Margie Meacham: The Brain Lady Breaking New Ground in Learning Experiences with AI and Neuroscience

Margie Meacham | The Brain Lady Breaking New Ground | The Enterprise World

Cutting through the AI hype, Margie Meacham, the Founder and Chief Freedom Officer of LearningToGo is on a mission to lead a generation of professionals into a new era of uncaptured AI-driven possibilities. 

Famously known as the Brain Lady, Margie’s passionate heart and curious mind explore the uncharted territories where Artificial Intelligence and neuroscience converge. Blending the best of the two worlds, Margie orchestrates a symphony of personalized learning experiences, uniquely tailored to individual  aspirations and organizational goals.

Unlike many others who are copying each other and rehashing tech company promises Margie Meacham’s journey has positioned her as a pioneering force for education and learning in the age of AI. 

Bittersweet Beginnings

As a little girl, Margie Meacham had a tough time at school. Even though she was six, she found it difficult to read and write. Every child is different and has a timeline to perform certain activities. However, Margie’s situation was unusual and caught her teacher’s attention. The teacher had two opinions regarding this, either Margie was pretty smart but terribly lazy or she was slow and belonged in special classes. 

Margie’s parents recognized the issue and took a stand for her. Margie Meacham recalls, “I sat outside the principal’s office listening to them insist that any problems were a failure of my teachers. They gave me a wonderful gift that day, by showing that they believed in me. We didn’t know it until much later, but I have a learning difference called dyslexia.

Back then, Margie didn’t know why her brain worked differently but she knew that her parents believed in her. Accepting the situation, she decided to take measurable steps and start her new journey to become the best version of herself. That year, she learned how to read over the summer by reading Dr. Suess with her little sister. 

From that moment, she was fascinated with how people learn and how she could help them learn better. Over the years, this fascination led Margie Meacham to get a master’s degree in learning technology and start her business as an instructional consultant. Today, she continues to follow the complementary fields of neuroscience and artificial intelligence to leverage the latest scientific advances in the science of learning.

Becoming a Guiding Force

As a consultant, Margie Meacham doesn’t have employees. Instead, she has many partners who help her produce the results she achieves for her clients. Margie believes that leadership is a skill that everyone has, but one needs to own it and take responsibility to navigate and lead in every aspect of their life. “The best leaders help everyone become the best version of themselves.”  Margie does this by sharing her knowledge and passion for learning.

About LearningToGo

LearningToGo is a consulting and education company that works at the intersection of neuroscience and artificial intelligence to accelerate learning and enhance performance. Its primary clients are businesses, schools, and universities. The company also works with non-profit organizations and all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as individuals who want to enhance their careers by developing practical AI skills that they can use right now to streamline their workflow and save time. 

Being the face of the organization, LearningToGo always reflects Margie’s work and research. There’s also a small team of talented folks who help make it all possible by adding project management, marketing, and graphic design support. Increasingly, she also has an army of AI assistants. She calls them an important part of her team.

LearningToGo products and services are similar to what other consultants offer to showcase their unique areas of expertise. Here are a few things Margie Meacham is doing right now:

Promoting her two books on Amazon:

  • Brain Matters: How to help anyone learn anything using neuroscience
  • AI in Talent Development: Capitalize on the AI Revolution to Transform the Way You Work, Learn, and Live

Delivering  custom workshops on AI for Talent Development to training teams, schools, and universities.

Serving as a keynote speaker for corporate and association events.

Serving as a subject matter expert for several professional organizations like the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and LinkedIn Learning, who have tapped Margie Meacham to develop their own courses on learning science and AI for their members.

But what has her most excited these days is launching her new online masterclass series, AI for Talent Development Professionals and Everyone Else, designed to help everyone find useful ways to save time and streamline workflows using AI.

Leveraging Technology to the Next Level

Technology has always played a key role in Margie’s consulting practice. For example, she doesn’t just talk about AI and theorize about how it’s transforming lives—she integrates it every day to produce results for her clients. She designed a learning coach for the United Nations that interviews each user and produces a detailed learning plan, based on their skills, role, and aspirations. Margie Meacham has cloned her voice using an AI tool so that she can deliver perfect voice-overs for her instructional videos. And she is experimenting with AI tools to help her become more efficient and productive as a content creator, generating videos, original graphics, and other content with help from generative AI. 

Margie Meacham has developed a chatbot on her site to help her customers find what they need. Additionally, she is also building a personal AI learning coach for each of her online masterclass series. Using these tools are just a few examples of how she is developing best practices and sharing her process with the world.

Courses, Workshops, and More from the Offerings End

Margie Meacham has reinvented her consulting offering over the years, most recently with her entry into the masterclass space. And, based on the response she is getting so far, she is planning to offer additional intermediate and advanced courses soon. Margie believes in keeping complete transparency between her customers and herself. She lets her customers tell her where the business should be headed and listens to their frustrations and challenges. 

She adds, “I join in their successes and dreams. It may not sound very scientific, but I’ve felt my way along for the past 20 years. When something new is out there, it catches my attention, and I figure out how to use it to help people learn. I think my dyslexic brain helps me do this better than most people. I see patterns in places where many others aren’t even looking yet. It’s a gift that neuroscience has taught me to appreciate.

Minimizing Risks, Maximizing Opportunities

As an entrepreneur, Margie Meacham is always tossing between the two sides of the coin: opportunities and risks. A recent example of it is how she needed to pivot her business to respond to the sudden excitement over generative AI this year. 

Margie Meacham has been building educational chatbots and AI-driven learning paths for her clients since 2015, but her work was generally unknown outside of her direct contacts. That’s why she decided to shift the gears from backend to frontend and wrote the book, AI in Talent Development in 2020. Back then, just three years ago, AI was transforming almost every industry except education and training. 

However, Margie was on a mission to change that. At the time, she recognized one of the biggest hurdles for entry into this technology was the cost of developing custom applications. So, she built a line of prebuilt chatbots for specific learning purposes, like sales coaches, new hire orientation, and so on. Her BrainyBots solution won the prestigious Tech & Learning award in 2022. But now, thanks to the explosion of generative AI tools that are available, one doesn’t need to pay someone else to build these applications. With a little bit of training from Margie, many people can do it themselves. 

Margie adds, “Everything that I’ve learned from being one of the pioneers in this space is included in my first masterclass series: AI for Talent Professionals.” While she continues to offer custom design and enterprise-level workshops, the decision to move her business into the online course space has given her a whole new way to help people learn. It was certainly a risk, but so far, it’s paying off!

In the Role of a Mentor

Margie works closely with professional organizations in her field, like the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and the eLearning Guild. This gives her many opportunities to network with people who are new to the field or changing careers. 

As an experienced learning consultant, Margie Meacham is also very open about being available as a mentor as it gives her a chance to work with a lot of talented professionals. Just recently, a young woman she met at one of her speaking engagement events sent her a video she made with the help of AI. “Responses like this are how I know I’m on the right track,” says Margie.

Margie continues, “I’ve learned from the exchange, too. My mentees keep me on my toes. I see mentorship as an extension of my concept of leadership—it’s everyone’s job. We all needed help when we were coming up in our careers, and it’s our responsibility to pass this great gift forward.

Times of Transformation

After college, Margie Meacham took progressive roles in corporate America, until she came to a realization. As a training manager for a Fortune 100 company she was hiring a lot of consultants. She gradually realized she knew as much about learning science as the consultants did. So, she gave her notice and started working as a consultant. She was surprised that her employer immediately hired her as a consultant, to do all the things they were unwilling to invest in when she proposed  them as their employee. 

To Margie, being a free agent in the business world proved to be a much easier path than being a woman trying to advance in a male-dominated organization. The fact that she was willing to bet on herself seems to have given her an extra level of credibility that eluded her inside the corporate world.

As a founder and entrepreneur, Margie Meacham never intended to build a large organization because she realized that her greatest product was herself – her knowledge, her creativity, and her ability to find solutions. She has focused on maximizing what she does well and building a nice life for herself and her family.

Defining Success

Margie Meacham attributes her success to a few key principles that her parents taught: Tell the truth, work hard, do what you promise, and deliver on time. Almost all of her business comes from word of mouth, so she must stick to those standards if she wants to remain relevant and credible.

Also, she attributes most of her success to the unwavering support of her husband and partner, David Meacham. His support when she took a leap of faith and left her safe but stifling corporate job was essential to her success.

The Growth Trajectory

Margie has had several growth spurts in her career, but perhaps the largest ones came after she made a change. For example, after incorporating neuroscience into her instructional design courses for years, she realized that most of her peers were still relatively unaware of how brain-based design could increase the results of training and education programs. So, she wrote her first book, Brain Matters. From that book came her first invitation to speak at a professional conference, followed by many more speaking opportunities and custom consulting clients. 

About a decade later, Margie Meacham became interested in how AI was transforming many workplaces and started building chatbots for her clients. But again, she was the exception and wondered why many of her peers weren’t exploring this new technology. So, she wrote AI in Talent Development. And the fun part is, even though she is very proud of that book, very few people read it at first. Reviewers sometimes said that she was presenting interesting but unlikely scenarios for the future, even though she was writing about real-world things she was already doing with AI for her clients. 

It took ChatGPT and other generative AI tools to gain public interest in 2023 – and now she is in great demand for keynotes, articles, and workshops. Margie Meacham has always been a bit ahead of the times. In this case,she had to wait a few years for the market to catch up to what she was already doing.

AI: The New Name of the Game

AI has grabbed all eyeballs right now, as new announcements come out almost every day. As an AI expert, Margie Meacham declines to predict the field five years in the future, but she can tell us what 2024 looks like. 

Right now, only a small percentage of business professionals are using generative AI regularly, and those few who are generally use only one of the hundreds of available options – ChatGPT. This is despite the many concerns about the reliability of this tool and its propensity for hallucinations. It has gotten a lot of attention, so that’s what people know. 

In the coming months, nearly anyone who works for a large company will be using AI at work – even if they don’t realize it. Every new Learning Management System (LMS) is powered by AI to provide customized insights into learner behavior and tailor training to individual needs. The news stories everyone reads and relies on are already often written with the help of, or entirely by AI tools, and any X-ray your doctor orders will likely be read by an AI – and more accurately than humans can do it.

Microsoft, Apple, Google, Samsung, and many other technology companies will embed AI in the next version of their products, so everyone will be working with it whether they want to or not.

Margie Meacham adds, “If you can’t work with AI, you may well be replaced by someone who can. I don’t mean to be all gloom and doom, though. These tools are incredibly easy to use with just a little bit of practice. And you don’t need to know computer code to master prompt engineering. That’s an effective way of talking to an AI to get it to give you what you need. These jobs have always been very labor-intensive. AI will streamline workflows and transform many jobs that appear to be highly technical right now. That can be great news if we embrace reality and get up to speed.

Up and Personal with AI

Working with AI assistants as part of the team, the question arises if they are sentient. Well, Margie is not saying that they are sentient today. However, her work with neuroscience gives her a unique perspective on the whole idea of emergent consciousness. She sees consciousness as a continuum. She looks at her dog, Koala, and sees a level of consciousness in those sparkling eyes. While she doesn’t see that sparkle yet in her interactions with AIs on her computer or phone, she admits to anthropomorphizing them anyway, and expects to be surprised by where AI is taking us.

Margie states, “We’re hard-wired to seek connection with other beings. Many of us name our cars, say that our computer doesn’t like us today, or give other inanimate objects the illusion of consciousness when we think about them. It’s just easier for us to do this, and I’m no exception. I used to believe that sentient AI would never happen in my lifetime. Now, I’m not so sure. When humans developed language, we made significant advances. 

Now that machines have learned how to communicate with us, who knows where that will lead? There’s one thing I’m pretty sure of, though. We’ll only recognize the AI singularity AFTER it has happened. It will creep up on us, one advancement at a time. Until some highly publicized event makes us all pay attention to something that will have been happening for years.

The Future of LearningToGo

Right now, the company is hyper-focused on delivering hands-on training in practical ways to use AI in daily life and career. But, AI is changing the role of leaders at all levels. Leading in the age of AI is going to be challenging. 

Leaders are perhaps the least prepared to understand and implement the full potential of these new tools – and the most likely to fall for misinformation and shiny thing fallacies. That’s where Margie Meacham comes into the picture, helping them navigate a path for the future and guiding them with her common sense approach and practical knowledge. 

But she’ll keep listening to her customers to figure out where the business goes next.  

For more information, please visit – 

Margie Meacham

Learn about AI in Talent Development with my book on Amazon.

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AI for Talent Development Masterclass Series:

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