Learning to Bend, not Break: Resilience as a Source of Power and Leadership

Jennifer Brown | | , ,

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Author, educator and consultant Dr. Jeff Hull returns to the program to discuss the emerging changes in leadership styles, and how to tap into your own resilience. Discover how to create community when working with virtual teams, and how the virtual workplace is offering a platform for previously overlooked voices.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • The importance of empathy and vulnerability (14:00)
  • A generational difference in leadership styles (20:00)
  • The benefits of working virtually (25:00)
  • How to create community when working with virtual teams (27:00)
  • The changing definition of leadership (30:00)
  • The core of resilience (35:00)
  • The voices that are emerging during the COVID-19 pandemic (39:00)
  • An often-overlooked diversity dimension that is getting more attention (43:00)
  • Why “having a seat at the table” no longer applies (47:00)

Listen in now, or read on for the transcript of our conversation:

JENNIFER BROWN: Jeff, welcome back to The Will to Change.

JEFF HULL: Thank you.

JENNIFER BROWN: Yes, we are indeed doing another episode with you. We’re actually, throughout the crisis, we are inviting some existing Will to Change guests back on because you have stories to tell and wisdom to share. The last time you were on The Will to Change was episode 74 which was back in September of 2019, which we were just saying was a lifetime ago.

JEFF HULL: Really.

JENNIFER BROWN: Even last week feels like a lifetime ago. So yeah. So we’re back because we really wanted, both of us wanted to talk about something we’re equally passionate about, which is how the very definition of leadership is changing given our environment. And you have a specialty in the healthcare industry and as such you’re speaking to industry leaders, heads of medical groups, critical care doctors and you focus so much on a couple of things, whether it’s resilience in times of stress, but it’s also based on your latest book, which is called Flex, it’s about a new definition of leadership.

And so that’s why I think, one of the many reasons you and I have stayed in close touch over the years and have found a great brainstorming partner in each other, because we’ve had dreams and visions for how leadership needed to change. And yet we’re living in a time now where it’s all accelerating towards, I think, a lot of the things that we have envisioned. Hopefully. If we do the right thing with the opportunity that we have right now and I know that it doesn’t feel like opportunity. It feels like a very difficult time for so many of us on so many levels. But we won’t necessarily go there on this podcast. What I do really want to dive into is first of all your story and reacquaint our audience with who you are and your book and all your work.

But then I want to explore what is really possible to, in this crisis, to reshape leadership, reshape the way we show up. Who has perhaps the most opportunity to show up differently right now? And the answer may surprise some of us. A little spoiler alert, it’s actually all of us. I really look forward to elucidating all of this in our conversation today, Jeff, so thank you for joining me and why don’t you take it away with a reintroduction of yourself and your work to our audience before we jump into it.

JEFF HULL: Well, thank you, Jen. It’s an honor to come back and it’s always a pleasure to chat with you and your audience. Just by way of reconnecting to my story, I’m an executive coach, a clinical psychologist by training, and work, for the most part, coaching leaders individually in all different industries, everything from pharmaceuticals to software to start-ups. But preferably, I mean not preferably, but focused almost exclusively in the last couple of months with healthcare. So I’ve been doing a lot of work with the front line leaders doing webinars and coaching around the topic of resilience and obviously it’s a particularly difficult time for anyone who’s working in the healthcare space. So I’ve re-orchestrated my focus to support them and to be present for those folks who are really making it possible for us to get through this very, very difficult time.

And as you mentioned, last year I published a book called Flex: The Art and Science of Leadership in a Changing World. And at the time that you spoke with me a few months ago, we talked about the theme of my book, which is accelerating leadership agility in times of change and moving leaders towards greater inclusivity, greater inclusion, a sense of belonging, more diversity and how different styles of leadership are starting to show up on the horizon and make a big impact. And what I’m seeing in that silver lining of this situation that we’re facing currently, is that many of my clients, not just in healthcare but in particular at the front lines, are showing up with the kinds of qualities that you and I had spoken about many months ago that have become urgent and are really crucial to the success of a team, of leading in this time of crisis.

Things like empathy and vulnerability and curiosity and being present, being mindful. And so the whole definition of what it means to be a leader, we were talking about this six months ago or a year from now, but it has really accelerated. I think about those individuals that are holding it together for their teams at the front line, like an emergency room physician, a woman that I’m working with who is the director of an ER in New Jersey and it’s not her decisiveness or her authoritativeness that is really helping her and her team be resilient, even though she has those qualities. What’s really coming to the fore is her empathy and her humanity and her transparency. Her willingness to share her own stress, her own anxiety, her own fears. And she shared with me that that’s really new for her. It’s typical for, especially for an emergency room doctor, to be stoic and strong and decisive.

And what we’re finding and what she’s learning and she’s doing it in real time, is that she doesn’t lose those qualities when she shows up as a human being under stress, when she shares her anxiety, her fear and her vulnerability. So she’s stepping into that whole new leadership paradigm that you and I were talking about many months ago, but it’s accelerated. And I think that if there is a silver lining, that’s one of them.

JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah, couldn’t agree more. I love that story. We might say this is a shift from the masculine dominant to the feminine dominant if we believe in those things and that’s a whole other podcast. But perhaps it is, I would call it maybe the balancing out of the genders, if you will, if there’s any truth to all of that. The problem in business and the way leadership has been defined is it’s been decisive, directive, taking control and like you say, the need for that obviously doesn’t disappear but the emotional quotient is going way up in terms of what’s important to get the best out of people when we’re under stress. It is actually a nurturing style of leadership. It’s a listening, it’s a sensitivity, it’s a flexibility and agility.

I mean, as leaders, I think there’s nothing more important right now than shaping the people around us and being in service of meeting them where they’re at and enabling whatever they have to give and our job then is to shape the work and the tasks and the allocation of to do’s accordingly with all of that information that hopefully we’ve built enough trust to know. I think that’s, to me, I think most people in the old definition didn’t trust their leader enough to say, “here’s what I’m struggling with” or “I need a mental health day” or “I’m unable to take on that task right now” or “I need help.” And so that vulnerability of saying I may not have the tools and resilience right now, I’m struggling to have those things, is not a blemish on your performance review.

It’s actually, I mean, my fantasy, I know you think about performance reviews a lot, too. Like, “What are performance reviews going to look like coming out of this?” Right? It’s going to be… you talk about different competencies and different ways of valuing each other and the kinds of leaders we meet and the kinds of colleagueship that we want right now, feels so shifted to me and I’m so excited about that because it’s shifting towards what’s more real. I mean no matter what, you can’t argue with that. It’s shifting towards something that is more human, more real, more based in trust. I just think it’s more truthful. It’s a piece that we’ve hidden from each other for a long time that now is being stripped away and the sooner we can get to that, the sooner we can get work done together in the shifted landscape. I wondered…

It sounds like that’s what you’re seeing and what I also love, Jeff, is that you and I talked about there’s a difference between intellectually understanding inclusion and belonging and how important these kinds of things are, but it’s another thing to be viscerally experiencing it like people are right now. So tell me about some of those experiences, particularly for leaders that might have had that command and control style in the past.

JEFF HULL: Well, I think that one of the things you’re pointing to is that this situation is creating an opportunity for us to all break down many of the categorizations and silos that existed or that are, to my mind, somewhat arbitrary. So whether it’s gender, genderizing, like when you said the masculine style versus the feminine style. Those are artificial categorizations. And the leaders that are showing up with vulnerability, with transparency, with decisiveness, they’re both masculine and feminine in the same moment, switching back and forth with what I call hyper agility.

And so the categorization itself starts to fall apart. Same with the distinctions between Millennials and Boomers. I was on a group call the other day with a bunch of leaders that are about half Millennials and half Baby Boomers and half Generation Z. And they started talking about the fact that they used to make such a big deal about the distinctions between these demographics and all of a sudden they were realizing that in this situation when they want to come together and have a sense of inclusion and belonging and equality, that it didn’t matter anymore which category they were in.

They’re all in it together. And so the handoff, one of the teams that I was working with handed off the leadership of the Zoom call to someone who was in her early twenties and she was incredible. She spoke up, she was articulate, she was talking about what’s most important to her, her vision. And at the end of the call everyone was like, “Wow, that’s leadership in action.” So not a Baby Boomer, not a Gen X, not a she’s a Millennial. And so some of these categorizations are just falling away in the midst of realizing that we’re all humans in the same situation going through the same experience. And I would say the same thing about the categorization of vulnerability as a conceptual thing versus vulnerability as you mentioned as a somatic or visceral experience.

I had another physician client the other day on the coaching call with me and he was saying, “Gosh, I’m just so stressed out and I’m exhausted. I want to talk to my team about burnout but I don’t want to come across as burned out because I don’t want them to think that I can’t handle it.” And I said, “Well, why do you share your vulnerability, your physical experience of vulnerability, with me but you don’t share it with your team?” And he said, “Well, I don’t want to bring them down. I don’t want them to feel depleted.” And then I said, “But how do they feel?” And he said, “Well, they probably already feel depleted.” And I said, “Well, how do you feel?” And he said, “I already feel depleted.” Well, why don’t you try just showing up as who you really are, the physical experience of being depleted, share it together and consider it an opportunity to create, as you said, Jen, that sense of trust and safety that everyone can let down their hair no matter where they are in the experience.

And he came back to me a week later and he said, “You know, Jeff, that was a huge breakthrough for me to realize that I had been reading about vulnerability. I read your book and I’d read other books, read Brene Brown’s book on vulnerability. But that was a conceptual idea. Like, Oh, vulnerability as a strength. That sounds good. But when I was actually feeling, physically feeling exhausted and burnt out and vulnerable, to actually go in front of my team and acknowledge that, was really powerful. All of a sudden everybody just opened up, everybody relaxed, and we had this really wonderful brainstorming session about how we could support each other. And I have to say,” I mean this is him speaking, he said, “I have to say, I have a whole different way of thinking about vulnerability from now on.”

JENNIFER BROWN: That is a wonderful story. There’s so much in that. First of all, the Millennial voice taking the lead on a Zoom call, the democratization that’s possible right now, the flattening out of the team or the organization, the realization that there’s so much, I think, untapped ability amongst our colleagues that we, in normal circumstances, would not have discovered. And I’m-

JEFF HULL: Because we’ve put people in boxes. We naturally put people in categories, right? Cultural categories, racial categories, gender categories, demographic categories. And maybe, again a silver lining, for the first time the category of just being human is trumping all for the moment and maybe we will learn from that.

JENNIFER BROWN: Agreed. I hope we don’t go back. A lot of people in my circles are saying now that the genie’s out of the bottle from a trust and a transparency and a vulnerability perspective, I hope this is a new baseline, right? That we will expect, but I want to caution people, especially leaders that this has to be, if we think it’s important enough to maintain, it’s going to take some work because the impetus, maybe, momentum might carry us back to old ways. It may take us back to old processes that don’t feel like they apply anymore. Like thinking about that performance review example and the leadership criteria, right? How are we going to measure people year over year? I mean, I don’t even know. I just think there’s a huge potential for business as usual to be totally upended.

Now companies are realizing people can be very productive and actually happier, perhaps, working virtually, particularly if they’re not homeschooling at the same time. I think that’s clouding it a bit, I think, but if we can return that part of people’s lives somehow to quote-unquote some kind of normal where schools are still operating the opportunity here to work as we are from where we’re comfortable, to not have to commute, to not have to… My audience talks a lot about the covering that we did in the physical workplace, the fear we had in the physical workplace of triggering somebody’s bias when we walk in the door because of what’s visible about us. Think about how all of that changes in this virtual world. I think there’s this tremendous opportunity, yes, to be brave because people are peering into our living rooms for the first time. People are seeing aspects of our lives that we could conceal and we could maintain this image. So I don’t want to discount that the vulnerability for some of us of being on display is much harder and riskier.

It’s like, Jeff, the kids on Zoom, right? The kids that are Zooming in for their classes and being embarrassed about wanting to have that green screen background on Zoom because being embarrassed about where they live and not wanting people to see that. It’s a heartbreaking story. But it’s so humbling and it’s such an important reminder that there were many, many, many of us who were covering at work before all this happened. So I wonder if you’re hearing stories of the uncovering process with each other because we have to, but perhaps what is the beauty and the possibility that comes out of that as well?

JEFF HULL: Well, I think that’s a really, really important question and two things come to mind. One is that, I ask my leaders to sit with the question, How do you create a sense of community in your team at this time? What does that mean? What is a sense of inclusion? How do you make people feel a sense of belonging? And most of them are having a breakthrough moment of realizing that one of the ways we can do that while we are on Zoom and social distancing is to learn about each other. To be curious. So where do you live? Do you have children? Do you have pets? How do you get through the situation when there’s no restaurants to go to? Who’s learning to cook? What do you eat? I had a team the other day where I was talking to a leader who’s doing a virtual team for the first time.

He’s never coached. He’s never led a virtual team exclusively by Zoom. And he said, “Gosh, I’m just learning so much about my team that I didn’t know.” And I said, “Well, how are you doing that?” And he said, “Well, we take time to go around the room and share a little bit about what we’re trying to deal with, whether we’re homeschooling the kids, or trying to rearrange the furniture so that my wife and I can be on Zoom at the same time without having to look at each other’s screens behind us. And I’ve learned about all the different cultural distinctions that people have because they’re in different parts of the world.” And I said, “That is so incredible that you’re just showing so much curiosity.” So there’s an opportunity to keep that alive, I think. To share more, to have these walls of work versus life come down in a way that we’ve been forced to do it. But I encourage my clients to keep that question of what is a community alive as they go through this process so that the, as you said, the walls won’t come back up again.

JENNIFER BROWN: I really hope you’re right. I think, gosh, I mean the standard is going to be so changed if we’re all healthy. A benchmark of being healthy or not healthy. The benchmark of having one of those little COVID ID cards probably that we’re heading for that reflect whether we’ve tested negative or not. It’s just going to be radically reshaped. And I guess I wonder resilience, where does resilience come from in your experience? I guess I wonder who seems to have the most of it right now, who’s able to manage this and flex and step into some of these competencies we’ve been talking about and is there a practice that certain people have or is there a mindset or maybe characteristics or personality styles?

And I know when we talk about leadership often we study the best leaders, traditionally defined. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with what’s maybe been defined as the best leaders and I think that’s changing, but in your mind anyway, who is flexing well through this and I suppose what can we learn about how they’re doing that for the rest of us? And then I guess maybe some advice for those of us that don’t feel so confident when it comes to resiliency as you define it.

JEFF HULL: Well, I think that the old adage, put on your own mask first before you take care of others is really crucial at this time. It’s not an accident that they have that on the airplanes. The most resilient people that I’m working with are ones that recognize that their own self care has to take precedent and they can be a role model by trying to develop patterns, habits where they take care of themselves. Some of the very basic nurturing self care activities or habits they can share with themselves and with others so that they can coach each other. I think one of the best things that a leader can do under the circumstances is to have a short list for themselves of what they do to take care of themselves, to keep exercising in some form, whether it’s taking walks or doing yoga or stretching or having some sleep habits.

I have a situation. I’ll tell you one brief story where one of my dear friends is in New York City and his partner has COVID and they’ve had to separate to sleep in two different bedrooms. He was saying to me that, “the hardest part about staying resilient, Jeff, is just sleeping. I’m having a really hard time sleeping because my energy is just all over the place. I have to be so hypervigilant to social distance in my own apartment.” And he said, “What can I do?” And I said, “Well, why don’t you just sleep whenever you’re tired? Pay very close attention to your body and don’t necessarily… the best practice would probably be to have a regular pattern, every night from 10 at night to seven hours sleep and all of that.”

But he said, “That’s just not possible right now.” So I asked him, what does he need to do to take care of himself so that he can give himself permission to sleep when he’s tired and what are the top five things that he can do to make himself feel better in this current situation? Like taking a bubble bath or even though they’re social distancing, they can watch a funny movie together. He’s pulled out old books that he wanted, old novels that he’s always wanted to read and finding himself absorbed in a nonfiction story, and same thing… So I shared that story with my clients and say, you’re trying to figure out how to be resilient. The best thing to do is to figure out the practices that work for you and then brainstorm with others so that you’re taking care of yourself and taking care of each other.

And everybody, if you go around the room on a Zoom with, what is your number one tip for taking care of yourself? It’s incredible that people can learn from each other. They can wind up coaching each other and coming up with great suggestions for things that they can do to support their own health, their own resilience. And as you know, Jen, the definition of resilience is not trying to be perfect. It’s not trying to even have an even keel, it’s ability to bounce back. And in this situation, every client that I work with, and even me, I mean every single day I have a good moment, a bad moment, and up day, a down day and just to go with the flow and to give yourself permission to just be in the moment and be okay. Taking it one step at a time.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s so beautiful. That’s a lot of good stuff about permission. I love, sleep when you’re tired. Any kind of, I guess, expectations you can remove from yourself that no longer makes sense for you right now. Right? I wouldn’t say remove the exercise one because it is really so important no matter how you feel about doing it and trust me, I got to get up, I got to get away from the desk and all the Zoom calls that we’re on, which by the way is leading to even more sitting time. Are there walking meetings that you can take? Can you put your mask on? I’ve been trying to do conference calls as I’ve been walking with a mask on and I’m like, “Can you hear me?” And meanwhile I can’t even breathe because I’m huffing and puffing and I’m trying to suck air through the mask. But these are not bad problems to have, but just-

JEFF HULL: Well, yeah, the core of resilience is to pay attention to the key areas of self care. Sleep, nutrition, exercise, but to not, I think it’s really important to not be overly self critical, too. To be gentle, emotional, yourself.

JENNIFER BROWN: Oh, gentle’s the word. So good.


JENNIFER BROWN: Just be gentle. I know for me, I’ve responded to the stress by being active and connecting with people as a pathological extrovert that I am. So getting on people’s calendars and finding out what’s going on for their business. And it’s my way of, it’s my love language really, to be in support of and I know that it’s yours as well. So being of service is something that in, in the pre-COVID times, could eat you alive if you weren’t careful. You have to have really good boundaries when you’re in these kinds of roles that so many of our listeners are, which is that not only are we traditionally feeling marginalized based on our identity and our experience, but we are also holding up many others usually, either in the organizational context, the community context, et cetera. We are looked at, I think, and looked to as the brave ones. We’re look to, to be perhaps the educators or the conveners or the champions, right?


JENNIFER BROWN: So that identity is such a blessing and a curse, right? As we all know, because there are no boundaries when you feel so deeply that what you’re doing is so important. And these brave leaders that I have in my network that are leading DNI in their organizations through this crisis and wondering whether they are going to have a job tomorrow or losing their whole team and they’re the only one left standing in terms of survivor guilt and they may feel like they’re the next to go. I mean, I guess is there any, for this particular moment when you’re feeling tenuous and you still need to be of service because you want to be of service, but you’re feeling the rug is about to get pulled out from under you as well. How do you… And that, for healthcare professionals, that may look like I’m of service and I might get sick at any moment. Right?


JENNIFER BROWN: And so I think it’s a similar working through the fear situation and the uncertainty and still focusing on service. Certainly to me it feels like a safe haven, but I also know that if I can also be really quiet right now, there are some messages that I need to be hearing right now and that to me is the oxygen mask on. I don’t want to put the wrong oxygen mask on, which is to me serve, serve, serve, connect, connect, connect. I want to make sure, too, that this is a quiet time to really revisit and just listen and maybe not do anything. Maybe really pull back, and I know this is advice for entrepreneurs right now I think who are in a state of frenzy because we have to be.

I mean, the bottom is dropping out for our businesses, but when I talk to friends I say, “How are you distracting yourself? Are you active without being productive and how can you be active at a time when we don’t know what the future holds, either?” So there’s a lot of potential right now for distraction and I think not listening in the way that we need to and maybe not even doing as much as we’re used to doing as well. Have you felt yourself pulling back on that?

JEFF HULL: Yeah. I think that managing my own energy is a challenge as much as it is for anyone in this situation. But I’ve also felt like when I’ve been on Zoom calls with teams, I’m energized and inspired by seeing how some of the people that normally would stay in the background are stepping forward. Those of us that are extroverts can stay more in the background and let other people speak up. And that to me is very, very inspiring. I’ve seen people, I’ve been on calls with coaches from around the world that are in all different cultures, different races, different genders, and they’re sitting in their room and I’m going around the room and they’re speaking up and they’re saying, listen, I’m stepping out and I’m doing what I can for my community.

And I’m doing pro bono coaching and I’m running groups. I had a woman in Ireland the other day on my call who was doing pro bono group support for resilience for her healthcare frontline leaders. And she said to me, “I’m normally an introverted, quieter person, but this? I feel called. I feel like this is my time to speak up.” And that was so inspiring to me. I thought maybe the definitions of introvert and extrovert and all these categories, like I said before, it’s all these false categories that we have are starting to become a little more permeable, maybe a lot more permeable. And so maybe it’s time for those of us, Jen, the extroverts to step back. And what I’ve been trying to do is just whenever I have an opportunity in a community setting or where the client is, just put out a powerful question. How are you creating community?

How are you taking care of yourself? How is your definition of power changing during this time? And some of my clients are thrown back on themselves to say, wow, let’s take this moment to rethink all of the boxes that we’ve created that are really false, that are really not even real distinctions. And maybe we’ll tear down those boxes and create connections instead and we’ll listen to each other in different ways, quieter ways, curious ways, less judgmental ways, more compassionate, more empathy, more recognizing that race or gender or culture or all of these things that we call difference are really not barriers to our connecting because we’re all going through the same thing.

I’ve been closing my virtual Zoom calls with the healthcare workers with a cyber hug and asking everyone to raise their hands and then just quick show a gesture of, as if you were holding each other together in one small planet, one small room. And it just, all of a sudden everybody realizes, “Hey, no matter what color you are, no matter what gender you are, no matter what demographic you are, you’re all in this together. We’ve got to get through this, man. This planet is tiny.” And I think there’s a huge redefinition of what it means to be powerful, impactful, inspiring, and the quiet ones are going to step forward and some of us louder ones, maybe we need to step back and encourage that and inspire that. So that’s where I’ve been around this topic.

JENNIFER BROWN: That’s really beautiful, Jeff. And what that feels like to me a bit is maybe the loud voices and the extroverts, the typical leaders that step into a crisis, this is the opportunity to center different voices but use your platform to do that, right? So if you have a platform to share, we do talk on The Will to Change a lot about the diversity of voices that we have always needed, right? That have been missing. But now we have added diversity dimensions to the dimensions that we’re already missing, right? We have folks that might be wrestling with mental health and able to offer some wisdom and transparency and storytelling. We have that there is a whole current of shared experience here that people can speak to. Parents have a particular experience right now, for example, and caregivers have a particular experience.

So I feel I am really grateful actually for the break to be able to step back because some of us step into a vacuum and lead because we sense that there’s a need for that. But I’ve always thought of myself as a reluctant leader because I prefer to listen and ask questions, so I am more of a listener than a talker typically. And that’s why I love this podcast so much. And that’s why I have these calls that I have Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon Eastern. And we’ll share the link in the call notes in case some of you want to join us. But the chat discussion is so rich and all I want to do is just read what people are sharing. What ideas they’re trying, how they’re finding their voice like you’ve been talking about, how they are experiencing their own power in a different way and feeling empowered, perhaps. As disempowered as we may be economically or as much as our lives are changing, we may also be finding our voice at this moment.

And isn’t that like life, right? In every tragedy there is beauty and there’s a miracle that’s happening, too. And so I think that this is a good call to action for some of us that we step in because something needs to be done, perhaps. But cautioning us, just because we have that ability to do, are we also making room and resisting the urge to answer the questions or solve the problems or build the space? And if we do, are we able to step back and encourage different voices to come through? And I agree with you, I think that’s the way that this needs to go and those voices can accelerate towards the seat at the table. And then what we really need to see is any solutions we build that are coming out of this need to be inclusive of those voices. Right?

And that’s the future we need to see. And the acceleration that this is providing us means that people are being propelled to these seats faster. And the leaders that know what to do with that beautiful diversity of thought, right? That diversity identity, that all the lenses that you can get together to figure out what’s next. We need that out of the box thinking. We need that creative abrasion to come through this in the best way we can, in the most humanistic way that we can, and in the most inclusive way we can. And we should all hold that image as something that we have a really rare opportunity to create right now.

I never thought I’d see this opportunity in my lifetime because I’m so used to fighting for something that very few leaders are comfortable talking about, let alone taking action on. And so that’s been pushing the boulder uphill. But right now there’s a whole inverse energy going on to say, guess what, we are now the leaders that we are going to need and the world is going to need. So what do we want to do with that moment? So Jeff, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your thoughts with the audience here at The Will to Change. Any final thoughts, advice, calls to action for The Will to Change audience?

JEFF HULL: I mean, the image that came to mind as I was listening to you is this idea that more and more diverse people deserve a place at the table. And I had an image that right now, there is no more table. There’s no table to sit around. We’re just sitting around together in a circle and if we think about getting rid of the boardroom table and just being in a circle, all of the power dimensions of that board room go away. And just look around the room, everyone. We’re in a circle. The circle of humanity that includes all of us and there’s a place and a space and a power in just being together and connecting. And I think out of that will rise another level of humanity that I’m optimistic. We haven’t seen the best of us yet. So thank you so much for having me. This has been wonderful conversation. I love talking to you. It’s a pleasure.

JENNIFER BROWN: Always, Jeffrey. You’ve given me a lot of good stuff to think about. And that table. That table metaphor. I’m going to steal that. You’re going to be hearing that one.

JEFF HULL: That’s great. Go for it.

JENNIFER BROWN: That was beautiful. You’re right. The table was the problem.

JEFF HULL: Exactly.

JENNIFER BROWN: Think about, I mean, I could work that metaphor forever, but think about all that that implies, at least in the business world, right?

JEFF HULL: Exactly.

JENNIFER BROWN: I mean, the table, the hearth, the family, conjures perhaps good thoughts but those hierarchies really need to come down and I think we do need to question even the architecture, even the structural elements of how we used to be together and how we want to be together in the future. So, thank you so much Jeff, and thank you for the work you’re doing to support those on the front lines who are playing such incredible important roles for all of us and keeping us healthy and safe.

JEFF HULL: Doing what I can as are you. So, thank you for keeping the conversation alive and take care. Be safe. Be healthy. That’s the most important thing right now. We’re all in this together.



Jeffrey Hull