Year-End Message from Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown | | , ,

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Don’t miss this year-end message from Jennifer Brown as she shares what you can expect from the Will To Change in the upcoming year! Jennifer also reveals some of her biggest successes in the past year, including the publication of her second book, How to Be an Inclusive Leader.

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • Jennifer’s reflections on her evolution as a podcast host (1:50)
  • An upcoming guest who will speak about book publishing (3:00)
  • Several upcoming authors who will be featured on The Will To Change in 2020 (4:00)
  • The common qualities of previous podcast guests (6:00)
  • How to submit a guest suggestion (7:10)
  • How to access a free assessment on inclusive leadership (11:15)
  • An upcoming “men as allies” panel that Jennifer will be moderating (12:50)
  • How to work with a JBC consultant (14:15)

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

DOUG FORESTA: Hello and welcome back to the Will to Change. This is Doug Foresta. I am joining Jennifer Brown today and really what we’re doing today is this is really a thank you and a sneak peek for all of you listeners we appreciate so much. As we enter the new year, we appreciate your support and a few questions I’m going to ask Jennifer, you’re going to learn a lot about what’s going on at JBC, and what’s going on with Jennifer, and what’s going on with the podcast, so stay tuned. Jennifer Brown, welcome.

JENNIFER BROWN: Oh thanks, Doug. Happy almost new year. Happy holidays.

DOUG FORESTA: Thank you. To you too. Let’s talk about we got… There’s so much going on. I want to make sure we mention all of what’s happening, but first and foremost, it’s funny we were talking about today, we were chatting a little bit about where it started in episode one. Can you say a little bit about how has the Will to Change in your estimation, how have you seen it evolve from where it was to where it is today and maybe even where it’s going in 2020?

JENNIFER BROWN: I remember those days. I mean we’re coming up on our third year now, our really fourth full year because we went on air in early 2017 with the publication of the first book. And since then, of course, the second book has come out. So much as happened. I mean I think we’ve both grown. I’ve grown. You’ve helped me to grow as a host. I remember some of the first conversations Doug, where in your role as a host coach, you would say things like, “If you do mm’s, and ah’s, and yes, and whatever, try to hold back from reacting to the things that your guest is saying so that the listeners can have a sort of unadulterated listen to what they have to say. And we went through a lot of techniques I think that effective hosts use. I’ve incorporated so many of them. Now we’re at a point where we just move quickly through everything and it’s very intuitive. I just want to thank you for all of the support. I couldn’t do it without you.

DOUG FORESTA: Thank you so much, Jennifer. It really has been amazing. It’s been so rewarding to watch your growth, the growth of the show, just the evolution of it. And so, I just want to mention as we head into 2020, just say a little bit. Maybe you can say a little bit about some of the guests that we have coming up. For example, what people can expect. We have Azul Terronez is coming up. Do you want to say a little bit about his background and who he is?

JENNIFER BROWN: Yeah. Yeah. I’m so fascinated with the author journey. Azul, I met by being a guest on his podcast and he’s really a writer coach. He’s an author coach. He’s a book coach. He helps people like me get their big idea and bring it to fruition and bring it to the world. We had a really interesting discussion on creativity, and structure, and the author’s life, and process if you will, and the discipline of crafting our message, and all that goes into that which includes coaches like Azul but many more resources. Some of you will know on the podcast I always recommend other additional publisher resources like Publish Your Purpose Press, which is Jen Grace’s company who helped me publish Inclusion, my first book. And then I’m now with Barrett Kohler and actually, we have another couple of Barrett Kohler authors coming on the podcast in Q1 of next year.

Namely, I’m looking at Dr. Tiffany Jana who’s going to join me and who’s just an extraordinary voice. What a story. I think she and I shared the stage at Texas Women at a giant, giant conference. She’s so out about all of her intersectionalities. She shares, she, they share pronouns of she and they pronouns. And so Tiffany is just a whirling dervish of knowledge, and grace, and love I think for their audiences, her audiences. She goes back and forth between pronouns. It’s just fabulous. Tiffany Jana’s joining me in Q1. We’re going to talk about those intersections that I just mentioned and then some and also the work of being a parent.

I’ve had several parents actually on the podcast and we’re going to have someone named Julie Lythcott-Haims come on in Q1. Her Ted Talk went viral on what we’re doing with this next generation of college-age kids. How parents need to manage all the changes that are happening. How kids are coached to have to be excellent, and flourish, and achieve, and all the expectations that young people have, and how parents are actually somewhat related/ responsible for some of the difficulties that young people have in terms of rising to the educations and the expectations of them. I’m just so excited about some of these guests. It’s rather an eclectic mix but when I think about our guests, the right people find their way to the Will to Change I think.

The things that they have in common usually are a very powerful personal diversity story and aha moments and challenges with expressing themselves in the world fully and then going on of course to achieve incredible things like Ted Talks, and many books, and leadership positions in institutions that perhaps they were never welcome in or never knew about as a young person. What I love about our episodes, Doug, is the arc of people’s lives and bearing witness to the extraordinary journey of courage and conviction that people have moved through and where they are now, which is inevitably changing hearts and minds, and role modeling every single day. Certainly for me, teaching me so many things about aspects of diversity, inclusiveness, belonging, corporate social responsibility, so many different things.

I mean, I learn so much from our guests and I know that you do too. We debrief it all the time and just can’t believe the brilliance. I’m really looking forward to some of these. I do want to say we’re very open to guest suggestions, so we wanted to let the Will to Change audience know that if you’d like to send us an email at, please feel free to tell us about that extraordinary person. If that person is yourself, that’s fine. We are getting full up on guests for the new year, which is such a blessing, but please don’t hesitate to let us know about somebody extraordinary that we need to know about on the Will to Change.

DOUG FORESTA: Thank you. Yeah, you beat me to the punch. I was going to ask you about that. If people want to see if there’s someone that they want to recommend as a guest, so yeah, thank you for that. I also want to mention just to say in celebration, the Will to Change has made several lists in the past couple of years for the top podcast to listen to in the diversity inclusion and business innovation space. It’s in the top 5% in terms of listens of all podcasts out there, so congratulations about that. And of course, we thank you the listener because we couldn’t do that without you.

JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you so much. Our community is only growing. We’re seeing so many more people I think come into this space either as volunteer advocates, passionate individuals, and even as folks who have the privilege of doing this as their job, which is a dream for many of us, sometimes a difficult one because it can be very hard work, hence all the episodes on self-care that we’ve done over the last year or two. But more than ever, this community is getting stronger and more diverse. We’re gaining new language every single day in terms of how we talk about ourselves, and how we show up, and how we bring more of our full selves, not just to our jobs but to our families, and to the world. We were joined as well by so many allies and people I think who are also entering the conversation that had never really been comfortable in it before.

And so, we’ve had a lot of interesting guests from the Men as Allies community as I would call it, which is a diverse collection of men and some white men, men of color, queer-identified men. We can walk the walk of inclusion and include everyone and not to leave anyone behind in terms of how we all can have a role to play in this conversation. We expect to have an equally eclectic and diverse mix of voices on the 2020 calendar. Let me just underscore again, we’d love to hear from all of you about guest ideas at Help us take Will to Change to the top 1% of podcasts worldwide.

DOUG FORESTA: That’s right. And I just want to also add to that, tell a friend about the program. I mean this is a free resource. I mean just the episodes that we’ve already done are truly so rich and every single episode you’ll get something out of. And if you enjoy the Will to Change and you are a regular listener, to help us really get the word out, to help make a difference. Definitely, the word of mouth is such an important part of podcast growth. Tell a friend and leave a review as well. Go to Apple podcast and leave a review if you really enjoy the show. That really helps us as well. I just want to say to listeners those are two things that you can do as a friend of the show to help us continue to grow in 2020 and beyond. Jennifer, what I was also going to say was I want to make sure that we don’t end without mentioning some of your other successes this year, including your second book came out which is huge.

JENNIFER BROWN: Oh, that. Yeah.

DOUG FORESTA: Yeah. Just that little thing. Do you want to say just a moment about the book and where people can get it?

JENNIFER BROWN: Oh yes, absolutely. Thank you. It’s called, How to Be an Inclusive Leader. It’s on Amazon in book, eBook, and audiobook format, read by yours truly. I always point people towards the assessment when I can. There is an assessment at You can look under menu. There’s a dropdown for self-assessment there. It’s free. It takes 10 minutes. It helps you to monitor where you are in your learning journey as an inclusive leader and provide some good resources for learning, other podcasts, mine and others included resources, research articles, et cetera. I would definitely if you haven’t picked up the book yet, please do. Please take the assessment. Join the movement if you will. Understand where you’re starting from, which is really important for any learning process. Yeah. And just do check it out. And if you really love it, go back and read the first book from 2017 which was called Inclusion. I’ve been told they’re different. They’re sort of two sides of a similar coin. So for some of you, that really want to geek out, pick up both of them. Join me in my life that is all about DEI every day.

DOUG FORESTA: That’s awesome. And then I also want to mention too that another celebration, it’s my understanding that you have been accepted to speak at South by Southwest. Is that correct?

JENNIFER BROWN: Yes. We’re so excited. That is true. Yep. So we’re doing a Men as Allies panel actually. I’m really excited to do it with Ray Arata, who’s the founder of Better Man Conference. It’s a conference that I’ve mentioned several times on the Will to Change where we ran three of them this past fall of 2019. There’s more being planned for the fall of 2020 but I think it’s a growing conversation, as I mentioned earlier. I’m just very excited. I’m not surprised that topic got chosen by the curators of South by Southwest. I hope we have a big audience but we’ll see. It’s a very emerging conversation so maybe not but I know the people who show up are always the right people. We’re just very honored to have been chosen. If anybody’s going to be there, please send us a note or @ me in social media and maybe we can meet.

DOUG FORESTA: Well, it’s so exciting. I also want to make sure to mention, actually, I’ll wait a moment just to say, first of all, I’m so grateful to be on this journey with you, Jennifer. I look forward to the year ahead. As you said, we have a tremendous lineup. Just in Q1 of 2020, we have a really tremendous lineup. If you haven’t subscribed to the podcast, subscribe to the podcast as well. And then I just want to mention too, before we go that you do have a consulting company, Jennifer Brown Consulting. Let’s give people if they want to learn how they could, for example, bring you in to speak or work with one of the JBC consultants, do you want to just give people a little bit on that?

JENNIFER BROWN: Yes, I know we don’t get to talk about that much, but I actually have an incredible team. You can read all about them on If your organization needs help with DEI strategy building and execution, whether that means training, or setting up diversity networks, or launching a diversity and inclusion council, anything having to do with employee engagement seen through a diversity lens, that’s our sweet spot. Please reach out to us if you’d like to send an email, it’s again at and then typically you can also request keynote and speaking opportunities and information via that email as well. You can also visit my speaker page which is I’m looking forward to doing a lot more keynotes in the new year as well as some new conferences.

Please do also join our mailing list so that you know where I am and so that hopefully you can make sure you are at some of these amazing gatherings that I have the privilege to be at and speak at where there are gatherings of like-minded and like-hearted people that would definitely be fans of the Will to Change. I think it’s a… I just love being in community with this group of people. We are brave, bold, courageous, inspiring. It really fills my cup to fight another day and educate another day. Please consider getting closer to us in the new year. And again would love to say hello if we ever find ourselves in the same room.

DOUG FORESTA: I’m really excited about 2020. It’s a lot of good stuff happening. Thank you so much and I’ll leave you to give the last word directly to listeners.

JENNIFER BROWN: Thank you so much. We’re going to be re-airing over the holidays a couple of our very first episodes. I’m really excited about this. Vivian Meng, Dr. Vivian Meng was my first recording. Vivian Meng is a transgender data scientist, a brilliant, brilliant woman. I shared the stage with Vivian a million times and I find her entrepreneur story inspirational and incredible and obviously her knowledge of data and what it can tell us about inclusion is bar none. That’s one thing we’re going to be re-airing. And then we’re also going to re-air I think a very early episode with Kenji Yoshino. Many of you know who Kenji is and if you don’t, please read his book called Covering. It is the most beautiful poetic, personal memoir of his own story.

I quote his research all the time in my talks on covering in the workplace. He wrote a report called “Uncovering Talent” with Christie Smith who now leads diversity at Apple. We’re going to re-air my interview with Kenji as well. It’s one of my favorites, Doug. I know you and I were very excited to pull these back up to the top and share them with our audience now who probably hasn’t scrolled back several years.

DOUG FORESTA: That’s right exactly. No, exactly.

JENNIFER BROWN: So enjoy those and thank you so much, everyone, for supporting Will to Change.