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About the guest

Lisa Gevelber

Lisa Gevelber founded and leads Grow with Google – Google’s $1 billion commitment to economic opportunity. Since 2017, Grow with Google has helped over ten million Americans grow their skills, careers, and businesses. One of her most significant contributions is the Google Career Certificates, which have helped over half a million people globally upskill from low wage work to well-paying jobs, regardless of educational background. In 2022, Lisa was named in the inaugural Forbes Future Of Work 50, honoring leaders whose impact, reach and creativity has the potential to affect millions of workers. Lisa also leads Google for Startups and has been the Chief Marketing Officer for the Americas Region at Google for the past 13 years.

Show notes

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Brené Brown: Hi everyone, I’m Brené Brown, and this is Dare to Lead. We are almost to the end of our series on Living Beyond Human Scale, the Possibilities, the Costs, and the Role of Community. Oh wow. It has been the most incredible learning journey for me. I mean, I have, I’m still a little bit scared, I guess, about some of it and how it’s being misused and the fact that technology gets so far ahead of policy and guardrails. I mean, that feels dangerous, but this conversation with Lisa Gevelber is, wow, it’s so optimistic. And learning things like how they’re training teachers to use AI for lesson plans, you’re able to say, take today’s lesson plan and give me three lesson plans based on the following reading levels. Or give me one in Farsi and one in Spanish, and the ability to use technology and these large language models to meet people where they are. Also this kind of idea of changing the trajectory of individuals and families with certificates in highly specialized technology areas versus four year university degrees. This is a really interesting conversation. I’m glad you’re here.

BB: Lisa Gevelber founded and leads Grow with Google. It’s Google’s $1 billion commitment to economic opportunity. Since 2017, Grow with Google has helped over 10 million Americans grow their skills, careers, and businesses. One of the most significant contributions is the Google career certificates. These have helped over half a million people globally upskill from low wage work to well-paying jobs regardless of their educational background. So no four year degree required here. In 2022, Lisa was named the inaugural Forbes Future of Work 50, honoring leaders whose impact, reach, and creativity has the potential to affect millions of workers. She also leads Google for Startups and has been the chief marketing officer for the America’s region at Google for the past 13 years. Let’s jump into the conversation with Lisa and hear some really exciting ways that folks are using AI to actually close a digital divide.

BB: Welcome to Dare to Lead, Lisa. I’m glad you’re here.

Lisa Gevelber: Oh my gosh. Thanks so much for having me. It’s such a pleasure.

BB: It’s, oh god, the pleasure’s all mine. Okay. I was trying to think about, before we jump into your story, I was trying to think about how and where and when we first met. Do you know?

LG: I think we first met in Chicago at a Women at Google event.

BB: That’s right.

LG: That you came and spoke at, and I was so inspired by what you were encouraging us to do in terms of being authentic and vulnerable, that I just had to talk to you. And I think we’ve been connected ever since.

BB: Yeah. Because it’s so crazy. Yeah. And we’ve just kept in touch and know each other’s families and just talk about all kinds of stuff. Well, I’m glad you’re here and I’m going to start where we always start, which is tell us your story.

LG: Yeah, absolutely. So I grew up in Michigan, and I grew up at a time, I was so lucky where we weren’t overscheduled, we just played outside. My brothers and I played football a lot. I mean, I’m from Michigan and football’s a thing there. And growing up with two brothers, we just really enjoyed throwing the ball around and hanging out with our neighbors. And my parents had a big emphasis on education. My dad and his brother were the first people in their family to go to college. So my dad really cared a lot about us getting a college education. So my brothers and I all started working in our teens because we had to put ourselves through college. I think we all took our college education quite seriously because of it. And we were really lucky. Because going to the University of Michigan was very affordable back when I grew up.

LG: And so my brothers and I put ourselves through college, all of us at the University of Michigan. Go blue. And I think of myself as Midwestern Nice. I lived and worked in the Midwest for a really long time, and then decided to kind of take a leap. And Mitch, my husband and I packed our bags and moved to California partly because we wanted to really enjoy the nature that is California. It’s so incredibly beautiful here. And partly because things were happening in the late ’90s in California and we kind of wanted to be part of the exciting journey. And I had learned that I like to build things and California is a place where people are always building stuff. And so we came out early and moved to Silicon Valley and we’ve been out here ever since. Yeah. So that’s kind of life in a nutshell. We have two amazing kids. We’ve become empty nesters and yeah, that’s kind of my story.

BB: Yeah. I’m right on the… My youngest is graduating from high school, so we’re right on the precipice of the nest. I’m not ready, I’m not going to go willingly.

LG: You know, I underestimated the change. I have to confess, it was a lot for me when our youngest left. It’s a big transition. It’s a big change in your everyday life and I really, I miss them a lot.

BB: Yeah. And it’s so, and at the same time, it’s amazing to watch them becoming adults who you really like.

LG: Yeah. No, my kids so surpass every expectation I ever had.

BB: Same. Same. Yeah. And I was just, like, Charlie sent me a playlist the other day and he said, “I think you might like this.” And I was like, they have really good taste in music and you know, it’s just, it’s fun and it’s hard. And yeah, that whole parenting bullshit is bittersweet, isn’t it? It’s just what a job. You just put your whole life into it and then if you succeed, they leave.

LG: Yeah. Yeah. Wholehearted living as you like to say.

BB: Yeah. I take it back on that, but yeah, it is wholehearted. Tell me about, how long have you been with Google?

LG: 14 years.

BB: Wow. If I forced you to come up with two words that describe those 14 years, what would they be?

LG: I think steep learning curve.

BB: Okay. Yeah.

LG: Every time I think I understand my job, it gets bigger and I have to relearn it. And it’s about the people. The people here are just tremendous. Everyone who’s here is really mission driven. It’s a special place. It’s a really special place.

BB: I really, I love that. What do you think makes it special?

LG: I think this mission-driven focus about ensuring that the opportunities created by technology are truly available to everyone. And that started with the original mission of making sure that information is universally accessible and useful. Just permeates everything we do. Everything we do is for everyone. And people really believe that. And we work hard. We work so hard to make sure that the technology delivers usefulness and helpfulness for people. Whether it’s like making sure the spam filter in your Gmail works well to making sure the search results are excellent. Like the job is never done. And people here care a lot about it. And they’re just all talented, creative, interesting, fun people who are committed to delivering really good things for the world. And you know, when you’re in an environment like that, you spend all of your time figuring out, how do I contribute better? How do I contribute more? How do I learn from the people around me? And how do I help the people around me learn? It’s really an incredible learning organization.

BB: How long have you been a people leader?

LG: Well, you’re going to embarrass me, I don’t know. Decades. Although I feel like I’m still learning that every day too.

BB: I was going to say is that still learning for you?

LG: 100%. It’s like I never am going to feel like I mastered that. I feel like it’s always one step forward, two steps back. You can…

BB:  Oh, I do.

LG: You get it right 80% of the time and then the 20% of the time where you don’t, you just beat yourself up and wish you had done different.

BB: Yeah. I always think, leadership, I’m a student of the game. It’s just when I think I’ve got some kind of competence in some area, I have an experience that shows me I don’t. I think great leaders are students of the game and I don’t think they nail it all the time. I just don’t. You never arrive. That’s the hard part, I think.

LG: I don’t think it’s possible to nail it all the time.

BB: I don’t think you can nail it. I was telling some folks that I just recently retook the Daring… we have a Daring Leadership Assessment on the website and it’s kind of the four skill sets of courage as they emerged from the data. And it gives you kind of a score for each of the four skill sets. And then it gives you what are your strengths and opportunities. And I just retook it, I think in January or February and got the lowest score on it that I’ve ever had since I developed the instrument. Like, so I think I would know the… I know the answers and I could have done that, but when I was really being honest and it was such an interesting learning for me. Because I was like, I think coming off the death of my mom, trying to not reign in the chaos and complexity that is the world today, but just trying to get my head around it, to trying to understand it as a researcher. I just was in a kind of scarcity-driven place. And I remember my team saying, “Are you going to use these results as the example when you’re talking about it with this organization?” I’m like, “Yeah.” Because sometimes I’m really aligned and daring. And sometimes I’m in fear and scarcity and I micromanage and I’m shitty and it’s scary and it’s just, that’s the reality of it. Right?

LG: Yeah. You know, leaders are human. Right?

BB: Bummer.

LG: We have good days and bad days.

BB: Yeah. In your role at Google, you do some really interesting things and one of the things I think you have a very unique perspective on is the digital divide. Tell us what you’ve seen and what you’ve learned and where we have great continuing struggles and where we’ve had successes with a digital divide? And you want to define the digital divide for us first, or how you think about it?

LG: Most people, when they say the digital divide, they mean that some people are able to use the technology in ways that serves them better than others who feel more left behind. In a world that is surrounded by technology, there are still a lot of people without easy access to high-speed internet connectivity in their homes. But we do see important institutions playing a role there. Things like libraries are amazing resources for people, so they really do an incredible job serving communities who may not at home have access to high-speed connections. And that’s one of the things that we’ve learned as we’ve been trying to help close the digital divide. We started a project called Grow with Google, trying to advance this mission to ensure that the opportunities created by technology are truly available to everyone. And we actually partnered with libraries around the country which are kind of the nation’s default, even job centers, where people who are looking for a job go to use the internet, to write their resume, to look up jobs, to do all these things, to help accelerate their economic mobility.

LG: And we loved that. We were, Grow with Google at its heart is an economic mobility initiative. And so we went to all 50 states through the library systems and we would show up and we would help demystify and make it easy for people to learn to use technology. We had a focus on small businesses, how could they use it to grow their business, which has been something we’ve been focused on at Google for a long time. But also we helped a lot of people set up their very first email account. And this is just a few years ago.

BB: Oh my gosh, really?

LG: Oh yeah. My favorite thing would be to go to these classes and watch people experience having an email identity for the first time. And a way to communicate with people they loved, or even a way to access technology. You have to have an email address to log in to most websites. And there were still even a few years ago, a lot of people, a lot of adults who didn’t have an email account set up. So we helped people set up their email accounts, we helped them send their first emails. And the funnest thing was watching people support each other. Let me help you do that. And sitting in a class of people having those experiences for the first time that we all take for granted was amazing. It was amazing and so rewarding.

BB: We could never give enough love to libraries is my whole thing.

LG: So true.

BB: Is there anything better than a library or a librarian?

LG: It’s so true. They play really important roles in our community. Small businesses go there for resources, job seekers go there, students go there. Yeah. Giant heart and love for libraries.

BB: God, I love libraries. Tell me more about what the digital divide… So email, high-speed internet, email identity, which I’ve never even thought of that as a construct, but I don’t think I could do anything I do from like ordering a salad for lunch, to shopping, without an email identity. I never thought about it. But you can’t get anywhere without one really.

LG: Yeah. It’s key to being part of today’s society. Right?

BB: Yeah. What is your hope and concern when it comes to the digital divide and what’s happening with AI?

LG: I’m actually a huge optimist about how AI will be a great equalizing technology.

BB: Oh, I love this.

LG: But I’m also very pragmatic about the fact that that will not be automatic. Like, I think there are things that we need to do to make sure that the benefits of this technology are truly accessed by everyone. But I think like a few examples that might illustrate why I’m so optimistic. One is that if you even think about generative AI as an example, the way generative AI works, you don’t have to sit with a DOS prompt and know how to code. It works in natural language, right? It actually works best when you treat it like you’re having a conversation with it. And so things like, I used to tell my daughters, you have to learn to code. It’s so important to learn to code. Maybe that’s not even true in the future. We won’t necessarily have to know how to code because actually generative AI is really good at writing code.

LG: And that matters for things like at some point, small businesses will be able to quickly make their own website and customize it the way they want it and do all these things that are a little trickier to do now.

BB: And expensive.

LG: Yeah. And it’ll be easier for anyone to do some of those things. It’s also been shown already with a bunch of studies that you can take less experienced workers in a variety of fields. These studies are for customer service agents, they’re for physicians, they’re for consultants. You can take less experienced people and assist them with AI and they perform at the level of a more experienced person. So if we can take lower skilled or less experienced people and really assist them with this technology and help make them more capable, that’ll help them be happier in their jobs, maybe it’ll help them advance in their jobs, right?

LG: If you’re a customer service agent and the AI technology helps you solve a customer’s problem better and faster and more completely, well then the customer’s happier. You’re happier. It’s always better if you can solve someone’s problem. And maybe you’ll stay in that job longer and you’ll advance in that job better. So I think AI can be, and it has already been proven to be in several of these studies, a real equalizer for people. It’ll enable us to do things we might… maybe we’re not a great writer yet. AI can help you get started. Right? It can help you start an article or start a paper and it just is a way to get going. Staring at a white piece of paper is intimidating to a lot of people, including me.

BB: And me.

LG: AI can help. So I’m really optimistic about the possibilities of any technology that works using natural language, which it does, where you don’t need to be technical to achieve the benefits. And I think that’s going to be great for society, but we had to make sure that everyone gets comfortable using it and learns how to use it. Right? And I think that means a few things. It needs to be a little demystified. I think the concept of AI is potentially intimidating. It sounds very technical. I don’t think a lot of people realize you don’t have to be technical to use it. So I think we need to help people get comfortable using the technology, and you get better at it with practice. Like anything. So we’ve created a course that helps people, it’s called Google’s AI Essentials. And it’s just the basic stuff. Like…

BB: It’s like AI-101?

LG: Yeah. And we have really practical things. Pretend you’re a business owner and you need to make a business plan for a new product you want to launch, get ideas for the product, draft the business plan, create the marketing materials. You can do all of these things as practice with any AI tool that you want. And our course just kind of helps teach you how to do it. And it’s the practice and the usage that helps people feel more comfortable. And then you have to be a smart consumer of it. You have to be a literate consumer of any information on the internet, but including using AI tools. So we also teach about that. We teach about the potential for bias in the tools, the potential for misinformation, the importance of having a person in the loop, you know. People call it human in the loop.

BB: What does that mean, human in the loop?

LG: It means fact check.

BB: Okay, got it.

LG: Make sure that the information it’s giving you… and you can easily fact check. Last night, I was using Google’s tool, Gemini, and I was asking it some things, and then I said, show me your sources.

BB: Oh, god.

LG: You know, and it showed me its sources. You want to make sure that you know that what it’s telling you is accurate. But you can learn to be an informed consumer, just like we all learned to be informed consumers on other kinds of information. So I think it’s exciting, and I didn’t even talk about, like, the ways it’s reinventing healthcare. We are just at the earliest moments of the things it is going to do to make society healthier.

LG: AlphaFold, which is the mapping of proteins that DeepMind did. When scientists understand proteins linked to cancer and autism and all these other things, they can better develop treatments. And I think that’s really exciting, and that’s… I mean, talk about things that are a divide in our country, having access to good healthcare and ensuring that science is advanced. AI is great for these things, too.

BB: So, first of all, if you’re listening, the Google course, kind of the Google AI 101, we’ll put a link to that on the podcast page on so you can learn more about that if you’re interested. What scares you? I love that you’re optimistic, because I’ve been talking to so many people in this series, and I think there’s a percentage of comfort you have to have with the idea before you can even get to optimism.

BB: I was interviewing S. Craig Watkins, who’s an AI researcher. He’s studied AI for 20 years. He’s at UT Austin and MIT. And he stopped me halfway through the podcast and said, “I just I want you to be aware that you’ve said the word scary seven or eight times since we started and that that’s how we all feel.” And now at the end of the story, it’s weird. It’s just so weird. I’ve got one more interview after this, and then I’m going to do kind of a wrap up solo episode about what I’ve learned.

BB: I’m much more aware of the potential for misalignment and problems and also much more optimistic. So I wonder if a part of digital literacy is addressing the kind of scared or ostrich… I don’t even want to know about it. I see AI, and I’m going the other direction. I wonder if you have to have, one, some basic understanding of it, and two, an acceptance that this is not optional. This is coming, this is here. What do you think?

LG: I think that’s super interesting. I was reading this research the other day. I think it’s from Ipsos, and they surveyed people in all different countries around the world about their perceptions of AI. And one of the things they found was that developing countries were the most optimistic about the impact that AI would have on their lives. And I think it’s because they see it as a way to leapfrog from where they are ahead. And this happened with mobile technology too. There were lots of places where even landlines weren’t very established. People didn’t have home phones.

LG: And then mobile technology came, and they all leapfrogged. They just skipped the step. They didn’t build infrastructure for landlines.

BB: They skipped the princess phone.

LG: They just skipped it. And I think getting comfortable with this as an opportunity is a bit of a mindset. We’ve been talking to teachers, and we all know there’s this big fear. Oh my gosh. There’s a homework problem now because kids will just use AI to do the homework for them. Right?

BB: Totally.

LG: But you know what, I also talk to teachers, and we also just launched a course specifically for teachers called Generative AI for Educators. GenAI for Educators. So my favorite examples are like…

BB: I love examples. Let’s go.

LG: Okay. Okay. So you can upload your lesson plan and say, and ask the tool, the AI tool. “Hey, can you customize this lesson plan for three different reading levels? Hey, could you take this lesson plan and translate it into Spanish for students who that’s an easier language. Hey, could you take this lesson plan on this science lesson and teach it using sports analogies?”

BB: Shut up.

LG: Oh, yeah. No, for real. It’s good at these things. It’s so good at these things. And teachers work 54 hours a week and only half of that time is with students. They spend all this time working on these lesson plans and now they can instantly or more instantly customize their lesson plans to meet students where they are to teach in the way that student wants to learn. Sports analogies, great. Let’s teach science using sports analogies. Let’s customize for different reading levels because when you have a class of 30 kids, not every kid is at the same level. Or for a kid who maybe was sick all week, summarize everything we taught this week, summarize all the homework that’s needed and put it in an email for the student who missed the whole week.

LG: Or take all the things we have coming. Yeah, take all the things we have coming up and write the class newsletter for the month. Like all these things that teachers care about, they spend a lot of time on, now they can care just as much and spend less time, and they can meet students more where they are. And I just wish. Instead of only talking about the homework problem, we talked about the possibilities for teachers. And that’s why we launched the GenAI for Educators course.

LG: It’s free. Any teacher can do it. It takes two hours, and you can use it to be more efficient with the administrative tasks that you don’t love and more effective at connecting with your students. I just think it’s so magical.

BB: I love that Google’s doing that for free for educators. Thank you. That’s important because right up there with librarians would be teachers for me. It’s so interesting because I guess the ChatGPT kind of thing that first hit the airwaves, would you agree that was kind of the first thing that college professors thought they were up against? It was maybe two years ago.

LG: I think there was a moment where people were extremely worried.

BB: Yeah, no, I remember my peers thinking, “This is it.” And I remember hearing someone, I don’t know, somebody on Instagram or TikTok or something, say something like, “Universities will be closed in two years,” and it was like a Twilight Zone episode. And I remember the handful of faculty that said, “This is cool. This is going to be so much fun.” And they weren’t engineers or computational mathematicians, they were in liberal arts and they were in social sciences, and they were like, “This is going to be great. I just have to change the way I think about things.”

BB: And so then all of a sudden, on some of my friends’ syllabi, I would see things like use generative AI to write a paper on the intersection of addiction and the nervous system or something like that. Your paper is due on Monday. You’ll turn it in, and then you’re going to swap papers. And then when you swap papers, the person who gets your paper is going to check the accuracy of all the sources, teaching people how to use the technology for a higher and best use. Where the flaws are. What’s scary?

BB: I mean, the first paper I saw, I was kind of blown away because it was so well written. Just the grammar and the spelling and the sentence structure was so much better than what I’m used to seeing. And then probably 10% of the sources were real sources. 90% of them were AI generated sources. So AI was quoting itself in the paper.

BB: And so I went through my brief, this is the end of the world, sad party. And then I just thought, this is going to be really good if we can teach literacy around it, if we can teach people how to be critical partners with AI and keep a human in the loop. Is it human in the loop? Is that what you call it?

LG: Yeah, that’s what they call it. It’s just a tool.

BB: It’s just a tool.

LG: It’s a super useful tool. And, yeah, we have to apply our critical thinking and analytic thinking to the tool. I do think technology can be super empowering. Part of our grow with Google program is actually to solve a big societal problem we have in the US, which is only about a third of Americans get a four-year college degree, but the vast majority of really good paying jobs require one.

BB: That’s a big problem to take on.

LG: It’s a big problem. And our belief was having a college degree for sure, is life changing. It just shouldn’t be the only way you can change your life. So we said, “How can we apply technology and expertise to that problem?” And we created the Google Career certificate program, which allows people to get trained and certified for technology jobs, regardless of their educational background.

LG: So how do we solve this problem? We’re taking people without a college degree and getting them into… Some of them, actually some of the highest paying careers in our society. So we teach people to be cybersecurity analysts, data analysts, digital marketers, project managers, what’s called UX designers, which are people who design apps and websites and stuff. And we’ve graduated over 600,000 people.

BB: Really?

LG: Yeah, we’ve graduated…

BB: Wait. 600,000?

LG: Over 600,000 in a few years by applying technology and expertise to this problem and making it all really accessible to people. So our career certificates are all online, on demand.

BB: While you’re working?

LG: Well, the vast majority of people who do our program are working Americans. And over 20% of Americans don’t know their work schedule for the following week, and they certainly don’t control it. What that means is they can’t sit in a classroom all day, they can’t commit to classroom times. They need something that’s available when they’re available. So we made the program fully online on demand. People finish in three to six months. So in three to six months of part time study, you can completely change your career trajectory.

LG: You can get access to great jobs that you would previously never have had access to. And it’s driving real economic mobility, I think. How do we make this technology work for us is the key to closing some of this divide. And we’re giving access to some of the best paying career fields, the fastest growing career fields in our country, to people without college degrees.

BB: I love this. Okay, let me ask you this. Do you have data on the success? Are people getting jobs when they finish this?

LG: Yeah. So you said a minute ago, “Wow, that’s a really big problem to solve.” And we knew we couldn’t solve it alone, so we took an ecosystem approach from the beginning. So we partnered with employers, with thousands of employers who hire our graduates, including 150 big national employers. These are all people you’ve heard of. It’s American Express and Wells Fargo. It’s Walmart, it’s Verizon, it’s Google. But you know data analysts are needed in every kind of industry. They’re needed in retail, they’re needed in nonprofits, they’re needed in government jobs. This is not a coastal thing. So we have employers everywhere who are hiring the graduates. We have educational institutions.

LG: So now it’s being taught in high schools. My favorite example, the Anaheim public schools graduated 500 students with not only a high school diploma, but with a Google Career certificate last year.

BB: Wow.

LG: Community colleges. There’s 11 states where Google Career certificates are offered in every community college in the state, and then universities, actually, you’ll love this. The entire University of Texas and Texas State systems offer the Google Career certificates to any student that wants to take them. And within launching, within the first few weeks of launching, we had thousands of students in Texas taking the Google Career certificates. Now, the entire public university system in Pennsylvania offers it.

LG: The entire public university system in Nebraska offers it, because we were also finding, unfortunately, in our society, that 40% of people who were graduating with a bachelor’s were ending up what’s called underemployed. They were in jobs that don’t require a degree, like some basic hourly jobs. So it’s really helping people, even those people who are lucky enough to get a bachelor’s degree, land in good paying jobs.

LG: And I love that. I think it’s so nice to see educational institutions at all levels really embracing not just all the great critical thinking and interpersonal skills that they teach, but also job-ready skills for today.

BB: It’s really exciting. I mean, this whole idea of technology for good, this whole idea of technology, when wielded correctly as an equalizing force. I mean, I finished my four-year degree when I was 29, so I was on the, I don’t even know, 11… I actually graduated from high school when I was 17. I was on the 12-year plan. I did a lot of hitchhiking, a lot of bartending, a lot of… But what I found when I was ready to go back is. And I put myself through school. Boy, school’s not built really. Maybe more so today than it was then, but school was really not built for people who had jobs.

BB: And so that’s why I ended up waiting tables and bartending for six years. And then I would pick up triples before tuition was due. And I’d work lunch, light lunch, and dinner, and then just save enough for cigarettes. And tuition. That’s back then. But I think two or three books ago, I wrote something like, technology is like fire. You can use it to burn down the barn, or you can use it to stay alive and stay warm. And there’s a lot of scary parts of it because it doesn’t always intersect with commerce and capitalism in good ways.

BB: But I’m excited to hear about what you’re doing. I’m excited to hear about being able to get a certificate that puts you in a high paying job and gives you a skill set that’s in demand. Because when one person does that, it changes a family’s trajectory.

LG: That’s right. It does.

BB: I mean, it really does. I mean, just health insurance.

LG: For sure. Actually, we spend a lot of time with our graduates. And one of the last discussions I had, someone said to me, “Since doing this program, for the first time in my life, I’m so confident that I can cover my bills, that I put them on auto pay.”

BB: Now, auto pay for a girl like me is a big deal. I’m like, I probably could pay for my bills on auto pay now, but I’m like, no, ma’am, I’m not doing that. That’s too scary. Because I can’t. That mentality of having to decide between the lights and the car payment is not something I’ll ever shake.

LG: Yeah. I just love that. I love that someone’s saying, like, “I feel confident I can pay my bills.”

BB: I’m still that person. Like, literally, when I put a credit card in for something and it takes a split second too long, I’m like, “Oh, god, here it comes,” still. So to have the confidence to put yourself on auto… I mean, there’s a lot of us who know what that means.

LG: Yeah, absolutely.

BB: Do you know what I mean?

LG: Absolutely. Absolutely.

BB: That’s a big deal.


BB: What else excites you about what we can do with technology that really addresses some systemic injustice issues and disparity issues?

LG: One of the things I think people aren’t talking about that I thought was super exciting in the early days when we launched our generative AI tool, I was talking with some of the product leaders who built it, and I was asking them, “What are people using it for?” Like, “What’s the most interesting stuff you’re seeing?” And one of them told me a story that I will never, ever forget. He said…

BB: So excited.

LG: I know. It’s so good. Actually, wait till you hear. He said, there was this neurodivergent learner who would put their email that they were about to send into the tool and ask the tool, “Will this email make someone mad? And if so, will you help me reword it so that it won’t?”

BB: God.

LG: It helps us be our best selves if used in the right way, how can we use it to help us better connect with other people? And I don’t know that that’s a use case anyone had ever thought of, but it was something that real people were doing because they found it was helpful.

BB: It’s interesting because I’m still, like, not on auto pay in a lot of different ways, but I am using generative AI for thematic analysis on survey data, and I’m still coding it by hand afterwards to make sure it’s telling the truth. Because I’m still I’m keeping a human in the loop. I’m keeping a paranoid human in the loop. How about that? But I was looking at some surveys, and it was work a bunch of facilitators of Dare to Lead were doing, and I was becoming very excited and proud, and I just had this, like, kind of beaming sense when I was doing it.

BB: And then I thought, let me ask the prompt something. “You’re a thematic analyst. Is there any tone that would alert you to dissatisfaction here?” Because I needed to check my human bias, and it came back and said, “The tone is appreciative, grateful, and satisfied.” And I was like, okay, good. But it was one of those things where I understand as a researcher my bias, but I don’t.

BB: It’s not like I have Jiminy Cricket, who can run a second thematic analysis for me on my shoulder, but now I do kind of have something that can check to see how accurately I’m looking at things, even when there’s some affect or emotion involved.

LG: I love that.

BB: Do you know what I mean?

LG: You’re ahead of the times. You knew that it could help with those things. I love that. So that’s the thing, right? You just have to be aware that it can be useful in these ways, and you already knew that it could help with tone. It could interpret tone. It could give you feedback if you asked for it. Super interesting.

BB: I will have to say, don’t give me too much credit, because 50% of the things I ask, it will say, “I have no context for this question. I don’t know.” I’m like, “Did I handle that altercation yesterday well?” It’ll be like, “Look, I’m just coding data here, Sis.” But probably at some point, there’ll be a wearable. It’ll attach to my Oura ring and be like, “Beep, you were an asshole in the last transaction.” That’ll probably happen one day.

LG: Well, it could help you practice for all kinds of things, actually. It can help you practice all kinds of conversations. Like my kids are looking at internships and jobs, and it’ll help you practice for an interview. You can put in “I’m interviewing for this type of job.” You can even upload the job description and say, “Give me 10 questions you think the interviewer is likely to ask me and 10 questions I should ask the interviewer in this role.”

LG: It can help you do all kinds of things that are actually materially important to your life, and in this case, maybe your future. But it can certainly help you practice a conversation.

BB: Wow. You have been a ray of sunshine in our AI storm, Lisa. So thank you. Are you ready for rapid fire?

LG: Okay, let’s try it.

BB: I think you’re ready. Fill in the blank for me. Vulnerability is.

LG: Being real.

BB: You, Lisa, are called to be very brave, but your fear is real. I mean, you can feel it in your throat. What’s the very first thing you do?

LG: Take some deep breaths.

BB: What’s one piece of leadership advice that you’ve been given that’s so remarkable, you need to share it with us? Or so shitty you need to warn us.

LG: Always hire people better than yourself.

BB: That’s such good advice. God, that’s good advice. It takes some real grounded confidence to do that.

LG: Yeah, but it always works out better.

BB: It does, right? Okay. Here I can’t wait to hear your answer here. What’s the one leadership lesson the universe just keeps putting in front of you and that you’re having to learn over and over and over again?

LG: Patience. I’m not very good at patience, and I think I need to pause a little more.

BB: That hit different. I don’t like it. Okay. Last TV show you binged and loved.

LG: I like underdog stories. I was in love with Ted Lasso.

BB: Same. So good, right?

LG: So good. So good.

BB: Favorite movie?

LG: Well, actually, that’s underdog story two. Miracle. Do you know that movie about the 1980 US hockey.

BB: The hockey team?

LG: Yeah.

BB: Yes. Do I know that movie?

LG: Yeah, it’s like my motto movie. It’s like when I do my little leadership spiel, that’s my story. Dream big, work hard, play team. It’s like the lessons from the movie Miracle about the 1980 US Olympic hockey team.

BB: I did not have you down for a Miracle person. I mean, I love this about you. Okay. I mean, I just have to, like, sit down with a blanket and a box of Kleenex when I watch that. I’ve seen it 15 times.

LG: It’s such a great movie.

BB: God dang it. So good. A concert that you’ll never forget.

LG: I just went to see Bruce Springsteen and some people never age. He had so much energy. I was just so inspired. So inspired to watch him and the E Street Band and see how much energy they still bring after all this time. I’ve also listened to his memoir, which, by the way, if you haven’t, is phenomenal.

BB: I can’t wait to hear it.

LG: He reads it himself.

BB: Yes, I heard. It’s great.

LG: I actually listened to it as an audiobook and took it on a hike with me. And then I would flip back and forth when he would tell a story about playing in Wembley Stadium or whatever, I would flip to Spotify and I would listen to him performing that song at Wembley Stadium. And it’s so magical to do his memoir as an audiobook. I highly recommend it.

BB: Okay. You went full immersive experience in that. You just took yourself right into Bruce Springsteen. Like the heartland.

LG: Amazing. It’s amazing. I highly recommend everyone. Check it out.

BB: It’s so weird that we have these things in common. There’s two musicians whose books I listened to on audio that I went back and forth from their music to their book. And one was Bono. Well, actually three. Bono Surrender, Dave Grohl’s book. Because I’m a Foo Fighters’ fan.

LG: Nice.

BB: And then Alicia Keys’ book. I went a lot, back and forth a lot.

LG: I listened to Alicia Keys’ book, and I did the same thing.

BB: Yeah. And then I interviewed her on the podcast about it, so it was really fun. Okay. I’m curious about this one, too. Favorite meal?

LG: I’m a burger and fries girl. You give me a good set of super crispy fries, all over that.

BB: Love it. Are you a ketchup person?

LG: No, absolutely not. Makes the fries soggy. I like my fries crispy.

BB: Tell me you’re from the Midwest without telling me you’re from the… like. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. What’s on your nightstand?

LG: On my nightstand is my favorite book, which is Katharine Graham’s memoir. Have you read it?

BB: I haven’t read it.

LG: Yeah, the movie, The Post, doesn’t do justice to her story. Her memoir is phenomenal.

BB: I loved The Post, and I love her story. Talking about ballsy, courageous leadership. Good lord.

LG: It is so impressive, right? Her father gave The Post to her husband, and she was supposed to be the housewife, and then she inherits The Post and leads it through the Pentagon papers. The Watergate scandal.

BB: Watergate. I mean, jeez.

LG: Just so many things. It’s truly an incredible story. And it’s written by her. It’s her memoir, and it’s phenomenal.

BB: Okay. I mean, I’m going to put that on my list. A snapshot of an ordinary moment in your life that gives you joy.

LG: Hugging my kids.

BB: Smell their hair and stuff. God, it’s so good. Tell me one thing you’re deeply grateful for right now.

LG: Having family close by.

BB: This was so good, and I’m so grateful. Thank you for being on Dare to Lead. This was so inspiring. I feel very inspired.

LG: Oh, I’m so glad. I’m really. I’m excited. There’s so much to look forward to.

BB: Yeah, we can do this.

LG: We already are.

BB: Well, yeah. Yeah, that’s it. That wasn’t scripted, y’all. It was just awesome. Thank you for being on Dare to Lead.

LG: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

BB: You bet. Okay, so I hope you appreciate Lisa’s take on technology. She is just such a… Just a positive optimist with a lot of great data to back it up. So I think it’s a really helpful… I mean, being able to meet people where they are and change their lives with skills and tools that were not previously available to everyone. I mean, this is what I think it should be about. You can learn more about the episode along with the show notes on

BB: We have all of the different courses and opportunities that Lisa talked about. We have links to everything for educators, the kind of AI 101, everything. The Google Certificates. Everything’s linkable off on the episode page. I’m super excited that you’re here. I will tell you that comments are now closed on the website. We tried it, to see if it would work. I just don’t think that’s where people gather.

BB: I think everyone’s on social. We’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do with that. But the website comments we’re not using right now, it’s also really tough on our moderation team. We’re really in a hard beta. So I appreciate you listening. For those of you who are signed up to leave comments and then tried and started, I appreciate it. We’re still trying to figure out, like, I don’t know, how do you build community and not be in person? I know it’s possible.

BB: I don’t like the reliance on social media because I just don’t trust the social media platforms very much because their job is to keep us on there so we can get ads served to us. I’m still trying to figure it out. I’m a work in progress and learning a lot from this series. I appreciate you being here. Stay awkward, brave, and kind.

BB: Dare to Lead is produced by Brené Brown Education and Research Group. Music is by the Sufferers. Get new episodes as soon as they’re published by following Dare to Lead on your favorite podcast app. We are part of the Vox Media Podcast Network. Discover more award-winning shows at


© 2024 Brené Brown Education and Research Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Brown, B. (Host). (2024, May 1). Technology and AI for Good. [Audio podcast episode]. In Unlocking Us with Brené Brown. Vox Media Podcast Network.

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