I’m a researcher, storyteller, and (currently enraged) Texan who’s spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy.
Maybe stories are
data with soul.
The official line: I’m a research professor at the University of Houston, where I hold the Huffington Foundation Endowed Chair. I am also a visiting professor in management at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business. I’ve spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. I’m the author of six #1 New York Times bestsellers, and I’m the host of the original podcasts Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead.
The bottom line: I believe that you have to walk through vulnerability to get to courage, therefore…embrace the suck. I try to be grateful every day, and my motto right now is “Courage over comfort.”
I do NOT believe that cussing and praying are mutually exclusive. And I absolutely believe that the passing lane is for passing only. I’ve been married to Steve for almost 25 years, and we have two amazing kids, Ellen and Charlie, and a weird bichon named Lucy.
Born in San Antonio, Texas. Thought my name was French until I hitchhiked through Europe after high school and no one in France understood my name. They called me Pamela (from the show Dallas). Sigh.
Our first BFF is our first true love. Mine was Eleanor. Living in New Orleans!
Oldest of four. Classic over-functioner. Love my brother and sisters!
Graduated from high school.
Discover Shaper spray. The higher the hair, the closer to God.
Met Steve. Worked nights for AT&T taking customer service calls. In Spanish.
Steve and I date off/on for seven years and get married!
The 12-year plan pays off! I graduate from UT Austin with my BSW.
We move from San Antonio to Houston. I get my MSW from UH and Steve starts his pediatric residency.
Ellen is born! Heart grows two sizes.
I finish my Ph.D. and become a professor at UH. Hooding one of my favorite grad students!
Ellen keeps making magic.
Finish my first book on shame. Can’t get an agent or a publisher, so I borrow money and self-publish.
Charlie is born! Heart grows two more sizes.
Penguin buys the self-published book, Women and Shame, and republishes as I Thought It Was Just Me.
Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys.
I give the TedXHouston talk on vulnerability and The Gifts of Imperfection comes out.
Daring Greatly comes out. This is my amazing class of graduate social workers at UH!
We launch The Daring Way and I give the TED talk on shame.
Rising Strong is released and COURAGEworks is launched.
I spend most of my time doing leadership development and culture change work. We pilot Brave Leaders Inc.
Ellen leaves for college, Charlie starts the sixth grade, Braving the Wilderness launches, and we open The Marble Jar.
Dare to Lead launches along with the hub and ranks #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, as well as Publishers Weekly and the Wall Street Journal. Yee. Haw.
Researcher/storyteller doing some trailblazing on Netflix with The Call to Courage.
The Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead podcasts launch! Socially distanced but socially connected.
Tarana Burke and I co-edit and release You Are Your Best Thing, an incredible anthology from a dynamic group of Black writers, organizers, artists, academics, and cultural figures.
Atlas of the Heart launches and my heart is full.
Atlas of the Heart hits HBO Max. All the feels.