Women with Cool Jobs

Director of User Experience at Google Transforms Customer Engagement with Artificial Intelligence (AI), with Aastha Gaur

May 17, 2023 Julie Berman
Women with Cool Jobs
Director of User Experience at Google Transforms Customer Engagement with Artificial Intelligence (AI), with Aastha Gaur
Show Notes Transcript

Aastha Gaur is the Director of User Experience at Google. She leads the experience design team that transforms customer engagement with Artificial Intelligence (AI). Her team has 120 people who design what solutions should look like and how they should act; Google's largest business is advertisers.

Aastha says that you don’t need a tech degree to be a successful female leader in tech.  She says, "So many women, especially those who might not have a STEM background think they can’t work with technical men and engineers. And that’s simply not true! We can do it. They need us.”

Aastha has a bachelor's degree in industrial design and a master's degree in fine arts (graphic design). She is from India and did her undergrad there and did her grad degree in the United States. She believes in having a “healthy disregard for the impossible” and shares how that mindset can lead to more possibilities.

She talks about what it's like to be a woman of color, from a different country, with a fine arts degree working in the tech industry and loving it! She brings diverse perspectives and strengths to her leadership role, where she works with designers, researchers, conversation designers, UX engineers, and more.

 Contact Info:
Aastha Gaur  - Guest
@asthahearts (Instagram)
Aastha Gaur (LinkedIn)
Aastha Gaur's website

Julie Berman - Host
www.womenwithcooljobs.com
@womencooljobs (Instagram)
Julie Berman (LinkedIn) 

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Aastha Gaur:

I asked my manager who was the owner of this, it was a small design studio and I asked the owner, hey, could we pitch to our clients that we redesign the website? And he said, I remember still he said, it's a good idea. But I don't know how to do it. Do you know how to do it? And I said, Well, no, but I think I can figure it out. So really, from that, I just started a project on a simple. The first website I did was a simple web design project, which means that it was a static page. There wasn't much to it. But you know, it worked really, really well. And that's when I thought, I started learning about UX design, it was starting to become appealed, I realized I could take a lot of learnings from industrial design. Because basically, if you take the learnings of how people interact with things and how things function from industrial design, to and add it to how things look from graphic design, that is basically user experience design.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody, I'm Julie, and welcome to Women with cool jobs. Each episode will feature women with unique, trailblazing and innovative cruise. We'll talk about how she got here, what life is like now, and actionable steps that you can take to go on a similar path, or one that's all your own. This podcast is about empowering you. It's about empowering you to dream big and to be inspired. You'll hear from incredible women in a wide variety of fields, and hopefully some that you've never heard of before. Women who filled robots and roadways, firefighters, C suite professionals surrounded by men, social media mavens, entrepreneurs, and more. I'm so glad we get to go on this journey together. Hello, everybody, this is Julie Berman, and welcome to another episode of women with cool jobs. So today, I am really, really excited to share another woman with a cool job, who I felt so excited when she contacted me. It literally felt like I had manifested her. And I don't speak of that lately, because I don't really often do things to like manifest I think that often comes tie down to like, a lot of just hard work and and time. But I swear literally just a few weeks before I got the email from asta, saying that she was interested in being a guest, I was trying to find a woman who is an artificial intelligence AI because chat GPT three and now four is you know, is shifting and changing so much. And people are constantly finding new uses. And I was like one, that'd be amazing. If there was a woman in AI, that we could talk to you. And here we go. This is that episode, I was so excited. So we are going to be speaking with elastic art today. She is the Director of user experience at Google, she helps lead the experience design teams for artificial intelligence. So she leads about 120 people in customer engagement. And this includes people like designers and researchers and conversation designers and UX engineers, and more all with the goal of creating really awesome AI products for users. And so she basically helps design what solutions should look like, and how they should act. And she told me that Google's largest business is advertisers, which is like so, so interesting. So you know, just from this perspective of her job, her role, and the role of you know, her team, they play such a huge function, they help basically figure out especially given bots, like when people need solutions, they need answers, they need help, they don't actually always want to talk to someone. And so she helps design these bots or these tools to figure out how to help people in real time. And the really interesting thing about AI now, when I was doing a bit of research is that it's like this continuous learning loop, where AI is actually continuously learning. So its capabilities are growing, and humans, right we have the capacity to continuously learn. So there's like this loop this cycle that keeps happening. And you know, her and her team they have to create the parameters they have to create the guidelines and the transparency and things around how they're going to use this technology. To do that. She said that they started her team specifically started about two years ago. So also super interesting that they were you know a bit ahead of the game on on this front you know before it kind of I change the way we all view things now just within the last, you know, six months or so. So I hope that you enjoy this, this really interesting conversation because us is such a leader, she's not only a leader, because of the fact that she's a woman coming from a fine arts background, doing a very tech related job. She's a leader, because she's a director, and a very large company. She's also really cool that she, you know, brings in her her insights in her experiences, being an Indian woman who came to the United States to get her master's degree. So she comes with a lot of different perspectives. And, you know, because of all these pieces of her, so this was a really fun interview for me to do. And one that I think, you know, we can all learn from, they're all different types of leaders. There are many different ways that women have the ability to step into roles of leadership to step into places that you may not have thought were options for you. And they can be and they are. So I so appreciated spending this time with asta I so appreciate you being here as a guest. And please, if you are loving this podcast, make sure that you go on, if you're listening on Apple, you scroll all the way down, you can leave me a review. That would mean so so much if you actually take like two minutes and write me a review if you're loving it. Alright, enjoy this episode and take care. Hello, hello. So I am here with another amazing guest Astha gar. And I'm so excited to have you because you have a very cool job. You are the director of user experience at Google, where you lead a experienced design team for artificial intelligence, and how Google uses it in their technical solutions related to sales, marketing and support for the company. And you lead a really big team of people, not only in the United States, but around the world. So first of all, like, so, so much, thank you for being here. And then I'm so excited to learn about what you do.

Unknown:

Julie, I'm so excited to be here. I'm such a big fan of the great work that you do here and such a big fan of the podcast, it's an honor to be here. Thank you, I appreciate that.

Julie Berman - Host:

And, you know, you are like the epitome of the woman who I get so excited to interview. And I should say actually, I'm always excited to interview every woman to be fair, but like you are the epitome of a job that I had no idea like existed, first of all, and also being that you are in the AI Artificial intelligence space right now, which has just I mean, blown up with chat GPT. And like, all these different things that are going on with it, it's so fascinating that you are doing that within your current job and using it in in such a specific way for the customer engagement department. But doing it in a way where you've been working on this for like two years already, you know, and like figuring out, how can you use it to create a really wonderful experience for people and get the outcomes that you guys need as well for your company. So I also want to touch on the fact that you are in a leadership role. Not only are you a woman, but you are from your from a different country or from India. So coming right from that side as well. And like how's that was for you, I'm really excited to talk about what you bring, as a leader, what you bring, as a woman also from like another country, the perspectives that you have, and like how that's contributed to what you're able to do within the company and how you're able to like positively create beautiful teams as well. And then I also am really excited to talk about your thoughts on what it takes to be a leader in a large organization that's tech, often male dominated. And the fact that you come from a master of fine arts background, right was just like, exactly the opposite of, I think a lot of the places where people may think that you might come from and in order to be successful, right? That's not maybe what we associate like as the degree or the background that you'd be in this tech field. So and yet here you are doing this incredible work. And I'm so excited to like learn all about it. So thank you, thank you for being here. And to start us off. So can you tell us like explain your job In a nutshell, as if we were just learning about it for the first time, like, what do you do?

Unknown:

Yes, absolutely. I have to you know, before I jump into that, let me tell you a quick story that just came to mind. I was talking to an engineer, friend of mine, who's also a leader. We are co workers. And he was joking about his kids and how he would pay for their college as long as they didn't go to art school. And I looked at him and I went, I went to art school. Right. And we're in the exact same place today. That was a good moment. To remind people. Yes. Many bats. Yeah, the same same outcome.

Julie Berman - Host:

What? That's an epic example. Thank you for sharing that story. First of all, like, right, there are many paths, there's no one perfect path to a certain place. Love it. Exactly.

Unknown:

But yes, let me talk about what I do. So yes, like you said, I lead the customer engagement team, we I lead the user experience team. It's about 120 people across India, and the US, and many different cities in the US. And my team, we have designers, researchers, we have people who create prototypes on our team, we have people who design conversations. So as an as you're talking to an AI, someone has thought through how that conversation design should go, for example, should the AI say when it's talking to you, so it feels a little bit more natural, right? Just things around rules around that. And then we have operations people on our team. So this is the team makeup. For what I do is if you think about any product, let's just take Gmail, I'm using that example only because most people would be familiar, either with Gmail or something like that. But to clarify, I do not work on Gmail. But just because that's familiar, what someone would do is in that product space, someone in my position would first do product strategy. What that means is they would deeply understand customer and user needs. So they would think about things like, hey, email is becoming really overwhelming. People are now using Slack or something like Slack. And even that is now becoming overwhelming. People are preferring casual modes of conversation. iMessage is how people are communicating. Given all of this research, what should be the strategy for what should happen in Gmail next. So that is the first part product strategy. Then once that gets decided, the second part of my job is execution. Now that we know what we want to do, how do we do that? So what that means is, what do we need? What else do we need to research? What do we need to design? What do we need to test with users? What finally gets launched? How do we measure whether that is successful or not successful? That is the second part of my job. The third part of my job is operational. This means do we have the right people on the team to do what needs to be done? Do we have the right processes on the team? How are we collaborating with our team in India, given that they are a timezone apart? So because to manage a large team of 120 people, I have to look into the operations of the team to make sure that we are as efficient as possible. And last, but not the least, is team culture. And I lean very heavily into this. Do we have the right culture on the team? Do people feel welcomed? Do people feel like they can succeed no matter what background they come from? Do people care about each other? Do people feel invested and taken care of? So those four aspects is basically what my job in a nutshell, but it results in a product that the customers hopefully love because of all of this background and work that has gone into it?

Julie Berman - Host:

Wow, thank you for sharing that really great overview. And, you know, it's interesting, because I think there are so many components of your job that that I don't I wouldn't have known unless you talked about them. And I think part of I think, like part of what you bring, which I find so interesting, is, you know, not only your viewpoint from someone who has like a degree and a skill set that it's like completely outside of perhaps maybe the usual tech world, and what is traditionally done to get to a role like yours, but also the fact that you know, you've come from India and so you had all this experience from when you worked there and you got to a different degree there. And then you know, coming here, working with the team internationally, like I think all of those just as someone who's lived abroad, like not not for that long, but I've lived abroad, it just allows you to To be a little bit more aware and cognizant of like, there's different ways to go about things like there's different opportunities when having people on a team and bringing together people who have these different skill sets who come from different places. So I think that is such a cool thing in particular that you do bring to your position. And I know you had like an I just wanted to share this because I thought it was such a rad quote, like, when you had messaged me, you know, to be on the podcast, you specifically said, I'm interested in appearing on your podcast, because so many women, especially those who might not have a STEM background, think they can't work with technical men and engineers. And that's simply not true. We can do it, they need us. And I like loved it. Like, I think after I read that, I was like, yes, she needs to be on the podcast, of course.

Unknown:

Oh, I love that. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for referencing that because I completely believe in that. Yeah,

Julie Berman - Host:

I think it's so important to highlight for you. And and I want to talk about later, what kind of you specifically do now but I'd love to talk about how you got to this position like what, you know, what degrees do you have? How did you get interested in this type of role? And how do you first see, like your background, you know, because you do have a very diverse background, like how does that help you do this job?

Unknown:

Wow. Yeah, that is such a great question. I will say upfront, even though I am not necessarily doing exactly what I studied to do, having the degree itself was a big part. It's a big reason why I am where I am today. Only because of the technical limitation of that gave me a visa to be in the US. And why I'm saying that is because we have people in privileged positions who are, you know, maybe just white men who grew up in America, and there's a lot of evangelism around, Oh, you don't need to worry about college and all of that. And that might be true for many people. But some of us who have disadvantages to start with often need a little bit of help, that a degree might give us without a degree, I wouldn't have been able to get a job, or even be in America, just with the immigration policies, and everything right. So that's well worth stating here. But um, yes, let me go into my background, a little bone. So I studied for my Bachelor's, I studied industrial design in India. And I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the, the, my the college itself, and what I was studying, what I did not love was the job. And it's because industrial design, it is a little too permanent. For me. When you design furniture, when you design I was working on cars myself, a car has to last for a decade plus, and it is very, very dependent on your design once and then you've tested massive, just with 10s of 1000s of times something simple like a switch, you would test many times in a car, which makes sense. And I just remember looking at it and thinking that this is a little bit to designing something that has to last for more than a decade is just was not very exciting to me at that moment. On at that moment, I actually decided to do graphic design instead. Because user experience design wasn't a field back then this is many, many years ago now. So I came to the US to do my master's in an art school. And I studied graphic design. And actually, I picked the most traditional graphic design school in the US. I went to CalArts. We taught how to print posters, or we were taught how to print posters by hand, wow, we're taught how to set typography by hand. This was a very craft oriented, traditional graphic design program. And I'm so thankful for it because it really taught me a lot about aesthetics. It taught me a lot about how 2d graphics communicate a feeling or an emotion to the receiver, and how it might even compel the receiver to take a certain action. If you think about it advertiser or advertising came from graphic design, right? So graphic design is very, very powerful and making people do things and making people feel things which comes from art, too. So that was my background. And then after that, I had a job at a small agency here in Los Angeles, where I was doing graphic design for nonprofits and something that I realized was but no matter how well we did their graphic design and their actual printed media, what it came down to was, are they getting enough donations? That is the final business outcome for a nonprofit, they need donations coming in. And that's when I realized that their websites were very poorly designed. And I asked my manager who was the owner of this, it was a small design studio, and I asked the owner, hey, could we pitch to our clients to redesign their website? And he said, I remember still he said, it's a good idea. But I don't know how to do it. Do you know how to do it? And I said, Well, no, but I think I can figure it out. So really, from that, I just started a project on a simple, the first website I did was a simple web design project, which means that it was a static page, there wasn't much to it. But you know, it worked really, really well. And that's when I thought, I started learning about UX design, it was starting to become a field, I realized I could take a lot of learnings from industrial design. Because basically, if you take the learnings of how people interact with things and how things function from industrial design, to n, add it to how things look from graphic design, that is basically user experience design. And after the simple website, I did more of user experience design or more complicated or more complex products that our clients were building. And then I ended up building a whole user design or user experience function at that small, firm. And from then on, because I had a portfolio and I had proven success that I could deliver results for our clients, in this case, nonprofits and increased donations. It was it opened a lot of doors for me in terms of getting other jobs, what my education was, that didn't matter. It didn't matter that I wasn't in tech, or wasn't fronted, all that mattered was I could do user experience design, and I could deliver those results. Yeah, okay, thank

Julie Berman - Host:

you for explaining that. That is fascinating, that you were able to combine those degrees in such an interesting way. But how you explained it made complete sense. Like, it's like the puzzle pieces fit together so beautifully, for you to be able to have this really amazing, sort of like understanding of the different pieces of user design. And so can you explain like a little bit about what is user design? Like? What are the things that you look for when you are designing something, and we can go into now if it's a good time to talk about to like how you do that with artificial intelligence, in your current job, even at Google, like that would be really interesting to hear if it's a good time to talk about it now.

Unknown:

Yeah. So user experience design, what it means is being intentional in the design of how things look, and how things work. It's a combination of those two things. I will say, this is a hotly debated topic amongst professionals in my field, for some people like, wow, we shouldn't care about how it looks. That's like a specialized job. There's just all this in my opinion, we have to care about the two things because they are very, very closely related. Because like I said, how things look, sometimes influence what users do, which influences how things work, right? So what that means is, let's just say again, let's go back to the Gmail example. And then I will get specific about what we are doing. But in the Gmail example, what that means is, what features should Gmail have? So that's a part of how it works. Things like if you have labels, how do you delete? Do we have labels at all? Or not? How do the labels work? Can you assign more than one label to something? Or should it be only one? Where do the labels show up? And then how it looks is things like, what colors? Should there be? Can you change the colors? If you can change the colors? Are they limited? Or can it be any color at all? How much space is there between the different emails so that it's readable to someone? How much what is the font size? Do we and then see how it's so related to how it works? We give people the option of changing how it looks? Can we change the font size? If they can? Can they change it to three out of or one out of three options? Or can it be anything that they want to change it to? And that's just the landing page of Gmail? What do you see? Then when you click on different things? What happens? How does the user set filters? How does the user set an away message? How does the user do email forwarding more and more and more and more complex, it just blows up from there. So it's a very complex ecosystem design of how things work and how things look. Now, what we do so in I can give an AI example here. What I do specific quickly is at Google, my teams are building the infrastructure needed for support, and sales and marketing at Google to do what they need to do. So for example, our sales teams in advertising, need to reach out to advertisers and say, Hey, this is what you did last quarter. This is how it performed, here are our suggestions for next quarter. All of that has to happen in a product. And that is a product that we built for our sales team to use. That's a more advanced, internal, very enterprise example. But then the support example, which people might be able to relate to our chat bots, so all of us in the past have talked to chat bots that have been very frustrating, because you talk to them to get support and you know, fix a troubleshooting issue. They don't understand you, because it's really, they haven't been smart chatbots in the past, so you kind of tried to get help, maybe they help you maybe they don't maybe then you get passed to a human who might know what you've already done, they might ask you to repeat things that you've already tried anyway, they might not even know who you are, because you call a bank, and they're like, can you give me your card number? And you're wondering, you should have my phone number linked to my card. Why are you asking all of that? Right, right. So that's all a part of how it works. So we designed that. But what we realized we were talking about like two years ago, we realized that there is so Google had made a pivot to being an AI company a couple of years ago, when Sundar talked about it publicly. And the whole idea was, how can we use AI to provide better experiences to our customers. So without going into too much detail, I'm just gonna give you a quick intro to what AI means. Because I think now people have different understandings of it. Ai just means that not every condition is pre coded in the background. So what I mean by that is, let's just say for a child use case, if there is no auto chatbot, if there is no API, this an engineer in the backend has coded things that say, if a user says I want to refund, say this, if I use ourselves, I want to buy another quantity of this purchase, say this, if a user says what is the weather. Or if the user says something that is not in this list of things that I'm telling you, as an engineer, then say not recognized, or I don't know what you're talking about, right? So you would have to code every single thing. And then what the system does. And what AI does, is you don't have to code every single scenario, you can train an AI model on data that has been given to it. Based on that data, the AI model knows that when a user says I want a refund, this is what I should say. So now with the AI was in the differences, that no one no engineer has to hard code, every single condition in the background, the user can say I want to refund, or I want to buy another one of these things, or what is the other or a fourth thing that the team never thought of. And as long as the AI was trained on some of that data, it can give you an answer. And this is what people are seeing with Chad GPT why it's so impressive, is because you can say anything to it, and it can pull out some answer. It might not be right, always. But because no one has hard coded the answer is no one checked for accuracy. It basically just gives you an answer, right? So with this, what does it mean for us? What it means for us in support is that we can build more useful chatbots. Because now we can just train AI data. Now, it has to be more a lot more factual than industry standard. Because when you're asking for support, you're probably not asking that the better. You have a very real need. So we need to make sure we're giving you the right answer. That's tricky. But we can put guardrails on an AI to give you the right answer and help solve your troubleshooting issue for you in a way that's now an actual useful chatbot and not the chat bots that we used to from three years ago. So when it comes to user experience with AI, it's things like chat bot one, we have to make it super clear you're talking to a robot or AI not a person, because transparency is pretty. It's a pillar for Google and how we use AI. We have to make it clear that the expectations are very clear. Things like maybe you shouldn't ask it about the weather because that's not what we're doing here. Right. But you can ask about the product if you want to. Then we have to think about what is the what is it look like? What is the interaction model like does it look different when you're talking to him? Human versus to abort is a different color chat bubbles or something else are the two chat bubbles together if a human is collaborating with a chatbot, as it's trying to help you, right, so everything that I talked about earlier in terms of how it works and how it looks, even in a chat bot, using AI, these are all the different factors that we have to think about as we're designing for the user and what the user experience should be.

Julie Berman - Host:

Wow, yeah, that was a great explanation. Thank you. And I think it made it really understandable from a basic level, because I know that I've had some terrible interactions with chat bots. And I get very angry. As I'm sure you know, I've had some, some decent experiences. But I love that. I mean, the interesting thing is, like you gave me some places where I could learn a little bit more about what you do. And I think the interesting thing about what you're talking about with the AI is that you don't program every single little thing you like, you sort of give it these parameters, allow it to learn, and then it can do basically its own thing. And I think that's both like, fascinating and a little bit scary. But I think like, what, what I pulled out of some of the material you you sent me was, you know, and I'm just going to, like, sort of read or paraphrase some of it. This is saying designing for AI means designing for human machine relationship that is in flux, which is in contrast to a non AI design, where the relationship and static and so on where the relationship is static. So I thought this was really interesting, because it was pointing out in this article, how the human and the AI technology are actually always changing, and they're always interacting with one another. And, I mean, that was really a little bit shocking to think about how that that relationship, I guess, for lack of a better word, is such an important one to not only think about right from, like, from the standpoint of Yeah, how you're how you're gonna design things, how are things going to look, but also to meet, you know, with like talking about what you're thinking of, you know, with being transparent, and seeing like this, you're specifically talking to someone who's not an AI machine, that's not a human. And it can help within these parameters for these issues? And like, what are those? So I think that is just such a fascinating topic, where I feel like this will be used more and more for, you know, different applications. Do you feel like, first of all, it was eye accurate and how I was thinking about things? And second of all, do you feel like you and your team and Google as a whole, like they were kind of on the cutting edge of using AI in a different way? For the customer experience customer engagement and solving problems?

Unknown:

Yeah, I think Google started thinking about the implications on the customers of AI very early on. And we published if I'm not wrong, about two years ago, externally published these principles. They're called pair principles be a IR and they're available, anyone could do a Google search and find them. But basically, it talks about people and AI, like how the principles that Google suggests other other folks who are designing with AI and for AI, keep in mind, and it's things around setting expectations and transparency, and what we use for model training and all because it's super important to see because the whole thing about Google is that we put the user first right, what that means is we start from the human that we are designing something for while technology is really cool. And this technology is it's really it's it's probably one of the biggest changes in the technology landscape overall, as you think about the power of AI. And we really just starting to see the beginnings of this. Ultimately, it has to be will be about what problem are we trying to solve for someone where it says just throwing technology solutions at the wall. And that is why user experience teams exist in technology companies like Google and Mara, and Amazon and others write that it's not just about okay, we have cool tech, let's just launch it and see what happens. It has to start from and I can only speak about Google and how we do stuff, but it has to start from what is the user need. So the user need is I want to solve a support issue. And we are noticing more and more that people don't want to talk to a human to to solve their issue. They want to do it on their own. If that is the user need the technology application. is let's use AI to enable that. So that becomes very important. So highly recommend checking out pair PIR for folks who might not have seen it. And you know, other other companies have published their principles, too. And it's worth taking a read if anyone here is interested in thinking about how are we designing or building products with AI? These might be really great guidelines.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, I haven't heard of that. But I definitely am gonna go look it up. And I'll try to include it even in the in the show notes if I can. And I want to ask you, because you are. So you're in the tech industry, you're a woman, you're Indian woman. And so like, right, there's all these different factors so that you typically might not see, especially someone who is in like a leadership role, you're in a director role. And I would love to ask you about like, what do you think it takes for a woman to get into this role? Like, what do you think, are important sort of things that you did that you would recommend? And you know, how can people sort of find their way? Because, you know, you read a, like, I should say, I read all these articles, you know, and it talks about how usually like, you know, if you're climbing a ladder, but for women, it's like, at a certain point, it gets really hard. And it's like, you have to jump two rungs. Because there's all these factors that come into play. And we don't need to go into all of them. But But I think like, because you have successfully gotten into a leadership role, like I would love to hear from you. How can other women follow suit, especially in a corporate environment, one that maybe is surrounded by a lot of men. And if you just have any suggestions, like ways that you found mentorship, people who've championed you, I will, I would love to hear what your thoughts are on that.

Unknown:

Yeah, it's such a great question. And evergreen, I wish it was an evergreen, right. And I do think things are getting better. But it's a slow, slow moving topic. In terms of progress. I think there are two aspects here. There, there is the aspect of how do I think about it as a leader. And there's that aspect of how do I think about it as an individual for myself, and they have to be very different. What I mean by that is, as a leader, I recognize the systemic problems. And the reason why I do what I do is because I need to have these positions to be able to solve some systemic issues. So on my team, I can make sure that everyone has an equal opportunities to succeed. Being an executive at Google means I can do Google write programs, because Google is very supportive of changing some of these systemic issues, right? So it gives me the opportunity to really change the system in ways that benefits everyone. So that's more like, Okay, we need to just change things, this is not acceptable, right? As an individual, I cannot think about that. And what I mean by that is, at any point in my life, if I look at the system, and I had thought, Okay, this is just messed up, I have to wait till someone or myself changes it to succeed, I would get nowhere. As an individual right, then my point of view has always been like it is what it is. Now, again, that's not I'm not saying things should not change, because sometimes people misunderstand me things absolutely have to change. But things are not going to change tomorrow. And I'm not going to wait five years till it changes. So given an I also follow stoic philosophy, a lot of this thinking comes from that that everything around you the obstacle that you see, how do you navigate around that? Change it if you can change it, if you cannot change it, you can either be defeated by it and not move forward. Or you can accept that there are other people who have the same obstacles, and they've made it. So how do you make it, there must be a way, right. And on the side, you also solve the problems but don't wait till the problems are solved. To do something. I think that's one of the biggest blockers that women and other underrepresented minorities get discouraged when they run into these walls. Because for some reason, maybe they thought the walls don't exist anymore. Or maybe they have been told that things are changing. So the walls don't exist anymore. The thing is, they do exist, it is getting better. But just like there's still racism in the world, there's still sexism in the world and it shows up in all different places. Do not be discouraged when that happens. Accept that that is going to happen expected. It doesn't mean that you don't change it. Yes, someone should change it including you, including other people in positions of power, but work your way around it versus just waiting for it to be saw because many, we are waiting for many generations if we have to wait for it to be solved, right, and how we solve it is by having more women in positions of power. So that first mindset is super important. Expect that you will run into obstacles, and be okay with it. Don't be surprised by it. Second, one thing that has worked really well for me, and this might be this why I've stayed at Google for like about almost 11 years this year. And I do believe this about most people in general that most people do have good intent. What I mean by that is, if you tell them what they did wrong, they will want you to correct their mistake. So but it's important that I talked to them, assuming that they were not looking to harm me actively. Because I mean, I truly believe I'm not that important to anyone, like no one actually says, I'm going to harm that person, every one is more concerned about protecting themselves than harming someone else. Right? So an example is, there was this presentation that we were doing, and two of my partners, they're both men. And we did a presentation where I talked about the culture, both of them talked about the product, then the next time we were doing it, they were planning to do something very similar. And I said to them, Hey, how is it that the woman on the team myself always talks about the culture and you talk about the product? And both of them were like, Oh, my God, you're so right. So sorry, let's switch. I will take culture you talk about the product? That's a great example of I did not, I did not assume they were targeting me. I did not imply they were targeting me because they were not very honestly, they were just excited about the product part. As far as I saw, just by me pointing out that, hey, why is it that we always do it this way? They understood it immediately. Right? And they wanted to swap. And then a very another very important other thing that I would like to say here is that women often do the mistake of looking for mentorship only from other women. And that's not great, because there are not that many women in positions of power. So you're going to be waiting forever or there is that one woman who's poor woman is mentoring like 200 other women, right? Yeah, especially in a work scenario. So. So I mean, there's a difference between sponsorship and mentorship. But typically what women need a sponsorship more than mentorship, especially in their workplace and in their industry. For sponsorship, you want to look for people who care about your growth, and have some influence. A lot of times those people are Weitzman. And if you genuinely liked them, and you genuinely think you can learn something from them, don't shy away from creating a relationship just because it's a man, I have never had a poor experience with any of my mentors, slash sponsors. And I am where I am because of a lot of white men bearing for me, and betting on me, and advocating for me when I'm not in the room, in addition to women, too. So I think that's a very important learning that we don't only think of other women as potential mentors and sponsors.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, that's a really good point. And, and I think, to your sort of thought, as well, that there aren't as many women who can be a mentor, versus Yeah, like having men who can help say how awesome you are, and like, speak about you in rooms that give you more opportunities and, and demonstrate your skills in different ways. So I love that idea. And, you know, you had this, this really great quote, also that I wanted to mention, he talks about having a healthy disregard for the impossible. So can you can you speak to this? And like, explain that? Because that was like, I love that so much.

Unknown:

Yes, yes. I have a book recommendation here. It's called Brave, not perfect. Maybe something we can put in the notes. But getting the name of the author right now, for restaurants. So Johnny? Yes, it's a brilliant book. But I read that a couple of years ago. And you know, one thing that I related a lot to, is, unfortunately, because of manufacturers, we teach men to be courageous, and take chances and not take no for an answer, which also has negative implications. But let's just talk about the positive side right now. And we teach women to be cautious, and it starts very early on, but very good intentions by parents, like they don't want their daughter to get hurt. If the boy falls and scrapes his knee, that's fine, but the daughter is just more protected, right? Things like that. So and I'm over generalizing here. I don't think all women are like this, but I have seen that sometimes women can fall in the trap of hearing a know and being okay with it, or not even hearing it but just projecting that if I ask for this, that person is probably going to be a no. So who cares? Right? So that's where two things come in. First is what I talked about the the to have that healthy disregard for the impossible. An example of this is when I went to grad school, that's supposed to be a three year program. And I could not afford three years, I just simply didn't have the money to do that. I applied to the school anyway. They told me I got in. I told them, I cannot pay for three years, can I do it in two years instead? And they said, Well, you would still have to get the same amount of credits. And maybe you can do it. But we'll have to reevaluate you at the end of one year. And if you're not ready to do your thesis, because this last year is the thesis here, then you kind of just have to do one more year or drop out or whatever you need to do. I knew I would have to just drop out because I didn't I still didn't have money. And I just said, that's fine. Because first of all, I think a lot of people wouldn't even ask. They can do. Yeah, but it's just like, What do you lose? By asking worst case scenarios? You hear a lot, right? It's fine. And I did it. And I did the course in two years. Like, yes, I had to work harder, but they didn't review at the end of one year. And I actually got a scholarship, because I had worked so hard. And I had done good work, because I was so worried about not being held back that I actually did great work. And I received a scholarship for my second year, which is, which was great news. But that's the LD disregard for the impossible. Don't just listen to a roll and think, Okay, well, this is what it is, I'm just gonna have to sit down now. Many things in the world can be changed, if you just ask. That's one. Second thing is develop a muscle for hearing and know without falling apart. This is so important. Small failures are so important. I hear no so many times from so many people on a daily basis, because I asked for so many things. And that's okay. It's completely okay. I think so many women hold back from this, applying to things or asking people because it's almost like a self worth issue, right. But if someone says notice something, sometimes it just means not a good fit, it doesn't reflect poorly on me, we just need to do it more often. So that we get used to hearing or know more often. And that's, that gives you so much confidence to then achieve anything in life.

Julie Berman - Host:

I love that. I when I was interviewing this is like a while back now. But a woman who did 3d printing with like these hundreds of$1,000 machines, million dollar machines, she had this thing and it went something along the lines of like, she was trying to fail as fast as possible, because she was trying to get to the solution as fast as possible. So they were just like trying to fail as much as they could very nicely and literally because I come from like more of a communications education type of background that that thought was so transformative. Just that idea of failure actually being something that can help propel you into the future and lead you to actually more of what you're looking for. And you know, that goes along completely with what you just said that idea of being comfortable with no. And I'm curious like because I'm curious for myself as well as people listening like what are your thoughts when you hear a no or when you see a no write in an email or what have you, whatever the format, like are there some certain things that you just think to yourself that that maybe we can adopt for ourselves, so we can practice being a little bit braver, more courageous asking for more things?

Unknown:

Yes, I will say the best way to do it is start with very low stakes and you can only define for yourself what that means for you. So what I mean by that is go to a restaurant that is hard to get into without a reservation and ask for a table. The worst thing that can happen is they will say we don't have a table and the best thing that can happen is you actually get a table you will be surprised how many times you think it's going to be a no but it's actually a yes. Why it has to be low it's it's just like weightlifting, you cannot start with like a 20 pound dumbbell right you start with a little like two pound or whatever that is actually you don't know anything about weightlifting I just made that up. I don't even know if people can lift 20 pounds dumbbells is you start small because otherwise you will stop doing is doing it right. So maybe small things like you know your sister will not let you borrow her shoes. Ask her for the shoes and look for the know actively look for getting a no answer from people where you know that it's not going to hurt you too much to get that No. So look for the no answer. ask people for permission or for you know, an accommodation where you think it's gonna be a noun, knowing that you're gonna be okay. Maybe asking for a substitution and a dish, I don't know, small steaks, whatever that might mean for different people, and then slowly build up from there, where I am right now, because I've done this all my life is that I truly get are not that many things that I get heartbroken about when I hear no, it's including things like job applications, or promotions, or any of that just because I have built up to that. But I don't think someone should start there if they have a low threshold right now. So you might start with asking someone to borrow their shoes and see what happens. But slowly build up and knowing where your knowing what's gonna not hurt you, is very, very important. So the exercise doesn't turn me off right away. Yeah,

Julie Berman - Host:

that makes sense to start small. And for you, like I guess, within that, in all of your experience in being able to ask for different things and things that maybe didn't exist before, is there a piece that you feel like you've been a good advocate for yourself and your skill set? I feel like, you know, as a woman, we're not always the best at talking about our skill sets. And if we are, we're not always convincing, like, because I think sometimes we're just not convinced ourselves. But I've come across, you know, like, I have insanely smart friends, I I've interviewed some of the most incredibly accomplished smart women. And sometimes I feel like we all you know, need like a person who's our cheerleader beside us to actually be the one who's like, actually no, like, she's not talking enough about her accomplishments, like, she needs to tell you about this, and this, and this. And it's like they only mentioned, you know, the tip of the iceberg. And I'm curious, like, if you feel like advocacy has played a role, like self advocacy, or other things that have allowed you to really demonstrate your skills, and and that might be a help to people listening as well, who are women who want to be in these leadership roles?

Unknown:

Yes, absolutely. And, you know, I should mention here that I have done a lot of these kinds of trainings, a lot of them at Google, and I'm very thankful to Google that they've invested a lot in growing women leaders, especially and on all these skills, because what am I able to say, today, I don't think I would have been able to say 11 years ago, but let me just give you a few examples. There was a training that I did, which I loved so much. It's called we call it time. Remarkable. What you do is, have you heard it, okay,

Julie Berman - Host:

no, but I love it. Like, I just love the title.

Unknown:

Yeah, it's amazing. And I think it can be done anywhere, like a group of friends can do this. So you gather, and you spend maybe 1015 minutes writing a one minute long, or one minutes of talking, worth long paragraph about what makes you remarkable. And it has to be a bullet list that is very important. So you don't just waste prose on stuff that doesn't matter. Trust me, I've done this, and I've done this, and I've done this. It is and then you have to read it out loud to the whole group. I've seen people been so uncomfortable reading that list. So uncomfortable, because they have never had to do this. But being forced to say, write 20 bullet points about what makes you remarkable. And being given that exercise and having to do it, it was a breakthrough moment for many, many in the room. So that exercise, I definitely recommend, I would recommend doing it with at least one accountability partner. Because if you're doing it by yourself, you will cheat. Especially if this thing is hard for you to do it with someone who will hold you accountable and say, that wasn't many who are about this, you know, you need someone who does that. That's one second out of this. We worked on writing an elevator pitch for ourselves, basically, like, you know, you just ran into someone in an elevator, how would you describe who you are? And what are the parts about yourself that you highlight, you use that 20 bullet point list to arrive at that, which is very helpful, because now you have all that data that you can use instead of feeling like you're being Bradley. Hey, it's not bragging if it's facts, right. So it's totally normal to do this. The other thing activity that I did as a part of a workshop that I really enjoyed was we had asked five coworkers and five friends and family members for to describe us and gifts. Like just send over some gifts that describe us. It was amazing. He was amazing because really, the people who are closest to us and that cared about us. Because honestly, everyone thought it was going to be a collection of like funny gifts. Yeah, were some of them were funny, but a lot of them were very powerful in how in seeing how you come across to others, right? Some of that was just based on a 92nd impression that you do an intro and then strangers describe you. And it's, it's pretty amazing what people can tell about you in 90 seconds or so that you wouldn't even think is something worth highlighting about yourself. So any of these exercises are worth repeating or duplicating with just your group of friends or your co workers or any of that. In addition to that, I would say just working on identifying you know, any of those, identifying your values, identifying what you stand for really spending time thinking about some of that is important. And I will also say that the reason why I'm where I am today, in terms of being able to do that, for myself is after like many years of working on this. So to set the right expectation, I don't think it happens right away, but you got to start somewhere you got to start working on, it's not going to happen automatically. So start working on self awareness, and being able to speak for yourself and having that list and all of that and refine it often. And then as you work on it over time, it gets better and better.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, those are, that's amazing that you got the opportunity to do all of those cool trainings and workshops through your work. So like, good on them for enabling and empowering you on that way of love. I mean, like, I definitely want to do that one. I'm remarkable exercise and the gifts thing sounds hysterical. Like I would really be intrigued with people again, me, that's so fun. But I think to your point to that, you know, you talked about you didn't know that you'd be able to speak to this, like 11 years ago, when you first started, I think that's such an important idea is that the idea of sort of progress, right? And like, we're always able to stop and sort of like, evaluate and think about where we're at who we are, and like, what we want for us now what we want for us going forward, and for you. And in your role like because you do manage such a large team. And you are a leader, I would love to hear about, you know, sort of like, a day or weekend in the life like what is that like, because you are managing a very large amount of people in very different places, different time zones and all that. And you have also very large responsibility within the company, as far as I mean, like support, right, supporting, supporting the user supporting these customers. And I'm imagining that has a very large effect on just overall like the revenue and sales for the company. So I'm curious, like, if you can take us through like, what it's like in your shoes. And like, just if there's anything that you also want to highlight that we may not know to know about?

Unknown:

Yes, yes, absolutely. So I'm in a lot of meetings all day, pretty much, which is not necessarily a bad thing I have carved out a day and a half in the whole week that's focused time there. I'm not talking to people, the rest of the time I am talking to someone in my essay, it's not a bad thing is because I believe my job is primarily about the people. It all starts with my team, my partners, and mostly that's where I spend my time, I need to understand what is top of mind for them? And what are the roadblocks they might be running into. for that. I mean, I have a team of 120 people now I was given are talking to all of them, I have five people who report to me directly, so I manage them. And then you know, they manage people and so on. But I spend at least an hour with each one of them every week, the hours because we're talking about all sorts of things, including any people related issues that they might want to talk about any what are they thinking about for the future? How are our initiatives currently going? How are the customers responding to what we have launched so far? How are we using that to inform the future? Because if you think about it, I am the connection point between those five people in some way. So it's also about okay, what can I take from all of this and bridge the gaps where needed. So a lot of time is spent in talking to people and empowering them, helping them with their growth, helping them with execution and a lot of that so many, many one on one meetings, then I also spend a lot of time doing design reviews. This is something probably that's more unique to user experience leaders, because so much of what we do is about the craft of design. So I'm, you know, reviewing things that are not about to launch maybe like, you know, before the engineer start building it, to make sure that what we have designed is something that I can stand behind. And I can say, Okay, this is, you know, I can give them feedback, if anything needs to be improved in, let's just say, how are we letting people know that they are now being transferred to an agent? So what does that look and feel like, I might actually review it and give feedback to people. That is a large part of it. Another part of it is coordination with my partners. So when I say partners, I specifically mean people from engineering, people from product management, people from sales and support. And like all these other branches of the organization that we work with, because it's the same customer and the same experience that they go through, all of us have to work together in coordination. So I'm spending time with them talking about, okay, what are you doing in the future, and you know, what have you done so far, and so on. And then one last, I spent time reporting up, of course, so making sure that I'm also letting the information flow back to my manager and their manager. But that's maybe like a smaller piece of my time. So overall, if you look at my week, I would say most of the time talking to people through the lens of the four things I talked about operations, strategy, execution, culture, all four of those, a lot of design reviews, really nerding out on the design details and the research details. And then the focus time is when I do the deep thinking of based on all its these are all my inputs that are needed for me to do the focus time. So focus time as I do my deep thinking of okay, what am I creating? What documents Am I writing? What are the key things that I need to work on this week? I do all of that. And then the cycle repeats the next week. Okay. Yeah,

Julie Berman - Host:

thank you. That was a really good overview. And it's interesting that you do have all this input from so many different people that you know, you're connecting with them on such a regular basis, because it completely makes sense. You're coordinating, like so much. And then also, it sounds like you're not only just, it's almost like you're synthesizing Right. Like, it's like you're taking everything that everyone's telling you, and then figuring out like, Okay, what's like, what's next? Right, and your role is director like, what's next? Is this. Is this meeting, the goal that we have right now? Is this aligned with what we want for the future? And, you know, are like, where do we need to adjust? What do we need to add in? So yeah, that's really fascinating. Do you think in your position, I mean, it seems like you would have to be someone who really does enjoy that aspect where you're connecting with other people on a regular basis. And like, where you're collaborating? And I'm imagining, like, brainstorming and like problem solving, and all these analyzing all these different things?

Unknown:

Yes, it's a really good question. I will say a lot of it depends on personal preference, there are people who would rather do more time alone and you know, more deep work than the work together. I was listening to one of your podcasts. And I remember the industrial designer you had on was talking about some of this. Yeah, maybe I'll follow the same philosophy because of my industrial design background. But I know she talked about the Double Diamond design process, which people should definitely go listen to that podcast, because that was phenomenal. But quickly, what it talks about is to get a lot of ideas, it is very helpful to get more people in. So you do that for idea generation. And for I think it's a human ecology construct. But in UX design, we call it diverge. So you diverge, you collect more ideas, you consider all opinions, you consider the technical aspects. And that's why you need the engineer, and the product aspect, and no sales aspect and all of that, for that part of the process, I need to talk to people that is needed, because it's not just me who's doing the design process, I'm taking in all of their inputs, then as the diamond closes, but converge process. That's where I do the deep focus work of doing it myself. And that's when I go back to my desk and I do the convergence of those things, and then present it back to the people. So while there's some of personal preference involved here, I do believe that in some shape or form, getting input from different people is a part of the job. I like talking to people. So I do it by talking to people but there are other ways to do it. You can collect data on input in other forms to and it's just personal preference and how people choose to work. Yeah,

Julie Berman - Host:

no, that makes complete sense. Yeah. And that was so interesting, like in you talking about eye shape or style. In that episode, it was really interesting when she was talking about her process, he calls it deconstruct reconstruct. And that was like the first time I had really ever heard about that concept of industrial design. And, you know, but it makes a lot of sense having all these different ideas, all these different concepts for the inputs. And then when you're creating something like, how are you going to reimagine it? Like what pieces are going to be part of it? What's important from different perspectives? And, and like, how can you also be really creative and playful and doing that? So yeah, I, I think that's so interesting that you use that within your field in tech. And I want to mention to like, in talking about how there are women who are needed in the tech industry, and you don't have to have a tech background, like, I would love for you to speak a little bit on that, because that is something where I would never, ever consider that I would have been someone who could work in tech, because like, I didn't have an engineering background, I didn't have a science related math related background. So if I would have thought, like, oh, how do I, how do I get into this field? If I'm really interested in it? It wouldn't have dawned on me that there would be opportunities?

Unknown:

Absolutely. Yeah, there are two aspects of this. And I think both are worth addressing. First is, or maybe first is that women can be engineers. A lot of women can be engineers. And the second part is you don't have to be an engineer to be in tech. And those both are true. But I would love to speak to both of those because they are notions out in the industry. And I think Julianne was talking about this when we were chatting earlier. But it was so surprising to me that there is this cultural meme in America, because I saw it in like Hollywood movies when I was in India, and then so experienced in here, there's this cultural meme in America, that science and man is really hard. And not something that women can understand. It's almost like it's just a cultural meme. It's not an actual thing. There is no biology behind this, because, as I was telling you, in India, 11th and 12th grade, the standardized testing, most of the people who do really well in math and science are typically girls. So it's not that Indian women are smarter than American women. I don't think it's about that. I think it's just to the culture and the movies we watch and the media we consume. Somehow there is this preconceived notion here that there is something so hard about math and science, that it's impossible or very hard for women to learn, that is not true. Something that I have always said, and I by the way I did, I did teach myself how to code in a java based programming language when I was in grad school just for a project. And I can draw pictures were there and do what basic programming and some C++, this is only because I taught myself how to do it. Many women are self taught, we're seeing so many women in Nigeria, who are self taught engineers. So it's a it's a cultural thing that's happening there, too. I'm saying this only to say that somehow there's so much gatekeeping around engineering, and it being this specialized thing that someone has to descend from the heavens, and that's how they become engineers. No, all you need to understand to be an engineer is logic. That's it. When I say logic, I mean, engineering and like programming is all about if this happens, do this. And if you can construct a logical sequence, that's three to four steps, at least. So if you can arrange a very complex dinner party where you know someone is coming from somewhere, and someone else is coming from somewhere, and or like if you can prove a very, you can be an engineer, trust me. That much harder. The reading is way harder, because the variables are many, right? People behave in unexpected ways. I really, really want this field to be guest gatekeeper lessor. And for it to be well known that it's not that hard. It's super fun. It's very specialized. Don't get me wrong. It is work. But anyone can do it. Okay, so that's one. And then the second thing is you don't have to be an engineer to be in tech. There are many other roles that are needed. Mine is an example. I'm not an engineer, but you don't need to be an engineer to do user experience design. In fact, like I said, we don't want solutions to be technology. First, we want it to be user first. So we need user experience individuals. There are also other fields. So there are researchers, I do design, but I also manage researchers and many researchers come from a background of being able to talk to humans and being able to distill it down very succinctly to this is what this is the insight this is what we should build because this is what they actually need. You don't need to be an engineer to be able to do that you need to be able to understand how people think and how people work. And if you can talk to people and get the real gems in that conversation, that's what a researcher does rebasing very similar to what you're doing right now. Right. Then there are people in communication, who think about, okay, what should be our messaging be there are people who do marketing, there are people who do other other functions within, you know, within tech. So there are so many more functions like really way too many to list here. But Tech has so many other roles outside of engineering to

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. Okay. Thank you for talking about sort of those two different facets. And for you, I mean, like, I think that one of the things that I think is is so powerful, you know, is that obviously, you are a woman in this role from a different backgrounds and what is expected? Do you feel like if other women are interested, they're listening to this, and like, oh, my gosh, I am so interested in this role, like, they, you know, dream of being a leader helping other women to rise as well. How can they get started? Are there different sorts of organizations or associations or Facebook groups? Like? How can they get some more knowledge and get into a role like yours?

Unknown:

Yes, yes. So I will say, First, I will address the user experience design side of things. To be a successful designer, you really, and it's so low, but like chicken and egg, you need to have a very solid portfolio, especially to be hired as a designer, because that is really what we look at when we're hiring designers. How do they think, what does their work look like? Now, if you have never worked as a designer, you probably don't have a portfolio? So how do you do it? Many ways to do it. One, I believe that it's worth getting a certification because it kind of gives you a you know, you get your foot in the door. It's not a requirement, though. Something that I like is Google started doing a UX certification. And I can, you know, we can maybe link to that too. But people can also just Google UX certification, Google or something. And it's a Coursera course, that gives you an actual user experience design certification. At the end, of course, you know, what helps there is it teaches you the terminology and the language, and it helps you build a portfolio that you can then show someone to be able to get a job, you don't need, you don't need it, for sure, what you could do is you could go to your restaurant down the street, offer them to redo their mobile app, if they have been or something right, you've got their website or something, and you build up your portfolio like that. So there are many, many ways of doing this after you so many courses. Coursera is one of them. Like I said, the Google certification is a pretty good one. But also you can find things on Skillshare, or YouTube or any of those things if you want to find it. Or now you can ask Ted GPT or Bard, if you want to learn more to write. That's another thing. But that's how you actually get started. As a UX designer, it's very, very helpful to know some of these things. There is a pretty solid community on Twitter. Still, I know it's a little bit shaky in terms of the platform right now. But the design community is pretty, pretty solid on on Twitter, a podcast that I do recommend is it's called technically speaking, called. It's run by Harrison Wheeler and bias because you know, I've been featured on there, but actually really appreciate the topics that he discusses, because they span all the way from beginning UX designers or researchers to leaders. And there is a little bit of everything for people to learn. And he drives really great conversations are what is trending right now. In the Zeitgeist and topics in the industry. Yeah, phenomenal. So that's a pretty big one. And then I would say on the leadership aspect, I think something that's very important is for people to recognize if that's a skill that they've always had, and if it's shown up in other ways. So for example, for you, Julie, they clearly you have leadership skills in starting this, and bringing all these women together, and you know, connecting all these people, that's a leadership skill. So that's good for you to know that. Yes, leadership is something that you like to do. And I think recognize that is important. Because if you are someone who is a leader that has likely manifested in your life in other ways, because it's not meant for everyone, I'll be very honest, right? Some people just don't enjoy it. They just want to go deep on creating being in a room and just lock themselves in, do a lot of deep work, produce it and move on. If you've always been that person, then maybe Leadership isn't for you unless you want to change. Anyone can change. But I would say also recognizing what you You've done in the past is very, very important in terms of thinking about, you know, how do you grow your leadership skills?

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah. Thank you for sharing all those resources. I'm a huge fan of like, podcasts, obviously. But I just find that I've learned the most incredible things from podcasts that was like, you know, it's almost like they're speaking directly to you. So I love that and the other resources through Google Coursera. Otherwise are fantastic. You know, talking about like, do you Yeah, do you feel like you have some of those leadership characteristics? Thank you for that compliment. For me. Like, that was so nice. I honestly had never thought about that is like a leadership quality. So for better or worse, thank you. How to

Unknown:

podcast and not King. leadership quality.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yeah, that's so funny. It's out of its out of genuine curiosity. And just like, getting like the opportunity to meet people, like you just these incredibly smart driven women, and I love learning about all the things that people are doing in the world, I just, you know, it's like, I just want more people to know that, like, people like you exist, and we can do these incredible things and write and do beautiful things in the world. So thank you, and okay, so I just want to make sure before we end, I want to make sure to ask you, my favorite question for everybody is, will you share a sentence that uses verbiage or jargon from your field? Then translate it? So it's understandable to

Unknown:

us? I love that question. And so good. Okay, I think something that we say very often is, is this related to an OKR? And is this is their correlation or causation. And OKR translates to objective and key results. It's a thing that was started at Google, but it's used in many, many tech industries, or tech companies today. It basically means the objective is a goal. And key results, or key results is how would you know you have achieved that goal. So the metric that says you have achieved that goal? So objective would be connect, or let's say, for your podcast, you might have an OKR of connect more women with women leaders, let's just say, and the key results might be these many downloads of your podcasts in a month. So that's a metric that we're looking at. So we might launch something and then say, hey, so something happened as a result? Is that related to the OKR? Which means that it make any movement to the downloads where we can point at it and say this is related to that. Okay, are right there? And then we ask, is it correlation or causation? So that they just happen at the same time? So are they just correlated? These two things that we did? Or can we say that by doing this, is there actual causation that by doing this one thing, it drove adoption or downloads, so let's just say you start singing on the podcast, downloads go up, we might ask, is there a correlation or causation? Did it just so happen that more people are listening to podcasts now? So there are more downloads? Or is it because of Julie's singing that there are more downloads?

Julie Berman - Host:

I love that and random fact that you didn't know about me? I was in chorus, literally from first grade all the way through undergrad. So that would be hysterical test to see. What's going on? Why is this girl singing all of a sudden? Anyways, that was just such an irony there. But yeah, thank you for explaining that. That was such a great example of Yeah, like some verbiage that you'd use in in your field that I have never heard before. I love it.

Unknown:

You're welcome. Thank you for asking. And I have to say Julie, you're so phenomenal I'm I really really do hope you do the I'm remarkable training and I mean, you know, I already talked about how you're a leader but I really I really do hope that when you create your list your leadership qualities and you're just you're a go getter you have bias towards action, you saw a void in the in the industry and you created this to fill that void and you are a connector of so many people you are someone who thinks about the collective good, not just about yourself, like really the reason you have this podcast is so you can help so many other people. All of this makes you remarkable and I have only talked to you for maybe two hours total and I really really do hope that you recognize that and put it on your list.

Julie Berman - Host:

Thank you like for people I'm like she like literally made me tear up and start crying. I was like so nice and like Such a beautiful compliment. So thank you. Yeah, I'm gonna listen back to this, it'll have to list them out. So yeah, I don't ever get. But yeah, thank you for sharing so many beautiful things that you see in me after just like such a short time. It's I mean, it means a lot so. And you know, likewise, like it was just such a pleasure having you on and talking, you know, like of course I would love to talk more like there's just so many incredible things that you do so many pieces of you that we didn't get to cover on this on this episode. But you know, it's an honor to be able to speak with you to learn from you to see what you're doing out in the world. And you know, also how you are creating like a really fantastic culture that is more empowering more inclusive, like through just not only your example, but right, you leading and inspiring people. So thank you for sharing what you do today. And it was so much fun to have this conversation with

Unknown:

you. Same here. Thank you so much. I'm so honored to be on here. I'm so glad I reached out to you.

Julie Berman - Host:

Yes, me too. And if people want to reach out to you speaking of how can they find you? Like what's the best place to connect?

Unknown:

Our Yes, I am on Instagram and it's public profile. They can DM me it's us the hearts HSTA H E A R T S at guessing we can put the links in the podcast so people can find them. Same username on Twitter and fairly active on there too. And then my website is my name with so ostagar.com and by vehicle there. Also LinkedIn people can send me a message on there if they'd like to.

Julie Berman - Host:

Okay, awesome. Well, thank you for sharing all the ways to connect. It was such a pleasure to have this conversation.

Unknown:

Thank you. Thank you. And thank you so much to everyone who listened.

Julie Berman - Host:

Hey, everybody, thank you so much for listening to women with cool jobs. I'll be releasing a new episode every two weeks. So make sure you hit that subscribe button. And if you loved the show, please give me a five star rating. Also, it would mean so much if you share this episode with someone you think would love it or would find it inspirational. And lastly, do you have ideas for future shows? Or do you know any Rockstar women with cool jobs? I would love to hear from you. You can email me at Julie at women with cool jobs.com Or you can find me on Instagram at women cool jobs. Again, that's women cool jobs. Thank you so much for listening and have an incredible day