I am a sociologist, author and TEDx speaker. I’m also a confidence-builder and apology-hater. I graduated with a Ph.D. in Sociology in 2014 (focusing on the sociology of women’s health), with no clear career in mind, until I attended an academic conference that completely changed the trajectory of my research, my career, and my life. At that conference, I witnessed women at the pinnacle of their career deflecting praise (we call that feminine modesty) and over-apologizing for mundane issues. I immediately became obsessed with apologies. I wrote my first book "Hey Ladies, Stop Apologizing… and other career mistakes women make" in 2015, the 2nd edition came out in 2017 along with the accompanying WORKBOOK. The audiobook came out in 2018 which is a best-of compilation for both the book, the workbook and my TV appearances.
My full-time job is on the public speaking circuit where I give talks and workshops to girls and women about all things related to confidence, communication, and mindset. For almost a decade, I taught part time in the Sociology Department of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, focusing on the Sociology of Health. Although I love teaching and learning from students, I am taking a long sabbatical from the teaching world to focus exclusively on my research.
For the past 4 years I have been conducting a global study on women’s confidence and communication skills, talking to women about what influences their confidence, their use of apologies, and how they handle praise, success, and failure. This is part of what will most likely be a 7-year study that is both exhilarating and overwhelming, but I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I am utterly fascinated and curious about all thing’s confidence related.
I believe that confidence is a muscle that strengthens with use, so we need to push ourselves out of comfort zones and act first(!) to feel confident later.
I’m a former makeup artist and Liberace is my style icon. I wear sequins daily. Why? Because you can’t be in a bad mood when you’re wearing sequins.
My husband Steve Brown quit his career in the fitness industry to come on board with me full time, as my agent, producer (or task manager)! Some might think it’s difficult to have your husband be your assistant and work side-by-side on the daily, but I would say, it’s even worse if your husband does Ironman competitions and spends his lunch hour telling you about his best swim, bike and run times.
We're also raising our 11-year-old daughter Ryo together, to be her own boss and to follow her curiosity rather than her passion. Ryo travels with us for many of my in-person talks, so if you see a little person trying to give me public speaking advice before I take the stage, that’s her!
For 15 years we were also parents to our Great Danes Jersey, Marley, and Cooper, who rarely listened and never performed any discernible tricks, and we couldn’t have loved them anymore. Sadly, we then ventured into the world of Golden Doodles, with our dog Chippy. Currently, it’s a disaster, but that’s a story for another day.
I’m a first generation Canadian and an only child. My Serbian parents live 5 minutes up the road from us, but we still talk daily. Whether it’s the Serbian in me, or because I’m a Leo everything about me is a little extra, sort of like my personal style and my stage presence. My friend describes me as an exclamation point, and there’s a lot of truth to that.