Dr. Brené Brown is the expert on vulnerable leadership speaking at Brand Minds 2019.
Dr. Brown is a #worldchanger supporting leaders to be successful through authenticity.
This article helps you learn more about her work, her professional experience and her personal story.
20 years of Research Experience
Dr. Brené Brown is a professor at the University of Houston, a qualitative researcher, Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work, storyteller, author and public speaker.
As a qualitative researcher, she spent the past 20 years interviewing people and listening to their stories, studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy.
Her four best-selling books outline her research:
- The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who We Think We Should Be and Embracing Who We Are
- Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
- Rising Strong: The Reckoning. The Rumble. The Revolution.
- Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone
Her new book entitled Dare to Lead: Bold Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts is set to come out in October 2018.
Millions of lives were changed by her research, including her own
Millions of people said reading Dr. Brown’s books changed their perspective and saved their lives. But the first life her research saved was her own.
As a social worker, she knew that connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives because it is hardwired in our neurological system. So she sets out to discover the mechanisms of connection and in doing so, she notices that some people have the ability to feel connected while others don’t.
After hundreds of interviews she thinks she has found the explanation: yes, connection is the key to everything, but shame — or a fear of disconnection — keeps us from it.
Shame-the fear of disconnection
Everyone feels shame but what triggers this emotion is different based on sex. For women, shame is related to conflicting expectations and body image issues. For men, shame is about being perceived as weak. So what is it about people who feel connected? What sets them apart from the rest?
Vulnerability is being authentic
Following further investigations and data, Brené finds that these people are courageousenough to allow themselves to feel vulnerable. They have the courage to be imperfect, they have the compassion to be kind to themselves and to others, they have connection as a result of authenticity.
People who feel connected are the people who are willing to let go of who they think they should be in order to be who they truly are. They fully embrace vulnerability: they believe what makes them vulnerable, makes them beautiful.
Vulnerability is the core of shame, fear and our struggle for worthiness, but also the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, love.
Her spiritual awakening
This is when Brené had her breakdown. Up until this moment, her life was all about being in control, measuring facts and using data to solve problems. She realises she had become a researcher to avoid vulnerability. With the help and support of her therapist, struggling with her own vulnerability every day for a year, she manages to get to a win-win conclusion: she gives in to vulnerability but wins back her life.
Dr. Brené Brown’s TED Talk has received 35 million views
Brené’s TED talk — The Power of Vulnerability — is one of the Top 5 Most viewed TED talks in the world with over 35 million views.
She has received numerous teaching awards including the Graduate College of Social Work’s Outstanding Faculty Award.
Houston Woman Magazine voted Dr. Brown one of Houston’s most influential women of 2009.
In 2016, the Huffington Foundation honored Dr. Brown by pledging $2 million over four years to fund the Brené Brown Endowed Chair in the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston. This will provide resources to expand Brown’s research, as a greater number of social work students pursuing training in grounded theory methodology will be trained in her research on vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy.
Dr. Brené Brown is the CEO of Brave Leaders Inc, a courage-building program that helps individuals, teams and organisations develop leaders and answer their personal call to courage.
Watch Dr. Brown talk about the link between vulnerability and leadership: