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Brené Brown

Brené Brown

Research Professor of Social Work | Licensed Master Social Worker

Room: 307 Social Work Building

Personal Statement

Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation - Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.

She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and her latest book, Dare to Lead, which is the culmination of a seven-year study on courage and leadership.

Brené's TED talk - The Power of Vulnerability - is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 35 million views. She is also the first researcher to have a filmed talk on Netflix. The Call to Courage special debuted on the streaming service on April 19, 2019.

Brené lives in Houston, Texas with her husband, Steve. They have two children, Ellen and Charlie.


PhD, Social Work, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 2002
MSW, University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, 1996
BS, Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin, 1995

Licenses & Certifications

Licensed Master Social Worker - Texas State Board of Social Worker Examiners
Mediation Certification - Dispute Resolution Center

Courses Taught

  • Advocacy Based Social Work Research
  • Critical Issues in Political Social Work
  • Feminist Practice
  • Global Justice: Problems, Patterns and Perspectives
  • Nonprofit Fiscal Management and Budgeting (Distance Education Instructional Television) Social Welfare Policy Analysis
  • Women’s Issues

Research Interests

Brené has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame. Brené spent the first five years of her decade-long study focusing on shame and empathy, and is now using that work to explore a concept that she calls Wholeheartedness. She poses the questions:

How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?

Brené is the author of The Gifts of Imperfection (Hazelden, 2010), I Thought It Was Just Me (Gotham, 2007), and Connections: A Psychoeducational Shame Resilience Curriculum.   

Brené’s current research focuses on authentic leadership and wholeheartedness in families, schools, and organizations.

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