- My Story -
  • 1965
    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.
  • 1970
    Our first BFF is our first true love. Mine was Eleanor. Living in New Orleans!
  • 1974
    Oldest of four. Classic over-functioner. Love my brother and sisters!
  • 1983
    Graduated from high school. 
  • 1984
    No comment.
  • 1986
    Discover Shaper spray. The higher the hair, the closer to God.
  • 1987
    Met Steve. Worked nights for AT&T taking customer service calls. In Spanish. 
  • 1994
    Steve and I date off/on for 7 years and get married! 
  • 1995
    The 12-year plan pays off! I graduate from UT Austin with my BSW. 
  • 1996
    We move from San Antonio to Houston. I get my MSW from UH and Steve starts pediatric residency.
  • 1999
    Ellen is born! Heart grows 2 sizes.
  • 2002
    I finish my Ph.D. and become a professor at UH. Hooding one of my favorite grad students!
  • 2003
    Ellen keeps making magic.
  • 2004
    Finish my first book on shame. Can’t get an agent or a publisher so I borrow money and self-publish.
  • 2005
    Charlie is born! Heart grows 2 more sizes.
  • 2006
    My guys.
  • 2007
    Penguin buys the self-published book, “Women and Shame” and republishes as “I Thought It Was Just Me.”
  • 2008
    Mama don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys. 
  • 2010
    I give the TedXHouston talk on vulnerability and The Gifts of Imperfection comes out.
  • 2012
    2012 Daring Greatly comes out. This is my amazing class of graduate social workers at UH!
  • 2012
    We launch The Daring Way and I give the TED talk on shame.  
  • 2015
    Rising Strong is released and COURAGEworks is launched.
  • 2016
    I spend most of my time doing leadership development and culture change work. We pilot Brave Leaders Inc.
  • 2017
    Ellen leaves for college, Charlie starts 6th grade, Braving the Wilderness launches and we open The Marble Jar. 
  • 2018
    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.
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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.