Brown was born in San Antonio, Texas and spent a formative period in New Orleans, Louisiana. She completed her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at University of Texas at Austin, followed by a Master of Social Work (MSW) and Ph.D. from the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston.
Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She 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?
Brown began her career as a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. Her research focuses on authentic leadership and wholeheartedness in families, schools, and organizations. She presented a 2012 TED talk and two 2010 TEDx talks.
Brown is the author of I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power (Penguin/Gotham, 2007), The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who We Think We Should Be and Embracing Who We Are (Hazelden, 2010), and Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown (Gotham, 2012). Her articles have appeared in many national newspapers.
In March 2013, she appeared on Super Soul Sunday talking with Oprah Winfrey about her new book, Daring Greatly. The title of the book comes from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic”, which is also referred as "The Man in the Arena" speech, given at the Sorbonne in Paris, France, on April 23, 1910.
Brown is the CEO and Chief Learning Officer for The Daring Way, a training and certification program for helping professionals who want to facilitate her work on vulnerability, courage and worthiness.