At the core of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO)'s mission is an unwavering commitment to helping entrepreneurs at every stage learn and grow. During Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 18-22, EO is hosting EO24/7, a five-day, free virtual learning event aimed at empowering entrepreneurs with skills and strategies to reach new levels of leadership.
EO is committed to helping entrepreneurs learn and grow by providing learning opportunities, mentorship and access to experts. EO San Antonio recently hosted Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor on the topics of vulnerability, shame and empathy whose TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, has garnered more than 35 million views. We asked some of the 250 EO members in attendance what they learned from Dr. Brown's keynote, Dare to Lead! Here's what they shared:
What was your most valuable takeaway from Dr. Brené Brown's keynote?
"My biggest takeaway was when Brené talked about barriers to courage. Her comment on inclusivity is that 'Diversity equals equality,' and if you're not having these important (but tough) conversations, your organization will fail. That idea empowers me to continue initiating difficult conversations on behalf of women and girls in support of communities that are creating, fostering and developing businesses that strengthen our economy nationally and globally." ― Marsha Ralls, EO DC, Founder and President, The Phoenix Wellness Retreat
"The idea that 'Clarity is kindness. Unclear is unkind.' It hit me during the program that I need to roll this out to every person on my team, plus new hires. When we're ultra-clear with our hard conversations, it enables us to move forward and resolve conflict before any unresolved issue becomes a problem. This idea isn't just applicable in the workplace--practicing it every day will inherently bring joy to our team members, both professionally and personally." ― Linda Girard, EO Detroit, CEO, Pure Visibility
"That it's hard to be an entrepreneur, and we'll all have major setbacks and failures. But we have to rise up after we experience them. It's all part of leading a company--which is reassuring to hear." ― Randy Hammelman, EO Austin, President and CEO, Conducive Consulting
"The story I'm telling myself strategy--which is to be brave and vulnerable enough to share with another person your view of a situation, admitting that you may be wrong and asking them to clarify--was a key takeaway for me. That approach has value at work, at home and in every relational interaction." ― Laura Lomow, EO Winnipeg, Partner, Ellement Consulting Group
"That we are all meaning-making machines, and in the absence of data, we make up stories for ourselves. It's important to communicate what stories we are telling ourselves because doing so creates an opportunity for clarity. Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind." ― Katty Douraghy, EO San Francisco, President, Artisan Creative
"As leaders and business owners, we cannot expect to hold our people accountable to behaviors that we have neither taught nor embody." ― Alex Loback, EO San Francisco, Director and co-Owner, CrestTec
"Brené spoke about communicating with the phrase, 'the story I'm telling myself.' I've used it multiple times in the week since the event. It's had a profound effect on finding the real meaning of my conversations." ― Tom Cullen, President of EO Western NY, Founding Director, St. Bonaventure Entrepreneurship Center
What surprised you most about the event?
"The idea that we need braver leaders and more courageous cultures. If we as a society continue to choose comfort over courage, then our ability to grow and innovate will drop to zero. As Brené put it, our biggest barrier to courage in leaders is 'armor.' When we are in a state of fear, we self-protect with armor. When you're wearing this 'armor,' you can't be brave. Armor looks like perfectionism, cynicism, always knowing everything, and weaponizing fear and scarcity. When you can identify this armor, you can diagnose and act on removing it. That takes courage." ― Linda Girard
"Brené's humility and openness. While I had seen that on YouTube and in her Netflix special, it was most refreshing to experience how real she was." ― Katty Douraghy
"What surprised me the most was how many men attended and how engaged they were with the content. Naively, I viewed this as an event that would be principally of interest to women." ― Laura Lomow
"I was happy to hear Brené's thoughts about parenting: First, there is no one best way to parent. She encourages parents to try to say 'Yes' as much as we can, but never negotiate on 'No.' That really resonates with me." ― Tom Cullen
How will what you learned impact your entrepreneurial journey?
"I want to create brave leaders because I believe it will make the world a more positive place to grow and innovate. Now that I see leadership through the Brené Brown lens, I've asked my team to read her book, Dare to Lead. Then we'll work through the workbook exercises on her website together. I believe her methodology is by far the clearest way to realign teams, improve communication, and create fearless leaders." ― Linda Girard
"I will prioritize one-on-one and team conversations that foster courage and help us understand our armor." ― Alex Loback
"Any time we learn how to communicate with others in a more effective way or learn strategies to lean in and lead more effectively, our entrepreneurial journey is enhanced." ― Laura Lomow
"I liked what Brené said about her own company's culture: That people have to be responsible for getting back up after setbacks, and that you don't have to be right--you have to be committed to getting it right." ― Tom Cullen
"Brené inspired me to waste no time controlling perception! I'll lean into difficult conversations and won't choose comfort over courage. And, I'm going to embody her message that I--we all--have the tools needed to make change." ― Katty Douraghy
"I'll continue to apply the Four Skill Sets of Courage in my own entrepreneurial journey: Rumbling with Vulnerability, Living in Our Values, Braving Trust, and Learning to Rise--which is my favorite. If you cannot rise after a setback, you will hold your team back and your company down. Whatever adversity I've faced in my business, my family or personally, I must rise to show my sons, employees and the community I engage with that we RISE, learn from our experiences and never give up." ― Marsha Ralls