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Violin Performer

Thought Leaders That Inspire

Out Ahead and In Front

Brene' Brown

What can be said that hasn't been said already. She's spent more than 20 years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. Brown first found fame when she delivered her now-viral TEDxHouston Talk in 2010, “The Power of Vulnerability.” With this talk and her subsequent Netflix special, “The Call to Courage,” she shared her conclusion from her continuing research, namely that vulnerability is vital for authentic human connection and personal growth. Plus she's social worker. What's not to love?

Amanda Nguyen

My work around IPV and sexual violence led me to Amanda Nguyen and her work at Rise, an advocacy organization that provides global support for survivors of sexual violence. Amanda is survivor herself and she gained national attention when she highlighted the flawed criminal justice system in her home state of Massachusetts and how rape cases were processed. Her efforts and led to the unanimous passage of Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights. 

Kimberly Bryant

In 2019 (as part of my day job at the time), I met with an all girls middle school STEAM team wanted to interview me as part of a competition. Their submission was an engineered radio controlled race car and subsequent PSA with local legislators. I wouldn't be surprised if the establishment of the club was inspired by the work and commitment of Kimberly Bryant. In 2011, Bryant founded Black Girls Code, an organization that “builds pathways for young women of color to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders and creators by introducing them to skills in computer programming and technology.” Speed + Velocity = Much Needed.

Esther Perel

Esther Perel is a therapist, author, and speaker who poses some interesting theories about finding happiness in partnerships. I stumbled across Esther Perel and her incredibly thought provoking talks during a long road trip. Throw away all you thought you knew about love, relationships and human interactions. So run - don't walk (or listen while you run or walk) and checkout her podcasts on Spotify. Either "Where Should We Begin?” Or, the equally insightful, "How's Work?"

Scott Galloway

Big Tech. Politics. Higher Education. Corporation. International Relations. Somehow Scott Galloway ties them all together and the result is a sharper, better informed me. I usually check him out on the twice weekly Pivot Podcast (with co-badass with Kara Swisher) to get a an illuminating perspective on current events and the evils of facebook. May not always agree with his take, but there's no doubt he takes a courageous, clear stance. The listen is about 40 minutes long, but I am usually much smarter at the conclusion. Pick a side.

Nikole Hannah-Jones

If you google Nikole Hannah-Jones, many thought and opinion pieces will come up. To some, she's controversial. But coming from a history major (me), her work on, advocacy of, and defense of the game-changing 1619 Project, made her one of my favorite thought leaders to watch. The 1619 Project is a long-form journalism endeavor she developed (along with writers from the New York Times and the Times' Magazine). Hannah-Jones received a Pulitzer Prize in 2020 for her introductory essay on the project. She's incredible. She's strong. She's brave. We share the same birthday.

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