Brené Brown

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Brené Brown
Brené Brown Wikipedia.jpg
Brown in 2012
Casandra Brené Brown

(1965-11-18) November 18, 1965 (age 56)
  • Clinical Social Worker
  • academic
  • public speaker
Steve Alley
(m. 1994)
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisAcompañar: A Grounded Theory of Developing, Maintaining and Assessing Relevance in Professional Helping[1] (2002)
Academic work
DisciplineSocial work
InstitutionsUniversity of Houston Edit this at Wikidata

Casandra Brené Brown (born 1965) is an American professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. Brown holds the Huffington Foundation's Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work and is a visiting professor in management at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

Early life and education[edit]

Brown was born on November 18, 1965,[2] in San Antonio, Texas, where her parents Charles Arthur Brown and Casandra Deanne Rogers[2] baptized her in the Episcopal Church. She is the oldest of four children.[3] Her family then moved to New Orleans,[4] and raised her as a Catholic.[5] She left the Catholic Church and returned to the Episcopal community with her husband, Steve Alley, and their two children two decades later. The family now lives in Houston.[6] She completed a Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of Texas at Austin in 1995, followed by a Master of Social Work degree in 1996,[7] and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in social work at the University of Houston in 2002.[8] Brene Brown had “a Pupu platter of addictions” as well, a combination of alcohol, smoking, emotional eating and an addiction to control.[9]


Brown has spent decades studying the topics of courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She is, as of 2021, the author of five number-one New York Times bestsellers, namely The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead. In 2020, Brown began hosting the Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead podcasts.[10] Her TED talk, "The Power of Vulnerability", has been widely viewed.[11][12][13] Her filmed lecture, Brené Brown: The Call to Courage, debuted on Netflix in 2019.

Brown has spent her research career as a professor at her alma mater, the University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work.[14] With research focused on the themes of authentic leadership and wholeheartedness in families, schools, and organizations, she has given a 2012 TED talk and two 2010 TEDx talks.[15][16] In March 2013, she talked with Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday about her book, Daring Greatly.[17] Brown says she drew the title of that book from a 1910 Theodore Roosevelt speech "Citizenship in a Republic", given at the Sorbonne.[18] Brown is CEO of "The Daring Way", a professional training and certification program on the topics of vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy.[19] Brown has a chapter giving advice in Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans.

Personal life[edit]

Brown met Steve Alley in 1987, and the pair dated on and off for seven years until their marriage in 1994.[3] The couple had their first child, a daughter named Ellen in 1999,[3] followed by their son Charlie in 2005.[3]

Brown stopped drinking and smoking and went to her first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on May 12, 1996, one day after her master's program graduation.[20]

Selected works[edit]

  • "Feminist Standpoint Theory" and "Shame Resilience Theory". In S. P. Robbins, P. Chatterjee & E. R. Canda (Eds.), Contemporary human behavior theory: A Critical Perspective for Social Work. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 560 pp. ISBN 978-0134779263 Published 2007.
  • I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn't): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy and Power. Avery. 336 pp. ISBN 978-1592403356 (2007)
  • Connections: A 12-Session Psychoeducational Shame-Resilience Curriculum. Center City, MN: Hazelden. ISBN 978-1592857425 (2009)
  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Center City, MN: Hazelden. 160 pp. ISBN 978-1592858491 (2010)
  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. New York City: Gotham. 320 pp. ISBN 978-1592408412 (2012)
  • Rising Strong: The Reckoning, the Rumble, the Revolution. Spiegel & Grau, now Random House. 352 pp. ISBN 978-0812985801 (2015)
  • Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. Random House. 208 pp. ISBN 978-0812985818 (2017)
  • Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. Random House. 320 pp. ISBN 978-0399592522 (2018)
  • The Gifts of Imperfection (10th Anniversary Edition). 256 pp. ISBN 0593133587 (2020)

Honors and awards[edit]

In 2009 Houston Woman Magazine voted Brown one of the city's most influential women.[21] She has also received teaching awards, including the Graduate College of Social Work's Outstanding Faculty Award.[22] In 2016 the Huffington Foundation pledged $2 million over four years to endow a research chair in her name at the Graduate College of Social Work, where she guides the training of social work students in grounded theory methodology and in her research into vulnerability, courage, shame, and empathy.[23]


  1. ^ Brown, Casandra Brené (2002). Acompañar: A Grounded Theory of Developing, Maintaining and Assessing Relevance in Professional Helping (PhD thesis). Houston: University of Houston. OCLC 51775597.
  2. ^ a b Texas Birth Index (2002). "U.S. Public Records Index". Family Search. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "About". Brené Brown. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  4. ^ Brown, Brené (2010). The Gifts of Imperfection. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden. p. 93. ISBN 978-1-59285-849-1.
  5. ^ Lisa Capretto OWN (October 16, 2015). "Why Brené Brown 'abandoned' the church - and why she went back". Huffington Post. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
  6. ^ Elliott, Amber (April 13, 2016). "Brené Brown surprises lunchgoers with generous donation". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  7. ^ "Brené Brown". Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  8. ^ "How This Leadership Researcher Became the Secret Weapon for Oprah, Pixar, IBM, and Melinda Gates". September 19, 2018. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  9. ^ Brown, Brene. "What Being Sober has Meant to Me". Brene Brown. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  10. ^ Natalie Jarvey (September 23, 2020). "Brené Brown Signs Exclusive Podcast Deal With Spotify (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 9, 2021.
  11. ^ "Brené Brown TEDxHouston, The power of vulnerability". TED. June 1, 2010.
  12. ^ TED talk "Listening to shame" – Brené Brown. March 2012
  13. ^ "Brené Brown's Biography" (PDF).
  14. ^ "Tiptoeing Out of One's Comfort Zone (and of Course, Back In)". Interview with Brown, New York Times February 11, 2011.
  15. ^ "TEDxHouston - 2010 Speakers". Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  16. ^ "Dr. Brene Brown TEDxKC Aug 12 2010". Livestream. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
  17. ^ "Dr. Brené Brown on Daring Greatly". OWN. November 3, 2013.
  18. ^ Schawbel, Dan (April 21, 2013). "Brene Brown: How Vulnerability Can Make Our Lives Better". Forbes. Retrieved September 16, 2013.
  19. ^ "About - The Daring Way". Archived from the original on November 6, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2016.
  20. ^ Brown, Brené (May 31, 2019). "What Being Sober Has Meant to Me". Brené Brown. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  21. ^ Houston's 50 Most Influential Women for 2009, Houston Women's Magazine Archived April 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Brene Brown". Hazeldon. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  23. ^ "Huffington Foundation Endows Chair for Brené Brown, Social Work Researcher, Author of 'Daring Greatly'". Retrieved September 20, 2016.

External links[edit]