14 - HR & Psychedelics (You read that correctly)

This one gets a little trippy, kids! We go down a tie-die colored rabbit hole of sorts with reformed actuary Stephen Huang – former Head of D&I at CultureAmp and Owner of Millennial HR Design. He’s interested in the intersection of HR and… psychedelics, which we’re super interested in as well, obviously. This episode is a kind of collective experience, dude.




Release Date: September 21 2021

[00:00:00] Announcer: Warning, this podcast is about the realities of working in people operations. This is not a stuck-up PC compliance-based or employment law podcast about stuffy outdated HR practices. Shit will get real here and we assume no responsibility.

[00:00:16] Tyson: We had a strict, no alcohol policy. Everybody was like, "Oh don't drink. HR is here," meanwhile in mid crack of beer.

[00:00:24] Alexa: If they're that disengaged before, they're going to be that disengaged in the office, just would be sitting at their desk looking at Facebook. They are going [unintelligible 00:00:29].

[00:00:31] Speaker: This is The People Problems Podcast with Alexa Baggio and Tyson Mckenzie.

[00:00:39] Alexa Baggio: All right, Tyson. You're ready to talk about drugs?

[00:00:42] Tyson Mckenzie: I am so ready. This is a conversation I have been waiting for. I'm so excited.

[00:00:46] Alexa: You're so excited? The pregnancy wants to talk about drugs? Yes.

[00:00:50] Tyson: Look, I'm going on to like eight months pregnant and it's been a long haul.

[00:00:55] Alexa: All you can think about? [laughs] I know what you're doing after the baby's here.

[00:01:01] Tyson: I'm smelling my husband's beer. That's the point that we're at now. I'm just like, "Can I just have a quick little smell of it?"

[00:01:08] Alexa: I'll send you some vodka-centered candles or something. Get you across the finish line here.

[00:01:12] Tyson: You know what's funny? Even more than alcohol, you know what I want, is just a deli meat sandwich, a bagel Italian sandwich with some mortadella.

[00:01:20] Alexa: Why can't you have that?

[00:01:21] Tyson: Apparently deli meat has risk of food poisoning listeria, something like that. You can't have deli meat. Yes.

[00:01:27] Alexa: Really? I feel like this is the shit that comes up when you're pregnant that I'm like, "Yes, but I eat that shit all the time, so why?"

[00:01:32] Tyson: I know. It's some of the rules.

[00:01:36] Alexa: Oh, it turns out-- Yes, all right. I'll send you a bagel salami sandwich when the kid gets here.

[00:01:40] Tyson: Good.

[00:01:42] Alexa: I love it. All right. I am going to go ahead. Without further ado, we're skipping all the formalities today-

[00:01:46] Tyson: Because we're too excited.

[00:01:47] Alexa: -because we're too excited for this guest. We're too excited. Tyson, I've never seen her so excited. We're going to go ahead and introduce our guest here, Steven Huang. He is the founder of Millennial HR Design, a diversity equity and inclusion consultancy that seeks to leverage the power of psychedelics to inspire a generation of leaders to interrogate systems of oppression, learn inclusion management practices, and wield privilege to create positive change.

He has worked for over a decade within the tech industry at Facebook, at Square, and is the head of diversity inclusion at Culture Amp, where his DE&I technology played an integral role in the DE&I strategy for hundreds of companies across the world. He's dissatisfied with the status quo and focus on the intersection of DE&I and psychedelics to create a shared human consciousness. Steven, welcome.

[00:02:28] Steven: Thank you for having me. Hi, Alexa, Tyson.

[00:02:30] Alexa: It is not every day that we get to introduce a guest who wants to talk about DE&I and psychedelics. We haven't even had one talk about one or the other yet, let alone both. We're very excited you're here.

[00:02:40] Steven: I've checked two boxes for you.

[00:02:42] Alexa: Yes, exactly. Where are you coming to us from today, Steven?

[00:02:46] Steven: I am in San Francisco, where I have been holed up for about 18 months. Thinking about making my way down to SoCal. Just need a change of pace. I can see the sun behind you. I would love some of that.

[00:02:58] Alexa: It's rare, but I'm glad it's making an appearance for you today. Are you originally from the California area?

[00:03:04] Steven: I'm originally from the Seattle area. Spent some time on the East Coast and I've been in San Francisco coming up on 10 years.

[00:03:11] Alexa: Wow. You're going to make it a decade and then move, just a clean decade?

[00:03:14] Steven: I feel like it. I still haven't walked across the Golden Gate Bridge yet.

[00:03:17] Tyson: What? Oh, wow.

[00:03:18] Steven: I know. I drive across all the time. I'm like, "I still need to walk across." I got to remind myself. Maybe that's what I'll do on my 10-year [unintelligible 00:03:24].

[00:03:26] Alexa: There you go. At one point I was in Boston and I was like, "I've been here for a couple of years. I've never really done any of the Boston stuff," and now I may consider moving again. I made a list and we called it bucket list Fridays. Every Friday, I would take a half-day and we would do one of the really tragically Boston things that you have to do.

[00:03:42] Steven: Love it.

[00:03:43] Alexa: I think I made it like 30% of the way down the list, but I need to go back to it because it's fun. When you're just like, "I'm just going to be a tourist," it's super fun.

[00:03:50] Tyson: You have to do it because we did that with Toronto. When we were living in Toronto, we had a bucket list and then COVID happened, and we were like, "Let's get the fuck out of Toronto." We moved and we never finished the bucket list, so do it. Walk across that bridge.

[00:04:05] Alexa: All right. I'm going to walk us across the bridge, that is, Steven, how did you get into this? Tell us a little bit about your background, your history. You somehow got to the California area. Tell us a little bit about you and your story to where you are today.

[00:04:20] Steven: Okay. I grew up in Seattle. I went to college outside of Boston. I went to Babson College. I don't know when you two graduated, but for me, it was 2009, which was not the best year.

[00:04:35] Alexa: Not the best year. No.

[00:04:37] Steven: The job that was available to me was to become a life insurance actuary, calculating when people die. It was that or it was mom's basement and I was like, "I'll do this. Here we go." I was a life insurance actuary for a few years in Hartford, Connecticut.

[00:04:54] Alexa: You got to be smart to be an actuary. There's a lot of math.

[00:04:56] Steven: A lot of math, and I love solving big problems. That is the one aspect of that career choice that made sense at the time.

[00:05:06] Alexa: There we go.

[00:05:07] Steven: Yes, but I'm working with people and when they're dying, [laughs] and I was like, "I want to work with people when they're alive." [laughs] I really wanted to get to San Francisco, the allure of tech, and this dream of being able to impact a lot of lives, really got me excited. An opportunity came up to join Facebook's HR team. At the time, my mom was like, "I don't know what Facebook is." Moving to HR sounds like a career suicide in her mind.

She's like an accountant. I'm glad I took that leap. I worked in HR, they specifically wanted people with non-HR backgrounds. Let's get like some economists and some financial people in here and let's diversify the way that we think about HR. I came in and started working with all the numbers, give me all the metrics and all the data. All the problems I wanted to solve ended up being diversity problems, I came in with an open mind and I was like, "Why would women be getting promoted at lower rates or why are people of color leading at higher rates?"

I wanted to understand that, and I had no experience with anything diversity-related anthropology, sociology, anything like that. I was asking, I'm sure a lot of dumb questions, and someone sat me down, they're like, "Do you know what unconscious bias is? Do you know what intersectionality is? Like, "No, no one taught me this stuff in business school." I had to learn all that stuff.

It was really exciting and those were the problems that I wanted to solve. I was there for a few years, I worked at Square for a year, doing a similar role building up and scaling their people analytics programs. In both of those experiences, I fell in love with engagement surveys. Yes, love, love is the approach.

[00:06:47] Alexa: I'm going to ask you to repeat that just to make sure I heard it correctly. You fell in love with engagement surveys.

[00:06:53] Steven: I did. [laughs]

[00:06:54] Alexa: All right. Maybe you could change our opinion of-

[laughter]

[00:06:57] Tyson: Convince me.

[00:07:00] Alexa: Yes. We're going to pause and we're going to-

[00:07:03] Tyson: Why should we love inclusion surveys?

[00:07:06] Steven: It is the best way to give people a confidential voice to understand organizational health and to drive organizational change.

[00:07:17] Tyson: Do we see organizational change as a result of engagement surveys?

[00:07:21] Steven: Done well? Yes.

[00:07:23] Tyson: So you've seen that? [laughs]

[00:07:24] Steven: Yes, yes.

[00:07:26] Alexa: Do we have any specific examples, maybe?

[crosstalk]

Doesn't read like a engagement survey commercial because that was very eloquent, Steven, but I'm not-- I want some specific examples.

[00:07:39] Steven: I joined Culture Amp in the early days, it was a 20-person startup back then.

[00:07:46] Alexa: It's crazy, are they public now?

[00:07:49] Steven: Almost, just raised their Series F. I'm looking at 500 and 1000 employees now. In the early days, yes, the people that found us were so invested in doing this engagement survey, and Culture Amp was one of the first to market that did all in real-time. When they're done in real-time, and we could surface up all these insights, a lot of them did do a good job of surveying, taking action, having and be felt surveying again.

Especially some of their early customers did really well at Slack, Airbnb, Flexport, Pinterest, these were all customers when they were like 100 employees. I think when they invested in Culture that early, it really did pay dividends as they grew in scale, but to your point, not everyone does them well. There's lots of minefields-

[laughter]

-and things not to do when engagement escalates.

[00:08:42] Alexa: There we go. We've had a whole conversation on what not to do with engagement surveys, but I feel like you'd also be credible to host. [laughs]

[00:08:49] Tyson: We got in trouble, though, because the listener was like, "Hey, if you guys hate engagement surveys, what better solution do you have?" We have to be careful with just saying what not [crosstalk]--

[00:08:57] Alexa: No, no, we hate on them but we also say they're one tools.

[00:09:01] Tyson: One tool.

[crosstallk]

[00:09:03] Alexa: I agree you probably need to do that, especially with large organizations, you're not going to get any other feedback. The problem is when you're taking them as like the end all, be all of the truth and what you're not recognizing. I will be fair, I've heard nothing but good things about Culture Amp, if you're going to do them, it's a great platform to use if you can afford it. What I worry about is when the people are like, "I mined the data by the way that I asked the question to a certain set of people on a certain day, and we haven't taken any of that bias into account."

We got grumpy employees from this particular group after this thing happened about this thing we wanted a certain amount of feedback. I just feel like it's like anything else you can manipulate it and people have not been taught how to do them well.

[00:09:40] Tyson: I just don't buy that managers always need an engagement survey to know what's wrong and I don't like them using that as a scapegoat as well. The two things have to marry together. Like getting engagement surveys and-

[00:09:51] Alexa: I have seen surveys--

[00:09:52] Tyson: -then managers actually knowing what's going on in the organization and with their people because they talked to them.

[00:09:57] Steven: I love watching some leaders kind of wriggle their way out of the results. That's a common thing like this defensiveness that comes when the results aren't good. Like, "Well, that was when Tyson was on my team."

[00:10:12] Alexa: [crosstalk] engagement surveys are only as good as your ability to stomach the feedback, but I've seen the other thing. I've seen people do surveys. I worked in an organization once there was a leader, you could walk in and smell how despised this person was, but would do these surveys to basically brand new employees only in their first 30 to 60 days about topics that he knew he was really strong at.

He'd take the feedback and he'd give it to the board and he'd be like, "Look, everybody loves me, I'm this incredible leader," and we'd be like, "No, the people you survey just haven't had time to figure out how terrible you are."

[laughter]

You're using this and you're manipulating this I hate this. I've seen so many examples like that.

[00:10:56] Steven: All right. Well, fair enough survey [crosstalk]--

[00:10:58] Alexa: We'll give it a second chance because of you, Steven, you give me some confidence that maybe--

[00:11:03] Steven: Sounds like you have enough experience.

[00:11:05] Alexa: You give me some confidence and you probably have a lot more experience than I do with surveys. All right, you fell in love with surveys and continue.

[00:11:12] Steven: I was lucky enough to find Culture Amp, which was an employee engagement survey company. I worked there and I was really passionate about diversity and inclusion and kind of the way you often get those jobs is you are passionate about it and you're doing that work. Culture amp gave me the chance to be their head of diversity and inclusion. That was a wonderful place to sharpen my skills, build a network.

[00:11:37] Alexa: What does that mean? Can you just, for people who maybe aren't in this fielder who listened to this, or maybe who don't have experience at a group where there is a head of diversity inclusion, what were the things you were tasked with? What were your goals? What does that role look like?

[00:11:49] Steven: Well, at Culture Amp, the role was internal and external. If you think about the internal things which is more typical for a diversity and inclusion role, you're thinking about how do we create an inclusive culture? How do we hire for diversity and also make sure that our systems and processes are equitable and fair that we're promoting equitably that we think about retention equitably? We think about learning development equitably. It can look like building and forming employee resource groups. It could be a diversity inclusion survey, there's all sorts of ways that that role manifests internally.

For a lot of organizations, they really are moving to think about diversity and inclusion in their products, in their services, and all these external things. For Culture Amp, a surveying platform, it meant developing a diversity and inclusion survey. We run events, we made sure that our events had a diverse slate of speakers. Then because we are selling this diversity and inclusion survey and marketing our conferences, there was a sales marketing component to it too. There was product development involved with it. I was very lucky, in that, the role got to oversee a lot of things, even beyond HR.

[00:13:05] Tyson: What type of data? You mentioned before that some of the things that interested you was like why are women getting promoted at a lower rate? Or why are people of color leaving the companies, what other major data points would you recommend folks be looking at?

[00:13:19] Steven: We could spend [crosstalk] on this.

[00:13:20] Tyson: I know. I probably just opened a can of worms.

[00:13:23] Steven: I know. I mean, any data that you capture also capture gender and race and other demographics that you think people might be having a disparate experience. I think sexual orientation, disability, parental status, veteran status. When you're capturing onboarding data or promotion data or retention data or compensation data, you can slice your results by these identities to understand, "Okay, are people having an equal experience at work, or is one group not? If they're not, why is that? You can dive into it and then understand what barriers might exist for that group.

[00:14:03] Tyson: Amazing. Overlaying the diversity data on top of what any other survey that you could be.

[00:14:08] Steven: Yes.

[00:14:09] Alexa: Otherwise you have what's the GMAT term correlation, not causation. You could look at outcomes and say, "Oh, these are different across demographics," but you would have no way to know that it's because of a certain thing. You have to make it. You got to lay on top of each other.

[00:14:22] Steven: Some of the early excuses I encountered when I was doing this work, I won't say which companies, but you'd find these differences, women are getting promoted at lower rates, like, "Oh, that's because in engineering there's more men and there's more promotions there," and I'd be like, "No, I ran a multiple regression and I looked at these T-tests and it's like, "Oh, you weren't used to having the type of [crosstalk]--"

[00:14:39] Alexa: You're fucking with an actuary.

[00:14:41] Tyson: [laughs]

[00:14:42] Steven: They were like, "Well, it's because--" I'm like, "No I've analyzed everything. There is some systemic barrier that has existed for a number of years. Can we solve this problem or are we going to pretend it doesn't exist? I would like to solve it."

[00:14:57] Tyson: I love what you just said. You have all this data and you can see that because of the data there's an issue but then there is a systemic barrier here that we need to solve for. Figuring out that, that's the what's next. This is where people go wrong with collecting data. They collect, collect, collect, and they want more and more and more but then they don't do that next step like what's next? How do we then remove that barrier? I love that you highlighted that.

[00:15:22] Steven: Collecting the data doesn't solve anything, and it can help illuminate what the issue is but then you can't survey your way to the solution. You need design thinking, you need focus groups, you need ideas, and then you need to implement them, adopt them. You can't be surveys [unintelligible 00:15:39].

[00:15:41] Tyson: I think people just, this stuff gets bastardized because it's complicated. You have to hold certain things equal and you have to look at the data and say, "Okay, there is a discrepancy. Is there some other factor that could explain the discrepancy?" If there isn't, what else are we missing here? What are other factors at play? It's like, there's a lot of shit you got to think about to do this stuff right. It's very multi-dimensional. I think that's why it just, unfortunately, gets co-opted and bastardized. People will be like, "Oh, well, we surveyed and we have all this data." What is it telling you? Have you done anything about it exactly? Great. You have data.

[00:16:14] Steven: After Culture Amp, I spent a year helping my friend Kelly Wagner who's the CEO of DEI Collective, helping build up that firm after George Floyd and that was a wild ride. I'm still involved. I still have a few clients but I'm unwinding a little bit from that. That business is now I think, about 30 people, mostly full-time, some part-time doing a variety of DEI strategies, and services.

In the last year, Wagner walked down in my tiny SF place, I've been thinking a lot and reflecting a lot about this work. Sometimes I find that some of the diversity and inclusion work, particularly in the last year, feels ineffective. I think we've been ineffective sometimes. I look at the world around me, and I see more polarization than ever despite us collectively investing in inclusion and these initiatives and I'm wondering if we're being effective. I was talking to New York Magazine, and I said I was feeling a little bit disillusioned. They're like "Steven Huang, a disillusioned consultant." I'm like, "Okay, thanks for that New York Magazine.

[00:17:32] Alexa: You really got to be careful with the press.

[laughter]

[00:17:36] Steven: That fact-checker was like, "Are you okay with this?" I'm like, "I'm disillusioned with the industry and some of the things [crosstalk] even longer disillusioned." That's fine.

[00:17:46] Alexa: At least you were talking to New York Magazine. They're true. All press is good press.

[00:17:51] Steven: I think. I wear it as a badge of honor. They said Stephen Huang, a disillusioned consultant wants to microdose CEOs because he thinks they will have more opportunities to be open to accelerated change. That was the one sentence I got in an article. There's a lot to unpack there but that is accurate.

[00:18:10] Alexa: We're skipping a really big part of the story.

[00:18:13] Tyson: Wait, I want to talk about the disillusion part and what you were seeing. Because what I've seen in my role in HR over the last little while is just this drive for organizations to check boxes from a diversity standpoint. When something major happens, they're like, "We need to do something. Let's just give a donation and then just check that box or post something on social media and check that box." I feel like I'm getting deja vu but I feel like, I don't know if it's millennials or whoever, but people do that even in their personal lives. They think that, oh, because I posted a black square all of a sudden, I'm supporting a cause.

[00:18:52] Alexa: Virtue signaling [crosstalk]--

[00:18:54] Tyson: Yes, and it bothers me that people just think that by checking these boxes that we're actually doing something to move forward in this space. That's what I've personally seen but I want to know from your standpoint, what made you disillusioned.

[00:19:09] Steven: Nailed it. It's authentic intentions but ended up being very check the box, a little bit performative and I think people generally want to make positive change. They want a future that's different but I think when the rubber hits the road, it entails a dramatic change to the way that they think about their lives or evaluate their history. They're not willing to be as radical as I think is needed and necessary. Maybe that's a softer way of saying that people suck at it.

[00:19:51] Alexa: Yes, well, I think this industry is in particular. I don't totally know why yet but I'm sure if we have enough conversations like this, we'll figure it out eventually, is very susceptible to falling prey to the wins of cultural madness like this because it is in a way the kitchen sink for everything that falls to an employer. We've seen HR tackle everything from AI to diversity and inclusion to compliance. It's this catchall. This industry is trying to in a certain vein stay relevant and stay top of mind and articulate its importance while also trying to actually be effective in organizations, and so what happens is they catch these like blips of like, "Oh, this is the way of the future," and then they just ride the storm.

No one has actually given any real thought beyond the headline to like, "How should we be attacking diversity and inclusion?" Because it's not putting a bunch of token people on stage and saying we did it, it's not hiring ahead of DE&I, and giving them no budget and nothing to do. It's throwing a bunch of money at the problem and saying we sponsored something in diversity. I've seen a ton of that. I've seen all of these things happen.

It's also not creating a bunch of problems where there aren't any. I've also seen that happen. I've seen the total opposite of an organization that truthfully honestly, probably didn't have as big a gap as they thought they did, find a problem and other the shit out of their employees and make it uncomfortable for everybody. I just think, unfortunately, this industry gets-- Its roots are very light and so it gets whisked away in the wind of these things, and it sucks. Ineffective is a great word for it, Steven. I couldn't agree with you more.

[00:21:41] Steven: Not always completely ineffective, but generally more ineffective than--

[00:21:49] Alexa: I'd say 80, 20.

[00:21:51] Steven: There's a threshold and you can't toe the line and cross it. But to your point, the job isn't getting any easier. There used to be this nice wall, but we talked about sports and the weather at work, and then we didn't talk about race at work and now the wall is gone and it's not coming back. The job [crosstalk]--

[00:22:11] Alexa: Just like we didn't talk about church and we didn't talk about politics.

[00:22:15] Steven: The job of an HR/DEI person is to care for the whole person, and that just got infinitely harder.

[00:22:22] Tyson: You're disillusioned and then you've made a connection to the solution is microdosing CEOs. Wait, hold on.

[00:22:30] Alexa: Wait, we got to go back to the part of the story where you do psychedelic drugs.

[00:22:35] Steven: Sure.

[00:22:36] Alexa: For the first time. Let's start there.

[00:22:38] Steven: The first time? Okay.

[00:22:39] Alexa: The first time.

[00:22:41] Steven: The first time was college or right after college because I was in Hartford, Connecticut. I was there for [crosstalk]--

[00:22:49] Alexa: The first place I think of when someone says psychedelic drugs.

[00:22:51] Steven: I know right? You know what? It was in college.

[00:22:54] Alexa: Were you at Trinity University by chance?

[00:22:56] Steven: I was not. I was working at Travelers Insurance as an intern and I was in intern housing and one of my amazing roommates was like, "Hey, I have this LSD," and I was like, "Oh, I've never done that." When you're in college, you're like, "I'll try anything. Sure. What do I do?" and he's like, "Well, you just put this on your tongue." I'm like, "Okay." That is not how I would prescribe most people do psychedelics. It is so important to consider set and setting-

[00:23:25] Alexa: Setting.

[00:23:26] Steven: -to begin with, and dosage, and all of these things. Do not do what I did, which is to do it randomly on a Thursday, but I did have one of the best nights of my life.

[00:23:36] Alexa: Amazing. You got lucky. You did it once, and then how does it seep into the rest of your story?

[00:23:45] Steven: Because I did it that time without the proper integration, without the proper setup, I didn't get the value of what psychedelics brings, which is a shame, but I did have a great time. In my head, it was, "That was great." I had this amazing time, I didn't know what to make of it, but I knew that I wanted to do it again. I didn't really integrate psychedelics back into my life until I moved to San Francisco about 10 years ago, and then I started doing them more regularly. Even though I probably wasn't also doing the integration work afterward to integrate the experience into your life, I was learning a lot of things about myself.

One of those things was I used to drink a lot of alcohol, alcoholic, where I was functioning, having a great time, but lots of hangovers, and what I was realizing now that I don't drink alcohol anymore was that I was drinking alcohol to be myself. I felt constrained by the pressure to conform to society and to be myself and to feel comfortable in my own skin. Once I discovered that psychedelics unlocked the ability for me to feel comfortable I realized I don't like drinking. I don't like alcohol.

[00:25:03] Alexa: Can I ask you to clarify just for listeners when you say psychedelics? If you're articulate, are you talking about LSD? Are you talking about a specific psychedelic? Are you talking about a couple? Like it's a very broad array these days of even of what's legal in some places now, so maybe you could just clarify for us what gave you these experiences?

[00:25:22] Steven: Yes, LSD is my favorite. LSD, aka acid. Also, MDMA, Molly, Ecstasy is being classified as a psychedelic these days because of its effects. Pharmacologically, some people wouldn't consider it a psychedelic. PCP is considered a psychedelic, it's not one that I use. The term psychedelic is even open for interpretation. In the last year, I've been exclusively using something called the Unicorn, which is like a base of LSD, but it's infused with lightwaves bonded to other adaptogens and some herbs and things and then actually do Reiki and sound healing on it. I don't know if that makes a difference pharmacologically but [crosstalk]--

[00:26:06] Tyson: When you were reflecting on yourself. That was during a time where you were using LSD and you reflect it to think like, "Hey, no, I don't like using alcohol." Is that or was that outside of using psychedelics?

[00:26:21] Steven: No. That's it.

[00:26:21] Tyson: That was like a [unintelligible 00:26:22], I only asked to clarify because I just want people to see what type of reflection can happen.

[00:26:29] Steven: In a world where people like me, people like you, we face unconscious bias. We face marginalization, because of the identities that we hold. I believe that doing psychedelics, for pleasure, for your mind, for your body, is in itself an act of resistance, and a rebuke against social pressure to conform to what society has made us feel our whole lives. There are social forces and stereotypes that I've told people of color and women and queer people, "Make yourself small. Don't stand out in that meeting." or, "Your body is a fetish."

For me, psychedelics for pleasure and for recreation, is a form of psychedelic healing. It is healing my racial trauma. I think many people use psychedelics for that reason. Even if you're just doing it to experience pleasure, there's a black feminist theory around pleasure activism, that you experience pleasure is in itself, this resistance against the world that says we're not supposed to experience those things.

[00:27:40] Alexa: Fascinating.

[00:27:42] Steven: Or radical, but that's what it brings up.

[00:27:45] Alexa: I have never heard of someone in my orbit, and I've talked about this a lot because I really want to do shrooms. I'd ask for it for my birthday multiple years in a row. There's some substance abuse in my history. I am a person who's like, "I will do this if someone I know in love spots me." Is like in the room sober or in the park I hear outside is a great place to do it. Because I feel there's these parts of my brain I can't access right. I'm like, "Oh, I know there's things that are not connecting, and maybe psychedelics help me get there." I'm stoked to try it. Because I've done a bunch of research, I love having these conversations.

I've never known a person, good trip, bad trip, whatever you want to categorize it as. I have never known a person to come out of Ayahuasca, MDMA, it doesn't matter. I've never met a person come out of that experience, and describe it as anything other than a positive connection to collective wisdom on earth. That like we are all part of the same experience. You have these moments with the earth mother, or whatever they call it, but you're like, "No, no, us and the plants were the same. Me and you were the same. Me and the stars were the same."

Everyone has these kinds of-- and it sounds a little nutty if you've not done it or experienced it, obviously, to those of us who have not, but I could totally imagine how you're starting to have that as a regular experience. You're doing the work that you're in that is all about equity and cohesion amongst different people. You go like, "Oh, wait a minute, there's an obvious solution here. How did you start to connect the dots? How do you start to bring these two things together?"

[00:29:20] Steven: I want to jump in and say that psychedelics aren't necessarily for everyone. Right? There are--

[00:29:28] Alexa: They're illegal in most places.

[00:29:30] Steven: [laughs] Illegal in most places?

[00:29:31] Alexa: Very much so.

[00:29:32] Tyson: Not for long. I feel like though.

[00:29:35] Alexa: No, it's like marijuana.[crosstalk] sounds out of the bag here.

[00:29:37] Tyson: Yes. Okay, sorry.

[00:29:39] Steven: Bugs don't need an advocate. 30 million people use illegal drugs every month. It's just a matter of time for these social things to change much like cannabis did. Psychedelics are not for everyone. They're not a panacea. They are a tool that you can leverage to do deeper work. You talked about this sense of oneness and unity that that people have, that is a common experience. Well, they call it a few things. It's qualified as a mystical experience. There's a scale where you can measure, did you have this mystical experience? While you're in this altered state, you're going to have thoughts that are novel, potentially mystical in nature with this the mother or the divine creator. From a clinical point of view, a moment of awe means your existing mental structures are overwhelmed and need to accommodate this novel information. We're talking transformative thoughts, but your altered state is temporary. After your trip, you need to consciously integrate these findings into your life and for me your career. I would highly recommend that before you think about tripping, Alexa, pick a few intentions or problems that you want to solve.

[00:30:50] Tyson: You can remember everything, sorry, I'm such a newb. It's like when you go out and you party and you're drinking alcohol, and then you don't remember all the cool ideas you had the night before.

[00:31:00] Alexa: My understanding is that you very-

[00:31:02] Tyson: Do you remember?

[00:31:04] Alexa: People try to write it down after, and it's like a fraction of what they experienced.

[00:31:09] Steven: I write it down during, so I have a little journal that's on the front that says, "LSD and me." I write my intentions there in the beginning of the trip. Sometimes I don't even reference the questions. I'm thinking about something else, but generally, if I want to solve a problem, either in my career or personal life, I'll write it down as an intention before my trip, just so it's in front of mind and I can work on it.

[00:31:33] Tyson: You must be in this instance and we still haven't gone to your aha moment for your career, but it's implied at this point. You must be micro-dosing because there's also the part of this conversation, which there's doing a little bit of-- I actually technically did a little bit of LSD at a party once and I had a great time, but I didn't feel altered in any way. That was not my experience. I've done shrooms in chocolate once, on the beach. Again, just to turn the brightness up. I didn't have a trip. I didn't see things in the sand. Then there are those experiences, where you're like, "I have taken enough to have a psychedelic, like mystical, full-blown trip." Are you writing that down? Can you write that down?

[00:32:16] Steven: Yes, I like doing both. I like to do a solid trip and by solid trip, I mean a dose, a full dose on something. Well, give a take once a month probably or so?

[00:32:29] Tyson: I'm going to come to hang out with you.

[00:32:30] Steven: Then microdosing, I do it more now that I work part-time. I like to microdose on Fridays and it's not every Friday. Every once in a while on a Friday I'm like, "Oh [crosstalk]--"

[00:32:40] Tyson: The new summer Friday.

[00:32:41] Steven: Yes. Just to microdose and just take [crosstalk]--

[00:32:45] Tyson: Some people have bagels. We microdose. It's cool.

[00:32:49] Steven: Man. Bagels sound really good right now. I've been craving a good bagel because San Francisco doesn't have great bagels.

[00:32:55] Tyson: Oh, got to get you back on the East Coast.

[00:32:58] Steven: I know. I microdose every once in a while, but some people have a microdosing practice, much like an intermittent fasting practice. I like to do a proper dose, but again, do your research, find out what you're looking to do, whether it's healing work, whether you want to do it for productivity, whether you want to do it for a creative self-discovery component, don't jump into it the way that I did, 10 or whatever years ago. Be thoughtful, be conscious about it, and do what's best for you, and there's so many resources out there for any black people listening. I know that there's extra stigma around drugs in the black community. Check out Black People Trip, my friend, Robin Divine leads that organization. They're doing incredible work to make sure that there's community-based harm reduction for black people.

[00:33:50] Tyson: You mentioned that you're getting Reiki during this. It must be in a safe environment. Is that Reiki person, someone who's your spotter or?

[00:34:01] Steven: Let me clarify.

[00:34:02] Tyson: They do Reiki on the drugs.

[00:34:04] Steven: You do Reiki on the drugs?

[00:34:05] Alexa: Wait. What?

[00:34:07] Tyson: Yes. No, the unicorn is LSD, a bunch of other, and then they take the supplement, and they do Reiki on it. No, no. They bless the pills. They do Reiki on the drugs.

[00:34:18] Alexa: Damn. That is some serious California shit.

[00:34:22] Tyson: They control fucking unicorn type.

[00:34:24] Alexa: No, I thought that it was a nice thing where you take some acid, and then you get a Reiki treatment. Okay. Sorry. I think I saw that on Goop, but never mind.

[00:34:34] Steven: No, but no, we're talking some real talk.

[00:34:36] Tyson: You're right next to the vagina. Some real LA shit. The California shit. I love that. Steven real quick. Before we go into this, let's talk a little bit about just so we can clarify, let's talk a little bit about your credibility background to talk about these things. Obviously, I assume you're not prescribing anything like all the disclaimers, whatever HR podcast packet. My question for you is, how do you start to bring these two things together and people just don't go like, "What the fuck is-- Oh, man. He might not be the Unabomber, but he is not Ramdas either. I don't know what Steven's talking about. It's just too much."

[00:35:11] Steven: Yes. Psychedelics for me have improved my ability to be both an HR and a DEI leader because they have allowed me, given me a tool to imagine more innovative ways to address inequities. To challenge our current institutions, to model brave conversations, to speak hard truths, and to walk boldly towards new challenges. They've strengthened my ability to empathize with people. MDMA is great for creating this ability to empathize with someone. That is inherently a critical EQ skill needed for HR and for DEI work.

I don't do my work when I'm tripping, but in my altered state, I'm thinking about ways that I might want to teach this DEI concept more carefully, or I get this idea of like the employees that are at my organization, I want them to have the highlight of their career while they're working at my company. That idea doesn't come to me on a normal day-to-day, but when I'm tripping and I'm like, I'm just expanding my mind. I'm like, "Oh, I love my employees. I want them to have the highlights of their career here." I just remember writing that down and being so motivated to like, how do I actualize that?

[00:36:34] Tyson: I'm going to be an ass hole here, just like we did with the engagement surveys. You want your employees to have the best moment in their careers with you, but then what?

[00:36:45] Alexa: [unintelligible 00:36:45] How do you actualize that?

[00:36:47] Tyson: Yes.

[00:36:48] Steven: Yes. That's the next step. Psychedelics don't hold the answer. They don't give you the answers.

[00:36:54] Tyson: [crosstalk] It inspires you.

[00:36:56] Alexa: They open the door.

[00:36:57] Tyson: It inspires you and it allows you to be open-minded to think that way, which a lot of people aren't, they don't think that way. They don't have those thoughts generally.

[00:37:08] Steven: Here's another recent LSD thought that I had that helped me in my thinking, not by giving me an answer, but by just by challenging me, this will only make sense if you're familiar with the Mission District in San Francisco. There's Valencia Street, which is the super bougie street. It's where tech has taken over [unintelligible 00:37:26] shops and stores and bakeries. The next street over is Mission Street, which is the heart of the neighborhood of the mission, primarily Latinx and Hispanic, a lot of poverty, a lot of drug use going through this awkward gentrification stage where there's a lot of shuttered storefronts, but also some nice condo buildings being built up.

I always walked down Valencia Street, God forbid, Mission Street, it's dirty and noisy. When I was tripping, I was like, you know what? Let's walk down Mission Street. I wouldn't have wanted to do that if I wasn't. I walked down Mission Street and I was so uncomfortable and it was just, I was like, "Ugh," there was a lot. I was scared in moments. I was just starting to unpack things. Why am I uncomfortable right now? When you see this homeless person, we have a tendency to look away. Why? Why is that? Do I attribute what I'm feeling to this person? Or should I be attributing it to the systems that allowed for this to happen?

I'm starting to have all these thoughts and I'm forcing and pushing myself to consider a problem in a way that I wouldn't have thought about on any other day. It's not providing me the answers Tyson. It's like just a way to bring these things to the surface. I'm talking about it and I want to solve these things. That's how I think it's made me a better HR or DEI practitioner.

[00:39:00] Tyson: I was just going to say, so one thing we often hear is like this scapegoat where people are like, "Oh, we shouldn't be just hiring for diversity. We should really be hiring the best person for the role like that bullshit that we hear all the time." It's like, "Oh, I can't believe we're like looking at diversity. I don't see color. I just see the best person for the role." I'm saying this because this is stuff that I've actually heard in my job.

It sounds like an experience like that could really open up someone's mind to more than just like, "Oh we're just looking at skillset," and you're just so hyper-focused on like, "Oh, I'm not seeing color, but it almost allows you to see that." I don't know. That's just how I'm interpreting this.

[00:39:45] Steven: It can.

[00:39:45] Tyson: You want to experience from someone else's perspective or it's just it allows for empathy and compassion.

[00:39:55] Steven: That's my experience, but it's not everyone's experience. I think that's why that integration piece is so afterwards you need to be able to talk about your thoughts because a lot of people that have this mystical experience, the oneness, sometimes they come out of that and they're like, "Oh, we're all one. Race doesn't exist. We actually don't need to talk about race." You're like, "Wait, wait, wait, time out, time out, time out. I can see how you've had that experience, but also you have to consider the whole power of society and the circumstances that we're in. Don't lose sight of the circumstances either."

That's why I think it's really important to communicate. Psychedelics is not this thing that's automatically going to improve you or make you better. It's just a tool that actually is going to challenge you and humble you. It's a tool that we can use to consider problems in different ways, but it doesn't always lead to a better solution. A lot of the psychedelics community is liberal, but also a small vociferous group does not believe that identities can actually get in the way, that talking about race is racist kind of thing.

[00:41:09] Tyson: Yes, no, I see. Then let's talk about the connection. I'm going to go back to that New York Times or New York Magazine, whatever the disillusioned consultant we should microdose CEOs. Let's talk about that. Can we just jump to that? I've been just dying to ask? Let's jump to that.

[00:41:31] Steven: From my experience in tech, I have worked under Mark Zuckerberg, under Jack Dorsey, under CEOs that hold enormous, enormous power. One of my clients is a VC firm right now. They hold enormous power. While I do love working with on-the-ground employees and helping them build initiatives and create that ground swell of change, I also recognize that at the rate at which things are happening in our world, we need to have change fast.

I want to target people that hold enormous power and the people that write the checks, the people that build these products and hire the large teams. If we can get them to think a little bit differently, think more empathically, think about equity more, think about, is this product that I create going to make the world better? I want every CEO to ask themselves that. If we can expand their mind in a way, is there a trickle-down impact that it might have? Maybe they are not going to want to build a spaceship. Maybe instead, they're going to want to take that money and do something better with it. That's a random example.

[00:42:44] Tyson: You clearly haven't worked with Jeff Bezos yet.

[00:42:46] Alexa: The spaceship is [crosstalk]. I'm with you on that one, Steven.

[00:42:51] Steven: I saw some joke. It was like, so it turns out trickle economics won't work. They're going to build spaceships. We need to rethink that.

[00:42:59] Alexa: If we could give him a heavy dose that he comes out of that meeting and goes, "Instead of a spaceship, I'm going to give this to charity and actually change something meaningful in the world." I'd call that a win for everybody. Let's make that your marker of success, Steven. If you can get Bezos to dose himself out of his rocket problem.

[00:43:19] Steven: A lot of CEOs, they're all human like us and we are the result of our context that we grew up in.

[00:43:31] Alexa: I am what time and circumstances made me.

[00:43:33] Steven: Exactly.

[00:43:35] Alexa: I don't remember who said that, but it's a cool quote,

[00:43:37] Steven: Try not to blame a lot of these CEOs for misusing their power. That's just probably the circumstances they grew up in. I have learned to just accept that, but I also want to be able to offer them something that will change their mind so that they can have a different impact, so that they can leave a better legacy on this planet than they would otherwise. I think actually deep down, they want that. I don't think Bezos actually cares about, on his tombstone, 40 straight quarters of profitable growth. I would imagine he has something else in his life that he wants.

[00:44:15] Alexa: I want to believe that. I'm after the giant rocket, I'm not convinced.

[00:44:22] Steven: Maybe he's a bad example, but every other CEO--

[00:44:25] Alexa: All the money in the world, there's already two other dudes doing huge rockets and he's like, "You know what the world needs? A third fucking rocket company." Fuck that guy. Fuck it. He might be unsavable, Steven.

[00:44:40] Steven: I don't understand him either.

[00:44:41] Alexa: Your work is focused on CEOs. Your work is focused on teams, what's your plan?

[00:44:49] Steven: I am figuring that out. I had a lot of imposter syndrome when I first joined this space because I didn't know enough about psychedelics or indigenous reciprocity. All of these things that the psychedelics ecosystem is talking about. I just updated my LinkedIn. I changed it to DEI and then psychedelics and I waited a little bit.

[00:45:11] Tyson: Then Alexa reached out.

[00:45:11] Steven: Then I moved the psychedelic up front.

[00:45:14] Alexa: I saw you.

[00:45:15] Tyson: We found you.

[laughter

[00:45:18] Steven: I was just telling my way in. Right now, I'm working with two incredible orgs within the psychedelic space. One of them is called MAPS. It's the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. They've been around for 35 years. They have been the ones driving policy and drug reform and all of these amazing initiatives.

[00:45:43] Tyson: What are you doing with them?

[00:45:45] Steven: DEI training, basically, is what I'm getting started. You have to recognize that in order to do that kind of work, starting in 1985, you need an exorbitant amount of privilege. The leader of that organization is Rick Dublin. You may have heard of him. He's on lots of podcasts and things. That org gets a lot of critique. They're like, "Just a bunch of white guys." Only white guys had that safety and security to do that work in 1985. They're good people and they're working to diversify their organization. They've been doing a ton of efforts in the DEI space. They call it JEDI. Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. They're doing lots of work there and making lots of commitment.

The role that I'm playing there is to work on the HR side because that's a part that I know. They are actively working on how do we diversify our clinical trials? How do we get the FDA to understand the ethnopharmacological solutions? How do we train their piece across different identities? All of that work is being done and I hope to get more involved with that one day but right now, I'm just taking on the training aspects. I help them with their engagement survey a little bit. Seeking to the things that I know is psychedelic orgs because I recognize I still have so much learning to do.

The other organization that I've started working with. Most of the work is ticking of next month. They're called Numinus. They're a Canadian company that does mushroom and cannabis therapy. Canada is a little bit more advanced when it comes to considering that there.

[00:47:23] Alexa: Yes, we've discovered that a few times in this podcast that [unintelligible 00:47:26] get there. Year-long, Natalie, legal marijuana everywhere, universal healthcare.

[00:47:39] Steven: Their stance on psychedelics is much more progressive. The US really used drugs as a lever in a race war. We can have a drug war without race war and vice versa. They're just a little bit more caught up there. Whereas, Canada, has its own issues around indigenous rights that they're working through but, luckily, they're a little more forward-thinking when it comes to psychedelics.

[00:48:04] Alexa: Very cool. All right. What do you hope that people who don't have any experience with psychedelics or maybe are hoping to get some experience with psychedelics, what do you hope they take away from our conversation and what do you hope they at least know before they go do their judgment? Before they go judge you, what do you hope people know?

[00:48:26] Steven: Don't judge me. There's so many great resources out there to get familiar with the different kinds of psychedelics. There's things on Netflix. I feel like there's a thing in the news all the time. There's some great books out there. Michael Polland wrote this book.

[00:48:45] Alexa: Great book.

[00:48:46] Steven: Yes, there's a few. He has a new one called, This is Your Mind on Plant, I think it's called.

[00:48:52] Alexa: Yes. It's Your Mind on Plants or something. I read his other one where he did a bunch of drugs and he wrote about it. How To Change Your Mind.

[00:49:00] Steven: Dr. Carl Hart is incredible. He is a black professor [unintelligible 00:49:05]

[00:49:05] Alexa: Love him. Drug Use for Grownups.

[00:49:09] Steven: Drug Use for Grownups. That's it.

[00:49:10] Alexa: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear.

[00:49:13] Steven: Yes, another great resource. Whatever way you like to learn, reading, watching, listening, get familiar, and get comfortable. Don't ever feel pressured into doing it. If you do feel like it is time to do psychedelics, make sure that you are doing it with someone who is really familiar or trained in harm reduction.

[00:49:33] Alexa: Yes. I'm going to ask a selfish question. I live near some of the best and brightest universities in the world. I'm sandwiched between two of the big ones over here in Cambridge. When someone tells me that the LSD I could potentially take was made by a chemist at MIT, I have a reason to believe that might be true and I feel okay about that. Not everyone can say that the things that they're taking or willing to experiment with or getting from someone or whatever, that they can trace the lineage to a professor down the street. What would your advice be for people who, it's still highly illegal in most of the country, at least here in the States, what would you say to people who are trying to do this safely outside of just educate yourself, research, whatever? What are some other best practices?

[00:50:21] Steven: You can always go to a place where it is legal. Oregon, Oakland, if that's something that you're worried about, the legal implications. There are places where it is legal. You should also consider testing your drugs. There are resources out there where you can get test kits to make sure that what you're getting is actually what it is. I think one of them is called DanceSafe and Bunk Police are two resources where you can get test kits. It's always a good idea to test what you're getting even if you get it from a friend who is very, let's say, they have this [crosstalk]--

[00:50:56] Alexa: Your most reputable drug dealer friend?

[00:50:58] Steven: Yes. There's no harm. You just need to use a little bit and test it and make sure it is what it is.

[00:51:04] Tyson: Are there places you can go now? I felt that was in California where you could go somewhere where people, they tell you what to take and how much.

[00:51:19] Steven: They'll guide you and stuff?

[00:51:19] Tyson: They guide you and they give you a little concoction. Maybe they're familiar with psychology or something and they do therapy and drugs.

[00:51:29] Alexa: I'm not sure if there's places like a website.

[00:51:33] Tyson: I'm pretty sure I saw this on the Goop documentary. I don't know where they were.

[00:51:38] Steven: Do you have a Goop problem? Do we need to talk about this? Do we need to ungoopify you?

[00:51:43] Tyson: Me? No. Other than Pooch or wherever, Poosh. The other one that Kourtney Kardashian rip off. Okay, we won't go down there.

[00:51:51] Steven: I'm not even cool enough to know that that exists.

[00:51:52] Tyson: Nevermind.

[00:51:53] Alexa: If you need to do psychedelics in a therapeutic sense, if you want to work and do some deep healing, do it with a licensed therapist.

[00:52:04] Steven: There's a lot of really cool research coming out about the effects of some of this stuff on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-

[00:52:09] Tyson: Yes, MDMA and stuff.

[00:52:11] Alexa: -addiction. Steven, you said you do research. Can you talk a little bit about that or that you work with some groups that you research?

[00:52:19] Steven: MAPS is putting out the most amazing research. They're a big research producer. I don't do any of my own primary research but I'm always reviewing really cool research. They did this amazing research having Palestinians and Israelis doing Ayahuasca together and then helping them bridge their differences and use all these effective scales. I'm not sure you heard of them.

[00:52:42] Alexa: We just need to lace the water in the West Bank. There's the shit overnight.

[00:52:46] Steven: They did some amazing work. I think the promise still needs to actualize but it's there. I get really excited when I think about potential of psychedelics. If done ethically and responsibly and safely, this industry can have a really huge impact in the world.

[00:53:07] Alexa: 10 years from now.

[00:53:08] Tyson: I was just going to say.

[00:53:10] Alexa: Play this out.

[00:53:10] Tyson: What's your dream job?

[00:53:11] Alexa: 10, 20 years from now, where do you think this all goes?

[00:53:16] Steven: When I'm thinking 10, 20 years out or my generation, I think about right now, top of mind for me is climate change. What will the world be like if we maintain this amount of greenhouse gas emission in 10 or 20 years? I think about our ability to solve that problem, given the current pandemic and our inability to solve that problem, I don't think it bodes well that we're going to have the capacity to solve climate change with our current political institution. [crosstalk]

[00:53:52] Alexa: Psychedelics for all the statesmen. [crosstalk] Steven.

[00:53:58] Tyson: Microdose the governors.

[00:54:00] Alexa: Exactly. House and the Senate, here are your pills.

[00:54:05] Steven: I hope so. Something like that.

[00:54:10] Alexa: Maybe you just need to work with all of the big oil CEOs. Just like, "All right, just sit and have some plants with me and tell me how you feel."

[00:54:19] Steven: I feel like we have the tools. We can see climate change coming. We've seen it for a while. We have the tools. We have the technology. We can pull carbon out of the air right now. It's expensive but we can do it. We have the tools and technology to prevent climate change from being a catastrophe but we don't seem to have this shared human consciousness that allows us to use these tools to help one another. Somehow, if psychedelics can grow, I'm dreaming that maybe some CEOs we consider the impact that their company has on the planet and they're somehow motivated by something other than profit.

[00:54:58] Tyson: We need to get rid of the boomers.

[00:54:59] Alexa: Let's just get them out. Like I think that'll solve [crosstalk]--

[00:55:02] Steven: Or dose them.

[00:55:02] Tyson: True because I feel like until millennials start taking over, boomers are just going to continue this shit that we're seeing, and I don't know. Although boomers, they should be like totally open to microdosing, was that not their generation?

[00:55:19] Alexa: Yes, I was going to say. I was actually just going to ask, didn't we do this in the '70s, and it got some people off about a bad war we were in, and we had a few cool concerts that went down in history. Then we basically shut the whole industry down because of all this stigma and all these other things. What do we know about where this came from and the progression of this? Is this just so bad?

[00:55:45] Tyson: That had people fighting back because that was like the first time people really started fighting back because originally the greatest generation, they just went to war without asking any questions.

[00:55:55] Alexa: Yes, and to be fair, it was not legal. It was not researched. It was not mainstream. It was not understood. It was not--

[00:56:01] Steven: It was not illegal. Like a lot of these drugs that we're talking about, LSD, ketamine, they were created because they had medical value. They were created for amedical purpose. I think Merck, Bayer, or one of these pharma companies was responsible for creating the original compounds that led to a lot of these things, but it did create this counterculture movement.

I think the government got really scared by like, "Ooh, these people are having these new ideas," and they were scared about losing power and that counterculture became so strong that they wanted to shut it down, but what Carl Hart talks about in his book is the ability to change your mind is something that is a constitutional right life, liberty in the pursuit of happiness. Our ability to use drugs in a safe way if it doesn't impact your ability to be a parent should not be illegal. He describes how he's a recreational heroin user, how he enjoys it after a long day.

[00:57:04] Alexa: Yes, I've actually heard him talk about that on podcasts, yes.

[00:57:06] Steven: Really challenging is a lot of the things that we have in our heads were just tools that-- propaganda that was used in the drug war

[00:57:21] Alexa: Also highly addictive substance, but yes, there's a lot of misconceptions here and we've steamrolled through a lot of them as a society as we tend to do. I think we talked about that at the beginning of this conversation, but yes. Awesome. All right, Steven, well, if people want to get in touch with you, they like what you have to say, where can they reach out to you?

[00:57:37] Steven: I am not really on social media much because I don't want to get canceled.

[00:57:42] Alexa: I was just going to say, this feels like the perfect anecdote to cancel culture, because how can you cancel someone if everybody is just like together, and you're like, "Well, he's allowed to change his mind. He just did some drugs and he disagrees with himself from five years ago." You can't cancel it for that. You can't cancel him for what he said five years.

[00:57:58] Tyson: I also feel-- I hate that you have to have that fear that-

[00:58:03] Steven: I know.

[00:58:03] Tyson: -you can't speak openly about something you're passionate about with fear of being canceled, and that's like a whole--

[00:58:08] Alexa: It's on his LinkedIn. He's out there.

[00:58:09] Tyson: No, but that's a whole other podcast. Honestly, I hate, cancel culture. I'm so not for it.

[00:58:17] Alexa: I think this industry takes the brunt of that in a lot of ways, like the newest thing comes up and everybody's up in arms about it, and then all of a sudden they're like, "Hey HR, you deal with this." Are we supposed to cancel this person? We have to fire this person. We have to-- It's like what? Everybody slow down.

[00:58:31] Steven: You can find me on LinkedIn. That's really the only place where I'm active socially in a professional way anyway. You can search my name. Steven Huang. You can also, I've been told search DEI and psychedelics, and I'm like--

[00:58:45] Alexa: You can infact. I just did it earlier today.

[00:58:48] Tyson: Well, what if someone else showed up? Could you imagine that would be insane? That would be your person. You'd have to find them.

[00:58:56] Steven: There are a lot of people that are doing this work. I guess I just am a little bit better at like LinkedIn about it, but Dr. Bia Labate is the founder of an organization called Chacruna and she also works at MAPs as the I believe her title is like Public Education and Culture Specialist. She is fantastic. There are really cool psychotherapists that come from marginalized identities that have written books and done this work. I think people are finding me because I'm coming at it from a business lens. Maybe that's why I'm sticking out, but there are lots of other people that have paved the way.

[00:59:33] Alexa: Well, we're super excited to have you, Steven. Thanks for bein there.

[00:59:35] Tyson: This was a great conversation.

[00:59:37] Alexa: Yes, loved it. I'm going to go do some drugs. I'm so excited.

[00:59:41] Steven: Have fun. Be safe.

[00:59:44] Alexa: This episode was executive produced by me, Alexa Baggio with audio production by [unintelligible 00:59:47] of Pure Harmonies. Original music was also done by the wonderful Ellie Brigda of Pure Harmonies. You can find more information about us and future episodes at peopleproblemspod.com, or follow us at People Problems--

[00:59:58] [END OF AUDIO]


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