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October CWBA Book Club: Brené Brown's Dare to Lead

When I was approached about facilitating the CWBA Book Club, my main goal was to select books written by female authors that I believe aid in personal or professional growth. The October CWBA Book Club selection was Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. My dear friend, the Honorable Judge Mariana Vielma, gifted me this book and it was so meaningful to CWBA President Miranda Hawkins that she gifted it to the CWBA Board.


Photo of the author, researcher, and storyteller Brené Brown. December 18, 2012.

Brené states we need more daring leaders “committed to courageous, wholehearted leadership and who are self-aware enough to lead from their hearts” not from a place of hurt or fear. Her broad view of leadership includes “anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential.”


During our book club conversation, we talked about building trust. Brené provides a metaphor about trust building that personally gave me clarity on relationships in my life. She states each positive interaction with someone provides an opportunity for a marble to be placed in a “trust jar.” If or when that person violates your trust, a handful of marbles may come out of that jar. It really only takes one meaningful gesture at a time to build trust.


We discussed being vulnerable in conversations, especially at work. Brené defines vulnerability as the emotion we experience during times of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Referring back to Brené’s trust metaphor, consider how the vulnerability you share with others may increase the trust they have in you and your work.


The group talked about the tools Brené uses with her team during meetings, or rumbles. Tools like permission slips, time outs, and circling back to a conversation. And we discussed how shame in the workplace shows up as gossip and how we can work to prevent it.


For me, a few of the most powerful lessons I took from the book are (1) to not choose silence over what is right, (2) that it is not my job to make others comfortable or to be liked by everyone, and (3) clear is kind (although some may feel otherwise).


On her accompanying website, Brené offers a number of valuable tools to use in conjunction with the book. Not only is a companion workbook available, but you can take a daring leadership assessment to evaluate which skills offer opportunities for personal growth. If you want to dig in deeper, Brené’s “Dare to Lead” podcast dropped as a Spotify exclusive in October and Netflix offers her “Call to Courage” documentary. Of course, I would also recommend reviewing CWBA President Miranda Hawkins’ “On What Grounds” virtual leadership talks, which incorporate many themes from Brené’s work. These are recorded and available on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Our next book club meeting is December 10th at 5:30pm. We are reading “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. This book offers a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples. As always, watch the Book Club Forum for additional resources designed to aid our discussion. And if you’d like to contribute by writing a book review, please send me or a member of the Publications Committee a note.


Amy Petri Beard is currently employed with the 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office as a Senior Deputy District Attorney. She is assigned to the Broomfield office and prosecutes adult felony and juvenile matters. She is a 2016 COBALT graduate, on the Colorado Bar Association High School Mock Trial Committee, is a member of the Colorado Women's Bar Association, and is one of the Adams / Broomfield Bar Association’s representatives for the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors. She previously served on the Adams / Broomfield Bar Association Executive Board, was the Adams / Broomfield Regional Mock Trial Coordinator, and has served on the Broomfield Library Board. In her spare time, you’ll find her working out, reading, or spending time with her family (especially her grandson). She also enjoys volunteering as a tutor with Reading Partners Colorado, an organization devoted to assist students in low-income schools master basic reading skills.


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