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a number-one best-selling author, success and book coach, and speaker on a mission to help leaders use the power of writing to uncover their unique stories so they can scale their impact.

I'm Stacy Ennis,

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Episode 140 | How AI is silencing your voice, with Manpreet Dhillon

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I'm a number-one best-selling author, success and book coach, and speaker on a mission to help leaders use the power of writing to uncover their unique stories so they can scale their impact.

Hi, I'm Stacy

I’ve been a loud voice in publishing about the future of AI—and today, I’m taking that conversation a step further. In this powerful discussion with diversity, equity, and inclusion leader Manpreet Dhillon, we discuss the intersection between inclusion and AI and dig deeply into inherent bias and how AI is silencing our voices. We also explore her work nurturing authentic, human-centered workplaces and the idea of “holistic leadership.”

My guest, Manpreet Dhillon, is the founder and principal inclusion officer for Veza Global, an equity, diversity, and inclusion consulting firm. She is passionate about the Future of Work and how it is inclusive for women of color and those with invisible disabilities in the workplace. Manpreet brings over twenty years of experience in holistic leadership coaching, human resources, change management, internal audits, and community development. She focuses on creating systemic change to address institutionalized inequalities through representation from the communities served.

If in you’re interested in future-shaping conversations, listen to this week’s episode.

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Transcripts for Episode 140

These transcripts were generated by robots, not writers.

Manpreet: Again, it’s a whole, it’s very skewed, again, depending on how you put the questions in or what sources that you’re using. But it goes back to at the end of the day, as humans, we need connection, we need community, we need to bond with one another. And so that’s where we have to continue to foster and that’s where we have to continue. This is why all of this work, the DEI work, is all about focus back on the human. And even the everything that we do with AI, it’s going back to focus back on the human who is going to be receiving this and how are you going to help other people thrive from whatever you’re putting out in the world?

Stacy: Welcome. I am so excited for the conversation that we’re going to have this week. I’ve invited a very dear friend of mine and somebody who I often have conversations with, and afterwards I’m like, we should record this and share this with people. People. So today we’re going to be talking about diversity, equity, inclusion. We’re going to be talking about language and how AI models today are inherently biased.

Stacy: And hopefully, and I am sure we will get there, we will have some really good conversations around what we can actually do, like what can we influence within the world that we’re in, whether you have a small business or you are running a team or even within your own community. So I’m really excited to get to introduce you to this week. Week’s guest Manpreet Dylan is the founder and principal inclusion officer for Veza Global, an equity, diversity and inclusion firm. Manpreet is passionate about the future of work and how it is inclusive for women of color and those with invisible disabilities in the workplace. She brings over 20 years of experience in holistic leadership, coaching, human resources, change management, internal audits and community development. She focuses on creating systemic change to address institutionalized inequalities through representation from the communities served.

Stacy: Manpreet had ranked number 15 globally on the 2020 Empower ethnic Minority Future leaders list. She is a contributing author to chicken soup for the soul. Welcome, Manpreet. I’m so excited to get to talk with you today.

Manpreet: Thanks. Thanks for having me. I’m so excited about this as well because we always have the best conversations. I know we should always record them.

Stacy: Well, it’s funny because you and I often joke that we’re each other’s hype girl, and I’m really excited to get to just like highlight you in today’s episode. One of the things that I really admire about your work in the world and your work, just all of your work, but specifically the impact that you’re making in the diversity, equity and inclusion space, which is what we’re referred to as Dei, if that’s a new term to some of our listeners, is that you come to this conversation with, it’s like a safe. You’re a safe person to have these conversations with. And I never feel like if I ask you a question that I’m going to feel stupid or I’m going to feel like, you know, uneducated.

Stacy: You always have been this person that I can just ask questions that I don’t necessarily feel comfortable asking anyone else. And you always respond with such just warmth. And so that’s why I’m really excited to get to share that with this audience today through a topic that can feel really hard to talk about. I would love to talk, before we get into the actual conversation, to share a little bit about your journey and what led you into this work that you do, making the world a more equitable place.

Manpreet: So I’ve. So thank you for sharing that. Actually, first of all, the safe space, that’s what I try to do, because I think one of the things is this conversation can be very polarizing. It’s very raw, and also, we don’t know how to do it right still. Like, we know what we want the world to look like, but we have the opportunity to co create the world that we want. And this is why when we have these hard conversations where we’re discomfort, we have a lot of discomfort or uncomfortable in spaces, but that’s why we want to have these conversations, because we want to co create with everyone. And it’s not about taking away from someone else, it’s actually about bringing everyone together. So thanks again. That’s what I’m really trying to do in this world. But this journey has started.

Manpreet: So I’m a child of immigrants. My parents, immigrant from India. My, you know, they have the, you know, the immigrant story. They came with nothing. And my mom was like 19 when she had me and so she went to school here. My dad faced a lot of racism in his workplace. So as they’re like, helping us grow up, they always try to look at, they’re like, oh, what are the white people doing? You know, and what are they eating for school? Like, at school? What are they doing in the community? Because there’s almost this like, kind of standard that we had to live up to because then that would mean that we made it as well.

Manpreet: And so it was really interesting because how that it gets ingrained in your mind about, oh, maybe I’m not good enough or I’m not, I’m second class because we’re not doing it the right way or we’re not doing it the way that the white people do it. And then over time, at 13, I decided I wanted to end sexism, racism and war. I don’t know why I put that in my yearbook. And I also had a pet peeve against eggs, but I eat eggs all the time, so I always tell that story. But it’s always funny because, like, when you’re young, you actually always know what you’re passionate about and what change you want to make. And everything from there was really was about doing things that made the world a better place for others. I was volunteered quite young.

Manpreet: And then even when I went to university, I thought I wanted to be a kinesiologist, wanted to work with Team Canada women’s team. And so I actually learned how to skate when I was grade eleven, so I can go learn how to, I learned how to skate from the Team Canada women’s team. I tried out for like, not summer games and stuff, but it was also because I was the only indian girl there, so I was like, oh, do I even belong here? So this constant thing where, like, do I belong in these spaces? I didn’t want other people to feel like that. And this work started working in an arts organization were looking at bringing cultures together through dance and arts. We did a. We did a collaboration between different arts group, different cultural groups all the time.

Manpreet: Then I started to bring that into the workplace. So that’s how my work actually really started. And then since then, I’ve been in gender equity, doing gender equality work since 2011, focused on women of color in the leadership positions, because every time we would have the conversations, it would be about women at the leadership, but it was never about women of color. People didn’t talk about this second glass ceiling that exists for us. And then I started my company about six years ago when started doing audits and assessments for organizations and started working with government and un agencies since then. So that’s the. And then also, I live with invisible conditions and invisible disease. The workplaces aren’t made for people like me, so I have to create my own pathway as well.

Stacy: I can’t believe I just learned some new things about you. Like, you and I are such close friends, but every time I talk with you mentioned some other, like, epic thing that you’ve done in your life. Like what? Oh, that’s so. And I was also thinking, like, at 13, what was I doing? Yes, I did want to be a writer. I knew I wanted to work with books, but I was, like, starting a babysitting company. Like, I was not like, I’m gonna. I’m gonna end sexism, racism, like, what was the other one? Sexism. And warn. I just want to be able to call my babysitting line so I could take care of their kids. Oh, man, that’s so. It’s just so impressive all. All the way around.

Stacy: One of the things that you bring to the conversation that I find is very different from a lot of people speaking in the Dei B, which I knew, is that belonging is kind of the new acronym that’s being added on. You talk about disability, and I don’t hear people talk about that enough. It’s like it kind of sometimes gets added on to the conversation, or it’s like, oh, yeah. Oh, I forgot to mention this thing. But for you, it’s actually been inclusive and central to all of the work that you’re doing in the world. And you talk specifically about invisible disease and invisible disability. I’m not sure that a lot of people are really aware about how big of a challenge this is for so many people around the world, in the home, in the community, in the workplace.

Stacy: And I would love for you to talk a little bit about that. What is invisible disease? Invisible disability? What are some of the challenges that people face that, you know, maybe I’m not seeing or our listeners not seeing.

Manpreet: Yeah. So, I mean, sometimes. So it depends on what we call invisible conditions. Like, that’s one of the terms that are being used. This is the things that when you look at someone, they might look like they’re perfectly fine because they don’t have a physical disability or something visibly that’s kind of unquote wrong with them. It usually is a chronic disease or chronic illness and some sort. And we know that, like, about. I think this latest stat was like, 70% of women are going to be impacted by autoimmune condition, and that’s an invisible condition. And then from there, also, like, as we age, obviously, invisible conditions kind of increase as well.

Manpreet: So it’s really something that you’re not seeing on the person, the way that when you’re looking at them, they look like they’re able bodied, they are able to walk, they’re talk, they’re able to do these things, but the way that they accustomized to life might be different. And so it’s really interesting also, because in Canada, we have really strong accessibility legislation coming in, and we actually have the chief accessibility officer. And then in the Netherlands, they actually, because I was just living in the Netherlands, they had. They’re one of the leading people in looking at getting people with disabilities working in the workplaces. So if you have a company with over 500 people, 5% of your workforce has to have people with disabilities. So the legislation is actually supporting more people to be in the workplace as well.

Manpreet: But the accommodations that are required and the conversation around accommodations is so important because many of us, like, I have days where I can’t get out of bed because I’m exhausted. I live with ten brain injuries. I have Lyme disease, have endometriosis, and a bunch of things going on. And a lot of it was people growing up, people were just like, well, you’re overweight. That’s why you’re feeling like this. And I’m like, but I work out five days a week. I, you know, eat well, and. But you’re. And then finally, when I got diagnosed, it was like, oh, okay. And I’m like, and then I can’t be in fluorescent lights all the time. I can’t be in loud spaces all the time, you know? And so my day to day has to change. So that means our workplaces have to change.

Manpreet: And if you have a small business, it’s about asking. Sometimes when people are missing deadlines, it’s about asking them, like, well, what. What support do you need right now in order to meet those deadlines? And sometimes that just that extra time or they need extra thinking time or extra focus time, because not everyone’s brains operate the same way as well. Like, if we think about neurodiversity, which is, like, from everything from autism to adhd to, there’s a spectrum, everyone has different ways that their brains function and different ways that they operate in the world, and they see the world. So we need to. And when we ask, no matter what size of a company you have, is asking your team members, well, what do you need to thrive? And what do you need to, you know, what would be helpful for you?

Manpreet: And this is even asking your family members, you know, it’s like, I just had a conversation with my mom. I love bringing my mom into these conversations. I’m always like, I can’t have people over all the time. Cause I need a lot of rest time. And even having that conversation about, like, what are the downtimes I need in order to be a fully functional family member? And so it’s important to ask, like, your family members and loved ones, but even your colleagues and your team members, what do you need to thrive in the workplace? We can’t assume people need certain things because we never know. And so that’s, I think, like, the one thing, if anyone walks away from this podcast is asking others, like, what do you need to thrive? And that would change your life and change their life as well.

Stacy: This is a topic I’m really passionate about, as you know. And, you know, for me, as a parent, this is starting with asking questions about the school system. And I think that a lot of what we. How we function in a workplace carries over from these very restrictive, kind of one size fits all systems that were put into as young children. This type of brain that curriculum was designed for. And it’s like, when you need extra, it is extra. It’s like a burden on the teacher, it’s a burden on the system versus what you’re proposing, which is a more empathetic, less self focused questioning of, like, how can I support you? But the benefit of that, to me is not. It’s not just like, you know, let’s. I fit in the neurotypical box with probably some undiagnosed anxiety would be my guess, right?

Stacy: Me as a neurotypical person working with somebody who is somewhere on the neurodivergent spectrum, I actually am also going to benefit from communicating with them in a way that is respectful of their neurodiversity. Right. So, like, for example, if someone has ADHD giving, very specific, and you can correct me if I’m wrong here, but based on the reading I’ve done, they need, like, very specific time bound requests and prioritization. Like, I need this by tomorrow. This is less urgent. And, you know, like, some of those type of communication, whereas my assumption in the past would have been, oh, but, like, obviously this needs to happen tomorrow. Like, I shouldn’t need to say that. And that’s just not true. And then I’m not necessarily getting the most out of my team, and then I’m frustrated. Right? And they’re frustrated.

Stacy: So at the end of the day, you’re just supporting better communication, and it’s reciprocal.

Manpreet: And the benefits completely, like any of this DeI work and including belonging and anything, all it is about good human practices. Like, at the end of the day, that’s all it’s about. It’s about having good communication skills. It’s about connecting to each other as humans and having conversations about what each other need. So we’re less self centered, as you said, but more focused on how are we going to do this together in a way that works for both of us, like, for both of us or everyone. And if we actually, if we just changed our, like, perspective of what dei means to the fact that we just want to better humans, all of a sudden, this world would be a much better and easier place for a lot of people.

Manpreet: And where we’re just like, oh, you know, you need to take sick leave, but you know, like, just say you’re like, it was so I saw a post today on LinkedIn where they’re like, why are we requesting to vacation two days, two weeks in advance? If you need a personal day and then you feel guilty for taking it because you’re, like, you’re having, you know, maybe you’re having a hard day or something, but you’re. Because you’re letting other people down. Like, how do we change that? But I’m like, well, the one thing is, like, there’s still businesses to operate. We still have planning, we still have goals and things like that. But if went from a human perspective of, like, the person just needs a day to be, you know, do something for themselves.

Manpreet: And we had good business practice in place, it wouldn’t matter if they had to step out for two days. And that’s where, like, the time, you know, the deadlines are so important. And also being aware of, like, I had a team member call me years ago, and she’s like, I’m feeling a lot of anxiety today. I can’t meet the deadline. So I’m like, okay, well, what do you need to, like, what do you want us to do? She’s like, can you take it over? I’m like, that’s not an option. Can you, what’s the other option? She’s like, I’m just gonna let the client know we’ll get it tomorrow morning. I’m like, totally fine. But that was an accommodation of, like, her anxiety, plus her.

Manpreet: And that sometimes happens, like, anyway, it was what she needed at that time, and I was there to support it, but I also didn’t, like, hold her hand and being like, hey, let me pull you out of it. And so it was like, it was a beautiful thing. And she actually ended up meeting it because she just needed a space to be able to say, this is what I need right now. And she ended up finishing everything off before the, like, before were supposed to deliver it anyways. But that’s where there’s a lot of conditioning that comes into place here. And I think that’s one of the biggest things about this work, is when we’re thinking about other people. It’s about remembering that everyone else has a different experience than you have had growing up.

Manpreet: And if we can meet people where they’re at all of a sudden, how we interact with them will change as well.

Stacy: I think that’s such a powerful framing. And for me, just, you know, now that I’m older, more mature, more mindful of these types of things, I look back on my younger years and some of the relationships, experiences I had where, you know, I was from an immature mindset, assuming the other person was having the same exact experience as me. And now I can look back and go, wow, that, you know, that person might have been struggling or that person might have had, you know, been neurodivergent or had a disability or, you know, things that I just couldn’t see or was too self centered to notice. I think where leaders and business owners get worried and you and I hear these conversations within our entrepreneurial community is they worry about too much accommodation to the point that they get, like, taken advantage of.

Stacy: I think this is a false fear, personally. I think most of the time, if you have a good team and you have a good relationship and you treat them like humans and you recognize that as humans, we have ebbs and flows in our life, right? Like, all of us have a point in the year. That’s harder than other points in the year, right? We have a point where we need to take rest or we have a family crisis. But I think when you build a great team and you build that trust and you have ownership and care for each other, giving in those instances is going to bring back more. Like it’s not going to steal from you. Is that what you’ve seen in your work as well? Or what’s your perspective about that?

Manpreet: Completely. Just so many things are going through my head because I think our models are kind of, there’s so many models that need to be shifted. One thing is like, we’re like, if a person makes mistake, risk getting into a culture where people are like, okay, well, you just let them go. They’re like, fire fast. So I agree. Fire fast. But also give people have compassion. Like, ask people what’s really going on. If we ask the question and they’re just performing badly because they’re performing badly, that’s different. But a lot of the times people are performing badly because you’re doing a bad job as a manager. You know, and I hate to be like, you know, I hate to say, like, not to point fingers, but that’s usually what happens.

Manpreet: Or they have something else, like significantly going on in their family, like in their home life that they need to. That’s why we talk about bringing their whole selves to work. But that doesn’t mean that, like, you have to accommodate for that. But it’s also allowing for that space to happen. And if just because they accommodate, they need a traditional space. And then the other thing is when also with this, when we start thinking about these accommodations and people do worry about, like, I can’t afford it. There’s too many, like, I’m not going to be able to afford the equipment if I hire someone with special needs or all these other things, there’s a lot of support systems available.

Manpreet: There’s a lot of programs out there that are trying to get people employed and they’re providing funding to small businesses from like a practical resource lens. From the accommodation side, it’s also thinking about, well, what’s really the business needs. And when we think about this work, it’s like sometimes we think something needs to be done a certain way, but we forget, like if we actually ask the question is that what really what the business needs, it might actually be done in a different way because that’s actually where the bias comes in, where we think something needs to be done a certain way or it needs to be. It can only be done that way. And that’s actually usually riddled with a lot of bias, things that are programmed in about how things should function.

Manpreet: But when we’re like, what does truly the business need at this point? And how can I best deliver the business’s mandate, given the resources we have? All of a sudden, new ideas come up. And that’s where, like, involving your team and having those new ideas being like, how do we make this happen all of a sudden? That’s where the diversity of thought, and that’s where we want to always get to, is really capitalizing on diversity of thought. A lot of people are experiencing so much decision fatigue because we think that we have to know it all. And you’re like, you read everything on social media, and it’s like you kind of get wrapped into this. Oh, my. Like, I need to know everything. I need to be doing this way. I need to do it this way.

Manpreet: It’s like, no, at the end of the day, go back to your own, like, heart, go back to your soul, go back to your team soul, and be like, how do we do this together? And remember that you’re all like, and if we actually focus on, like, we’re all in this. In the. For the long run, all this sudden, it changes. If people’s having. People are having a cycle, cyclical time down, we can. It changes their commitment to the, organization into the role as well.

Stacy: I love all of the things you just said. I think the other piece that was coming up for me is that there is so much benefit that people with differences, with different abilities, different ways of seeing things, different ways of thinking about things bring to our business. Right. And it’s not just diversity of thought. That’s a huge one. But I also think, like, sometimes specific brains that work different ways bring specific benefits. Like, a person with ADHD, for example, is super creative. Somebody with autism may have a really unique way of looking at something or have a special skill that they bring to the table. Somebody with a disability can think about the audience and end users in a way that you would never be able to think about it, right?

Stacy: So I think there’s so much there, and this is like my roman empire that I think about, because I feel like we dismiss so much about people when they don’t fit inside a very specific, tidy little box. But, like, the box is boring. Like, why do we want people to fit in a box? I will never understand that.

Manpreet: I totally agree. The box is boring. And that’s the thing, because we have different ways of doing things all of a sudden people will thrive and they want us to come around. Like, I think both of us have had this experience where our team members, like, staying with us because the thing is, we’re like, we’re, we allow their creative juices to flow. We’re like, how else can we do this differently? Like, when, like, the best compliment I’ve had is like, when team members want to come back, like four or five years later, they’re like, I still want to come back and work for you. And I’m like, I must have been doing something right. And I’m like, the worst. I think I’m like the worst boss because I’m like, I chased a squirrel sometimes even.

Manpreet: And then I’ve had to, like, learn being like, okay, other people don’t think like that. So I have, I’m one of those, I talk in ideas all the time and I’m like, that doesn’t work for everyone. So I have to be very detailed. I have to give the deadlines. And it’s been actually made me such a better person in order to learn how to better communicate because I learned how what other people needed and I know what frustrates other people about me all the time because I don’t, I’m not always clear on my communication because I’m, like, running a mile a minute and I’m like, oh, wait a second. What do they need to know in order to be on board with this idea? And all of a sudden it changes the whole conversation and change. And I’m like, the idea becomes better formed.

Manpreet: They’re like, asking me questions. I’m like, oh, actually, I didn’t think about that. And then it also, it just changes the whole dynamic because all of a sudden you’re just engaging with each other in a different way and you’re asked, you’re actually engaging with ideas rather than being this task oriented kind of society. Sometimes we’re becoming coming to as well.

Stacy: Yeah, I mean, I was just thinking about, like, sometimes I’m so bad at sending cryptic messages to my team where I’m like, I’m my train of thought. It makes total sense, but they receive it and they’re like, what? Like, is this about your podcast? Is this about your author community? Like, you know? And it’s like, those pushbacks help me better at communication. But then I also feel like that mutual trust that we build when I push back or they push back on something that we’re creating together, there’s trust that it’s in the service of excellence that it’s not like laziness or unwillingness to do your part. It’s always this real, genuine care and wanting to create good things together.

Stacy: I think that trust piece, to me, that’s part of this whole conversation around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is people feel like they’re part of something. They feel respected, they feel human. And I just feel like all of that is so important.

Manpreet: I just want a reframing on pushback. I actually think it’s a push forward together.

Stacy: Ooh, I love that. Tell us more about that, because, like.

Manpreet: If you think about it’s not, it’s not really a pushback. They’re not pushing you backwards. What they’re doing is actually mean. Like, how do we push this forward in a way that we can all be on board? And it just shifts the whole, like, how we look at the whole conversation, and then it’s not like a challenge anymore. It’s like, oh, those are interesting questions. How do. How are we going to move forward from this place? So, anyways, I just, it’s a reframing that I’ve been playing with myself and I just, it’s been really helpful and because I’m like. Because otherwise you kind of get in defensive mode when you feel like someone’s asking questions or you are feeling their pushback, because the connotations of the word. So that’s why I’m like, that’s a push forward. It’s just pushing. We’re going forward somewhere.

Stacy: I love that. Especially when my, like, anxiety is raging. Then I’m like, really? Like, oh, okay. You know, so I love that. Okay, that’s an even better bridge to my next question. Question. Because we’re talking about use of language and the nuance to that language and how that impacts all of the things you and I were talking about. Biased AI long before it was in the headlines. Like, probably like five or six months before. I remember we had a. Were we in London? I feel like were walking down a street in London. It was like a busy street, remember? And were talking about this and how a lot of the people kind of pulling the strings of this AI language modeling are.

Stacy: We’re putting our future language shaping in the hands of a pretty small group of people who are also pulling information from a lot of biased content. So talk a little bit about that because somebody who’s listening right now, this might be one of the first times that they’re really thinking about how biased our AI models are. I’d love to just start with the kind of like the ground framing of what that looks like and why it’s a problem, and then we can dig in a little bit more, for sure.

Manpreet: So, since generative AI is built on the information that’s out there already, if we think about whose voices are out there and who’s positioned centrally in the content, it has been typically typically white males from a certain economic class. So then also when we think about who’s doing the programming, where they’re selecting the data from, it’s usually white men who have been in tech from a certain economic class, and they’re getting the data from places that they know of. And so they have, they’re just channeling the same information into the AI, and then from anything that’s being spit out is from that angle then, and that from that space. So what we’re doing is just reinforcing these biased ways of operating in the world and systems that we have, and we’re just continuing to reinforce those.

Manpreet: And one of the things that I always think about this, like the work that you do, and I love the work that you do, is because we’re trying to bring different voices into publishing and different voices into content and having different thought leaders show up. And that’s actually so important, because if we don’t have those people, that the generative AI is not picking up those voices, and then that all the content is not going to have those voices, then all of a sudden we’re just erasing all these people’s perspectives and angles and the way that things could be done in a very different way. Because AI is not built to understand anything that’s not coming from the data sources or the data points. That has to.

Stacy: It’s such a flawed model when you really dig into it. And I think that’s why these conversations are so important, because if we don’t start shifting it now, it’s just going to continue with this biased language modeling when we do use the generative AI. And then of course, we have the next level, which is AGI, the general intelligence, which is what’s going to be coming down in the future, where essentially they’re training computers to have the equivalent of human brains and generate thought and respond like a human would. It’s really crucial that we’re thinking about this now and we’re starting to make change. And to your point, I’m totally forgetting the stats, but I did a episode a while back on equity and publishing it so white. Not only is it white authors, but all the executives, the people that are making the decisions.

Stacy: We also have a lot of gender inequity in how books are categorized. As an example, you’ll find that a self help book tends to be written by a female. Personal development book tends to be written by a male. A business book by a female often will still get categorized in that self help section, whereas it will end up in the business section for men. So there’s a lot of also those kind of gender inequities that are happening in the public in the long form published content. But then we also have all the short form published content. So what do we do about this?

Stacy: Because if we are using these models, maybe in our social media creation, or perhaps people are using them in those little widgets that will write emails for them, or as what I advocate, which is a thought partner or something that you can investigate and test out ideas. I’m not a big fan of generative AI myself, but it exists. What do we do about that? If we can’t change the modeling but we want to use it well, it.

Manpreet: Goes, so we can change, we can influence the modeling through the questions that we ask the AI. So that’s one thing, because if you keep asking questions that it doesn’t know it’s going to start. It starts to track that it doesn’t know that. So if you’re like, I need you to write. So there’s black AI. So there’s like, this lady, I was reading an article, this woman who started a black AI and actually speaks in context and, like, form with how black communities speak to each other and. And, like, their references, and it’s just really cool. But I’m like, we should. It shouldn’t have to be so separate, right?

Stacy: Because it’s like when you look for an image and you have to type, like, person of color in the workplace, or you’re just gonna get a bunch of, like. Or, like, woman of color in workplace versus just, like, person in the workplace.

Manpreet: You.

Stacy: You have to give it so much specificity.

Manpreet: Totally. Like, the other day, I was creating content. I was trying to create images, and I was like, a woman of color. It gave back just a black woman. And I was like, okay, like, I understand why AI thinks a black woman only is women of color. So then I was like, can I want south asian? And then it gave me a lot of women with hijabs. And I was like, okay, so this is where, like, the AI is broken. But I kept asking. I’m like, I want a south asian woman without a hijab, you know, and like, dressed in a western style. Then it generated that, but it was like, because I had to train the model that’s what I wanted.

Manpreet: So it really comes back into, like, those are the questions we need to ask because, so that’s where we can do the training. The other thing is I’m, I do love, I love AI in many ways because it does make work a lot easier, but it scares me because a lot of people are losing their jobs. It’s impacting their jobs. But the thing is, it shouldn’t, what it should do is it provides us the tool so that we can have deeper thought leadership, and we actually can think about how do we position this? It’s a good starting point, but not relying on it. So I was just generating a course and a lot of the stuff is on AI. I can, like, generate the course on AI.

But then when I went into, like, looking at it, I was like, well, these references aren’t references I would use. So I went back and changed, like, the context. I changed the words and I, there was so much thought leadership of, like, really thinking about the human in the content. How would the human receive this? And it changed the course. But, you know, and it’s like, and then I had AI check it again. I’m like, oh, can you do an edit on the content? And it was like trying to change things back to like a dehumanize. I was like, no, I need this to be focused on this human. This is the person and, you know, this is the emotion I want them to feel. All of a sudden, the content became a differently.
Manpreet: So I think, and it was, so it’s just like, about retraining it and how it works for you. And that’s where, like, that’s why I think there’s a beauty in it. But this, there’s this big thing about getting your own content out there, getting our voices out there. Like when we’re just using AI, but we’re not using our own voices, we’re just erasing our own voice and we’re erasing the voices of our ancestors in many ways. That’s why I think, like, I love the, you know, when you’re, like, when you’re even with writing books and stuff, if when we’re using AI, we’re actually just erasing a lot of people’s voices. So that’s why we want to make sure that if you are going to utilize it, using utilize in a way that you’re not erasing your own voice.

Manpreet: So kind of write the content, get it edited or get it reviewed, which is helpful. Or you can give ideas and then still use your own thought process, because that’s actually where we need to come to. A society is really thinking about how do we think about like the work that what’s on the topic, and that’s actually what’s going to keep us, have us keep our jobs. Not everything that we put out there in the world will be can AI can do right now.

Stacy: I love that concept of not erasing your voice. And it got me thinking on a bigger scale for leaders or even small business owners that are thinking about how to utilize AI in their content creation. I hadn’t really thought about it. From that standpoint of when you are turning to a biased technology, you are also opting into biased language. Now you’ve heard this episode, you can’t say you don’t know, sorry, we spoiled it. This exists. And so having that mindset of I still have to be intentional. I need to critically think. I need to be mindful of the way this language is talking to or not talking to real human beings. And there’s so much to it.

Stacy: On a little bit of a different note, I think we also have to be really mindful of how AI can like push back our own thinking and exploration. And I had an example, this was a few months ago, and I need to retest it, but I was looking into something medically and I wanted to understand, like different ways of looking at it. So I put in a specific thing that I was looking for and I wanted to know what alternative medicine thought about this thing. And the chat GPT just shut me down. They were like, we will not, like it said something like, alternative medicines are not considered medically sound or something. I took a screenshot, I have it somewhere. And so basically we will not provide any information for you. And I was like, oh, hold on a second.

Stacy: But I’m a human with a brain and I want to learn about this. So, like, why do you get to decide for me whether this is valid or not? I think that was another, that’s another fear that I have with this. Even though like, I’m like, hey, the technology exists. We have to learn to use it. Cool. We need to orient to it, learn from it, use it. But I think there’s that other risk that we run of. Like, I mean, this is something I’ve talked about on the podcast too, like outsourcing our thinking. I think this other piece of it now I’m going to have to reference you all the time is like shutting down our voices.

Stacy: It’s so layered, and then there’s a morality angle to it that we have to consider, which I’d love to hear you talk about from that perspective.

Manpreet: Anyway, it goes back to the practices of, like, you would to be integrity with yourself, be integrity with who you are as a person. But also, and this is where the morals are so important. Just in general, if you wouldn’t have, if you’re using generative, I be open that the fact that you used it and, but also realize that if you’re gonna just copy and paste from generative AI, you’re not doing the work. And that’s where your integrity comes in. Like, for any client work I do, we use generative I to, like, reflect or have ideas or I’ll put prompts in just to reform it in a different way because my english is in a different way. Sometimes I think clearly, sometimes I may not, or it’s easier for me.

Manpreet: Like, and I could be like, I want case study on this and this and get it to format that. I can, like revise it for my use. And, but then when it’s going to get checked by AI, it’s going to be like, oh, it’s AI generated, but I need to be honest with the fact that I did use AI to generate it. But that’s where that honesty with yourself comes in.

Manpreet: And also, if you’re going to just pretend that you know how to do something, like, I’m not going to pretend I know how to do astrophysics just because I can go figure it on, you know, like, and that’s where I think there’s a challenge still, right, where we know that even for social media, people are like, I could just, they can create generative images now and that you don’t need to, you know, technically social media managers, but you don’t hire social media managers just to generate images. You hire them for engagement, for the thought process, for the strategy, and there’s so many other things that you hire them for. And I think that’s where, like, the morality piece comes in constantly of, like, how are you using it?

Manpreet: And are you being integrity with yourself and are you actually acting the same day, same way that you would have if you didn’t have AI?

Stacy: Yeah, those are such great points. And I mean, this is something I think about a lot because to me, as, also as a former teacher, high school language arts teacher, who we didn’t have AI, but certainly there was plagiarism that exists, existed, still exists. I put it in the same bucket. Those, to me, feel like if you are doing using a technology and trying to pass it off as your own original thinking without, you know, either disclosing it or really drastically, like, it’s like really more. It’s for inspiration and you create it on your own there. To me, that would absolutely be a moral disconnect. But I also think that, like, to your point, I think this is why you and I connected so instantly when we met a few years back is just that you operate integrity. I operate integrity.

Stacy: These are like integral to who we are in the world. And that seems like a pretty obvious integrity piece to me, that if you are using something, you should be, you’re using something that somebody has hired you to do or that you’re passing off into the world as your own work, that there should be some component of that’s either heavily changed, disclosed, or, you know, you present it like you do, which is, yes, we use it. And here is why I think that piece of it is super important. But I should say, and, you know, even in my own contracts with clients, I added an AI clause because it was really important to me in the work that I do with authors that they actually go through the journey. I’m not going to be coaching somebody that’s just like AI generating their book, right?

Stacy: Like, that’s way out of integrity in my opinion.

Manpreet: Yeah, absolutely. With this work, I mean, I have mark, I have friends who are in marketing and they actually will enclose, like disclose or like, we use AI for our marketing efforts. But what you’re going to receive from us is this and this. And it goes back to like I was listening to the other day, they’re like, what are the skills that people need moving forward? Critical thinking, people management, you know, problem solving. Those things are, those skills are not going to go away because that’s what we need people for. It’s a task that, like, certain tasks that are going to go away that are done on computers. But I was talking to my nephew the other day and he was like, I want to do hands on work. He’s like, because AI can’t take away this work.

Manpreet: I’m like, well, technically you could have robots who do, but like, but it also goes back to going back to seeing what your own value is. And I think that’s where, like, a lot of people are starting to. A lot of the conversations I have are, people are like, well, am I becoming obsolete? Are my skills becoming obsolete? Everything I do can be found on AI. Like diversity, inclusion, strategy plans, the toolkits are all, you know, everything’s available for free. We had talked about this, like, I do assessments and audits, and the assessments at one point are done by the government for free. Like, so why would people need me to do, like, you know, why do people need me to pay? But what people pay me for is my thought leadership.

Manpreet: What people pay me for is being able to say, okay, you’re coming up against this. You’re coming up, you know, and why do you feel like you’re a racist? And I have those conversations all the time when maybe they’re not racist and those are things that AI is not going to replace. So when we’re thinking about this work and get thinking about our voices and thinking about how what we can do to make this world work for us with AI is ask the questions. But also remember that you aren’t put on this world because of what you bring to the world. And that standing in that is like the most important thing. And that’s why your voice matters. That’s why making sure that your voice doesn’t get erased. And why would you want it to get erased?

Manpreet: And why would you want AI to take over everything you do so you can be more productive? For what? And it’s about the fact that you have a distinct way of, like, all of us have a distinct way of that. We look at the world, and those are the perspectives that we need in the world still, and we’ll continue to need. Otherwise, we’re going to operate like robots, which is, I don’t think anyone really wants us to do.

Stacy: These are like deep existential questions, right? Like, when you really start going down that mental rabbit hole of, like, this. This question that I ask a lot, because a lot of what I also teach people is like, how do you get the most out of your time and energy and really be able to step fully and be focused and, like, get into flow? But people, I think, take that too far where it’s like, now it’s in service of doing more things. And I’m like, hold on a second. That is not the point of this. It’s to create more life space.

Stacy: And then I come back to this also, this question with AI, just to loop us back around of, okay, so if we’re now we’re thinking about AI as a tool to help us, I guess, step more fully into the space that we’re most excellent at. We’re most joyful in getting for our younger generation, getting to the place that you and I are in now. Like, how did we get there? We had to go through, actually, the rote development of our own thinking, which I actually would argue exists through the writing and the study and the kind of heretic thought that you have to go through to arrive at a place where, you know, what you even think about things. So that’s my curiosity. It’s not like, oh, no, we’re doomed. AI is going to ruin us.

Stacy: I don’t feel that way, but I do feel that the work that people like you do will be so much more highly prized as time goes on. But then I worry about the gap behind you of the people that are not developing that in the same way. And I suppose they’ll find their own version of that. But I even. I heard a radio story. I don’t remember what podcast it was, but there was a college student, a female college student, who said something to the effect of, well, I don’t have to think. So why would I talking about using AI? So those are the questions that I’m asking right now of like, okay, yes, I am worthy as I am as a human, not just because of my productivity in the world and my work is deeply meaningful to me.

Stacy: And I think everybody deserves that. I think everybody deserves to feel their work in the home, in the workplace, in the community, wherever it is meaningful. But you get to that place of meaning through the hard development of your area of interest. And how do you develop that? I mean, I’m just curious to know your thoughts on this. Is that something that you’ve kind of, like, gone down the mental rabbit hole as well?

Manpreet: Yeah, I do that. I do all the time, because I think about my nieces and I’m like, you know, I see their screen time, and I’m like, are they really figuring out? But it was. It was really interesting. I was having a conversation with one of my nieces on the weekend. She’s like, I like to play games. I’m like, well, would you want to develop games? She’s like, oh, I didn’t know that’s an option. And I was like, they come from somewhere. She’s like, oh, interesting. And then it’s like, but the thing is that’s why I think as, like, the parents in their lives or the adults in their lives, we have to ask the children the questions about what and foster that interest in something, right? And it’s like, they are gonna get certain things.

Manpreet: It’s like, okay, well, what kind of TikToks are you watching? And therefore they’re watching a certain type. Like, my niece loves to watch cooking once. So all we’ve been doing with her is make. We make try new recipes and we do baking. So we actually have bring that online experience into the real world. Real world. And, and that’s been actually a really beautiful thing, one she loves, like soccer. And so we’re like, okay, so how do we foster that? You know? And, and it’s been. So that’s where I think it’s really, as adults in their lives, we’re gonna have to foster that in a different way and ask the critical questions and get them to. And that, you know, I was reading this really great article today.

Manpreet: It was about men and boys, and that’s a whole other topic, but about how they need connection and how we’re not raising boys and men with enough connection in their lives and making it okay. So they’re to understand masculinity and femininity, feminism. And then when you look at AI, these topics, again, it’s a whole, it’s very skewed, again, depending on how you put the questions in or what sources are you using. But it goes back to, at the end of the day, as humans, we need connection, we need community. We need to bond with one another. And so that’s where we have to continue to foster. And that’s where we have to continue. This is why all of this work, the DeI work, is all about focus back on the human. And even the.

Manpreet: Everything that we do with AI, it’s going back to focus back on the human who is going to be receiving this and how are you going to help other people thrive from whatever you’re putting out in the world.

Stacy: I love that. Like, also that touch into men and boys. We could have a whole conversation about that because, as you know, and I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about it that much on this podcast, but, like, I have a really big heart for that. This topic of, like, our boys and raising them to be connected and safe, feel safe, right? I mean, I have a son, so for me, this is such an important piece. And it’s not like there’s not a dichotomy here. Like, it’s not an either or. Like, lift up women, push down men. Actually, there’s so much of a conversation that needs to happen around that, which is another one of those areas that I feel like you have such a unique lens.

Stacy: When I’ve heard you in our, I won’t get into specifics about our private conversations, but I’ve heard you offer so much empathy for men in situations that, like, surprised me a little bit, because you really were able to listen and think about the whole situation in such a thoughtful and empathetic way. And I think that, to me, speaks about your whole approach, which leads me into the next thing I’d like to ask you about, which is your holistic leadership coaching. And we’ve been talking a lot about challenges and how we can influence it prompts, we can give things we can be thinking about. But one of your solutions, one of the ways that you are serving the world to kind of bring us into a more equitable place, is through. I did not check pronunciation on this with you before we started recording.

Stacy: So is it Ishvara? Did I say that right? Holistic leadership, which is a program for women of color. I know you do so much broad work with governments and in consulting, but this is a very specific program that you’re running for women of color. So can you talk a little bit about that work and maybe pull in some of the pieces that we’ve been talking through today?

Manpreet: For sure? So, Shara is actually, there’s a goddess that doesn’t get talked about much, but it’s about the pure consciousness that we live in. And if we. And a lot of my work has always been about how do we connect people back to their souls and actually have them living from their soul. Because if we have people living from their soul, their life will be just more beautiful and grander and what that looks like. And. But when you bring in the cultural programming, ancestral programming, societal programming, and the way and all the other systems that exist, people kind of lose who. Who. What their soul really wants and desires and who they are. And so once we.

Manpreet:So my coaching is what really focused back on bringing people back to their soul, kind of back through their own womb leadership, like, connecting in with their womb and looking at letting go of ancestral patterns and societal patterns, but also being like, who do you. Who are you? And what do you, what does you, what do you desire? Bringing you back to your body’s wisdom. Our bodies hold so much wisdom, you know, and that’s one of the gifts that I’ve had from living with chronic conditions, is really understanding my body’s wisdom and understanding what letting my body and heart lead and actually been helping other people do that as well. And actually how that shows up in the workplace and how, like, addressing, like, grief in your body, you know, going through getting up to the ages of perimenopause and menopausal.

Manpreet: And what that actually changes, how that changes your brain and how that shows up in the workplace. So I’ve been working with a lot of women around those topics, and it’s been so rewarding because this work is, we can change the systems, but we also have to help people be able to thrive in those systems. And through my coaching, it’s kind of like working with them to help them thrive as well.

Stacy: So much of what you said is so important, and this is why I’m grateful to be your friend and to be surrounded by the people that I surround myself are women like you who are really on this quest of self understanding. And what I think is really interesting about the work that you do, it’s like you think that you’ve kind of unearthed the thing, and then it’s like you look down, you’re like, oh, there’s like seven more layers that I need to unearth. And especially when you start to dig into a lot of our just kind of patriarchal structures that really, like, from a very young age, as women, we are conditioned to not trust our own bodies. Right? So then, and that often takes place in our home, in our medical systems.

Stacy: And then you get into a workplace, and we’ve spent so much time just shutting down that wisdom and that, like, self trust that when you get into these other environments, you’re, like, questioning everything. Right. And so a lot of what you do is really helping undo that. But then you have this other ancestral element, which I find very interesting. It’s not work that I’ve kind of gone through in depth myself. Can you talk a little bit more about what you mean by that and how that shows up in your leadership coaching? Yeah.

Manpreet: So the ancestral piece is really interesting. Like, I always kind of, again, bring my mom back in because we always talk about this topic, like, how many women of her generation and the generations before, especially in the south asian culture, they had no choice in who they get married to. All of a sudden they’re like, you’re getting married. Maybe they’ve met their person, maybe they haven’t, or they meet them right after they get married, and then they’re like, ego starts your new life with this person, and you’re supposed to sleep with them on the first day. And the whole, there’s all these cultural elements of you, like, sleeping with them, but to think about the fear that’s in your body and that, and they just disconnect because it’s too much to handle. They’ve disconnected. And then as we take that on, right?

Manpreet: Like, as you’re born, you take on everything happened, your grandmother, you take that on through the womb. And then when we think about how many different parts of the world have been under war and. Or they’ve been, you know. Yeah. So when you think about that and if your ancestors have went through war, you’re going to feel it somewhere in your body at some level. And so when we think about these generations, like the newer generation, like the Gen Z, the anxiety is really high. Well, of course it is. They went, their parents have gone through, like, depression, like, you know, depression, recession, so many of the different things. And of course their anxiety is going to be high because they’re actually carrying all of the family trauma, their body, and then generational trauma. And then if you think about, like, the. Manpreet:
How many of their ancestors have experienced that along the lines and they’re holding it, no wonder they’re feeling it. And so when through a lot of work, like through akashic records and other energy healing modalities, we release that ancestral pressures and challenges as well. And then, because then how that shows up in the workplace is because a lot of the times, the people we have conflict within the workplace are someone either that we don’t get along with it like we need to learn a lesson with in our own family or from another life. And so it’s really about how do we, you know, learn those lessons so we don’t can minimize the experience of that in our lifetime.

Stacy: Now, interesting. It got me thinking, too, about, you know, I have thought about this concept in relation to my grandmother, who lived through depression. And, I mean, it’s. It shows her experience. Obviously, she’s passed. She’s been passed away for a long time. But her kind of, I think, trauma of being young, a young woman during that experience and the poverty and all the things that she went through. I saw Carrie all the way through into my life in food, in emotional connection, in so many different things. And I never really thought about it in the way that you’re talking about it. Certainly I’ve seen it and felt it. And even as a kid, I remember just the idea of, you never make more food than your family’s gonna eat at that specific meal.

Stacy: And some of those kind of patterns that carried through in how I eat, I don’t do that anymore. But this idea that we’re so connected to past family members, I come back around, I’m like, mad men would also benefit from this. So much I love, though, that you’re targeting women of color and that it’s such a big area of passion and service in the world. And I’ve really watched you light up in this work that’s been so cool as your friend, to just see you stepping into something that’s really like your light is shining and you’re really serving and how you’re meant to. We’re like nearly the hour, and I could go another hour, but I should wrap us up, tell our listeners, our viewers, where they can learn more about you, follow you on social media, and get in touch with you.

Manpreet: Yeah, for sure. So LinkedIn is the best. So just LinkedIn, I end up Dylan or Instagram. I am manpreedillon. And yeah, I loved your conversation. It’s just like, me too. I have so many things that are going through my mind right now. I’m like, oh, I need to go back and reflect on this or write about it, you know, again for myself. So thank you.

Stacy: We’ll have to do a part two down the road. I’m like, oh, man, there’s just, there’s so many, I think, you know, like I mentioned at the top of our talk, it’s like you and I have so many just deep conversations. And I always just so appreciate how you bring a little nuance to sometimes how I’m thinking about something and just like even the voice thing that we talked about today, I had never thought about that. Just this idea of and how, especially women and marginalized groups are already erased in so many contexts and then potentially opting into that further. So interesting. And you have so much to share. I hope people will go follow you and learn from you and my friend. Thank you for joining me.
Manpreet: Well, thank you for having me.

Stacy: And thank you to you, the listener and viewer. I hope you enjoyed this conversation. I know these topics can be hard sometimes to talk about, but hanging with us all the way to the end, I really appreciate you being here for this discussion. I hope it got you thinking really deeply. Thank you as always to Rita Domingues, who produces this fine podcast. She makes this all possible. I absolutely could not do it without her. And if you have a moment, just 2 seconds, well, probably 30 to go and rate and review this podcast. It would truly mean the world to me. It helps me reach more people with the message of living a life and doing work that is beyond better. And I will be back with you before for you know it.

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