Brené Brown

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  • Research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work
  • Visiting professor in management at The University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business
  • Author of six #1 NYT Bestsellers: Atlas of the Heart, Dare to Lead, Braving the Wilderness, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection. With Tarana Burke, she co-edited the bestselling anthology You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience.


Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, where she holds the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair at the Graduate College of Social Work. She also holds the position of visiting professor in management at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business.

Brené has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is the author of six #1 New York Times best sellers and is the host of two award-winning podcasts, Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead. Brené’s books have been translated into more than 30 languages, and her titles include Atlas of the Heart, Dare to Lead, Braving the Wilderness, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly, and The Gifts of Imperfection. With Tarana Burke, she co-edited the best-selling anthology You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience.

Brené’s TED talk on the Power of Vulnerability is one of the top five most-viewed TED talks in the world, with over 60 million views. Brené is the first researcher to have a filmed lecture on Netflix, and in March 2022, she launched a new show on HBO Max that focuses on her latest book, Atlas of the Heart. Brené spends most of her time working in organizations around the world, helping develop braver leaders and more-courageous cultures. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve. They have two children, Ellen and Charlie, and a weird Bichon named Lucy.

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Dare to Lead

Based on twenty years of research, including the past seven studying leadership, Brené found the answer: Daring leadership is a collection of four skill sets that are 100 percent teachable, observable, and measurable. It’s learning and unlearning that requires brave work, tough conversations, and showing up with your whole heart.

In this keynote, Brené uses research, stories, and examples to explore:

  1. The ten cultural barriers to courageous leadership
  2. The four skill sets that underpin courage:
    • Rumbling with Vulnerability
    • Living into Our Values
    • Braving Trust
    • Learning to Rise
  1. The difference between armored leadership and daring leadership
  2. Why curiosity and grounded confidence are at the heart of brave work and tough conversations

Brené writes, “The skill sets that make up courage are not new; they’ve been aspirational leadership skills for as long as there have been lead­ers.  Yet we haven’t made great progress in developing these skills in leaders, because we don’t dig into the humanity of this work—it’s too messy.  It’s much easier to talk about what we want and need than it is to talk about the fears, feelings, and scarcity that get in the way of achieving all of it. Basically, and perhaps ironically, we don’t have the courage for real talk about courage. But it’s time. And if you want to call these “soft skills” after you’ve tried putting them into practice—go for it. I dare you.”

Rising Strong

(The data informing this research was collected from a broad sample of participants. The talk can be adapted for corporate audiences, parents, educators, or faith communities).

If we’re brave enough often enough we will fall. Rising strong after a setback, disappointment, or failure is how we cultivate wholeheartedness in our lives; it’s the process that teaches us the most about who we are. In this keynote we will:

  • Explore the critical role emotion plays in resetting after a fall and the connections between emotion, thought and behavior.
  • Define integrity and explore how offloading emotion moves us away from our values and corrodes culture.
  • Examine the power of storytelling and the dangers of confabulations and conspiracies.
  • Explore the three elements of the rising strong process (The Reckoning, The Rumble, and The Revolution).
  • Develop actionable strategies for getting back after a fall or setback so that we can live, love, and lead with greater courage.
Braving The Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

(The data informing this research was collected from a broad sample of participants. The talk can be adapted for corporate audiences, parents, educators, or faith communities).

True belonging is the practice of belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are. This type of courage and strength can only be forged in the wilderness – through the lived experiences of collective joy and pain, curiosity and questioning, investing in connection, and grounded confidence.

In this keynote we will explore:

  • The factors leading to a culture of fitting in versus true belonging, cynicism versus engagement, and disconnection versus connection.
  • The power behind the four practices of true belonging (collective joy and pain; debunking, de-bunkering, and decency; investing in community; and grounded confidence).
  • Six qualities of leaders who cultivate cultures of true belonging and commitment versus leaders who build cultures of fitting in and compliance.

Brené Brown Reviews

“We have been fortunate to have Brené Brown as a keynote speaker at Workhuman in consecutive years and she has already garnered “rock star” status. Our attendees line up hours before her talk and literally run to their seats to get as close as possible to one of the most dynamic speakers in the world today.  Undeniably authentic, inspiring, and motivating, Brené has solidified her place as one of the highest-rated speakers in Workhuman conference history.”


“Although many of my staff lobbied to get Brené as the speaker at our luncheon, I was not personally aware of her or her books.  After watching her speak on YouTube, we decided to pursue her as our speaker.  I am absolutely thrilled at the response we got.  We sold over 1,500 tickets (sold out), had the largest net revenue for the event in our history and got the best feedback from our guests.  Brené was personable, low maintenance and willing to take pictures and spend some time with our guests.  Thank you, Brené and your staff – we raised a record amount and the message you delivered continues to resonate in our organization and throughout our community.”


“Brené’s talk was transformational for the people present. We have had a deluge of positive comments, feedback and thank you messages, as well as streams of discussion posts on our internal jive platform. Two members of the audience approached one of our executives and hugged him to thank him for bringing Brené to Citi. What impressed us most about her, was her ability to effortlessly tell her story, while making it relevant to the banking and regulatory reality of the people in the audience. She also expertly referenced our broader culture change work at Citi. She could not have done a better job. She nailed it!”


“Although Dr. Brown is not a speech-language pathologist, she did a WONDERFUL job of relating to the attendees.  She made them feel like they their work was valued and she did a fantastic job of relating her topic to the field of speech pathology.  She was very genuine and a dynamic speaker!”


“Dr. Brené Brown cuts right to the core of what is so challenging about personal and professional relationships. She is both charming and disarming, which moves us beyond our usual defenses to the place where our hearts and mind open and insight occurs. At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Brené inspired hundreds of employees and leaders to dare greatly.”


Dr. Brown’s presentation was the highlight of our conference! Her presentation style was warm, funny and engaging. Her positive and uplifting message was inspirational. I heard repeatedly from our participants that they felt that her talk was life changing!”



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