You’d be hard-pressed to find a leader who doesn’t want to be better. Yet, at a time when leaders are being asked to do more with fewer resources, modern professionals are having a difficult time leading in a distinctive, powerful, and transformative way. At a time when leaders are feeling besieged, the question is: to whom should they turn to learn, develop, and embody a new form of inspired leadership? For some, the answer may be surprising. As we start to appreciate the diversity in our world and the talent that comes from underserved markets and underrepresented communities, our society has a great opportunity to refashion our workplaces, rebrand how we lead our social organizations and educational institutions, and rebuild our communities. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Davis Brown demonstrates how the values and norms of the LGBTQ+ community are instructive for leaders in all types of business and industry, and can serve as the foundation for a bold, new brand of transformative leadership.
Using quantitative and qualitative research methods, Dr. Davis Brown conducted a study to illuminate the lived experiences and cultural values of the LGBTQ+ community. Based on that research, he developed 9 leadership dimensions that show how understanding the cultural imprint of the LGBTQ+ community is essential for organizations to be employers of choice and for global communities to maintain their vitality. Today’s generation of leaders need time-tested, practical, and dynamic “sage advice” to deal with the perils of an increasingly complex world. The Queer wisdom that Dr. Davis Brown highlights will help any leader promote sustainable growth, foster equity and connection, and demonstrate human-centered leadership as the global landscape continues to change and evolve in the 21st century.
The LGBTQ+ community is multifaceted, talented, and gifted in so many ways. Yet there are forces in society that continue to silence and discriminate against LGBTQ+ people. Given the challenges we face in this day and age with climate change, poverty, war, extremism, displacement, and repression, strong leadership and wisdom are critical. It’s time to broaden our perspective and open our eyes to a way of being that encourages everyone to reach their potential and be proud of who they are.
Dr. Joel A. Davis Brown is the Chief Visionary Officer of Pneumos LLC (“Pneumos”). Joel works strategically with a variety of non-profit organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and other institutions to build consciousness, capacity, community, and collective esteem. His work spans 6 continents, and his mission is to facilitate liberation for every global citizen. As an internationally recognized leader in Organizational Development, Change Management, and Global Inclusion, he is a professor at the IESEG management School in Lille and Paris, France. Additionally, Joel is a certified leadership coach and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. Joel graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy and a double minor in African-American studies and Spanish. Joel also received his law degree from the University of Virginia, as well as a doctorate in leadership and adult education from Saint Mary’s College of California. In the creative realm, Joel is also a well-respected storyteller and spoken word artist.Learn More
I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Brown through the Diversity Collegium, a pioneering DEI think tank. My first impression of Joel was that he was someone who would bring innovative ideas and elevate the field. Over the years, this has proven to be true, and this book is another stellar example. Written in a voice that is lyrical yet practical, the book introduces a new platform based on qualitative and quantitative research to not only verify and understand the culture of LGBTQ+ but how the identified values are critical to leadership development in our new reality. What I especially appreciated is that the book’s architecture is one of head, heart, and hands. A research-based intellectual platform is supported with storytelling to engage the heart and practical “how to” recommendations to put one’s understanding into action. It is groundbreaking work that individuals, organizations, and societies can reap the immense benefit.
—Kay Iwata, President, K. Iwata Associates, Inc.
Joel Brown's new book, The Souls of Queer Folk: How Understanding LGBTQ+ Culture Can Transform Your Leadership Practice, is an unexpected and newly explored analysis of the life skills many LGBTQ+ people develop in order to cope in the world and lead authentic lives. But, Joel posits, these life skills are indeed also leadership skills grown out of oppression by a marginalized community. Joel builds a reasoned and logical case for his premise that these skills can be applied in anyone's life and, in fact, are the leader skills we need now to function in our fractured society. The application lessons at the end of many of the chapters are special gems for self-inquiry and personal development. I highly recommend this book, both as a critical examination of LGBTQ+ culture and, more specifically, as a guide to the leadership qualities necessary for our world.
—Steven Humerickhouse, Executive Director, The Forum on Workplace Inclusion, Augsburg University
In his new book, The Souls of Queer Folk, Joel offers readers a beautiful portrait of LGBTQ+ culture, highlighting the intrinsic values, extraordinary gifts, and diverse talents of a community that often go unnoticed and underappreciated. Deeply researched and analytically rigorous, Joel’s book is also deeply personal, reflecting his own journey with vulnerability, courage, and humor. The Souls of Queer Folk is a book that will give every reader a better understanding of LGBTQ+ culture and a deeper appreciation for the values, norms, and lived experiences of LGBTQ+ people. Brown’s book offers readers practical strategies and new frameworks for leading with authenticity and self-mastery.
—John Sage, CEO, Pivotal Ventures