University of Texas at Austin
Hallway at Rowling Hall

Brené Brown

McCombs School of Business McCombs School of Business

Brené Brown to Join Texas McCombs as Visiting Professor of Management

Headshot of Brené Brown
Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW
2020 Visiting Professor

We are delighted to welcome internationally acclaimed researcher, speaker, best-selling author, and UT alumna Dr. Brené Brown to the Texas McCombs family as a visiting professor of management.

Brown, who earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from UT Austin in 1995, is a diehard Longhorn. She and her family have deep connections to Austin. So, with her work over the last decade leading her more and more deeply into leadership development, it made sense for her to identify an academic home for these efforts. It is fortuitous that her alma mater happens to have a business school with one of the strongest leadership analytics research programs in the country. And while she has previously collaborated with other U.S. business schools on individual studies, this is the first time she will be joining a business school as a faculty member.

Brown’s interest in leadership grew out of her early doctoral work in systems change management and organizational behavior. For the past 10 years, she’s spent most of her time studying how people work and lead. In organizations ranging from Pixar, Google, and The Gates Foundation to nonprofits, NGOs, and U.S. Special Forces, Brown has found that leaders need more specific skills related to courage and vulnerability, including how to have tough conversations, how to hold themselves and others accountable, how to reset after failure or setback, and how to build trust.

During her time here, Brown will implement institution-wide courage-building training based on her most recent No. 1 New York Times bestselling book Dare to Lead. Members of the UT community, including students, faculty, and staff, will be offered the opportunity to participate in this training, with academic leadership being the first cohort. In collaboration with McCombs, she is developing a plan for eventual corporate engagement as well.

Brown says this is an important step for her and the evolution of her work. She’s excited about increasing her research efforts with Dare to Lead, as well as building more tools for teams and organizations to use as they embed courage-building skills across their cultures. Since McCombs is already doing substantial work in this area — both in research and curriculum — bringing our efforts together is a natural fit.

We are honored to have Brown join us as we continue to strengthen our leadership position in developing the next generation of talent that is ready to contribute to both society and their organizations.

Link to UT Press Release