- About -
Researcher. Storyteller. Texan.

The official line: I’m a research professor at the University of Houston where I hold the Huffington – Brené Brown Endowed Chair. I’ve spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. I’m the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead. My most recent book was released in October 2018 and is the culmination of a seven-year study on the future of leadership.

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.

My Story

Brené born
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.
Brené and Eleanor
Our first BFF is our first true love. Mine was Eleanor. Living in New Orleans!
family gold sofa
Oldest of four. Classic over-functioner. Love my brother and sisters!
Graduated from high school. 
No comment
No comment.
big hair in 86
Discover Shaper spray. The higher the hair, the closer to God.
Brené met Steve
Met Steve. Worked nights for AT&T taking customer service calls. In Spanish. 
marry Steve
Steve and I date off/on for 7 years and get married! 
Graduated UT
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 pediatric residency.
Ellen is born
Ellen is born! Heart grows 2 sizes.
U of H Prof
I finish my Ph.D. and become a professor at UH. Hooding one of my favorite grad students!
Ellen making magic
Ellen keeps making magic.
women and shame
Finish my first book on shame. Can’t get an agent or a publisher so I borrow money and self-publish.
Charlie born
Charlie is born! Heart grows 2 more sizes.
My boys 2006
My guys.
I Thought It Was Just Me
Penguin buys the self-published book, “Women and Shame” and republishes as “I Thought It Was Just Me.”
Charlie Cowboy
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 Release
2012 Daring Greatly comes out. This is my amazing class of graduate social workers at UH!
TED Talk
We launch The Daring Way and I give the TED talk on shame.  
Rising Strong Release
Rising Strong is released and COURAGEworks is launched.
Brave Leaders Inc
I spend most of my time doing leadership development and culture change work. We pilot Brave Leaders Inc.
Braving the Wilderness
Ellen leaves for college, Charlie starts 6th 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 Best Sellers list, Publishers Weekly, and The Wall Street Journal. Yee. Haw.
Go back

Welcome to the Wholehearted revolution!

Our revolution is a small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, “My story matters because I matter.” A movement where we can take to the streets with our messy, imperfect, wild, stretch-marked, wonderful, heartbreaking, grace-filled, and joyful lives. A movement fueled by the freedom that comes when we stop pretending that everything is okay when it isn’t. A call that rises up from our bellies when we find the courage to celebrate those intensely joyful moments even though we’ve convinced ourselves that savoring happiness is inviting disaster.

Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance. Choosing to live and love with our whole hearts is an act of defiance. You’re going to confuse, piss-off, and terrify lots of people – including yourself.  One minute you’ll pray that the transformation ends, and the next minute you’ll pray that it never ends. You’ll also wonder how you can feel so brave and so afraid at the same time. At least that’s how I feel most of the time . . . brave, afraid, and very, very alive.

Below are some videos that will give you a sense of the work we’re doing together. Again, so glad you’re here.


TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability

TED Talk: Listening to Shame

Daring Greatly to Unlock Your Creativity with Chase Jarvis

RSA Short: Empathy

RSA Short: Blame

SuperSoul Sunday: Faking It, Perfectionism, and Living Wholeheartedly

Maybe stories are just data with a soul.