in the
64:01
blanket of their despair
64:03
and um yeah so i think that that's
64:05
probably the biggest thing that people
64:07
they say i'm lucky or i'm blessed or i'm
64:10
a special um but i'm not the only
64:14
difference
64:14
is that i write down what i want and
64:16
then i stay laser focused on it until i
64:19
get it and i'm willing to wait
64:20
like i've got a lot of success now but
64:22
i'm 20 years in the making right i'm
64:23
like a 20-year overnight success
64:26
it's the difference between uh well
64:28
first of all to go back to what you said
64:30
to paraphrasing how my mother says that
64:31
she says you know uh
64:33
what's true in your mind is true in your
64:34
reality similar similar about your
64:36
mindset becoming your reality
64:38
um and when you talk about success it is
64:41
a it's a
64:42
it's a journey and it's a i think it's
64:44
there is this tension between
64:46
being persistent and wanting and moving
64:48
towards it
64:49
but also having patience during the
64:51
process
64:52
and and and and those things i have
64:54
struggled with because i'm a person that
64:56
you know i write it
64:57
i write it down to or see the vision in
64:59
my head and i go
65:00
and then when it doesn't go according to
65:01
how i think it should and it by the way
65:03
never does
65:04
right sometimes i get impatient but you
65:06
have i think it's that
65:08
that it's that tension because there's a
65:10
tension you want to be persistent
65:11
and sometimes that's the opposite of
65:12
patience and figuring out that balance
65:14
to life is something i haven't figured
65:16
out yet and
65:16
we probably won't figure out yet in this
65:18
podcast conversations yeah so the final
65:22
question you kind of answered this but
65:23
if you had a
65:24
google billboard ad a slogan that
65:27
summarized your belief in life what
65:30
would that say
65:33
uh i actually just posted this i found
65:35
it i don't know who said it i think it
65:37
was an
65:37
either anonymous or some blogger um but
65:40
it was
65:41
work hard in silence and let
65:44
success be your noise and i would and i
65:47
used to say
65:48
let success be your revenge and i even
65:51
still think that way
65:52
though it's a little dark and i like
65:55
rather
65:55
like let success be the sound that you
65:58
make
65:59
because so many people have told me you
66:00
can't do what you're doing it's not
66:02
possible
66:03
you're not technical enough you're not
66:04
whatever like they make up
66:06
the boundary in their mind and they
66:07
project it onto me
66:09
and i've always just been like
66:10
appreciate your feedback you know when i
66:12
go heads down and i do it
66:14
and i never go back to those people and
66:15
be like so um
66:17
you see what i did here
66:20
like i feel like my success is my best
66:24
representation of like yes i believe
66:26
what i say
66:27
and i do what i say and it shows up in
66:30
the work that i do
66:31
um and in the success that i get so yeah
66:33
so i think
66:34
that's probably what my billboard would
66:36
say i just posted it like on linkedin i
66:37
think
66:38
um yeah work hard in silence because
66:40
nobody needs to know how hard i'm
66:42
working
66:43
you know we talked about it here i
66:44
worked twice as hard than my peers or
66:46
three times or four times as hard
66:47
sometimes
66:48
no one needs to know that no because all
66:49
i want to know is that what i'm doing
66:51
which i feel like will change the world
66:53
if i'm successful at that i actually
66:55
don't care that i have to work level
66:56
or yeah and then noelle silver it was an
66:59
honor to have you on disruption now
67:01
i definitely want to have you on more in
67:02
the future this was a great conversation
67:04
appreciate you
67:05
it was awesome thanks so much for having
67:07
[Music]
67:10
me

HOSTED BY

ROB RICHARDSON

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“Freedom of What?”

Noelle Silver has spent many years as a trainer, architect, and evangelist for IBM, RedHat, EMC, Amazon and Microsoft. She believes diversity of thought must be applied at every level to ensure tech doesn’t become bias. 

What You will learn in this episode 

  • Why Tech like AI is bias and what to do about
  • Why we need to move from tokenism to real change for inclusion in tech 
  • The meaning and impact of mindful leadership 

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Rob Richardson

Entrepreneur & Keynote Speaker

Rob Richardson is the host of disruption Now Podcast and the owner of DN Media Agency, a full-service digital marketing and research company. He has appeared on MSNBC, America this Week, and is a weekly contributor to Roland Martin Unfiltered.

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